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The Concept of Nation Organization

The concept of nation, as how Benedict Anderson described it, can be compared to the organizations in the Ateneo wherein each organization represents a nation. Each organization is a community of students having a similarity in at least one aspect, like how a nation can be described as an imagined community.

The similarity ranges from a home organization where you came from the same course or department like Ateneo Biological Organization, an interest based organization where you perform the same genre or production like Ateneo Blue Symphony, a movement based organization with the same advocacy like Baliklaya that fights against the stereotype image of prisoners, or a project based organization that envisions to promote their “culture” or “branding” like Ateneo Environmental Science Society.

These categories into which the organizations in the Ateneo fall are parallel to the categories into which the “nations” can be defined: a nation can be set by common origin like a course, a more powerful “community” like the course department, common goal and interest like fighting another “nation” and culture like arts and traditions. However, the similarities between organizations and nations do not end with the nature of both. Considering the statistics given by the Council of Organization of the Ateneo (COA), not all LS students are member of at least one accredited organization like how not all people in this world are part of a “declared” nation. Some ethnics do not consider themselves as part of a nation, or perhaps found themselves as part of another “nation” not known to us. Others were granted a title of autonomous region since they have an entirely different rule based either on religion or culture but remain a part of another “nation”. These organizations are also imagined political community, each having its own border that separates it from another organization and an own set of officers or executive board implementing a certain constitution and code of internal procedures. The executive organization itself is very political in the sense that they are elected or sometimes appointed, at the same time “cultural” since they need to represent the “branding” or claimed identity of the organization. Moreover, one question is usually asked during the Recruitment Week of the organizations:

These categories into which the organizations in the Ateneo fall are parallel to the categories into which the “nations” can be defined: a nation can be set by common origin like a course, a more powerful “community” like the course department, common goal and interest like fighting another “nation” and culture like arts and traditions. However, the similarities between organizations and nations do not end with the nature of both. Considering the statistics given by the Council of Organization of the Ateneo (COA), not all LS students are member of at least one accredited organization like how not all people in this world are part of a “declared” nation. Some ethnics do not consider themselves as part of a nation, or perhaps found themselves as part of another “nation” not known to us. Others were granted a title of autonomous region since they have an entirely different rule based either on religion or culture but remain a part of another “nation”. These organizations are also imagined political community, each having its own border that separates it from another organization and an own set of officers or executive board implementing a certain constitution and code of internal procedures.

The executive organization itself is very political in the sense that they are elected or sometimes appointed, at the same time “cultural” since they need to represent the “branding” or claimed identity of the organization. Moreover, one question is usually asked during the Recruitment Week of the organizations: Required basumaling org? The answer is no. There may be unaccredited organizations which were not included on statistics provided by the COA, but it cannot be disproven that there exist a number of students who doesn’t have an organization.

They exist and continually face the every life just like the normal Atenean inside the classroom. They may excel even in class, which is the primary goal of most students in college for the diploma. But why do the majority chooses to become part of the org? On a personal note, I chose to become part of an organization simply because of belongingness. Belongingness that at least once in my college life, I will have to take a stand not alone but with a group of people who shares the same sentiment as mine. Belongingness translated with welcoming people that will not judge your origin. A larger home that will allow me to serve them. A community that will multiply the resources that we have in order to divide them on certain priorities.

The Ateneo, on a larger scale, is the globe while the organizations are the nations. And in case one will argue that there is a trend towards globalization nowadays and nation is useless, we cannot disregard the fact of specialization. It is very ideal, and in fact arrogant, to think that one organization can rule the Ateneo and cater everyone’s concern. Even the administration office is divided into different offices that specialize in different concerns. How much more with billions and trillions of people in the world with enormous diversity? Take for example the United Nations, a group of different states that governs an “international law”, still uses representatives from different nation/states to represent each ones concern. In my case, the organization that I am most active with is my home organization. At first, it was a sort of “automatic thing” since the trend was to join your own home organization. I joined even before realizing what’s with the organization, just like how birth-determined your nationality is. We became part of the nation even without deciding for ourselves.

The other brainwashing-nationalism would follow like how Panatang Makabayan will be recited every morning back in grade school, much like the General Assemblies and Orientations an organization may arrange. But amidst all the brainwashing-nationalism, you can leave the organization. You can migrate, apply for green card or marry a foreigner and leave the Philippines. It is still an option.

But why did I stay? Specifically, why did I stay when I had a chance not to register again, choose another org (or even not choose at all) and live a not committed life away from org responsibilities and brainwashing? Because I already felt the sense of belongingness. As cliché as it may sound, the PanatangMakabayan made sense later on. The heroes that we recognized from the statues on plazas down to the notebook covers passed down the “nationalism” that they had even without knowing what nation was before. The label of being Filipino during Manny Pacquiao’s fights or performances of a half-Filipino on American Idol is undeniably existing and even propagating down to the younger generations.

This belongingness is contagious, something that seems to be encoded in our genes and being passed down. This belongingness is a tradition. In the same light, you do not become an organization member without the tasks and projects. Say for an instance I handle a position in the Executive Board which means I need to accomplish and lead certain tasks and projects for my members or for the promotion of the organization’s advocacy. This will require time, energy and commitment.

The moment I chose to stay and take ownership of my organization, I have committed myself to the responsibilities and duties. This commitment, as means of exercising the freedom I had when I chose, would sometimes require me to not sleep, go out of my comfort zone and take risks. These are much like the actions one would take when the sense of ownership is imparted on every members of the imagined community. You will really go out of your comfort zone, take a leap of faith, die a part of yourself and take risks – sacrifices which cannot be understood until you stand on the same position.

Lastly, how do I become part of the nation? In the context of organization, there is a Recruitment Week where later, you get an Identification Card that proves you are a member. Why is this necessary? Because not all projects and programs of the organization is for everyone. Membership formation, for example, is an internal concern that non-organization members cannot participate. The organization room is a place for members only. Why? Because the Executive Board made such projects specific for the members alone. Does this mean they do not care for other people? No, it only acknowledges the fact that you cannot serve everyone at the same time. This is the same with nations. You need a passport as identification that you are part of certain nation. You cannot elect officials from other nations since they will not be serving you. And the next time I hear the lines “Join and org!”, it can be seen on a larger context as “Join a nation!”. More appropriately, be part of your nation despite the trend of globalization.

Tags : EnglishEssayReflection
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