Sanders, in his essay “Homeplace”, hypothesizes that sticking to a place as against movement is the only pre-requisite for a progressive, safe and secure world. I think that although both these phenomenon, sticking and drifting, stands at an angle of 180 degree, but they also contribute toward the overall development and progress of human society in one way or the other. Both fixation to a place and migration are imperative for the socio-cultural and psychosomatic development of human being and the safety of mother earth. One cannot say that clinging to a geographical location paves the way for the safety of earth whereas migration is extremely inappropriate. This essay will examine this issue.
Scoot Russell Sanders begins with describing the story of a family who thrice rebuilt their house after tornado attacks but never thought of leaving their house and moving toward a more “safer, richer, easier, or more attractive”(p. 210) place. So Sanders eulogizes their love for home and locality and says that despite constant obstacles and problems, this family sticks to their home. He believes that it is a good practice. In the second phase of the essay, he presents viewpoints of the proponents of migration and movers and depicts them praising the fruits of migration.
They cite an example from early American society in favor of relocation and movement. Early American society was composed of migrants who hankered after new lands and never stick to one place. This passion of the traveler helped making America the most developed nation on earth. Sanders further quotes Suleman Rushdie who proposes that emigrants presents a new type of human thinking that believes in ideas rather than places and breaks the narrow shackles of nationalism and patriotism.
Sanders juxtaposes his idea against Rushdie’s and questions the precept of movement and its fruits. He cites examples to show that movements and migration caused havoc because travelers forcefully applied their own ideology wherever they went. So he negates Rushdie’s point of view who assumes that “ the effect of mass migration has been the creation of radically new types of human being; people who root themselves in ideas rather than places, in memories as much as in material things’. (p. 211)
Gary Snyder, the poet, is quoted to validate his (Sanders’) stance. He further illustrates fictitious myth and concludes that there is no connection between wisdom and moving or staying. Consequently, he emphasizes the value of staying and is of the view that one can only enjoy and honor the diversity of thought and culture if one has one of his own. He quotes various scientific and intuitive reflections and references to highlight that no centrality exists on a universal basis and the only center is where one stays. He narrates his personal experiences to show that sticking to a place is difficult but is important in order to save mother earth.
My personal experiences confirm that moving around places does not produce a sense of ownership and identity among individuals. It is a clear observation on my part that attachment to a geographical place does originate unconsciously and one become inclined to care for that particular location. So sticking to that place is important as it produces loyalty. If I analyze the world situation today, I find Iraqi people not leaving their homes and cities despite heavy causalities and suicide attacks on daily basis. Most people in third world do not move to richer and safer place on a massive scale despite poverty and uproar. It is due to sense of loyalty produced by stickiness. But I do not fully believe in Sanders’ assumptions when he says that ‘In this hemisphere, many of the worst abuses, –of lands, forests, animals, have been carried out—by “people who root themselves in ideas rather than places.”” (p. 211).
This is not the whole story and Sanders has not considered the positive impact, migrants produced in this hemisphere. Furthermore, he implies a past situation in a current perspective. My experience at the college demonstrates that migration is also an important phenomenon in human social life in the contemporary world. I meet people from a variety of cultural origins and international students from various nationalities and I exchange my culture and traditions with them and learn about their culture and society. We further share our experiences and ideologies. This exercise has produced in me intercultural competence i.e. the capability to exhibit value, concern in and understanding of a variety of cultural mind-sets, approaches, viewpoints and traditions. And I think in these trouble times, this (intercultural competence) is the most important behavioural competency hat world needs for its security and prosperity. So migration is an essential tool in transforming and developing the world.
Sanders’ arguments and my personal experiences and observations explicitly prove that sticking to a place produces a sort of personal intimacy between the individual and that geographical location. This emotional closeness produces a caring factor. And this caring factor is pre-requisite for a safe and healthy earth in the context of prevailing concerns about mother earth.
But I also think that development needs uprooting of old construction and building new ones. There prevails an air of nostalgia in Sanders’ essay about this issue. He rests the foundation of his argument on emotional appeal rather than on any logic in this case. Migration brings people closer to share ideas, experiences and values and thus help in synthesizing new things and cultures. Sanders only takes into consideration the negative aspects of migration and action performed by migrants and drifters. So his viewpoint and thesis based on this stance is not balanced and well-thought.
From the above-mentioned argument and analysis, it can be concluded that both clinging to a geographical location and movement are necessary for the advancement of human societies and other relations phenomenon and safety of this planet.