Is Your National Identity Becoming a Global Identity?

Hello internet.

What do you think about national identity?

National Identity is defined as “a sense of a nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture, and language.”

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Which is interesting to me because if a sense of unity within a ‘nation’ is established by a distinctive language, tradition or culture, what then does that make the two dominant western nations, i.e. America and the UK?

The English language is a global language. This was a process begun, of course, by imperialism and invasion, not always seen a moral process. Nevertheless, it has resulted in a new dawn for culture and language. English is the predominant language of the Internet, because while webpages can be viewed in other languages, their addresses are in English. Computer codes are in English. A large number of countries around the world use English alongside their indigenous languages for administrative and governmental uses. English is often associated with economic affluence, education and prestige in many societies around the world. This could be because high end jobs require a knowledge of the English language, in this modern, advanced technological, interconnected world.

The result of globalisation, of course, is the globalisation of English, and with it the Western culture. ‘McDonaldisation’, ‘coca-colonisation’, and ‘Disneyisation’ are just a few terms thrown out there by sociolinguists who claim this creation of a monoculture has resulted in the killing (linguicide) of other languages, and cultures.

I personally think that it is a grave misconception to assume the western culture is the globalised culture, because while that may be predominantly true, indigenous cultures will always exist, alone or alongside the global monoculture. There are also thousands, even millions of cultures and civilisations around the world which remain untouched by the modern online community. That is a beautiful thought, to know that in some places, beauty and nature coincide to create wondrous populations of life and tradition that we know nothing about and have never heard of but can be related to through sheer humanity.

So what do you think? Is this true? Does this also mean that traditional cultures in the UK and US are also being killed, replaced by the globalised idea that western culture is multicultural cuisine (e.g. falafel, curries), universal fashion and a nomenclature of ideals which co-exist?

What do you think about national identity? Do you think your country has a distinct national identity, or is it so intermixed with the global monoculture that you feel as though your nationality is not much different from much of the world today? Or, alternatively (or , do you think the world is a diverse place and there is so much more out there?

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The Glass Library

Two years ago I stood outside a large, three storey glass building with a gaggle of other students from my year, as a senior university student explained to us that that was the Leicester University library.

The minute he said that, the rest of his words melted into a droning hum which dissolved into background noise.

“Wow.” said my mind, “This is the university library. THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY!”

Heavy, dull British clouds massed over the building, darkening the day. The library refused to bow to such gloom! It was glorious. I ached to walk through the gleaming doors. Students piled in and thronged out, meandering in small patches of hurried fashion and haggard stress.

But to me it was fascinating, alluring, sparkling with promise and purpose. My fingers tingled at the prospect of thumbing through rows and rows of books, my brain relishing all the information I would accumulate.

Well, hello today, dears. I am now five years in the future, 21 years old, dropped out of one Accounting degree and enrolled in another English one, sitting on the third floor of the very same library!

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Yes!

The Leicester University sparkling glass building of promise, and books, where the minds of academics have mused over mountains of knowledge for ninety four years (founded: 1921!). Here is a picture of what it (the campus library, not the university) looks like right now.

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I was feeling GLOOMY, folks, because I am analysing conceited statements from pretentious theorists on topics I really couldn’t care less about but must pretend that I do for the sake of some figurative marks. But then I sat back and let my mind wander and I thought about some things and then, it came to me!

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I am HERE.

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I am where I WANTED to be when I was young, impressionable, and excited about life! So this was a cause for a massive smile, of course. I am cheered up, dear readers. And this post is a result of that.

Much love,

Lenora.

Working Man

In Venice they have no cars. Supplies are brought over by boat. Building machines also, interestingly, come in the form of boats, bobbing gently by the side of the docks as they repair the old crumbling Venetian buildings. When the supplies are unloaded they are placed onto handcarts, which are pulled by men with strong muscles and steady gaits, through the narrow alleyways, up dank stairs and over numerous bridges to their prescribed destinations.

