April 28, 2014

Folly of letting others define our development

I believe that development is best defined as a process of improving the lives we lead over time rather than a process of getting rich. Historically this adjustment to live harmoniously with our environment has been what was sought by individual communities. They had always striven to live their lives in a more efficient and effective way to harness the environment they lived in. It was a process of surviving the life in that environment rather than to subvert it. At worst it was to change their living environment without hurting it.  Living in caves first to weather the storm or for protection from wild animals as abode and being nomadic rather than being sedentary or settled in our search for food. Even recreation and entertainment were sought from what their environment provided.

Our settlement into communities perhaps ten thousand years ago, that finally gave up our nomadic ways of existence was the beginning of selfishness and competition. Before that everything was "ours", not "mine". That all changed that day when that first someone or people drew a line and demanded that all that encompassed it was theirs rather than everybody's. Thus was born competition and greed that was the beginning of the destruction of our habitat and now our living Earth. From then on it has been history. Like the original sin, this avarice pervades our midst like a disease that never leaves us to consume us as we live our daily forays into self-destruction. This is the new development we have espoused. To be better than our brother, to be richer than him and even to kill and maim to get what we want.

In the midst of all this hate and resentment that lines our outside is smoothened by the new personality ethic (as opposed to the character or moral ethic) and we live a development that has been thrust upon us by someone else. In the glitter of it we forfeit our painstakingly eked out earnings to buy the goods that makes someone else rich. We are fooled into believing that globalization is the bandwagon we all have to jump onto when in fact we are ignorant of the accession we agree upon is to make others rich and us poorer. So we keep on earning to buy the goods that others produce and import laborers to do the work that we don't want to do. We invest huge amounts of money in the name of building infrastructure that takes lifetimes to amortize just to make way for espousing someone else’s development to give us the feeling that we are also getting developed. 

The infection is global and we in Maldives too are no exception to this pervasiveness. Yes, even we who must think differently because we who live in a supremely beautiful home, yet one precariously trussed to the vagaries of the environment and least self-sufficient, are also carried away by this behemoth of development that is too blinding to see beyond it. But we must strive to open our eyes out of this glitter, even though the deceptiveness of our egos vehemently militates against it.  If not we will be carried away by the commercial tsunami that sweeps our globe and from the clutches of which even those who created it seems unable to get out of.  Bloated egos, pride, avarice, jealousy, and competition seem to have spun over us a web of impenetrable mental incarceration.

We must find an alternative solution to development from this commercial one that is meshing us into an ever expanding divide of the haves and the have-nots, splitting and rifting a community of hitherto harmonious communities that lived in the bliss of sharing and cooperation. If national happiness is to be the indicator of development, then we need to introspect in dire urgency.  

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