Streams of consciousness about time and space

There are two main pieces of information on my identity card that give my coordinates in life. A place: I was born somewhere;a date: I was born in a moment of time, according to my culture’s calendar…

Since many children can be born on the same day and at the same place, these pieces of information are supplemented by two others: son / daughter of X and Y, my father and my mother.

From this local and temporal "starting point", "via est in motu", which can be translated as: "life is in movement", but also "in change"; it unfolds in time, in change; and in space, there is movement.

It is clear that when I look back and compare the years of my childhood with my career or with my intellectual, spiritual and emotional life, change is obvious: all through my life, I have followed a path, the steps, turns, progressions and setbacks of which I can identify. My life has been achieved through a multitude of changes, some of them imperceptible, but also through discontinuities and ruptures: over time I have moved, changed, evolved, I have moved within myself. Change has affected both my body and my mind: in the whirlwind of cells, my body grew, it grew until it reached its adult size, and then became weaker, shorter, and perhaps even deteriorated; my mind also grew from the time I learned my mother tongue and discovered the world, until I reached the highest intellectual, professional, spiritual and emotional performance, before being affected by "the ravages of time". So my life has been played out in permanent change and movement: it is a constant internal, physical and spiritual migration.

What puts the human being in motion? No doubt his first outing is a biological one: he is expelled from the womb at the time of birth: and already, at that point in time, "vita est in motu", life begins in movement and change. But after this initial outing that inaugurates life, what drives a human being away from home, to leave his place of residence, where he was born and has lived? The reasons are many.

Initially, it was probably subsistence needs and foraging that made men move; some nomadic populations, such as the Pygmies, still live today by hunting and gathering. However, early on, some began to cultivate the land and therefore to settle. The myth of Cain and Abel illustrates this conflict between shepherds and farmers, while the separation of Abraham from his nephew Lot, both nomad pastors, was caused by a quarrel between their shepherds who were competing for pastures.

Throughout the ages, natural phenomena such as droughts (and ensuing famines), earthquakes, floods and landslides have forced people to leave their country to seek refuge elsewhere.

Various dangers also drove people out from their homes: many fled conflicts and wars, raids and other manhunts aiming to kidnap people and enslave them (all of human history is the story of these conflicts), and more than ever today whenforced migrants and displaced people, looking to escape bombings or assassinations, number by the millions on the planet.

Curiosity, the spirit of adventure and the search for scarce goods and wealth have always driven mankind to go elsewhere, beyond the horizon. In ancient times, Phoenicians already boldly ventured on the Mediterranean Sea, running the risk of being shipwrecked. In modern times, it was the various "routes": silk, spices, jade... until the discovery of America by way of the ocean. And now, having finished exploring the planet, man turns his insatiable curiosity to the entire universe.

Even if we do not all participate in the physical and numerous migrations that many of our contemporaries go through, they pass through us and work through us, joining and stimulating our internal migration, so that, in one way or another, we are all migrating, we are all migrants. Meeting the man or woman who, forced to leave his or her country, has reached “our home”, the home of us who did not have to be displaced, should heighten that sense of who we all are and renew our outlook on ourselves as well as our guests.

It is this conversion of our outlook and behaviour that the Josefa Foundation encourages: convinced that a reciprocal encounter and welcome, in a perfect reciprocity, as unbalanced as it is, will enrich both the host who welcomes and the guest who is welcomed, the Josefa Foundation offers shelter to refugees who, having left their properties and families, have arrived in "our home" after an often painful and debilitating migration, as well as to European nationals who want to share their respective lives and vulnerability. The Josefa House, whose plans have been finalized and submitted to the Urban Planning Department of the Brussels Region, invites all of us, as of now, during its gestation period.