Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. – Mark Twain
Patriotism is defined by your love for a geography built by a notion which makes you feel you belong there. It triggers a kind of emotion which is territorial, a human instinct which got shaped in the evolutionary process of fighting wars for your homeland to protect it from foreign ‘barbaric attackers’. At a local level, it is like building a fence and protecting your space from selfish neighbors. At a philosophical level, we feel one as a country despite all pluralism. We are divided by thousand things, but united by the big story we tell ourselves, the notion called nation. It is a narrative we love to celebrate.
The symbols of patriotism – the flag, national anthem, founding fathers of the nation, a map of the country, armed forces and so many things which create the big narrative called the nation.
As humanity evolved and we move across borders and settle in foreign lands more than at any time in the history, are we becoming more patriotic? Maybe because we use patriotism as a self-defense mechanism to save ourselves from the disturbing realities of the strange cultures in foreign lands. We love familiarity, though the brain is excited about novelty. We run back home after our attempts with adventures. We love new cultures, new cuisine, new people – but we find stability in the familiar. We feel home in not in the novelty but in the familiarity.
After a day-long hunt, a team of hunters long to go back home and put a campfire and dance around it surrounded by women and their children whom they know – it is evolutionary. It is real. Being patriotic is human, it is not a sponsored act, it is instinctive.