What is the Need of Nations?


The Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK), a Slovenian art collective exhibiting at the 2017 Venice Bienniale, has invented a nation, with its own passport, as a work of art to “explore the meaning of states and statelessness, in part by reversing the experiences of citizen and migrant.” But doesn’t the very issuing of a passport keep borders in place? What is the need of nations?

“The whole earth is one.

“Only on the maps do you go on drawing lines, and over those lines you go on fighting and killing and murdering. It is such a stupid game that unless the whole of humanity is mad, it is impossible to think how it goes on continuing. What is the need of nations? What is the need of passports and visas and boundaries? This whole earth belongs to us: wherever one wants to be, one has the right to be.

“The sun is nobody’s property, the earth is nobody’s property, the moon is nobody’s property; the wind, the clouds, the rain – nothing is anybody’s property. Why do you draw these lines?

“You can understand it easily… Soon you will see lines on the moon. Right now there are not but soon you will see a Soviet zone, an American zone, a Chinese zone. Nobody lives there, nobody will ever live there. There seems to be no possibility of life growing on the moon. The moon is a dead planet – not a single drop of water. Yes, you can be there for a few hours with all your gas masks and oxygen cylinders and everything, but this is not the way that people can live there. But already they have put their flags…

“There is nobody to see the flag, there is nobody to salute the flag – not even a bird sometimes to shit on the flag! The first thing the Americans did was to place a pole, and put up the flag. How idiotic! And for whom? But soon other fools will follow. They will go to Mars, they will go to other planets, and they will do the same thing everywhere.

“There is no need for nations – except that politicians need nations because without nations there will be no politics – except that generals need nations, because without nations there will be no wars – except that the factories that produce weapons will go out of production.

“What will happen to your nuclear weapons plants and all the energy involved in them? – because if there are no nations there is no need to create nuclear weapons. For whom?

“The simplest solution to save humanity is to remove all the lines from the map – and just from the map – on the earth there are no lines.

“Simply remove all the lines, just from the maps, and you won’t have the third world war, and you will not need so many armies all around the world.”

Osho, From Ignorance to Innocence, Talk #14