I took this photograph when I was on top of the Doge’s Palace in Piazza San Marco. If you look closely, you can see the man pulling a handcart laden with supply boxes. He was walking incredibly fast, so it was a tricky shot to take, but you can see that he stands out from the crowd of meandering tourists on the square.

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What an interesting job, and so different from the usual way of transporting goods one sees on city streets.

The Internet: AKA Brain Juicer

Here’s a thought for you: The internet is stealing your brain!

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Nicholas Carr, author of a book called The Shallows, reckons that “the net is making us more superficial as thinkers“. This is a remarkable concept to think about because the majority of what one sees on the internet, unless one does a thorough search to sift through the piles of nonsense that Google farms as its most viewed content, is a load of superficial dung, consisting of articles about celebrities and what they like to eat and wear, and the latest pointless scandals around the world.

Here are some facts:

Carr claims the internet is responsible for a noticeable disappearance in attention span (human, of course).

It is interesting to note that our brains release some dopamine when we research or discover new information.

The increase in the availability of the vast pool of information, via smartphones (and other such devices), is creating a compulsive habit within us, promoting us to be constantly aware of what our phones are doing, constantly keeping one ear out for any notifications, constantly reading texts, news articles, social media posts.

The constant distraction of the steady stream of information we are getting from the internet drives our brains into a frenzy, always wanting more.

This way of thinking is stressful, and overwhelms the calm, collected mindset that we humans need to memorise information, by transferring it from our short term memory to our long term memory.

This is an important process because through this process our brains are able to create connections between all the information we have gained, which adds to our “life experiences” and intelligence.

Information is prevented from going into long term memory because of constant distraction, meaning we are prevented from learning anything new.

This concept speaks to me directly because I am extremely guilty of spending hours studying with ten minute breaks in between, during which I surf the internet and read articles/blogs, and watch videos. I have also noticed that for all my hours worth of study, I cannot seem to recall anything remotely helpful from my course materials, which makes me seem very stupid when I attend my tutorials.

It is immensely thought-provoking to me that all the information in the world is just a google search away, and yet a lot of us (especially the younger generation) don’t know much of anything about the world. What we do when we google search information is get it quickly, but don’t  have the time to absorb it.

This is why I am taking my time with this post, so that my brain remembers that distractions are ruining my writing ability and my ability to focus for a long time on a book (a habit which I only recently got into) or a film (I habitually check my phone when I am watching something). Also because I want to make sure the information I am writing about here stays with me for a very long time otherwise it is all just a vicious cycle.

Have you noticed any differences in your attention span since embarking on the magnificent journey that is the internet? Do you think a lot of the superficiality that is rampant in this modern, fast-moving world is related to the knowledge we possess at our fingertips? Are we, in short, abusing what we have, at the cost of our own minds?

Thread-like Growth on Animate Being

Hello Internet.

I am Lenora and I am interested in politics, exercise, food, literature, nature and hair.

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Yes, hair. However not in the usual context you would imagine one would be interested in hair. I, for example, am not a hair stylist, nor do I follow the latest fashion trends when it comes to hair.

I just love hair, dears. Lately my hair has become extremely wispy on top. Normally when I wash it, and allow it to air dry, it springs into lots of wide ringlets that gleam and bounce, as healthy as you could imagine. My hair is my vanity, you see, and lately my curls are not curls, but pouffy wisps of nothingness.

I spent an hour sitting in this university library watching young ladies pass me by and my eyes are drawn to their heads. Brown hair, black hair, blond hair. Some reds meandering about, one very distinct pink, some greens and of all textures and in all styles. Some have straight hair, falling in gleaming, silky waves over their faces, covering every inch of their scalps. Some have curly hair, like me, but unlike me they can have middle partings, they can pull it back and style it most beautifully. Some have short hair, spiked up, some have pretty little pixie cuts, some sport pony tails, some leave their hair out, falling over their shoulders, framing their faces and adding to their beauty.

