Going “Back Home” – a Matrix View of Re-entry

Correct citation:

Vallazza, O. (2011, December). Going “Back Home” – a Matrix View of Re-entry

Published at http://tinyurl.com/8693nm9 LinkedIn Forum on Competence in Intercultural Professions, available at


Hi everyone!

I like this discussion. It is a great show case of the many oftentimes similar experiences of revisiting one’s original cultural settings. Allow me to add to it by changing the perspective that guides our understanding. I often think that there is something not right when people say that they have decided to “go back home” after an extended stay in another culture. In fact, there is no “going back”, unless we could turn back the clock and return to the exact point in time and space we were at when we left. We return to places we once called home and see familiar faces, and may think we are all in the same boat, but we are not. The life of each of us has progressed along different trajectories. Consequently, we may find ourselves sharing the same spatial location with others, but our position is also further determined by other dimensions, notably our experience, the level of our personal growth and transformation, and our position with respect to time. I believe that what appears to be a flat plane of reality – where we interact with people around us at a given point in time – is instead a complex matrix. We live in a multidimensional reality where people, places and times that appear along a linear continuum have most likely fewer and scattered contact points than we may think.

With only a low-context knowledge of the complexity of others’ experience, all the dimensions at play can only be considered and understood by approximation, so that the most effective way we can relate to one another with a certain degree of certainty under such circumstances would be by focusing on the moment, the “here and now” of the Taoist tradition. In my view, this may well be the only common dimension among all the infinite variations in the time-space interplay in each person’s life.

It is a different matter altogether when we are aware of the many nuances of our and others’ experience. This gives us a way to high-contextualize our “here and now” and bring as much as possible into focus whenever we reconnect with people, situations, cultures, language, and places.

To me, such highly fluid scenarios resonate with the perspective on parallel universes presented by quantum physicist Fred Alan Wolf. Indeed, even our vocabulary epitomizes the relativity of our movement when we say that we are “going back” home. Since that action is going to occur at some point after now, how is it that we use the expression “going back”? I wonder, can we really find ourselves at some physical junction (that we place in our past) by simply spatially moving to that location at a certain time in the future? Understandably, I will not attempt an answer here. I just wanted to present a somehow different take on the complexity of the circumstances that we find ourselves in when we actually embark on such voyage of re-discovery.

Safe travells!


One Response

  1. Similar thoughts:
    Heraclitus: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, because it is not the same river, and he is not the same man”.

    From “You Can’t Go Home Again” a novel by Thomas Wolfe:
    “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

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