Categorized | Editorials

Consolidating Nation’s Foundation

From one perspective, life and how it is to be lived depends in a real way on how life is perceived.

When all is said and done, life is grounded in either spirituality or materiality.

Some words of Pope Benedict now resonate, “… We are now seeing, in the collapse of major banks, that money vanishes, it is nothing. All these things that appear to be real are in fact secondary. Only

God’s words are a solid reality.”

The pontiff also indicated that “…the economic meltdown being felt in nations around the world shows how fleeting modern materialism is…We see it now in the collapse of the great banks that money disappears, it’s nothing.”

He also noted that, “The global financial turmoil, the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s, has wiped away hundreds of billions of dollars in shareholder wealth and felled banking institutions that only months ago seemed solid.

The pope concluded that, “Whoever builds his life on this reality —on material things, on success — … builds [his house] on sand. Only the word of God is the foundation of all reality…”

Indeed, current events illuminate how there is an ongoing struggle between those who would work for the building of community and those who would sow seeds that ultimately lead to confusion, destruction and chaos.

Put otherwise, if we wish to build strong, we must see to it that this nation’s social institutions are more deeply grounded in an ethos of love, care and attentive stewardship of God’s creation.

Sadly, we live in a time, in a place and in a world where individualism seems to be running amok; we live in a time, in a place and in a world where selfishness is the order of the day.

Today we also find that there are few people who take seriously the idea that everyone is indebted to someone for something or the other.

As the novelist Margaret Atwood pithily suggests, “…Debt — who owes what to whom, or to what, and how that debt gets paid — is a subject much larger than money. It has to do with our basic sense of fairness, a sense that is embedded in all of our exchanges with our fellow human beings.

“We are social creatures who must interact for mutual benefit, and — the negative version — who harbor grudges when we feel we’ve been treated unfairly.

“… Without a sense of fairness and also a level of trust, without a system of reciprocal altruism and tit-for-tat — one good turn deserves another, and so does one bad turn — no one would ever lend anything, as there would be no expectation of being paid back.

“And people would lie, cheat and steal with abandon, as there would be no punishments for such behavior…”

This is clearly apropos today’s crime-ridden and sin-sickened Bahamas.

Indeed, we have – as a people who should have been united in love and fellowship- lost our collective way precisely because we have decided –as it were- to build our national house on a miry rubble of rock and sand.

Such houses – no matter how impressive they look – will fail and fall; and by the same token, financial and other human dealings – built on sands of greed and on the quick sands of the purest speculation will collapse.

In senses both metaphorical and literal, this is precisely what so very many Bahamians have done in their perfervid quest to live large.

We take some comfort in the fact that there is much that can be learned from events such as the ones that are currently unfolding not only in a crisis-ravaged United States of America, but also as this crisis finds expression elsewhere in the world.

Highest on that list of things we have learned would be is the one that demonstrates that greed unleashed is bad news for all of humanity.

This is precisely what happens when houses are built on sand.

We live in a time and in a place where – for whatever set of infernal reasons – a ‘dog-eat-dog’ ethos seems to pervade social life.

This way of thinking and being is clearly anathema to anything that could be called ‘the good life’.

Today decent, law-abiding Bahamians routinely wake – day in and day out – to find that the mayhem on our streets and in some of this nation’s strife-ridden homes continues.

The human cost of this kind of parasitic behavior is literally beyond measure – this since there is no resource more precious than the human person made –as we do believe- in the Image of God.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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