[The Soul of the Migrant, 935 words, Genre: Experimental]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
The migrant, when he or she comes to inhabit a foreign country, is faced with great difficulty. They do not hold the privileges that a citizen whose birth origin belongs to that country. The reasons for immigrating are different from one another. They may be wealthy and seeking a higher quality of education or a higher quality of life of the country they have originated from. Then the following does not apply to their circumstances as much as if they are not wealthy. In this circumstance they are seeking to establish themselves within the said foreign country. They do so without many of the aids as presented to the established citizenry. The safety nets that are presented to established citizenry are not present to them and for this reason the migrant finds themselves in a difficult position. They are completely at loss of supported living and for this there is great motivation for the migrant to establish themselves within the said foreign country. The migrant will work twice as hard as the established citizenry, for without the safety nets presented by society. The safety nets being that of the privileges provided by the government itself and also an expanded network of family and friends within the host country. Without these privileges and especially at a loss for the network of family and friends within the host country the migrant finds himself in a position of great motivation to find his way and establish himself in that host country. He is confronted with a task of great difficulty, either he succeeds in establishing himself within the country and finds a position suitable to him, or he fails at establishing himself in this way and is at a loss.
For the most part the migrant finds himself gaining capital in order to establish himself. For this he is despised by the established citizenry. The migrant, in his position of desperation, for there is so much at stake if the migrant fails in his task, will work twice as hard as members of the established citizenry. There is much to be said for the motivations that promote such a strong work ethic. The established citizenry lacks such motivations for they are comfortable in their position, being supported by the state within governmental safety nets and for that, they have many friends and family that are able to support them in this way if they are unsuccessful or lacking a suitable work ethic. The level of comfort enjoyed by the established citizenry makes them, in one way or another, less willing to achieve. There is less motivation in that circumstance and for this they become lazy in their complacency.
For this much friction develops between the established citizenry and that of the migrants. This is a natural development as each party lacks an understanding of the other. The migrant finds himself in a position of desperation in order to establish themselves and build the capital within the host country. This mentality threatens the quality of life enjoyed by the established citizenry. For the established citizenry does not hold to such a desperate position, being already established and affirmed in that country.
The migrant also faces another difficulty. For as a migrant in another country they lack an identity. The period of transition faced from conforming from one culture to another is not one that is easily adopted. For this, many migrants hold on to their previous national identity as a safety blanket and a method of organising themselves into groups with other migrants of a similar background. Lacking an identity, the migrant also fails to assimilate themselves with the national soul or the spirit of the nation. Lacking these cultural traits the migrant finds it easy to adapt to the task of building capital for one’s self. It is often said that the building of capital is a soulless pursuit. For the building of capital often involves making decisions that lack the ethics and morals of character in order to build said capital. For this the loss of identity works in unison with the migrant’s goal to establish himself in said foreign country.
The loss of soul or identity is gradually resolved as the migrant undertakes his journey of establishing himself. In his journey, he gradually loses the will to build capital and establish himself, in trade for the cultural traditions of the said host nation. This is part of the assimilation of the migrant finding himself adopting the host nation’s identity or soul and becoming part of the established citizenry of the said nation. Once the migrant has developed a soul or identity for himself, the requirement for gaining capital falls away, as his lifestyle activities are replaced with the indulgence of cultural traditions.
This is a destructive process for both the migrant and the established citizenry. For compromise occurs on both sides before one can accept the other. The key word in that sentence being compromise. At the end of the process both the migrant and the established citizenry are not the same as when the relationship began. Both parties have had to adapt and adopt one another. For this, culture and identity, or the soul, is always evolving. It is the struggle and task of the migrant to establish himself and assimilate his identity in order to establish himself within the host nation. Through this struggle and task, the journey undertaken, the migrant not only develops an identity or soul for himself. But also the identity of the host nation has evolved through this struggle. Through this process culture and identity is a continuously evolving form.