Consider a state

Today we will follow up on our earlier discussion about the State. Historicity has states, as defined by Hobbes exist as long as humans has lived in any form of organized tribe.

Today we will tough focus on defining the “modern nation state”. With this term I refer to the unified nations that formed as a result of, and with the explicit help of the rise of European nationalism.

This nationalism can be in part be attributed to the rise of unified nation states in the west. Germany, the UK, France and many more nation went from legalized governance to a more localized form. With this localization came the need for a notion of a complete and uniform national identity. This identity would unify the nations citizens under one banner. This national identity would also legitimize the states rule. This act also help legitimize the states interaction with other states. These interactions includes everything from trade negotiations, to war and colonization.

This nation state is as much defined what it is, as what it inst. What I mean by this statement is the following. When defining who are the citizens of a state (us), one must simultaneously define why is not (them). At the rise of European nationalism this often meant exaggerating some perceived virtue of the nations citizens while exaggerating negative traits of the “others”.

It is true that nationalism has simulair events, discussions etc has evolved in several areas and time frames around the world. The somewhat unfortunate Eurocentric standpoint of the environment this blog is created in, does me that Europe is where our discussion start. With this said, I believe there are some simulates that can be found in most if not al of these events.

The common element that we are going to focus on here is he following: al national identities are by their design, fabricated. What I mean by this is the following:

Al national identities are created by its parent nation, state and most importantly, the people that embody it. Next time we will look closer at what makes up a national identity.

Conider a country part 1

Consider a country, consider it bearing in mind al we have considered before in these texts, roads, towns, cities, cars and people. From above imagine the network of roads towns, houses and businesses and lives. These collections both independent, and completely dependant on each other.1 But a country constitutes more then that, more then the land it entitles, more then the people in it. These are in a way, arbitrary and incidental, simply existing in one time and space.

More then that a country also signifies a contract, for better or worse. A contract between the individual and a collective. Both these can be given the monarch of “citizenship”. These citizens collectively, and often forcedly build up the bulk of the contract of the “state”.

The state is a catch al term for a ruling organ of some form, for where citizens get the rules of said citizenship.  It is trough these limitations, as well as the imagined borders of said country that the citizens get their shared history. This history, together with culture, traditions, customs and products created within these borders helps to form a citizens “national identity”. In doing this, these identity collectivity and simultaneously creates a country “identity”. Both affecting each other simultaneously.

This identity leads back to legitimize the state, and with it, its right to rule. The state rules with contracts between citizen and state and with as as Thomas Hobbes states “A monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force”2. These nation does also identify themselves in relation to other nations. Creating groupings of shared history, culture and other bonds, or forced together by oner reason or another. A nations identity grows when it relates to other, for better or worse.

In this way a nation becomes more then itself, more then it borders and its s citizens and its culture. It becomes a collection of al these incidental parts, brought forth by time and space and becomes something else. Both as a physical force and as an illusion it becomes a nation, a country.

1 Note that these dependencies do not end at an arbitrary land border, but spreads freely, along the globe. But for this experiment, we will contain it within one nations imaginary borders.
2 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan 1651

Consider a city, part 2

We continue by examining other buildings of our city, the buildings in witch we do no not live, but yet spend much of our time. These would be the buildings of profession, either of ours, or of those needed for our lives and well being.

Let us begin with the prior. This is our location of business, note that for some this is also our home, tough for most it is not. Here we preform a service or produce a product for consumption. Services can range from selling to repairing, and selling can range from physical items such as food and toys to abstract consents such as stocks and insurance.

You might or might not enjoy this work. Tough for the process of these text, all these facts are secondary. The main point is that you have an occupation, in witch you spend a set amount of time. For the time and effort you are compensated a monetary sum, witch you can buy goods an services from the second category of buildings.

These transactions will inevitably be handled by another individual, currently at their job. For the time and effort of handling your monetary transaction, they to will be compensated.

After a sett number of transaction this individual will be able to make a purchase of their own, and the monetary flow stretches out, flown and intertwine trough out our city. This transactional chain does not stop in our town of course, but rather sprawls out in the world, as said worlds transactions sprawl back in.

In this way our imaginary is not only interconnected trough the physical lines of traffic, but through the metaphysical means of the exchange of goods and services.

