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Hi, Anya . . . This all brings me back . . . To my Army (USAREUR - US Army Reserve in Europe) service in Germany . . . I was assigned to a Nike base near Miltenburg, and, while I was there I managed to buy an older VW for 75$ from another GI . . . I made the smart move and also managed to get an "International Driver's License" which sort of also served as a kind of passport . . . A lot of bureaucratic fumbling around with photos, signatures and many rubber stamps . . . But worth it . . . When later the site was reassigned to the German Army, they sent me to another missile site in Northern Italy . . . I had some travel time and money, so I made a kind of "busman's holiday" out of it, going through Bavaria, Switzerland and down into an area just East of the legendary province of Tuscany . . . Beautiful place, you should try it ! Anyway, to make this short, when I passed through borders, I just waved my License/Passport at the guards, and didn't even have to stop . . . just kept on moving... I felt very welcome wherever I went . . . Not because I was a GI, not because I was American . . . my old VW didn't make me look wealthy . . . They just had a very welcoming policy . . .I just wish the whole world could be like that !
Fascinating to learn of the extensive travel of many in the ancient world. I’m imagining (someone please correct this if wrong) that this was also a case of ‘have’ and ‘have nots’ and that mostly only the privileged were able to travel in the ancient world.
I’d so much rather we didn’t need passports but I think we do in modern times for security. Humankind has become too technologically advanced such that a single actor can cause much devastation. So these sorts of security measures are necessary to disincentivize and thwart malevolent actors. There’s is also an immigration issue, with modern rich nations guaranteeing certain minimum standards of living, it would be unwise to allow uncontrolled travel which would also amount to uncontrolled immigration.
I love imagining those days before passports. Travel was so much more difficult, hospitality was so much more valued. Travel was also much more difficult for poor people. You had to pay to get on a ship (or work for it). You had to be able to own horses and carriages, or serve someone who did. It's like we replaced one reason travel was difficult for poor people with another reason.
Amman was called Philadelphia by the Greeks, who rebuilt it as one of the cities of the Decapolis. Before that, when it was the capital of the Ammononìtes, it was called Rabbath Ammon when it was the capital of the Ammononites.
I feel the answer to your questions might just be too complex for me to tackle here, but I do believe 'need' is my speciality and I can say that I believe what we need is Optimum Motion. This includes internal and external, micro and macro body movement as well as movement through and between spaces. My family is well accustomed to me questioning the existence of borders. We have to be careful what we adapt to and as you have aptly pointed out, we have well and truly adapted to the existence of borders and passports. Are they a means and resource for optimising motion and synchronising universal needs. I doubt it. If not, what purpose do they serve?
As a retired aviation professional it is hard to deny that the passport has become an essential travel document for conducting any kind of professional or personal business across the world in modern times. But its primary utility, and probably its necessity as well, are a result of the continuing, westernizing influence of the ancient Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian principles of civility among peoples of different nationalities, cultures and faiths. It is a modern means of identifying those who are more likely to hold these principles in high esteem from those who do not, and to more easily recognize the "good guys" from the perhaps not so good. In ancient times this identification could be made using dress, verbal or non-verbal language or even overt hostility, but these indicators have faded over time to become almost meaningless in today's world. And as one who has spent much time in relatively hostile and dangerous parts of the world, a passport from the US or other western countries identifies the holder as a "good guy", which may be very critical indeed when in need of assistance by local embassies or other good guys. One might also consider that the "bad guys" will pay big money for counterfeit documents which allow them access to the countries and societies that they may wish to exploit. A serious issue to be sure, and one that is not likely to be resolved soon, as there is still much evil in this world, regardless of our wishes to see ourselves as more civilized than real world reality might suggest.
As long as we’re tribal and scarcity minded and not believe in shared abundance and feel resources constrained, restrictions are inevitable. In an utopian world there’s no need for many things that we consider to be the norm. No need for policing nor any need for judges and juries to mete out punishments to the waywards. In an abundance mentality world no need for hoarding or ownership of property or storage of wealth. But sadly we live the real world. The positive take on this is, that the affairs of world has changed for better in many ways, compared to the ancient world and it continues to get better and better everyday, regardless of what the scary headlines may proclaim.
Pondered the same travelling recently with my young family. We carry 3 passports that are all a green light while other friends of mine could be held up for hours.
We need borders. Our experience wasn't good. There are reasons why millions unvetted strangers kept arriving. It was.all planned.