SO. MUCH. HAIR!

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I am so scared the loss of my hair will mean the loss of my beauty. Beauty is a very important thing, folks. I do care that people will notice this girl with no hair. “Poor thing”, they might say, “she must have had cancer. I am so glad I am not her.”

I know because I think that when I see girls with no hair. Well, I used to think that. Now I think, “we suffer in silence, together, sister”.

I have a secret scalp-hiding little trick, and it’s name is Caboki. It’s very pricey, and comes in a plastic tubular bottle with a silver top. The writing on it wears away so easily, which is a small blessing, really, because I don’t want anybody to know what it is when they look in my bathroom cabinet. The bottle is filled with millions of tiny little dark brown microfibres, the exact colour of my hair. When my hair is dry, and my scalp shines through right at the top of my head, I shake some of the magic powder over it and voila, I look like I have a wondrous full head of hair!

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Such a calming illusion, dears. Sometimes I almost think I actually HAVE enough hair to hide my scalp. But then I wash my hair and any such thought vanishes, along with my self-esteem, gaiety and hope.

My hope is still here, folks. She refuses to leave me, despite thousands of testimonials from women with the same story as mine. I refuse to believe there is no cure. Recently I have begun a clean diet to help my digestive system. My energy levels are up (as they should be, I am only twenty one), my exercise is getting easier and easier (might have to up my game), my digestive system is less irritable, more smooth (goodbye bloating!), I am taking probiotics and zinc and magnesium supplements.

I haven’t noticed any changes in my hair as of yet, though. We’ll see. It’s only been three weeks. It takes far longer than that, and a good amount of patience, perseverance and, of course, hope.

To all the beautiful ladies suffering with hair-loss out there.. if you are reading this, know that you are worth more than your hair. Know that you can hope, that there is something out there for you, and that you will be loved with or without your hair. Your suffering will only make you more beautiful.

Also, much love, hope and support.

Lenora

I Love You

When I saw that I was laughing manically and pawing at the wall as I did so, it became evident that I was indeed overtired.

I read somewhere once that being overtired is almost like being drunk. I am not too clear on the particulars of said study, if it was even a study, however I do see why it could have been so.

I was existing on a mere hour’s worth of sleep from the previous night, in which I sat up till the larger of the smallest hours of the morning -that is 5am when it’s at home- tapping away at my keyboard, waffling on about the economic advantages of knowing English and the resulting remonstrances…

ANYWAY I said to myself, “alright Lenna dear. Pack your things away”

Only I couldn’t really because it was most unsuitably cold and I was most frightfully anxious about my submission, and so oh so dreadfully battered. I lay on the sofa with all my work spread out over the table, which was a sore idea given that the house was full of humans and one very inquisitive baby – I don’t believe I even saved any of my work – and the next thing I knew was that I was in bed with a snoring Damian to my left.

Naturally I leapt out because holy mackerel the sun was out and WHAT TIME WAS IT BECAUSE I HAVE A DAMN DEADLINE.

Turns out I didn’t miss any deadline (although I MIGHT if I don’t get my act together).

Oh dear, so I was awfully drunk on lack of sleep. The baby was trying on Damian’s boxers which was hilarious. Her small feetses didn’t know where the holes were but she was so engrossed and preoccupied and absorbed and consumed and submerged in this riveting new task that it didn’t seem to bother her in the slightest. She then proceeded to wrap his shirt around her plump little self. I was leaving though so I demanded my kisses and she complied, plopping small wet ones on my cheeks and nose and forehead.

“I LOVE you!” I said, kneeling before her and dropping a small kiss on her massive cheeks.

She glanced at me as she worked out the laborious process of an adult shirt and murmured, “Ayy brrthwrl yooo”

Which, my sunshine, is good enough for me. Goodnight. GOODNIGHT I SAY. And welcome to dreamland. Huzzah.