Where is Syntopia? We can only know a place if we know some other place. We can only know Khabarovsk or Schwessin, or wherever we were born, if we also know St. Petersburg and Timmerhorn. What is "knowing" after all? Recognising an aroma, walking through the streets, the fields, tiredly through the forest; when all we retain is a unique image, an inimitable sound.

A single letter – the smallest element in our language – can make all the difference: f or g, free or glee. A symbol, a smell, a fragrance can make a place forever unforgettable and create an unbreakable bond. This place is only recognised, however, the letter only seen, the smell only sensed and the fragrance smelt, if the other place, to which we return or remember, exists, too.

A place is only recognised in Syntopia.

Observe the globe on which we live. You turn the globe and see all the countries of the earth in their different colours. Some of the countries are big, others tiny – yet they are all distinguished, one from the other, by their colour. The countries are separate, the people in each country isolated. Observe another globe – where there are no borders, only mountains, steppe, rivers, the ocean. There are no people. We see the globe from the outside, like visitors from a far-off star, as if it were not our earth at all, not our Syntopia.

But this is our Syntopia. How does it become Syntopia? For me, because I have connected various places within me, and because I am connected with others in other places. These connected places make it my Syntopia.

The earth is held together by basic physical forces. But it is also sustained by the power of Syntopia. We live in towns, in villages, on mountains, in the jungle, in the forest, on the steppe, in the snow or in the desert. We live in different political systems. We have different religions, distinct histories, we are young or old, male or female, black or white, rich or poor, speak one of the 3000 languages spoken on our planet.

Each of the inhabitants of our earth is a unique entity formed from all these various factors, a single point in an n-dimensional space, unmistakable. And yet, however, true this may be, I am, nonetheless, syntopically connected with all those living in the north, the south, on the equator. It is not just physical forces, but a patchwork of friendships stretching across the globe which holds the world together.

(Those who stay put, stewing in their prejudices, convinced they know the truth about everything, who only know their ow n histories, who go through the world with tunnel vision – these are people who do not live in syntopia, but in utopia.)

Where is Syntopia? Syntopia is in and around us if we recognise other places and, thus, recognise and determine our own place and own identity. We can make syntopia real if the single element of its meaning is grasped and combined afresh with other elements to form a new creativity.