What does it entail to be a citizen? Is it just printed words on your passport? Or simply abiding by the norms of the nation? No, it is so much more than that. Being a citizen is not just a part of your identity; it is your inherent duty to do well by others. Your current citizenship refers to the country that you are currently residing in, and therefore, serving. Since you have made this place your home – temporary or otherwise – you enjoy the perks that this place offers you. But what if you gave up this exclusivity to enjoy the larger benefits of being a world citizen?
You may wonder who is a world citizen. Let me pop your happy bubble, because a world citizen is not somebody who can escape the long procedures of travel visa. As a world citizen, you serve the entire planet. You are accountable to the whole world. It does not mean that you are no longer bound to your nationality; it is merely prioritizing every country and not just your own. As a world citizen, you have a bigger sense of belonging. You are no longer limited to the geographical boundaries of your nation. The whole world is your stage and all of your goodness of character can be displayed on a larger canvas. “…the authoritarian personality, the social dominance orientation and psychopathy are all associated with less global human identification” (“Global citizenship”, Wikipedia) People who have traits such as empathy, selflessness, willpower etc are the ones who become world citizens. They are motivated to work to the best of their abilities, so that others can become fortunate too.
You have the opportunity to earn greater recognition, by being a global citizen. Material wealth brings happiness for only a short period of time, whereas, a good reputation and personality is a kind of a permanent treasure. Being proactive and engaging in important discourses helps generate ideas that could solve issues on a global level. The problem today is that we don’t think enough; we are ready to blindly follow other’s opinions without trying to make an informed decision ourselves. With regards to education, world leaders must understand how crucial it is to inculcate in children the sense of being a world citizen. If they are made aware of this from an early age, they would learn to be more caring and open to diversity. As such, they would voluntarily take an interest in helping others and making their existence more purposeful.
One of the cons of being a world citizen is that because you need to focus on the bigger picture, sometimes you could miss out on the little nuances that make life more interesting. Your time and efforts are split across multiple projects and so you may not necessarily find time to be engrossed in your hobbies. For people who procrastinate and aren’t driven, this could result in failures; as they ineffectively attempt to bring a balance in their lives. World citizenship requires you to place others before yourself, a factor that isn’t innate to all individuals, particularly bigots, who cannot tolerate difference or deviance from what they consider is normal.
That being said, becoming a global citizen is a wonderful opportunity for cultural integration. Not only is it a wholesome experience, but allows you to gain fresh perspective on life. Equipped with the collective knowledge of a hundred communities, you are able to deal with matters in a much more efficient way. Your knowledge would have no bounds, as you would be meeting people from all walks of life, who carry with them their respective sensibilities. While not reducing the differences between countries and continents, it gets rid of the borders and encourages togetherness. A world citizen understands the facets of humanity, and considers the quality of being humane above class, community and gender distinctions.
Do you think you have what it takes to be a world citizen? Or would you rather live blissfully unaware, a life in the sidelines? It is a good thing to embrace your culture and values, but it is vital for us to be active players in the global community. Only then can we hope for absolute peace for each and every person on this planet.