April 27, 2023

We need a new mindset

Albert Einstein is known to have famously said that  problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them. The truth in this is not hard to see. Problems are created when the homeostasis of life is disrupted. And it requires a mind to conjure up the event that made it happen. If that momentary imbalance becomes sustained over time then we have a problem. This happens in our lives all the time as we attempt to change a given situation we have to our advantage. Sometimes this is for personal gain and sometimes for a larger mandate. Most times these are attempts for personal gain for this is the primeval human desire


In politics too this is so evident everywhere and why not so even in our Maldives. After all we too have arrived to follow the global bandwagon, haven't we?  It seems that to gain personal political advantage we have to offer something radical to what the other regime may have been doing when in fact it's not what we promise to do but what we stand for that is more important. What we stand for is often not explained because it is not easy to conceive, describe and market a whole attitude but it is so much easier to pander to the emotions of a constituency by giving them what they seem to urgently want. And this comes in the form of material things that people can touch and feel and perceive with their five senses. 

Money, in whatever form, is the easiest and this is what is promised or doled out fastest. Tax cuts, business opportunities, loans, lucrative jobs, etc. Then comes the next level at the community or island level; harbors, roads, sewerage, running water, flats etc. Now, in all these cases we must realise that the sustainability factor for the receiver for a contented life thereon is very low. At best it's just a breather to settle a temporary glitch in his or her life. We run out of the money, businesses fail, loans drag us into debt and flats leave us sad and alone and with the absence of community. These results leave us worse off and more helpless than ever before. And what of the community level stuff? These need constant care, and when, overtime, these degrade and breakdown amd nobody comes to do the repairs, we complain and blame those who gave these to us for their cheap quality or the deceit and corruption that was mixed with such shady transactions. 

But then we quickly forget these and we ask for more from those who stand for election the next time. The public is kept in this flux regime after regime; fooled every time. Sad to say we never realise it because our ego shows us the way to doubt and blame; tells us it's not our problem but the craftiness of those shady politicians. In one breath we are right because politicians are always crafty and many a time downright unscrupulous. But in another breath it would be wise to realize that we are also very gullible or our ego makes us so. Either way we are to blame. When the constitution says power comes from the people we don't really believe it with our heart. These words are just perfect for wily politicians and crafty lawyers but such a deep concept doesn't seem to ring a bell in our very naive political public mind. Naturally, because Maldives have for centuries been a kingdom, our leaders have always had a distaste for the public’s involvement in national governance. Even in our post independence period since the late 60s the enlightening civics classes in our schools that lingered for a few years were soon removed from the curriculum and our enthusiasm for the political dimension squelched. Any university education in this major of political science was also  visibly discouraged. More encouraged were the neutral preparations of doctors and nurses engineers and accountants. All a harmless bunch who will not be any threat to the ruling elite. 

Lets ask. Why don’t the politicians have any other long term moral and unselfish agenda? Why do they get into politics? Why do they abase themselves to go to their constituencies to beg for the vote and promise to do whatever the public demands when they get elected. Often most of those who stand have no social record of good they have done for society in their past. Are we hoodwinked everytime they make promises? How stupid can we be! I have had friends who have told me they were going into politics because that is the most lucrative. Many may not voice this but do we truly believe that they run so hard and sweaty just get to the top and do good for us with love and compassion in their hearts? Let's not be fooled. They don't want to change the system that gives them the advantage. They do want the checks and balances system but they don't want to close the loopholes from where they can creep through to be “legitimately” corruptive. They hide behind the rules and say it's according to the law when in fact the party gangs together to pass lucrative laws that will benefit the party clan. And they go their merry corruptive ways with impunity. 

Let’s wake up and make our country moral again. Only in morality lies truthfulness and sustainability of humaneness. Tell me i'm a starry-eyed idealist. But without some idealism there is not going to be any human progress? To be a nation that has some identity (not for ego boost but for moral boost) and celebrate our diversity in a global village. We don't want every city of ours to be an americom (Tom Freedman’s short for American Community) and have the whole world in a straight jacket. Don’t each nation have a celebrated diversity. While we can have the commonality of moral rectitude, we can be at the same time as diverse in our local ways as our God-given colors or shapes and sizes are diverse. Why do we have to conform and subordinate our ways to the ways of development or modernization as someone else defined. Do we blindly espouse the moral degradation also that is a part of this model and that which we are witnessing before our very eyes? Or do we choose to celebrate our difference? Are we ashamed of our religious and social culture? What makes another's way more superior? Is money the factor that makes us better or an inner dimension of goodness and humbleness that makes us more reverent? Isn't it this reverence that elevates us to the human beings we are supposed to be? 

Sadly our present politics debase us into voiceless objects. We say we have a democratic constitution and democratic means to govern when in fact we are prisoners of our own conscience; that conscience that still dictates where we are -  to be subordinate to our leaders when in fact we should treat our leaders as first among equals. That can only happen when we can truly begin to respect each other. It is when we don't have the urge as leaders to hide their bodies away from the public in darkened vehicles, their souls behind expensive sunglasses and angry rhetoric but feel humble to walk unashamed on wobbly or flooded streets just like the poor man and in the public market place just as our beloved Prophet did.

Yes we need different mindsets to change our nation. Youth of our nation. Please learn new ways to lead and please don't follow the ways of the politicians we have had in the past and even now who attempt to usurp the reigns of power and leave us stalled for yet another 5 years. 

No comments: