Nationality In Art, 1927

excerpts What is a nation? We shall define: A nation is the totality of blood-related individuals, living on a determined territory functioning as a necessary support to their existence, and sharing: a common language, which they have shaped themselves, a common past, common present interests, common aspirations for the future, and making up, as an organism, the same power, the nationality, creative of human culture – which is nothing but its variable product. Thus: blood, the land, an own language, the past, the present, the future, the national organism making up an original cultural power – these are the elements that constitute every nation, making it different from all the others. The land – as a necessary basis of man's means of existence, is the nation itself. We may say: Land means nation, nation means land. The land, with its location, climate, natural resources, dominates the life of its inhabitants, shaping them over hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years, after its characteristics, as its own true "people of the land". Thus: Land means nation. The power of a nation depends on the number of its constituents, which in its turn depends on the fertility of the land and its expanse. Thus: Nation means land. The larger, more fertile, healthier a territory, the more numerous, wealthier, stronger the people who own it – up to a limit: determined precisely by the geographical boundaries and extreme limits of land productivity. A people, therefore, cannot give up its territory, not even partially, no matter how much room it has presently, because it would be tantamount to giving up its future existence, for it alone has the right to develop on the land it inhabits. Several peoples cannot live in peace on the same land, because each one would want to be the only one. An own language – means the language that blood-related individuals have created over centuries, in conformity with their own features, and which is inseparable from themselves: they are one. Thus: there can be no nationalization through language, but only through blood mixing. I can learn Chinese – but that doesn't make me a Chinese: Nationality cannot be learned. The organism – every nation is a veritable organism, forming slowly, by developing its organs, namely the three classes – rural, ruling, and middle – resulting from the requirements of livelihood, by division of social labor, in its turn a result of the law of economy of power. Therefore, classes are not artificial, transient products, but natural formations, necessary and serving the existence of peoples, just like the organs that support individual organisms. It is an absurd idea – such as the Socialists' – to fight for the abolition of classes, or to believe that they could be determined, more or less arbitrarily, through a selection imposed on the presently free masses by some all-knowing social committee. Every nation must aim to develop its organs to the full. For, the sturdier the rural class; the keener the middle class; the stronger and more aware of its nationality the ruling class, the longer its life as a real power. Nationality is the personality of peoples, the expression of the different blood, of race, as a creative power of human culture. We have seen that to any blood – as a product of a specific crossing – correspond specific attributes of feeling, intelligence, and will expressed in language, mores, or art forms, which give birth to characteristic cultural products. This determines me to affirm: Nationality is the creative power of human culture. It's the same dance everywhere, e.g. to the enthralling sounds of the same music, corresponding to general, human emotions; however, music and dance vary with the place: there is the Pole's polka; the Hungarian's czardas; the Spaniard's bolero; the Italian's tarantella; they all pound their feet on the ground, but each in his own way of feeling. Human culture is precisely the extent of these varied ways of feeling. The more numerous and fully developed its creative powers, i.e. the nations, the more developed, complete, beautiful, infinitely varied it will be itself. To imagine a single nation ruling the entire earth is a wild figment. Realizing this would mean: rendering culture monotonous; abolishing competition among peoples; annihilating original, collective individualities, which produced what already exists. Such a thought is a crime against humanity, a blasphemy against nature. Indeed, any nation appears as an "idea", in Plato's acceptation, i.e. as an intermediary between the real world, whose innumerable forms are but its reflection, and the superior world, which we know, but whose lofty, mysterious goals nations seem to be called to achieve. That is why it is precisely national struggles that are so unforgiving and fatal: each nation wants to actualize its own idea. This is its mission. And as soon as they meet on the same piece of land – which can only serve as an existential basis to one of them, given the limited resources – they begin fighting tooth and nail at once. They must fight. For land means nation; nation means human culture; culture means idea; and the idea – what we do not know, but which rules the entire universe: God. Consequently, nations are instruments of this divine power. 

by A. C. Cuza (1857-1947)