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Diogenes: Where I Feel Good, That’s Where My Home Is

4 July 2017

Perhaps all living creatures have a certain degree of curiosity, with those at the top of the evolutionary development scale being more curious than those at the bottom. Curiosity is not a primordial need but rather a natural state that surfaces after life-preserving needs have been satisfied. If this assertion is true, then man is no doubt the most curious of all creatures.

Many famous thinkers, scientists and academics have tried to express the most typical and striking trait of humankind. Thus, expressions like Homo erectus, Homo sapiens, Homo faber, and Homo ludens were coined.

One such term is Homo quaerens, or the ‘seeking’ man. Indeed, human beings have been seeking since they became conscious creatures. Being conscious is being aware of one’s own existence, sensations and thoughts. Human curiosity has as many shades as the mind can conjure. Every shade has given birth to numerous sciences, arts and crafts. In return, these have enriched our lives and brought us comfort, however unevenly pronounced. In some parts of the world, science has virtually created miracles and granted unheard-of opportunities to the vast majority of people, while in other parts of the planet, the benefits of such knowledge have not yet materialized. That has its consequences.

As people everywhere are conscious and therefore curious, everyone would like to live a more comfortable life and enjoy at least some of the benefits the so-called ‘Developed World’ can offer. That is what drives human migration. Today, the Internet has changed everything: Now most people can hear and see what life looks like in other parts of the world. This has awoken the desire to move to where life is perceived to offer more opportunities. That is a very simple explanation of why so many people risk their lives trying to reach another country, legally or illegally. The desire to experience a more pleasant existence is so incredibly strong that crowds of unarmed, poor people are today invading developed countries that possess weapons, police and armies.

There is, of course, also a small number of people who leave their official homeland to look for another where they hope to enjoy privacy, security and quality of life without being disturbed. Such people have found a positive way of becoming citizens of the countries of their choice by making a contribution to that country’s welfare.

Uncontrolled mass immigration may cause great problems and tension because the aspirations of people who enter a foreign country in that way are rarely realized. Quite often they end up feeling like second-class citizens who are exploited — and not respected — by the country that has granted them citizenship or at least the right to live there. On the other hand, those who are able to choose which country they want to live in usually don’t share such feelings. They generously contribute to the wealth of the country they have decided to call home in full awareness that their choice is appreciated. It is a fair deal made to mutual satisfaction.

Such people truly feel that they are global citizens and members of the nation called humankind. If freedom, tolerance, justice, welfare, public health, education possibilities, public transport and the institutions that are the framework of society were of the same standard in all parts of the world, few people would try to live somewhere else. Sadly, that is not the case. Considerable differences in standards of the above-mentioned criteria are what make immigration and citizenship laws necessary, and are equally prompting people to seek a better life elsewhere.

Thus the old Latin proverb still holds: Ubi bene, ibi patria — Where I feel good, that’s where my home is.