Across the vast history of the world, there have been many great human migrations from the Barbarian Invasions during the Roman Empire in the 1630’s, to the California Gold Rush in the mid 1800’s. The reasons are varied for these movements of people groups across lands and oceans, from a search for food or work, to the thrill of riches, escaping war or even being forced to move through enslavement.
This current moment in history will surely be defined as one of the great migrations of the 21st century. People from the Middle East are daring against great odds to cross the sea with a high risk of death to seek new homes in Europe and America. We’re also seeing the Chinese quietly move into Africa at alarming rates creating a distinct contrasting culture in Africa’s futures. On top of this, due to climate change, the North and South Poles are starting to melt, opening up land for habitation which has been previously uninhabitable. Will there be a mad rush to the North and South poles of the world? We don’t know, though it does seem reasonable to presume that the Northern lands of Canada, Russia and Scandinavia may very well be on their way to becoming prime real estate.
From a cultural perspective, this massive migration is bringing interesting elements to all cultures that are colliding, creating distinct new flavors of the world. Though, these migrants are humans steeped in stories, and these experiences of movement often add terrifying elements, or inherited trauma, that imprints into one's DNA for life and are then passed onto generations that follow. All of these complex experiences are brought into the new culture that is being entered. Often times these coalitions can be violent and abrasive, but they can also create immense caverns of compassion and acceptance in a people that had no space for it previously.
The trend forecaster inside me loves looking back at the ways these movement shaped the world and pondering stories of the possibilities of what is to come of all of this, which no one can predict. There is always tension when you mix diabolical substances, though, sometimes the results create a new substance and fresh vision that you couldn’t have imagined. Disruption is like that, a constant innovator, a teacher that can catapult to new heights in a search for home.
Photo: Chinese immigrants on board the steam ship Alaska, headed for San Francisco.