What really runs a country is a system of thought, habits and behaviour to which a group of people subscribes. Not politicians. Not civil servants. Not a constitution. But simply an inner life in which all participate, and from which an intangible system of thinking arises that unites everybody who ascribes to it. It unites them and “runs” them according to a set of core rules which these people, in their inner being, unthinkingly believe to be the true reality.
This hidden level of surrender to their version of reality lies deeper that what is generally called culture and tradition. On the contrary, culture and tradition arise gradually from this foundation, simultaneously influencing its further development reciprocally – positively or negatively – even as it itself continues to reinforce the culture and tradition it birthed.
And then, after the level of “culture and tradition” has been formed, they in turn midwife the mentality that thinks out not just the surface laws and constitution of a country, but also the understanding of whether these laws are to be obeyed at all or in what way they are to be interpreted, implemented or circumvented. A recognizable national “way” comes to life which becomes attributable to that nation by everyone who visits it or lives in it. You just know: this is the way these people are.
Thus to influence or direct the path of a nation, you have to have power of this hidden level of reality, power over the nation’s inner life. You have to understand it, be homogeneous with it, so that you understand it and it understands you. You have to know it’s fears and hopes, the sources of its joy, and what is “real” to it. Only when you have mastered it on this inner level, will it follow you when you pull. You have to be it, but the better version of it. Sometimes, though, unfortunately those who grasp this are also the worst version of a nation’s inner life.
They have come to grasp that it is not really they themselves personally that rule the country – all they do is guide and manipulate an animal that already exists. Their job is simply to understand and feed the animal, by swinging in unison with the nation’s inner life. Because it is this hidden inner mentality that really runs a country, chaperoning it from generation to generation, reacting or not reacting to globalization and digitalization, focusing on the issues it focuses on, condoning the things it condones, evolving in its own way, determining its place on the global theater of nations and peoples, characterizing it as either a pawn, a puppet or a captain of its own ship.
– Che Chidi Chukwumerije