The relationship between nationality and individuality is/should be/can be a symbiotic one

The relationship between nationality and individuality is/should be/can be a symbiotic one

“Individuality is more important than nationality.” –Sui Sin Far

A black and white claim to an increasingly colorful issue.

What is more important? Being who you are as an individual, or being part of something bigger than yourself?

For many people, it really is one or the other, black or white. However, the relationship between individuality and nationality is not meant to be a parasitic one but a symbiotic one. Our culture and nationality help us become who we are, and in turn, we use our individuality to deepen and develop our culture.

America and many other parts of the world have evolved from highly oppressive patriarchal societies to increasingly more open-minded and inclusive societies. This change has been brought on by individuals who weren’t afraid to stand up and express what made them different. Their bravery in revealing what made them unique pushed our society to better itself and become more accepting.

Yet, those people would not have become who they were if not for the repressive society in which they were raised. Without a patriarch pushing people down, they never would have had a reason to stand and express themselves.

Many people who we look up to and have literally been labeled as “influencers,” express that they felt the need to step up and share their story so that others would feel more comfortable sharing their own stories and even just being themselves.

This back and forth, this pushing people and cultures to be better, is not just a social thing; it also presents itself in politics.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a bit of an oddity on Capitol Hill. At twenty-nine, she is the youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress. Along with the other fresh faces in Congress has come fresh ideas and a fresh way of acting in politics. It’s common practice for freshmen members of Congress to sit back and get a feel for things before expressing their thoughts, opinions, and ideas. Ocasio-Cortez, however, jumped right in and started bringing change to the table. Her unique approach and individuality will help push our government towards the future. And that fresh perspective? It grows from a placea governmentwhere it didn’t exist.

This idea is prevalent in literature as well. In The Book Thief, Liesel, an orphan, is taken in by adoptive parents. They guide her through her developmental years and shape who she is becoming as a person. As she grows, she learns to read and begins to widen her worldview on her own. She then turns around and teaches and changes her adoptive parents.

It’s a symbiotic cycle based on the development of the whole through the individual.

In countries where nationality reigns supreme and individuality is squashed mercilessly, a deeply repressive societyperpetually stuck in the pasthas almost total control. This society, in places such as Syria, has participated in the development of extremist groups. When individuality has been repressed and the only thing that remains important is the whole, a dangerous mob mentality emerges.

In a world as colorful and complex as our own, the answers to life’s questions can never be black and white. In the way that human skin comes in many colors, so too do our personalities. Therefore, in our complex world, it can not be individuality over nationality or nationality over individuality, but a beautiful symbiotic relationship between them both