Sancta: the final part of the Philosophy

For some time now, the Sandum Philosophy has recognised a third, final member of its national philosophy; for some time now, that final part of our tripartite national philosophy has been left misunderstood. That third and final part is Sancta, a so-far undefined category of the national philosophy. The two other parts of the three-part philosophy — Buddhism and Socialism — are understood very well and are found in the politics, culture, society, and history of the Sandum nation-state. The third, however, has hardly ever been defined except as some sort of ethereal ‘miscellaneous’ category — for other elements of Sandum culture remotely linked to a national philosophy or ideology.

Each nation has its own philosophy, its own guiding ideology. The clearest example is the former Soviet Union, which was without a doubt very ideologically based in terms of government, society, and culture. Another clear example, and on the opposite side of the spectrum, is the United States and the ideology it presents in current political discourse and in the founding documents of its republic. To assume that Sandus does not have one is wrong: ours is codified and a fundamental part of the running of our government, the work of our society, and the cultural achievements Sandus has seen in these past five and a half years.

Sandus is further along the path of defining and understanding its national philosophy than many other micronations. However, without being deluded by nationalism, all nations have a national philosophy and are capable of actualising one, so we should not be misled by a sense of national pride. From our position, we should feel glad that we have come so far as a nation-project — particularly one that is smaller and has a smaller population than many other micronations. As a small nation — even as a small micronation —, Sandus has achieved much for itself.

This past Party Congress spoke a lot in terms of the plurality and pluralism of the State of Sandus. It spoke widely about the diversity of thought here in Sandus, guided by the principles of our national philosophy. Comrade Akhil Indurti, speaking at the Congress, spoke of socialising the Sandum Philosophy while yet encouraging diverse thinking and accepting and encouraging Sandus’s pluralism. Defined in various ways — “a condition in which two or more groups, principles, etc., coexist”; “a form of society in which the members of minority groups maintain their independent cultural traditions”; “a political theory or system of power-sharing among a number of political parties” — pluralism is undoubtedly at the heart of what the Sandum People discussed at the last Party Congress.

As a part of diversity and pluralism, the Office of the Sôgmô has spent the past year appointing liaisons for matters concerning minorities and less-privileged groups in broader society. From racial communities to religious and gender minorities, in and out of the State of Sandus, these liaisons are the experts which the Sôgmô goes to for guidance on matters affecting their communities. Sandus, as a Buddhist-Socialist country, as well, has spent much effort on social activism, social justice, and social equity of diverse populations in and out of the State of Sandus.

Diversity and pluralism is already a major way in which Sandus thinks and acts. When considering Sandum holidays, Sandus has so far looked to ancient examples and to modern events. We have relegated ancient holidays to be cultural holidays under the Collegio — however, more should be done to prepare for a more diverse sort of holiday traditions. Sandus ought to take into official consideration for cultural holidays under the Collegio (1) Christian and Mormon holidays, (2) major Buddhist holidays, and (3) to provide for ways in which Sandus extends cultural holidays to less-privileged citizens within our population and in broader, macronational society. This is what pluralism means: to extend the same rights and privileges to all members of Sandum society equally. The areas of holidays derived from modern events have a tradition of diversity, however: we celebrate LGBT Pride Week, the Day of the Annexation of Hawai’i, Indigenous People’s Day, and — soon to be added to the calendar — Hispanic, African-American, and Asian-American heritage and pride weeks.

Pluralism is more than an ideal or a behaviour that Sandus has triumphed for years as a part of its other philosophical, political, and sociological practices: it has become an ideal unto itself. As an ideal of ours, it promotes a behaviour and a way of thinking to the objective level. In Sandus today, we ought to recognise this calling of ours for diversity, pluralism, and equality. This has become the call of Sancta.

“Sancta,” the third and final element of the Sandum Philosophy, is a synonym with the Latin root word sacer, denoting something that is sacred and dedicated to the gods. Sacer is related to the verb sancio, from which we get the ending of sacrosanct and our term Sancta from the neuter plural perfect passive participle of the verb sanciosanctum, sancta; sancti, sanctorum. The term we use, Sancta, with emphasis on the word being capitalised and italicised, is one derived from the spirit of cultural independence built in Sandus since the foundation of the State of Sandus in April 2011 under the terms of Libera and Philia. This cultural independence has invoked an old maxim that is inspired from an old Latin motto from Virgil. E pluribus unum, which translates more accurately to “one out of many more” as opposed to the traditional translation “one out of many” (pluribus, the ablative plural of plus, is the comparative adjective of multus, meaning many), is the phrase and motto often used and invoked in Sandus for including a diverse array of sociocultural expression from around the world and across cultural and regional boundaries to form an independent Sandum culture. In this way, Sandum culture becomes an independent national culture derived from a process of multiculturalism, while being divorced from the national and geographical contexts that that original culture has brought it up.

In other words, this higher calling for Sandum culture (“sancta“) is unequivocally linked with the need for it to be diverse and pluralistic.

Some would argue that this is cultural appropriation, to take cultural and social elements from a culture, divorce it from that culture, and to appropriate it to Sandum culture. However, that is not entirely the case for us here in Sandus. In Sandus, we have long taken ideas for sociocultural elements from a diverse array of origins yet we have made them “uniquely Sandum.” In so doing, Sandus does not linearly pull sociocultural elements, aesthetic motifs, or symbols from other cultures — but, instead, uses those cultural elements as inspiration for making a unique and wholly independent sociocultural element. Take, for one example, the upcoming Athena’s Day. This holiday is inspired from the ancient Athenian festival of the Khalkeia, a festival dedicated to Athena Erganê and to Hephaestos as the patron deities of workers, smiths (particularly bronzesmiths, from which the festival derives its name), and artisans. Sandus might celebrate this holiday for Athena, our cultural patron, but this year it is to be combined with the American and Canadian celebrations of Thanksgiving in November and October, respectively. Sandus’s “Athena’s Day” takes place on a holiday entirely independent of all three holidays: the Khalkeia – dedicated to both Athena and Hephaestos as patrons of bronze-working and held on 29/30 Pyanepsion, the first month of Autumn, in the Attic calendar; the Canadian Thanksgiving celebrated on the second Monday in October; and, the American Thanksgiving celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

Other examples include: the Armilustrium, a Roman festival originally dedicated to the expiation of blood guilt from returning legions now turned into a Sandum fall festival for ‘fall cleaning;’ the Sandum Remembrance Day, originally the Soviet and former Soviet holiday of Victory Day now made into a memorial celebration, and the Lemuria, originally a Roman festival at the same time as Remembrance Day that has become associated with it; the National Day of Socialism and the Day of the Ways & Means of Revolution, two Soviet holidays of the Socialist October Revolution which we now celebrate in Sandus as a pan-Socialist holiday; and, as one final example, Saturnalia, a Roman festival dedicated to Saturn (Kronos) and has now become a Winter festival with many of the elements of a secular or religious Christmas. On other days that are entirely Sandum, we have accepted foreign traditions and applied them here — such as with the decision to incorporate red poppies into the National Days of Truth and Harmony (15 & 24 November).

In conclusion, we have, after all these many months and after the Party Congress, discovered the true meaning of Sancta. The third and final element of the Sandum Philosophy, which has long been considered a miscellaneous section that includes a number of things, is in fact a miscellaneous section but with a greater purpose: Sancta for us is and shall always remain the ideal of Sandum society to support and strive for diversity and pluralism. For us, these two words are not buzzwords but reflect how Sandus actually works and exists. And it is now time that we recognise the role and function of Sancta in the running and existence of our Sandum Nation-State.

C. Sörgel P.