My Writings. My Thoughts.
This post started with much sarcasm, cynicism and angst but has since been edited for your reading pleasure; enjoy.
This is not a new idea or concept, hardly anything is new when it comes on to thoughts, perceptions, projections, it’s all a regurgitated cycle of brain farts. What is new however is you and that is the point of this post, you are unique. Your uniqueness is as an ongoing process of a long chain of events leading up to this and continuing from this moment. Scientists have spent millennia figuring out the wonders of the world (various sciences and models). All of this is trumped by human nature, we are the most destructive force on the planet without a doubt, probably the only species that would willingly wipe itself out.
Which brings me to my point, you ain’t shit. I haven’t studied psychology or sociology or *insert whatever you think is relevant here*, however I know selfishness makes us feel better. Right? You think that despite everything, I am a person too, I have needs, I am a person. I don’t know why we think that because we have a perceived state of consciousness that we must be special. Let’s not even go into the aspects of religion or “personal development” lessons that also give us a false sense of being unique.
So why in heaven’s name should one be selfish? We have this innate need to be selfish, to be self indulgent, to express free will and do what you want. Yet we are small organisms feeding on a small planet in a small solar system in a small galaxy as part of an infinite and ever growing universe. Let that soak in. Seems kinda crazy to me.
The next time anything happens just remember it is really of no consequence whatsoever.
This is all meaningless because humans were never meant to be alone. It’s why we have families, communities, towns, cities, regions, countries. Humans are nothing without each other. Yet we all strive to be independent of each other. The fact is we are all very much dependent on each other and this selfishness is driving us all to extinction. If we don’t die as a species the definition of being human, the heightened state of consciousness is being lost. We are led by companies instead of leaders, we subscribe to media that satisfies perceptions vs. what is real, we are consumed with ourselves versus seeking true enlightenment.
I want to compare it to encryption. We each have public and private keys that we can use to make our unique mark, we all have to play a part to unlock the chain of life. Because life isn’t about existing, life is about actually living, enjoying, sharing, helping, improving. But destroy your key or keep it to yourself and we will never know what could have been. You ain’t shit.
Recently my Twitter timeline was filled with banter over a controversial column written in the local newspaper. The column was similarly titled, but despite the broad statement I found that it was very specific to economic and emotional factors. This saddened me, given the size of the soapbox the writer was given.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think people should have kids to save their relationship, or to serve as a long term meal ticket or risk putting families into poverty. However; I think people have forgotten the reason why people have kids.
To make a long story short, despite our biological inclinations to reproduce, there should be a larger purpose for having children. No no, not like “Jah know, him drop out and don’t even have a youth yet”. Having kids is more than just carrying on your name, it’s about a legacy. In days of old names carried meaning, a history of where you are coming from. This was lost in the Caribbean thanks to the slave trade, piracy and modernisation. We need to create a better legacy as a society, with each family contributing a part of it.
In the age of millennials, we all have this desire to define ourselves, adjust perception and have our actions meet our goals. Unlike the baby boomer years or before, we have no clue what we are doing. In the 40′s and 50′s you were 23 and had a career path. Now you are 20-30 and the job you will have next year might not exist yet. On top of this we have more social influences and increased competition to be successful (because of education system, media, parents, gaps in economic earning potential). So we are in a flux of not knowing what our career is, who we are, what a relationship is (radical change in family life is entire different analysis). Then boom, us kids are supposed to have kids with very little life experience (cultural and professional).
I’ve been writing a post about love and selfishness since last year (was supposed to be a new year’s message), but it ties into this directly. Don’t worry about the money (but think ahead, be responsible and do what is necessary). Don’t have a kid because you love your partner, or trying to keep them. Don’t have a kid because the state or child support will pay for their welfare/health/education etc. Don’t have a kid because your vanity wants your name to carry on or you want a mini me (if this is the reason, you really shouldn’t be having kids. Probably ever. Try Photoshop and Instagram). Have a kid because you want to improve the world. Have a kid because you have found so much wrong with the world and you want to equip the next generation for being better. Have a child because you have figured out what life is about and you want them to experience all of it’s splendor while equipping them for it’s pains. Having kids isn’t about you, it’s about the improvement of the human variable in the formula called life.
