Aristotles De Arte Migrationis

The question of Migration has been left an impossible muddle by all previous thinkers, and we had best examine it together for ourselves. In this way our study of human behaviour may be made as complete as possible.

In this treatise I propose to discuss: 1) the removal of the Migrant from one location, referred to as Home, to another, Foreign Location, and 2) the various reasons why a Migrant might make such a move. I shall hereinafter refer to such a move as a Translocation. In time, said Foreign Location takes on all the functions of Home.

What is meant by Home is entirely clear to all, so we will say no more of that.

Our second point contains several subheadings. We may enumerate as follows: a) dissatisfaction with Home, b) the promise of advancement, and, c) Wanderlust, that is to say, the urge to travel. It is not required that, in a given Migrant, the sub-points enumerated above be clearly distinguished.

Now, since man is evidently inclined by nature to wander, point 2c will always be in effect. We will look later into any countervailing effects that might tend to keep potential Migrants from engaging in the process of Translocation, should there be any.


Let us now examine point 2b. As discussion of matters in the abstract causes unnecessary difficulty and also tedium, it is helpful to examine specific exempla, in this case Migrants, to aid our understanding. I myself am one such Migrant: I departed from my Home in the cold North traveling south to the great country of Athens, with the idea I could advance both, i) my mind, and, ii) my fortune, by going to teach in that place where is the famed Academy.

The improvement of i) the mind and of ii) fortune are two among all the categories of advancement referred to above. We may also add as categories of advancement: iii) safety or health; iv) companionship; and v) improvement in the weather.

Each act of Translocation is composed of a Departing (from Home) and an Arriving (into a Foreign Location).

We will leave the definition of Home as a matter to be discussed later, when we have arrived at a more satisfactory understanding of preliminary matters.

I call the inculcation of values into the young “teaching.” Good values include excellences of mind, such as curiosity and skepticism.

The opposite of good values is vice, which unfortunately may also be taught. Such much so that the Athenian young are not only lacking in curiosity and skepticism, but have been positively taught to be incurious and gullible.

These are not the only types of vice. There is also foolishness.


Naturally young (inherently in need of teaching) may be found in numerous locations, not only in Athens. It is clear to all that the young are nearly universally distributed. (Preliminary investigation indicates they are, however, rare in Antarctica.)


Upon personal investigation, I have discovered Translocation from Home to a Foreign Location can sometimes turn out to be foolishness. Foolishness, as discussed above, is a vice; persisting in vice is stubbornness, also a vice. One must apply skepticism, which qualifies as a good value, to one’s own actions; this is the clear antidote to stubbornness.

Therefore we must conclude the Migrant may well return to that location from which (s)he once set out. I myself am an exemplum of this behaviour. The notion of Home is no longer so clear as it once seemed. In fact, Returning would seem to be the complement to Departing, that is to say, the one action is completed by the other, and together they make a natural whole. This, however, may leave the nature of home in some doubt, a point which we will discuss below.


Man is evidently inclined to return Home after visiting Foreign Locations, this natural longing is referred to as Heimweh, that is, homesickness.

Having heretofore glossed over the subject of Home, we may now return to seek a more precise definition. It is evident from what has been said above that Home is that place from which one sets out, and to which one returns when the Foreign Location (e.g., Athens) proves inadequate by reason of widespread vice. Returning can sometimes be an uncomfortable experience, but is nevertheless the right thing to do. We can demonstrate this by examining the wisdom of our greatest poet, Home(r), in his work on Odysseus.

Home is most evidently home. Having returned, I see that now.

Let what has been said here be considered sufficient; for it would doubtless be quite a task to explain each of these matters in detail.

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