Ahh... another Olympic Games completed. It's always such a joy to watch this collection of the world's best athletes come together and display their skills every four years. But one thing that gets to me is the way that whenever an athlete wins an event, the first thing they do is get their national flag and run around waving it. Well okay, I understand there are many people who do love their countries. And when the medals ceremony is taking place the national flags of the medal winners are raised, and then the national anthem of the gold medal winner is played on the loudspeakers. And actually, if you want to participate in the Olympics at all, you have to be a member of an Olympic delegation from a specific country.
When I think about it, not only do the Olympics illustrate the stranglehold of Nationalism over our lives and minds, but it also reinforces the stranglehold every four years. We are fed this type stuff from when we are babies, and by the time we are adults we are mindlessly waving a piece of cloth as though it makes us better than everyone else.
But what if someone wanted to compete in the Olympics, not on behalf of their country, but on behalf of all of the world's bloggers, for example? There would be an official Bloggers Olympic Team that would take part in all of the events (but given that most of us are lazy slobs who sit in front of our computers all day, I doubt we would have much success). Or what if someone wanted to represent just him or herself? Or if they wanted to participate under the flag of Humanity?
Well, the logistics of organizing the Olympics under all these incongruous categories would make things pretty difficult. Ah, but that's what makes Nationalism, and the system of States so lethal in this way perpetuating itself. We resign ourselves to accepting this current system because it seems so convenient right now. Once the system of States has a reasonable control over something, it tolerates nothing in its midst save other States. Why? It makes life easy -- they're territorialized and institutionalized... what a nice way to organize ourselves... a perfectly packaged pretty little discretized State. But what if I don't want organize myself according to this scheme? Do I have any other choice?
Okay, I know I'm not the first person to express these concerns by any means. But I'm always amazed and in awe of States whenever I come across another example of the way in which they sneakily perpetuate their existence (like the Olympics). Is there a way out?