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Feeling at Home

(BL) OSSETIAN FARM, WITH WATCH-TOWERhas been a human need since we looked for caves to live in, I think. We all want to live as safely and securely as possible, be in an environment we are familiar with, with the people we can trust. Throughout history, people have conquered and migrated for reasons of their own (link). Built new homes, possibly displaced others from their homes or made others feel threatened for their home. Much politics is finally about home and about homeland. The worst off in these days are refugees who lose whatever home they once had – some never to come back to their old home, ever again.

Much of the idiosyncrasy of the ideas of Nassim Taleb (link) who wrote the book Anti-Fragile I think comes from the shock of losing his home in youth. The Lebanon of before, which was a mixture of Eastern Mediterranean and Oriental culture, with him belonging to the Eastern Mediterranean or Greek Orthodox part of it. “Modernity is too complex to understand” is one of his major ideas. There is some truth in this – and I think the “complexity” comes from the fact that things can suddenly appear over the horizon that come from somewhere very different from our known world.

Nassim Taleb’s “East-Western divan” (not his words, those of Goethe) was destroyed by political polarization between the Orient and the Occident. I wonder how he now feels in Trump’s America. Yolanda came over the horizon in 2013, and the mayor of Tacloban had not looked up what a storm surge was. Syria imploded, and millions of refugees suddenly stormed Europe last year. Cultural differences make for difficult adjustment everywhere – the many cultural mixes of today included. President Duterte has effectively disowned Filipino-Americans.

The winds and waves – and the storm surges – of history take us to strange places sometimes. Germany is one of the most stable places in today’s crazy world, possibly because it was cautious in adopting all the new things that came over the world in the past 25 or so years. For all inevitable modernization, predictability and tradition did remain, as well as a certain social justice and security.

And the Philippines? Editor and Author Joel Pablo Salud recently worried about what kind of country his daughter will live in (link). I wonder how many Filipinos even start to think about that.

Irineo B.  R. Salazar, München, 12. November 2016

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