I went to the Czech Republic in 2009 and fell madly in love with the country, the people, the culture and the spirit. When I walked down the streets of Praha the locals approached me as one who belonged there. They spoke to me in Czech and didn’t put on airs while in my company. I walked through what were considered rough neighborhoods at questionable hours of the night with female companions and never once felt threatened or out of place.
Out of place… That’s an interesting choice of words.
You could say that I felt completely at home in this “foreign” country. I’ve lived in Mexican barrios, hippy communes, yuppie neighborhoods and a handful of ethnically diverse megacities in the US and I’ve never felt at home like I did in the Czech “slums” at three o’clock in the morning even with two attractive, drunk American girls in my care. Looking back almost a decade later, it still strikes me as a powerful realization… I didn’t “feel” at home so much as I was at home. The locals certainly thought that was the case. The architecture spoke to me in a language I still don’t understand (so did the people for that matter), but I identified with the country on a level I never have matched anywhere else. Needless to say as soon as I arrived back in the US, I immediately started looking for ways to expatriate. I even got a contract offer from a multinational to relocate and run a sales room for them. I ended up choosing to stay and I can’t recall a month since then that I didn’t feel some regret for deciding not to leave.
I hate to sound so esoteric, but Eastern Europe gripped me on a spiritual level. I can’t explain it any better than that. You know that song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”? Well I’ve lived in San Francisco; it’s disgusting but I did leave a piece of my heart in the Czech Republic. That’s not quite right… I didn’t leave it there, I found a piece I didn’t even know was missing until I went there and I wasn’t able to take much of it back with me. I think this is the quintessential American malaise. You’ve heard Americans described as rootless and unattached a million times. We should be because as Americans we are infants on the world stage. We live on a continent which is not our ancestral home and have adapted to so many climates for which we were not intended. Don’t get me wrong, this land is bountiful and is ours by right of conquest, but it is also a land of misfits. Our homes, our souls, our roots are in Europe.
I speak often about genetics. It’s a passion of mine, and our genes are the culmination of hundreds of thousands of years of not just positive selection of desirable traits, but far more importantly of the elimination of undesirable ones. Where we are from is inextricable from who we are on a DNA level. To identify as an American is to disregard all but the last 242 years and evolution just does not work that quickly. Not just our genetics, but even our psyches are built on stories. That’s just how brains work: We tell ourselves stories and write roles for ourselves and can even be controlled by powerful narratives. If your story only goes back a few hundred years, you don’t have a story, you’re not even a novella, you’re an aphorism. That’s not a foundation for a Ubermench, that’s a hollowing out of your birthright and your obligation to your ancestors who died painfully and lived miserably to give you this world.
A very unique, beautiful and industrious people sprang from the lands of our ancestors. Nations come and go, but their geography is eternal. The rich and fascinating history of our forbearers is a bottomless well of courage, invention and honor that I drink deeply from as often as I can. It is potent and will fill you with life and energy. Honor your heritage, honor your ancestors, honor your histor’y or your enemies will take it away from you. Europe is our mother and pride is our father.