by Steven Lord, director and founder of BE Project business networking
I live in the Czech Republic and recently discovered that I belong to the 5th most populous nation on Earth. Czechia (the official English name for the country) is an ordered and tranquil parliamentary democracy at the centre of Europe with a population of around 10 million souls, so clearly this cannot be the polity conferring this status.
In fact the 5th most populous ‘nation’ – 220 million people – is made up of those who belong to the global diaspora of those living outside of the country they were assigned at birth. In other words expatriates, refugees and migrants.
I am a late arrival to this great floating tribe and, as a beneficiary of this new age of movement, marvel daily at my growing ability to ‘see with new eyes’ (Proust). It is now my privilege to mix with fellow humans from every corner of the globe in the wonderfully cosmopolitan capital city of Prague. It’s been my most challenging but liberating learning experience. It’s also been as a consequence of one of the enlightened core principles of the European Union.
Relocating involved the (almost) total divestment of all my ‘stuff’. The accumulated baggage of a lifetime of conformity in the nation of my ancestors I consigned to a past, which, it was pointed out to me, does not now exist. This stark but simple re-framing was a blinding revelation that helped me to understand that where you are going is more important than where you come from.
Despite the recent disturbing lurch towards fascism in some leading states that ought to know better, I remain optimistic that the growing multi-cultured and stateless floating tribe of expatriates will come to inherit the planet. A process that will eventually eradicate all nasty nationalist tendencies based on racial origin and borne by fear. Global metropolises are set to remain the engines for driving political, cultural and economic change as the young and the disenfranchised seek opportunity and advancement like many have before, where the action is. Homo sapiens is a mobile and adaptive species.
I remain convinced that we are now witnessing the mythologies of previous generations being rejected and debunked. The supposedly self-evident truths of the American imperium are being challenged by the floating tribe of travelers. Mr Trump’s election will do nothing to deflect this movement, but perversely could accelerate the process, albeit unintentionally, as all right-thinking human beings come to reject his narrow racist and misogynistic agenda.
When the reality of the benefits of a multi-cultural society become more evident to a wider constituency as the tribe of expats increases inexorably, then the recent aberrant protest vote from middle America, and the manipulated Brexit referendum, may come to be reassessed as the beginning of the end for the old order, because the young already know that the following nostrums are in fact bullsh*t:
- Owning a home will give us roots
- Going to college is a guarantee of getting a job
- Voting is important if you want to change the world for the better
- You can change the world without first changing yourself
- Having a purpose in life is more important than having a fulfilling life
- You have to be dishonest to be successful
- Giving to a charity is the same as being charitable
- Success has something to do with money
- Sometimes wars can be justified
So, home? No longer a narrowly defined and traditional patrimony or family seat, nor is it where you sleep, but where you stand. It’s less to do with a piece of soil and more to do with a peace of soul.
I sign off with the curious disclosure that apparently the English translation of the national anthem of the Czech Republic is ‘Where Is My Home?’ (Kde domov můj) and the country motto is ‘Truth Will Prevail’ (Pravda vitĕzi). I think someone’s trying to tell me something.
For more information about the BE Project, visit www.beproject.eu.