Sunday, 4 May 2014

“They say what we know, is just what they teach us”

There are two types of people in the world, those who rule and set the rules, and those who follow them. And one of the greatest tragedies in history is that we, the masses of society, give consent daily to the hegemonies, ideas and people that rule unfairly –  “domination by consent.” It is in this way that without raising a finger, or firing a gun, those who set the agenda, do so, while the earth spins unfairly on its tilted axis with all of its injustices. But what do I mean by all of this?

Most of it goes without saying. As human beings we are creatures of habit, and we learn daily and are socialized into thinking in particular ways and not so well in others. The majority of our everyday actions and language too are mostly reflective of the dominant culture of the day. The ideals we aspire to in society, for example, the lifestyles of the rich and famous are a product of trend and consumerist values. And even in less superficial ways our own ideas of what is progressive as well may simply be those things which go contrary to our material well being. For example, many Barbadians are in the habit of demonizing progressive governments such as Cuba/Venezuela, in concord with what we are encouraged to believe from popular media, despite very real material benefits these countries have presented to the region.

In ways similar to the above,  it is very easy to become caught up in immaterial ways of seeing ourselves that similarly do very little for our own well being than we think, as individuals and as a wider Caribbean and human society. And of course none of us are immune. Growing trends today can lend to growing interests in US sports, such as NBA and NFL and also Premier league in UK, Scifi, global interest in Anime, Japanese popular culture and other extensions as well as aristocratic habits across the board and of course you have your popular television shows. Some say they choose to be part of these trends to be ‘part of the group’ or bandwagon, or because they feel “world spirit”. And then there are those who readily identify with similar interests, the already die-hard fans.

On the contrary, however, these growing trends don’t represent “world spirit”. They represent more so the growing influence of the few powers that be, those who have the power and means to spread their influence ideas and crafty technological products across the globe. And coded into the majority of these every day trends are the consumerist driven values, underlined by stereotypical ideas of race gender class politics etc etc. And while we might think it harmless to be interested, collectively when we buy into these franchises we consensually give legitimacy to those who rule, while at the same time we negate the very beautiful talent and productive capacities we have within ourselves and the region, and we contribute largely to the age old problems of underdevelopment and inequality between nations and people.

It is quite the paradox too that the same social media that exposes us and connects us right into the belly of the beast also presents us with a genuine chance to craft a better world and present ideas which more represent who we are and what we have to offer. If we can ignore the widespread narcissistic habits they encourage of course, along with all the rest. Now is the perfect time to be different, and no, I don’t mean by changing your hairstyle, but by taking an active interest in who you are, where you are and what’s happening around you.

For those of us who want to feel genuine “world spirit” and “freedom”, understanding these things goes hand in hand with understanding the ways in which we face oppression and how that oppression still manifests itself today. It is more than carrying the one love mantra in your heart while remaining particularly ignorant to how "Babylon system" works and how our ignorance and socialized acceptance of its ideals sustains poverty and inequality within our homes and across the globe. It also comes with understanding that we all, yes, all of us, face these problems together, and in the same way, none of us are alone in the hardship and misery that this life presents. One thing I've found in my small existence of life as well, is that happiness cannot be sustained by ignorance or wishful thinking, but maybe we might do better together by taking avid interest in the why, how, when, and where.

(Please note too English and Japanese are just two of the over 6500 languages spoken on this earth. You want to feel world spirit? You have a long way to go.)

But to bring us back home, If  we read our local newspapers, we would see that  Barbadians are being laid off, one by one, and tightening economic and political corruption has extended its arms almost fully now to our island shores. WE stand to lose all that we have gained and It is a global problem created by those who make the rules and endorsed by all those who follow. But it is here now and I personally don’t hold the belief that things are looking up…

We bare a responsibility to ourselves and each other to go beyond our convention and think critically of our surroundings and why we believe and endorse the things we believe and endorse. We bare a responsibility to understand. To understand where we come from and what it takes to build a better world for ourselves, our families and our brothers and sisters. And we owe it to ourselves to truly experience the many facets of our human condition and the realization of one love, for all. We have almost every opportunity to do so today, whether or not we allow ourselves to do so is entirely up to us.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with every word you wrote bro. This article was well written and it hits the nail on its head as to what really lies at the crux of the matter in a very articulate manner. PERCEPTION... The Global Hegemon(s) in our concurrent epoch utilise technology/social media to show us what we want see and hear or what they think is ideal of us to see and hear.. It can be said with confidence that they hardly ever deal with the WHAT IS.. When we as individuals of the 'Global South' seek out the real truth and remove the 'cataract' from our eyes that the Global North has 'plagued' us with especially as it pertains to PERCEPTION. It is then quite frankly that a positive turning point can be achieved.