"Migration always goes hand in hand with global trade. Unfortunately, so does bigotry, prejudice, and tribalism. People don't like what they don't understand. Why? Because for those who derive a sense of self through status and power -- like every ancient Greek patriarch who owned land and slaves -- diversity can feel like a destabilizing threat to their authority. Just think about it: if children grow up seeing that a foreign tribe survives just fine by following an entirely different set of rules, it indicates that their current regime is not absolute. Foreign presence seeds doubt. Immigrants make people ask questions. They disrupt the status quo, bring new ways of thinking, reveal other perspectives. And that's a big problem for top-down hierarchies, which are always maintained on a foundation of faith and terror. The system is only secure when less powerful inhabitants live in fear; the youth need to tremble at the prospect of rebellion. So, the elite try to quash potential resistance. They tell stories that slander everything 'other.' They cultivate bigotry and tribalism; they teach children that conflicting viewpoints are sinful and sacrilegious. They blame the technologies of the time.
" 'Stay away from the port,' the ancient Greeks might have told their children. Maritime trade connected their world. It was their equivalent of our World Wide Web ('The docks, the boats: they'll ruin you!')
"In the long term, separatist inclinations like these always fail. Resistance is futile. Networks of reciprocity are always destined to unite humans. It started long before the advent of the internet. Irrigation canals, aqueducts, power grids, municipal plumbing, ferries, trolleys, subways, regional rail, interstate highways, oil pipelines, postal routes, the printing press, fiber-optic cable, cell towers, and satellites are all tools of connection. They facilitate humanity's innate desire to link, join, bond, interact, and exchange. We keep building tools that bring us closer together. We can't help it. As Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, famously said, 'Arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.'
"But just because something's inevitable doesn't mean that it's easy to accept. Hence, the global community continues to struggle, trying to maintain order and meaning in a world where everyone can now plainly see that no single viewpoint is completely infallible. It's especially hard on our children. They're constantly exposed to a dizzying set of conflicting networked perspectives. And they're confused because they lack the empathetic skills needed to confront the challenges of constant connection.
"It's good that we let them go play by the metaphorical docks; it's bad that we didn't teach them the appropriate ways to do it. Exposure to diversity, without guidance or education, is troublesome. It won't lead to a utopian alliance. You can't just put a bunch of different people in the same room and assume that they'll all magically learn to love one another. We can't foster empathy while everybody's inching toward a crisis of identity.
"The word 'crisis' literally describes the need to make a judgment, a decision, a determination, or a choice — it refers to the moment when one faces an amalgamated set of seemingly incompatible factors and struggles to find a way to resolve the tension.
"Our children are facing a nonstop crisis of identity."