Think Big. Oh and when all else fails, wing it, we are the most adaptable generation, just keep the above in mind.
Note: This is not a solution, this is not a guide, there are much bigger problems not factored here. I just wanted to add my 2 cents.
Before you start, this post is pretty fragmented and sometimes disparate. I may re-word it in a follow up post, if you choose to continue, please comment after.
Anthony B said it best in his song “Raid the Barn”. Sometimes I really think we need a genre for conscious music, Reggae swallows this whole in Jamaica.
Today is Labour Day in Jamaica, labour day is supposed to showcase the importance of labour to the development of Jamaica. Most will probably just treat it as a holiday, citing that they work hard each day & need a break. That’s the worrying part, what is it we are all working to achieve?
How many times have you heard the story, “pay attention in school, work hard, save money and you will be OK in life”? It is false. Much in the same way we grew up watching cartoons, movies & other media painting this fairy tale way of life that will never exist. Think about it, who told you these things? Parents who had regret about where they were in life and creatives who wanted to paint a fantasy land to get lost in. Alternatively you have Universities and Banking Institutions which are foundations of society that don’t have adaptive products for a rapidly changing world. In business, if you fail to adapt, you fail; but universities are subsidised and are mass marketed, they will not fail, just fail to achieve. Anyway, getting off point. My generation will be the first generation to grow up hearing all of our lives that Jamaica has gone too far downhill. Forget that along with the other things I mentioned before. Now consider something else.
As you fete, sleep at home or relax in some way this labour day (Kudos to the few who will actually do work), consider what you can do to contribute each day. Yeah yeah, I know the whole “Jamaica not doing anything for me speech”. What have you done for Jamaica for it to do something for you? Jamaica is not a person, it’s not a government, it owes no favours. Jamaica was built on a system that failed and then failed to adapt.
“Who you ago blame it pon when it is a next man you a depend pon?”
Fine, migrate, ohhh wait, does overseas living seem harder? Because it is. In developed countries you have to work to make it, except their governing systems are developed, over hundreds of years, to benefit contributors. So back to Jamaica, do you make an effort day to day? We are depending on foreign debt to support a failing system. The failing system is not government, the government is elected by the people and is a reflection of their wishes. *insert random oh snap*. Yes there are some making massive contributions to improve Jamaica, but what is our motto? “Out of Many One People” can also apply to the fact that we need to work together, in unison. Did we all forget the pledge we made countless times as kids?:
Before God and all mankind, I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart, the wisdom and courage of my mind, the strength and vigour of my body in the service of my fellow citizens; I promise to stand up for Justice, Brotherhood and Peace, to work diligently and creatively, to think generously and honestly, so that Jamaica may, under God, increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity, and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.
How many of our problems do you think we would solve if we each followed that pledge?
So yeah, about the fact that Jamaica isn’t doing anything for “us”. As a people we have to help ourselves, stop waiting for bailouts, handouts, leniency, sympathy. We aren’t getting any. We all have power to change and do what is morally right, we also have the following:
- Economic power – Control what we spend our money on
- Political power – We each have a vote and a right to be represented
- Intellectual power – to use our mind for innovation and productivity (currently commonly used for corruption)
- National Pride
I tweeted this morning about bad crops, we reap what we sow and we have been sowing weeds. Our crop is not our people, we are farmers of our land. Our crop is what we have invested in, including our thoughts. We need a paradigm shift of productivity, we need to dig out the weeds instead of just cutting them. We also need to work together and not just have a few work and then we all fight over the little that grows.
Really and truly I could go on and on, maybe I should have done a video instead, but my point is:
Before complaining about Jamaica, think what have you done for Jamaica lately? Then think what you can do for Jamaica every day. Go out and be a Jamaican, the Jamaican you pledged to be.
Spread the message. Thanks.
