Consider a man or woman. As individuals our job in the early part of life is to develop the psychological ego, so that we become effective members of society. As this process proceeds, we also begin to become aware of this ego entity we have created, and to transcend this to some degree – to co-operate with friends, family, co-workers and so on. In the limit, we realise that we are all interconnected and our job is to contribute something to the whole – which is what we really came to this earth for. Ultimately we are spiritual entities whose job is to transcend that ego we ourselves created.
Now consider the nation state. Its life process is no different. In the early stages of nationhood we develop a strong identity and go through various processes of self assertion, looking after our people and not worrying too much about others. Of course, wars happen from time to time, we form alliances and these and the wars and the problems get bigger and bigger. In the limit the nation realises that its job is to contribute something to the whole rather than just look after number 1. Thus were created the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United Nations.
None of these bodies is perfect. All have unsatisfactory characteristics that need to change. Just as within the nation state it is people’s job to work to improve it, so within these greater bodies it is the nation state’s job to work to improve the institution to more perfectly accord with what is needed. So it is the UK’s job to stay within the EU and work with our brothers and sisters (for that is really historically what they are) to improve the Union.
To withdraw and attempt to go our own way appears to be a nostalgic attempt by the national ego to revert to an earlier, less co-operative level, a primitive ‘sovereignty’ such as in the days of empire. In a world with mounting problems, particularly related to resource depletion and global warming, this is precisely the wrong way to go. The need is for nation states to transcend their nation-egos to a greater degree in order to satisfactorily address these problems.
The campaign for the UK to leave the EU is essentially appealing to our immature ego to step back from the great progress made so far. Fear and selfishness is its name.
Featured image courtesy of agsandrew and Shutterstock