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A New Idea for the People of a Divided World

The  Companion Flag

What is it? The Companion Flag is a single-purpose flag designed to be flown below the other flags of the world. It stands for all that human beings have in common despite our many differences. Its purpose is to highlight a second, important category of daily awareness to go along with our awareness of each other’s human differences. 

A “human difference” is any experience, characteristic, concern, desire, belief, or susceptibility that is not shared by all people everywhere. For example:

      • Being female
      • Being Japanese
      • Being a professional photographer
      • Being married
      • Being kindhearted
      • Being a Christian
      • Having a degree in Sociology
      • Knowing how to drive a car

A human commonality or “sameness” is any experience, characteristic, concern, desire, belief, or susceptibility that is shared by people everywhere even though we are different in other ways. For example:

      • Self-awareness
      • The desire for health and knowledge
      • The desire to love and be loved
      • Concern for the safety and happiness of loved ones
      • The experiences of birth, aging, and death
      • The need for affiliation and our dependence on others for our survival
      • The need for food, air, water, and shelter
      • The constraints of logic and coherence
      • The desire to be understood and to understand others when communicating
      • Our dependence on plants and animals
      • Our susceptibilities to the forces of nature, and to pain and pleasure, illness and injury
      • Knowledge of our own imperfection
      • The range of human emotions
      • Love of self-adornment, ritual, stories, and music
      • The desire to be accepted as we are, and treated with respect and dignity
      • (In sum) The imperishable desire to feel safe and ‘at home’ in the world

The idea of the Companion Flag is to emphasize the fact that, while we humans are different in many important respects, we are not just different. We are both different and the same.

As shown here, the Companion Flag is a plain white flag with a single stripe of color across the top that matches one of the colors in the host flag.

The proposal, then, is to go from this:


To this:


Mahatma Gandhi was asked, “How can you make a man do good?” He answered, “You cannot make another man do good; you can only create the conditions under which he will choose to do good.”


Companion Flag Deliberations, Ingraham High School, Seattle, WA (USA)


Adding the Companion Flag to the flags of the world does not tell people how to do good, or how they should think, feel, or act. It is simply a way to celebrate the fact that each of us is informed by, and relies upon, both our differences, diversity, and special friendships and affiliations, and all that we share in common with people everywhere.

Gandhi’s reply to the question, “How can you make a man do good?” is a call to each of us to leave this world a better place. By adopting and flying the Companion Flag and sharing the idea with others, we answer that call.


Photos from India, New Zealand, Japan, Uzbekistan, Malta,
United States, Peru, and Australia