My first trip to one of the original City States
City States make more sense to me than Nation States. We underestimate how modern cultural identities are. Not that they don't have flavours that run deep, but that the combinations are new, and the sources not as obvious as we think. Ideas have a long history of wandering free and ignoring the Game of Thrones. Our identities are connected ideas, not a fixed essence.
Standardised languages, money, flags, anthems that brought together warring smaller groups often squashed uniqueness out of existence. Conquerors regularly won by feeding and supporting local divisions. Our memories are shorter than the lingering influences of our experiences. Our identity can be that of the conqueror before the current conqueror.
A Nation State combines and tries to create a supra-culture within borders. Most modern borders have been drawn up in the last couple of hundred years. Borders were flexible and fuzzy when Empires ruled the world.
Ultra-local politics allows for conversation and community. My Utopia would be Global league of Cities partnered with surrounding Rural areas. With free movement of people between them, and paths to citizenship. Global Citizens with local power.
A 1999 Sketch of the Parthenon