Hey everyone, my good friend Kathryn Chin See wrote this guest post, give it a read and comment below:
“I want to #eatJamaican” was the opening line of a conversation that led to this post. Dmitri decided that he wanted to create a meal plan for 30 days that would include only Jamaican grown livestock and crops (see his previous post – Eat Jamaican for 30 Days). I told him that this was an easy task and began to list out the things that were available to us, grown locally. I shared my experience of buying a great quantity of fruits and vegetables from the Coronation Market in Downtown, Kingston, how inexpensive it was… and the fact that Jamaica really has no reason to import food items. His response was “well, let’s prove it”…
Jamaica has been blessed with vast land space and fertile soil with which we may grow and harvest crops, and raise livestock as food. Beef, Chicken, Pork, Fish and seafood of many types… Fruits, vegetables/ground provisions, including nuts, herbs and spices… all grown right here in Jamaica, available to us all on the local market. So… the question is – why do we import food items?
To this day, it still baffles me… WHY does Jamaica import bananas? …bananas? REALLY THOUGH?
Some will use the excuse that local farmers are unable to supply enough to satisfy local demand, others may tell you that the imported goods are of a better quality. While these arguments may hold some truth, the reality is that we are greatly influenced by what First World cultures do, and because North America eats strawberries, blueberries, cottage cheese, Hillshire Farms deli meat and all sorts of other things… we have to ‘keep up with the Jones’.
Buying locally gives farmers the opportunity to make a larger profit to invest in more land, machinery and labour to produce larger volumes for the local market. The colloquial phrase ‘one hand wash the other’ comes into play here – consumers demand more from local farmers (increase purchases), local farmers then need more resources to supply increased demand, more jobs are created as labour is needed, these newly hired labourers take away from the unemployment rate and contribute to the circular flow of income in the country – everybody benefits, TRUST ME!
How are we going to then ensure that local farmers get more business, since their biggest competitors are imports? If the government banned (*not taxed higher, but made illegal) the importation of goods that are grown/produced locally, then people would stop trying to live above their means and would be forced to #buyJamaican. Think about the money you would save buying locally, not having to pay the import duties and taxes that are tacked onto those goods, and how much healthier you would be by not consuming the chemicals and preservatives if you #eatJamaican.
There’s also an economic benefit to #buyJamaican #eatJamaican – in this time of ‘recession’ or economic struggle in Jamaica, great effort should be places of increasing exports, decreasing imports and encouraging investments from foreign entities to decrease our trade deficit (Balance of Trade – the monetary difference between imports and exports, essentially). Over time, ceasing importation of food items, and increasing exports of local produce, will aid in achieving a trade surplus and give the country the ability to pay its debts without burdening tax payers greatly… essentially working towards economic growth.
No, it’s not just theoretical – putting it into practice will work. But, who is going to implement such a practice?
Where is the labour force going to come from to practice farming?
People put themselves in debt constantly because of university fees, because society now dictates that we all need to achieve a higher learning – associate, bachelors, and master’s degrees. Why? North American and European influence of course… again, we all have to ‘keep up with the Jones’. Nothing wrong with achieving higher learning, but what benefit is it to you or to your country if there are no jobs for you to put your degree to use, no way of earning the money to pay your student loan?
Every industry has its place in this country – banking, manufacturing, telecommunications, farming, tourism, you name it…but we need to strike a balance between industrial and corporate, allocating our human resources appropriately to the various industries that make up our economic activities. If everybody’s a doctor, a lawyer, a banker or the IT guy, who is going to grow/produce the food we need to sustain our bodies for those jobs?
We can’t all be corporate and that’s the reality.
An education is vital. I believe that all Jamaican should have access to primary and secondary (including 6th form/CAPE) education. However, university/tertiary education requires a certain level of mental and financial preparedness that many of us simply don’t have. As a result, I think half of the experience is wasted. Just because we complete the 3-4 year programme and graduate with a degree, to me, doesn’t mean that we received all that we were intended to take from the experience.
Honestly, I have no problem putting my Actuarial Science degree programme on hold, going to Clarendon, getting a piece of land and establish a farm on it, and learn those skills – learn about soil and irrigation, climate/environment control for optimized growth, operation, maintenance and repair of equipment, etc. – grow food for my family, my community and eventually the wider local market, until I can produce large enough volumes to supply the export market.
All those things require knowledge and skill, and human resource. Jamaica is full of employment opportunities, way and means of earning an honest living – but everyone wants to be a suit and tie.
Help your pockets. Help your health. Help Farmer Joe in St. Bess. Help Jamaica…
Kathryn can be contacted on Twitter: @KathrynChinSee or via email KathrynChinSee (at) Gmail.com