“[…] what life had taught me is that where we come from is a point – not the starting point, not the defining point – just a point. It’s where we are that really counts.” (Alexandra Fuller – Leaving before the rains come – 2015)
The Queen of Denmark said in an interview that part of the problem of the migration across Europe is that people have become “rootless”. They don’t belong in any one place anymore. They are born in one country, but end up living in other. One foot in one place, and the other in a very different one. It’s not only about Europe; it’s the entire world moving around. In the end, we don’t know what we are anymore. We try to adapt to the new place, but can’t let go of the things that make us what we’ve been. The collective unconscious from the old world is too deep and too strong to completely let go.
Unconsciously, we think that letting go of our heritage is a form of betrayal. Some, intellectualize it as a form of survival – “you gotta do what gotta do to survive”. Others, staunchly dig their heels in and refuse to embrace the new world with its new customs, norms, and behaviors. Most of us, are somewhere in the spectrum between these two extremes. The spectrum doesn’t depend on the person as much as it depends on the situation. Some situations are more welcoming of a different perspective; others, not so much. In some, we feel safe to be more vulnerable and share a different way of thinking and doing things; in others, it’s safer to just not make a big deal about it.
I’ve been talking a lot lately about diversity of thinking and thought about why it is possible now and it wasn’t as easy 20-25 years ago. There are many reasons why, but I think one of them is the ability to move around the world easier and more freely. (The other main one is the Internet and the instantaneous way to communicate one’s thoughts and ideas across geographies and forbidden boundaries).
The world today – with its challenges and dark places – it’s a much more beautiful place than it was 25 years ago. We learned so much about each other from across vast lands and oceans. About wonderful customs and terrifying pasts. About amazing creative minds and hardship of making a living from their creation. About incredible natural beauty and devastating man-made disasters. About learning to live together with others unlike yourself and the dangers of being different from the norm.
The most impactful lessons are the ones that help us see the dark side at its worst and learn how to prevent it from spreading and how to revert it back to or transform it into light. That would not have been possible if all of us would have stayed put in on isolated place, detached from the rest of the world.
We needed to be rootless beings in order to see the beauty and the dangers of the world. We needed to be rootless beings to experience darkness – directly or through other people’s stories – in order to appreciate the light.
It hard to be a rootless being. It’s even harder to understand a rootless being.
I, for one, wouldn’t change it for the world. Precisely because it gave me the world.