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Chauvinism  is the consciousness represented at present by the vast mass of humanity.  This is the position that one's own tribe/clan/race/gender/culture/sect/religion/country/civilisation is the best and the the others are inferior.  This is the position of fundamentalist  exoteric  religions, of New Age sects and cults and gurus, of patriotism and nationalism, of racism and sexism, in all it's diverse and repugnant forms

Chauvinism comes ultimately from a need to belong.  One sense that one's own being is small and limited, one doesn't have the gnosis or spiritual awakening or sense of love and compassion to embrace all life and all existence, so one embraces as much as one can encompass, one's tribe, one's family, one's race, one's country, elevating that secular ideal to the highest status.  or one takes some religion or teaching and assumes that that is the truest one and all the others suck.  And what is behind all of this is emotional and spiritual immaturity, arrogance and pride, misplaced loyalty and the infantile need to belong

Now, don't get me wrong.  I am not saying this is necessarily or always bad.  Love of one's country for example, or pride in one's race or culture, can be a noble thing.  Here is an example of a noble chauvanistic sentiment that I happened to read in the paper.  This is written by a Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, from his autobiography, Faith of My Fathers (a best-seller in 1999) in which he relates the greulling ordeal of his captivity as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.

"Ironically, I have never felt more powerfully free, more my own man, than when I was a small part of an organised resistence to the power that imprisoned me.  Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined your existence alone."

[quoted in Cameron Forbes, "Ready for Takeoff," The Weekend Australian,  5-6 Febuary, 2000]

So it is not a question of that because someone is subservient to some larger but limited ideal that is automatically "bad."  Pride in one's nation, one's race, one's culture or sub-culture, is the first stage in awakening to something beyond one's limited ego.  Unfortunately the real danger comes from identifying that small puffed up self-inflated little ego with the thing one identifies with, and there lies the seeds of all fanaticism, all persecution, all ontolerance, and all ugliness in human society

However, there comes a time when it is necessary to go beyond chauvanism, patriotism, sectarianism, and racism, and embrace the brotherhood/sisterhood of humanity as a whole.  When that is achieved one has made it to the stage of Anthropocentrism.


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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 15 February 2000