We have lived all life in the industrial phase and that’s why we consider the current social systems and ideologies as constants. However, this is not so. Nationalism and national identity are examples of concepts not adequate for the agrarian phase (where vassalage and unity in faith dominated) and especially for the archaic one. Nor will they be relevant for the post-industrial phase.
Every epoch brings its own understanding of a person’s identity. In addition to self-identification as an individual, man is inclined to identify himself with certain communities. This desire to structure the world is embedded in the human nature. Whether somebody likes it or not, man consciously and subconsciously divides everyone into ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’. This cannot be helped as this is a powerful instinct-based program. Properly speaking, identity is a part of human consciousness that is formed through the feeling of affiliation to different social groups.
The signs of the next system of identity can be seen throughout the world. These are cosmopolitans or citizens of the world who think globally and are not bound by national ties, at least in the common understanding of organic and institutional identities. They choose themselves whom to be and in which country (nation-state) to live. Such people feel affiliation first of all with those who share their ideas and interests. They do not have a problem, like their predecessors of the earlier epoch, choosing a language to communicate. If my community lives in Australia, I will live and speak English, even though I am a Russian Ukrainian.
And this is not the end of it. Human development will bring new, more and more complex identification systems. Two-dimensional identities are already being replaced by multi-dimensional (matrix) ones. “Who are you?” – “I am Swedish here and now, to make things for you easier. Because you won’t understand if I start explaining”. Or as another example, someone can be half-Bavarian and half-Turkish, be raised in England and in the English culture, be a citizen of Sweden and work in Holland for a Japanese company.