In the book Speaker for the Dead, there was an underdeveloped but smart alien species called Pequeninos, divided into tribes.

Each tribe had been fighting other tribes for as long as they remembered. They measured their success comparing themselves to other tribes. Despite the fact that they didn’t think twice to invite a concrete individual into their tribe, they were reluctant to consider all other tribes’ as one because their meaning had always been derived from their tribe’s size compared to others.

We humans face a similar situation. Many people identify themselves with a nation and worry about the wellbeing of the citizens of their nation.

I used to think that nationalism was wrong because it was the cause of war and other problems. However, now I agree with Noah Yuval Harari. He says that nationalism is a huge positive step from caring only about our closest 150 people (Dunbar’s number) towards caring about all humans.

Nationalists care and pay taxes so other people they don’t know have a better life. Of course, conflicts emerge when people worry only about their nation. However, we care more and more about every human on the planet and even animals’ wellbeing. I hope we all overcome the Pequeninos’ challenge soon.

Categories: Books, Inspiring ideas

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