Cultivating self-development

As I think, I am

Our role as Guyanese prepare to usher in a Guyanese Knowledge Society in this global Knowledge Age of a new global village interconnected through digital media is to cultivate the love for self-development in each citizen.

Across villages, towns and the city this nation lies under the bright sunny skies so peaceful, pastoral in its languid relaxedness. Yet our people go through their days fretting and cussing and engaging in loud under-development.

What matters to the new world order now fast emerging is the quality of a nation’s human resource capital. That’s why we see in the Guyana Census released this week a strong migratory trend of Guyanese boarding planes to trek off to North America and the Caribbean.

Ways of looking and feelingThe Guyanese brain is in demand. Canada and the United States want the intelligence, resourcefulness and hardworking integrity of Guyanese.

The responsibility lies with the leaders of this generation to cultivate in the heart and mind of every Guyanese citizen a love for self-development: it’s the only route to developing this country.

Gone are those days when we looked to big government and the social welfare of State handouts to take care of our basic necessities.

That sort of old school thinking still prevails here, because with an 89 percent brain drain, the Guyanese nation is left with a paltry 11 percent brain power to operate, build and develop this country. That is not only scandalous but also very, very tragic.

Those old stalwarts who faithfully serve this nation, refusing to migrate or give up on their nation, grow old, and seem to lack the forward-thinking and visionary insight necessary to build a 21st century society.

This way of being comes with the territory when living in a well-advanced society. Not so in a Guyana context. Here we’ve got to work hard to inculcate such a culture, of forward, clear thinking, into our modus operandi, into how we approach life.

Unfortunately, Guyanese society lacks intellectual stimulus, with such things as original insights, visionary thinking and a commitment to building a future out of chaos, of shaping a new world, being foreign to us. The old-schoolers seem to remain stooped in old thinking, wallowing in 20th century ideas of how society should build and develop itself.

Tragic it is that our nation lacks a national culture of literacy, literature and a widespread pursuit of literate culture. We shun the great books of the ages, those works upon which Mankind built contemporary civilization.

We even see a school of thought emerging to champion Creolese as a recognized “Guyanese” language. In our disdain for Standard English, for talking and thinking in structured sentences like Guyanese experience in Barbados, Canada and the United States, we insist on brokenness of language, which fuels brokenness of thinking. Disjointed sentences in the mind lead to a disjointed life, the classical linguist would inform us.

As we think, so are we.

When Rene Descartes got the insight that “I think, therefore I am”, he had stumbled upon a profound truth that would, were we to take it seriously, benefit us tremendously today as a nation. Descartes’ quote is the motto of Central High School: cogito ergo sum. Guyanese would do well to adopt that as a national way of being.

Everything we talk about in this society is laced with a viewpoint towards the economic aspects of things. Not only is this incredible from the perspective of how tiny, in the global scheme of things, is our national Budget, at less than US$1 Bln a year, with Gross National Product (GDP) at a mere US$3,300 a year, but it is crass that we fight over this little scrap, using every ounce of our national energy.

The brain drain has devastated this nation, and we ignore it. The national media, Government, Parliament, Non-Governmental Organizations, the University of Guyana, all fail to tackle this crucial erosion of the very foundation of the Guyanese society.

And in ignoring the crucial problem we face, we proceed to pretend we could build a modern, first class, developed, 21st century society, ignoring our context. In our frustration, we attack, cuss out, fight and quarrel with each other like little bullies in a dilapidated broken down street.

Things fall apart, and we remain numb as to the core root cause of our chronic sickness.

Who would lead us to new heights, where we could view this nation from a different, workable perspective? We need new thinkers, courageous men and women who would break through the dark clouds of myopic groupthink.

We see division, an insistence on packing people into boxes and stereotypes of walled division. We refuse to see good in each other, to trust each other, to inculcate in each other a sense of togetherness and genuine reaching out in mutual understanding.

What’s necessary for the Guyanese nation? That should be our pressing question. The great thinker Peter Drucker has noted the value of the kind of questions we ask ourselves. It’s not so much the answers we come up with, but the questions we ask, that build a solid life.

Our crucial question should be: what’s necessary for the Guyanese nation to move forward?

Out of that we would seek cooperation, a concept enshrined in our very being as a Cooperative Republic.

Unless we orient ourselves to new ways of being and new thinking, we would continue to stumble forward looking at each other with dark, ugly suspicion.

We must stop this, and our national institutions must lead the way.

Let’s stop the fighting, the accusations, the suspicions and paranoia and fears and mistrusts.

Let’s cultivate cooperation, and that with a single goal in mind: the love for self-development in each Guyanese citizen.

If our political parties, the Government, Parliament, unions, national institutions, non-governmental organizations, the media would all gather around this idea of cultivating a 21st century Guyanese Knowledge Society through empowering each person to love self-development, we would be well on the road to healing our brokenness as a nation.

We witness our fellow Guyanese accomplish much in Toronto, New York, Bridgetown. We could see the same here, were we to cultivate this culture for personal self-development.

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