In recent times, as the pace of migration and emigration increases in humans, we hear so much about boundaries, borders, and walls. Current refugee problems exacerbate the call for these boundaries. By boundaries I refer specifically to physical international demarcations. Have you ever imagined a world without boundaries?
Humans personalize things. They think in terms of ‘my own’ your own, ‘our own’, ‘their own’, ‘us and them’. Does anyone really own things that nature provided and continues to provide naturally- things like, air, rivers, oceans, land, forests, the outer space, and even life itself?
I worked for many years as a Senior Research Officer in the Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research and as a Senior Consultant for the United Nations and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), on ‘Water Pollution Control and Biodiversity Conservation’ in the Gulf of the Guinea. At the time, there were seminars and workshops on ‘Integrated Coastal Areas Management (ICAM). These seminars and workshops highlighted the fact that the Atlantic Ocean had no boundaries. Pollution along one national coastal region invariably affected the neighbouring areas and would, to a certain degree, affect the entire coastline biological resources.
In my write-up on The Connectedness of all , I tried, using an object as simple as ‘my bed’ in Zanzibar to highlight the interdependence of humanity, the connectivity of all things. In another of my blog on The “Butterfly Effect”of Life , I tried to show how any action, no matter how small or irrelevant you may think it is, can cause a continuous ripple in the ‘sea’ of life. The remote cause of World War 1 is a lasting example.
Without losing the trend of this write-up, all I am trying to portray is that in nature, there are no boundaries, no walls, no borders, only continuity, flow, and connectivity. Humans create great stress for themselves by placing constraints, demarcations and limitations.
Animals in the wild do not set boundaries, rather, their genetical make up, differentiations, and needs for survival influence their distribution. We are part of the animal kingdom. We pride ourselves as higher beings, ‘Homo sapiens’, but we stifle ourselves with so much constraints and ideologies, – politics, religion, race, gender, and now, boundaries and walls.
Recently my granddaughter, Melissa, was writing her International Baccalaureate (IB) extended essay on effects of the partitioning and Colonization of countries of Africa. Her project and write-up set me thinking. “What if all countries in Africa, for example, were left to grow or develop without the interference and partitioning by the European colonizers? Would there perhaps have emerged, different groupings of people with comfortable ethnic similarities? Perhaps the peoples’ natural instincts would have prompted them to develop means of interacting peacefully among themselves and with their neighbours’. I know there could be a lot of debate over this topic. Our own ideologies and actions have led to ‘ours and yours’ mentalities which in effect create fear, and insecurity. The fear of losing, or sharing that which we now call ‘ours’ makes us justify the need for protection – call it, boundaries, walls, borders, and nationalism. These are steeped in fears and insecurity and will increasing be so. One thing is sure, constraints create stress. Constraints create conflicts.
Consider the Internet, or take a look at the various social media like the Youtube, FaceBook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and so on. One is amazed at how these social media connect the whole world, rich and poor. One cannot but marvel at the ease with which information from these awesome media instantly flows across continents and beyond. Perhaps through these, we could someday, come to the realization that life is meant to flow without constraints, without boundaries.