Pieces of Earth

It always surprises me how, even in a world where human beings easily and regularly cross thousands of miles in just a few hours, we're still very attached to specific pieces of earth.  

It matters to us, in some very primal way, where we were born. It matters what city we live in. Hell, it matters what specific part of that city that we live in. Our connection to the place we live and the place we come from - it's very strong.


This of course has everything to do with our biology. The essential human social group is the tribe, which is essentially any group we belong to where the people think and act and look like us. These days we form tribes around what kind of music we listen to, what kind of shoes we wear, or how many tattoos we have - but once upon a time, geography was the one and only thing we based our tribes around.


"I'm from here, you're from here, so we're on the same team."


Even though we've invented the commercial jet and the hybrid car, we're still wired to be highly sensitive to our geographical origins.


In a world where it's so easy for us to shake off our hometowns and never return, where we can move across the country for a great job opportunity, where we perpetually have the option to leave and never come back, in this kind of world, I think we need to recognize that no amount of jet fuel is going to shift our DNA.


Even if it's logistically simple for us to move away, it's still very complicated emotionally. You never get to leave your home behind, not really, it's always with you.


I'm not suggesting we should all live and die in the same towns where we were born. I'm not even suggesting that we should, as adults, choose one city to live in and then stay there. I'm simply suggesting that we notice the impact that the places we live and love have on us. I'm suggesting that we take some care before deciding to pack up and head out.