Some time ago I was stirred by a musical evocation of loyalty and idealistic adoration done in the old style, reminiscent of the Canadian National Anthem. What country had such an emotionally appealing musical signature I wondered? It turned out to be the film score anthem of Oceania, the imaginary distopia, from the film 1984. So for a few minutes of reverie I had been one with Winston Smith and Big Brother. Plato certainly knew a thing or two about the poets and their triggering of unguided passion, and I had a good laugh on myself.
The need to feel loyalty and solidarity with your group is a necessary part of our genetic inheritance. But the nation as idea or ideological construct, is Oceania, a delusion. It's a thing that can change at the next party conference or election. And yet we have feelings of deep loyalty to our governments, even when they kill us or betray our wellbeing. Such is History.
How much better it would be if we could feel this love for our neighborhoods, extended families or schools.