My good friend has dedicated himself and his resources in many ways to the success of Guyana. And while I have not done much if anything to further the development of our country, he has indulged me by listening to what I have to say concerning Guyana’s needs and how they might be met. This is where he and I diverge.
My friend, being a successful entrepreneur at an international level, sees the success of Guyana being achieved by training the workforce to take pride in their jobs and to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. He stresses that we need to graduate from mediocrity and develop our products whether it be manufacturing, agriculture, service or the medical field. Jerome has a perfectly viable means of achieving this goal, but I, being a humanist, see a need for another kind of development that involves education.
This education involves the teaching of morality. We need to integrate the lessons of morality into everything that we do so that we can succeed in our jobs without compromising our sense of right and wrong. Success that leads to material gains or wealth without morality is not success. If people ‘succeed’ in their business at the expense of others, it cannot be moral. Unless there is a convergence of our business practices, politics, justice and social equity with morality, the seed of discontent will be planted. It will grow into a tree that bears the bitter fruit that will spread across the land and poison our society against the different classes. The obvious example of this discontent deals with the hypocritical politicians who have eclipsed their oath of office by embracing the machination of bribery and double-dealing.
While it is obvious that they do this because they are following the appetite and philosophy of the lower self that more is better, they are oblivious that any misbegotten boon has a price. These politicians do not have to look at history to see the price despots eventually pay for their thievery. They only need to pay attention to the justly deserved disdain from the people whom they have sworn to serve. This is the lesson of morality that they need to be taught. They need to learn from Ms Diane, a centenarian who believes the best food is the food one gets from one’s labour (Stabroek News, Sep 5, 2016 ‒ An old woman who never betrayed her dignity).
They need to learn that satisfaction does not come from the quantity of the fine food one eats. This is seen in Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Densovitch where a toothless prisoner eats a crust of black bread. His appreciation for a mere crust transforms his meagre morsel into a communion and sacrament. Many of our politicians in office need to read the books with the greatest theme (man versus himself) and ask whether they have triumphed over their greed and arrogance. They need to confront the fact that they will never escape the wrongs that they do by following the part of the self that will eventually lead to blindness, deafness and brazen actions that are contrary to the prosperity and respect of our country.
As I write this, I know I can buy any of the expensive bottles of water. However, none of that fancy bottled water will ever be as sweet as my first sip of water away from home when I was in Mrs Downer’s Lil’ Infant class. The taste of the tin cup will always be with me and can never be duplicated. The dark cool water that I drank from Mappa Lake above Kwakwani and at the upper reaches of the churning Demerara River where we caught haimara remains a part of me. I still remember the plain glass of water I drank when I visited the President because I was in the presence of a good man. Maybe we need to remember the good, clean and simple things that we enjoyed and realize that we do not need to be lackeys to our desires.