the psychology of migration

as i walked out the door towards my freedom, i knew that if i did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind that i would still be in prison.
nelson mandela

Immigration is an important phenomenon in our society. It is important both as a source of new meanings and as an explicatory factor of the contradictions of modern western societies.

Integration, multiculturalism, tolerance have become basic terms and concepts, but many studies and research projects reveal that the many deep-set ethnic and racial prejudices are still very much alive and that they stem mostly from ignorance regarding the cultural values of the others. Often the information from the mass-media is partial and superficial, when not totally wrong, and can give a completely distorted image of the problems connected to immigration. In fact, immigration is considered by many as some form of invasion, an invasion of “us” by an imprecise number of mysterious and frightening individuals – the others, the foreigners.

We could compare this situation with a germinal female cell, an ovum, surrounded by millions of male germinal cells, the sperm, all aiming at penetrating the ovum’s membrane and even merging with the ovum’s content. If the ovum does not accept a sperm, both the ovum and all the sperm will die, instead, if the ovum accepts, then it will be enriched and a new life will be born.

It is difficult to explain the dynamics of group multicomunication; On the basis of the above, we can, however, say that human life originates from a groupal situation: a small, primordial and elementary group, a couple, by merging the resources of the two components, produces new life. The encounter and dynamic relationship of the parental couple produces a new genetic group, which will express itself emotionally, cognitively, through attitude and behaviour, verbally, etc. as a group. After all, starting from the tiny atom to the solar system, all is organized through complex systems, which are obliged to depend on each other and to communicate.

The same goes for society, where, owing to the dynamics between to individuals and due to the heterogeneity of each individual, through exchange, a new central symbolical matrix is born, to which each member of society refers, producing, consequently, a new and redefined individual matrix.

The encounter, communication, exchange, fusion, all entail transformation; it is not a question of political or economical transformation, which are only its superficial aspects and which may or may not contribute to our material wellbeing, rather, it has more to do with the ability of humans to keep a distance from the events, big or small, which clutter and, at times, cloud our lives, so that they may see the wider picture and their own human value.

So that this wider picture, this human value may be of high evolutionary profile, it is necessary to assure each human being the right to security, to personal identity and self-esteem because on what basis can a human being born in circumstances of insecurity, despair, impotence, terror and panic develop love, empathy, understanding, cooperation, faith and constructiveness towards other human beings?