Lastly there is one more group of buildings I would like to take up. These are the buildings of government and services. In some cases funded by public means, in other word the citizens of said city, or privately. In this category do I put everything from police, to libraries and garbage collection. These are here due to, the are in their very core to more or less mean to serve the public.

Note that these buildings are also where individuals works, and is so part of the previously mentioned loop. Even tough some of these buildings (in some areas), have a need to stay profitable, this is not their main goal. Their goal is instead to provided the services needed for other to make a profit. See them as a baring support for your city, witch the rest of the cit is built around.

Here is where I will conclude my contemplations of a city for now. My hope is that you will no see your city or town as a collection of blocks and stretches of land. But rather a collection of homes, all of them unique in their own way. That you will see workspace, where people like yourself work to meet similar ends. Roads full of individuals, as well as people and work of numerous services, making it all possible.

My hope is that you will look out upon your city or town and see . . .

something more.

Consider a city part 1

Today we are going to continue were we left of, with a city or town, full of rooms whom, trough complex norms of rules and social contracts are considered homes. Homes that may become more or less yours.

This tough, is not the only thing that makes up a city, far from it. Tough despite the fact that these buildings make up so much of the actually city, their use and significance are rarely considered. Even less the apartments and lives within.

But leaving the apartment buildings behind, what else do we see? Houses yes, several, besides homes there are offices, stores, public buildings of different kinds, as well as industries and industrial complexes, we will return to these later.

For now, let us examine what lays in between these houses. Roads, paths and pavements. The grow, they shrink, they collide and they split up. They lead us towards our destinations, or away from them. At night from above they spread out like glowing spider webs, like blood vessels they pump the traffic trough the organism that is a city, and like so many things we will discuss in this first series, they are simple, accepted, and almost invisible to us.

But what is a street? An area, or several, designated for transportation by car, bike, foot etc. The speed, direction and phase, all dictated by abstract symbols and lights. These lines, and dots and arrows are each a message a symbol of a shared contract.

On these roads, wish are predesignated by social and juridical norms we travel. We might walk on them, we might travel by bike or moped. We might travel by some short of automobile. This journey might be spacealy shared in a buss, in a car, or by ourselves. Going towards something, going from something. But always with a goal, regardless if this goal is planed or not. But in all these occasions we are separate, on our own world, only these two places matter, and in a way only them exist. On our way there other travelers can seem like mere objects.

For example, you are in a car. You are traveling from your home to your job. It is raining and cold outside, so you have your AC on. The radio plays the morning news. The car smells of home, and of you. This is your car, a several ton heavy machine, speeding along towards someplace else. But its not just a car, its your care, and its not just any destination, its yours.

Now consider the cars around you, imagine them with the same familiarity, as well as their goals, and starting point. Continue with everyone on the same street, the same road, everyone from walking, to sitting half asleep on a bus. Continue to spread out trough your city or town, the road full of, no longer traffic, but individuals, all from a starting point, to a goal, tough not all of them planned.

Consider a city, as we consider the roads of said city.

Apartment blocks

Have you ever considered an apartment block? the cube of glass, stone maybe wood that makes up so many towns, that so many people do and don’t call their home.

First of all is a physical thing. Big, imposing a brick. Man made, yet it seems almost natural, like a hill, or groups of threes. This is how we usually see apartment buildings, or at least, the once we never enter.

But if we were to enter one, the become tangible, more real. It has an inside, we already knew that said inside exists. But now its more comprehensible for us. A hallway, a staircase or elevator, and of course the apartment itself.

The apartment, as in the set of rooms that we, or someone we know calls home is now a set point to us. The space become a tangle entity to us as we enter it, as we see, smell and feel it. The things in there, their concepts as well as the memories of these things, creates, together with the room they occupies, a home.

Tough this apartment is not the only one on this floor. There are others, try and imagine them, just as real. Try and give then the same sense of physicality as the one you know. The same reality.

Now lets go on to the same procedure on the next floors of said house. Not anymore a block of concrete, but a labyrinth of rooms, objects and consents that make up several individuals ideas of their own personal home.

Now stretch your view over out the window, trough the several, maybe hundreds of similar apartment blocks outside. Al of them full of personal universes, coinciding without any conscious awareness of each other. Al of them identical in purpose, yet, all of them unique.

Have you considered an apartment block?