Life Systems

system theory

It is rare we make decisions that represent our true desires; as conformists in well-defined structures, our rights to free will has been usurped by the systems that govern us. Dismally, we contemplate carrying out rights or privileges which are mere fragments of inner desires, but the reality of assigned roles and identifications commands us to accept a filtered notion of human reality. Reality is largely comprised of many social constructs, several of which are referred to as systems, created by men for men. Hence, all things created by men are subject to the scrutiny of other men.
Many of us live our lives as traditionalists, although liberated in body we willingly give our minds to be controlled and positioned within the state’s notion of successful citizens. Even as I write, we are all lost in pursuit of ourselves, since despite our scholarly specializations and innermost passions, the systems have obliged all of us a single map with many roads to individual successes. How can we know who we are when those who reign as the epistemological sovereigns, deny men their freewill by imposing such a system on men while they are yet unborn? While still babies in the womb we manage to bargain with our independence, the right to live independent lives. Taxation without representation. The struggle to know thyself is confronted with the struggle to be thyself, and the systems of this world are the all-powerful marionettist that string along human desire through deception.
Some say a world without systems will lead to chaos; this then creates the inevitable conclusion that systems even by default assure us of a less chaotic life. In turn, less chaotic does not suggest the complete absence of chaos. Therefore, one is left deprived from his natural liberty, since the system chooses for men the level to which he will risk or explore his own human existence.
These systems have moved beyond simply delegating the activities of our lives, now they assume the title of “Human Life”. In many ways the systems have defined life and mankind, to discover the latter is to discover the former, merely puppets in the play of life. These systems are the organizations, structures, laws and regulations that govern human behavior and cognition. In a world where the majority of the citizenry conforms and acknowledges such a system as legitimate, the will to overcome is individual in nature.
In order to know life outside the systems one must first deny what seems like the most basic truths. One must learn to trust instinct and conscience; it is the nature of all men to thrive and survive. Humans are social beings seeking love and refuge among those of similar kind. The systems that control men are intrusive in nature, endeavoring to forcefully acquire the minds of men. The systems that control us are the ones that have acquired our minds. The acceptance of one’s inferior position in systems essentially caste, is an essential element of human exploitation. To know life outside the system is to neglect all that the system has indorsed as essential to human existence.
To desire a dwelling outside of the world’s systems reflect a willingness to know he who existed before the systems and the world. To abide outside the systems places one in solitude with the Lord.

J.J. Archer

Honest Politicians?

perry & hubert

“The public no longer has any confidence in the honesty of the people they have elected”

After reading this quote in a statement released by a respected and good intentioned Bahamian politician, I had to ask myself a few questions.
Do Bahamians express a weighty desire for confidence in the honesty of local politicians? More importantly, to what degree is honesty representative of the social and moral fabric of the Bahamian community?
To begin, I would like to state unequivocally, that I have much admiration and optimism for the fact that [we] refer to ourselves as a Christian nation. However, I am not certain to what extent does such a terminology equates to that of an honest nation, and where they relate and differ in discourse.
Nevertheless.
I wish to address this idea of an “honest politician”, many Bahamians view the use of such an expression as a blatant oxymoron aimed at dignifying a profession that is stained with the dye of corruption, scandal and dishonesty. This however, does not suggest politicians are men incapable of just action. An honest politician, or better yet a politician that acts solely within the law risks doing what is good although not always lawful. According to social psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg, at the social contract level of moral development, Individuals reason that values, rights, and principles undergird or transcend the law. While politicians may not be generally perceived as “honest men”, this in no way means that they are unavoidably outside the realm of “just men”.
I write as a Bahamian who wrestles with this notion that our people truly desire “honest politicians”. This notion contradicts many of the local practices that are deeply embedded in Bahamian social norms.
As a child I recall a public that waited anxiously for the festive and gift-giving election season, a time of plenty and hand-outs for all. Persons vying to be parliamentary representatives were perceived as nothing less than the Santa Clause of their constituencies. The public as mentioned above, engaged in behaviors that were far from what I regard as honest practices.
Throughout these Islands Bahamians seem less interested in political rhetoric, many of whom appear more likely to support leaders who able to provide economic or material gifts. My experience has taught me that the balloting public were generally willing to negotiate their vote under selective exchange conditions. Some citizens wanted an assured government scholarship, others a government job and a large majority settled for work during the campaign, or simply a few dollars in hand. Those citizens more ambitious in their endeavors, use this opportunity to secure potential government contracts. In addition, many organizations within the community consider the political season a perfect opportunity to protest, the public realizing the finest time to get what you want from politicians is when you have something worth their consideration.
Many Bahamians do not seem to regard the fulfillment of personal promises made on the campaign trail as unethical or dishonest. Civil servants know the extent of public dishonesty quite well, as they themselves are sometimes willing participants. For a few dollars having your documents or parcels of interest fast tracked doesn’t seem wrong when you are the beneficiary. Being bumped up to the front of the line seems harmless when you perceive your situation as dire compared to others, simply because you have a friend that knows a friend.
Is it possible that persons vying to justly represent the masses become exploited? Sometimes I question whether, it is that formerly honest men undergo political modification throughout the electoral procedure as a result of public and party demands?
However, I am somewhat mystified on what the character of this honest politician would look like, and how easy it would be to find an honest man in a largely dishonest community. Many Bahamians pay far too much attention on the smaller issue of dishonest politicians, while deceit and corruption is greatest in the larger community.
If Bahamians truly desired an honest politician, he would be one who refrain from engaging in all or any of the following actions:
• special favors to family and friends
• offer or approve scholarships to friends, families or constituents without just and proper approval
• Give money to voters
• Give any form of gift to voters e.g. refrigerators, stove, alcohol, food, contracts etc.
• Approve jobs or conspire with others to employ family/friends/constituents outside of normal or just procedures
• Provide any form of assistance or contracts that would show favor to an individual or group
• Do anything in the interest of family from their appointed office that is regarded as special favor
• Provide special concessions to lobbyist and investors in exchange for support
• Award cronies work and other opportunities unjustly

If politicians were to refrain from the above actions certainly we would have a more honest society, probably with a lot more angry people. Are Bahamians remotely prepared to deal with a local politician that is not afraid to tell his constituents NO at any political cost?

In truth, sometimes Bahamians “want their cake and eat it too”, we want honest politicians that would compromise what is right when our needs arise. Often times when politicians do not address our personal needs we lash out. If ever unsatisfied, Bahamians occasionally refer to a government or politician as doing nothing while in office, this sometimes speaks to a personal need that has not been met. Such citizens measure good governance by whether or not government initiatives impact their life in a personal way, it matters not the impact of such an initiative on the lives of the larger community.

Presently, I am not convinced that Bahamians elect politicians based on confidence in their ability to be honest, especially since many of us acknowledge dishonesty as a vice that blemishes all men from time to time. More importantly, politicians should embody the virtue of a just man.
Politicians simply reflect the morals, values and norms of the community from which they are elected.
In the words of Kahtil Gibran in The Poet:

“Often times have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world… As a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree…So the wrongdoer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.”

While I don’t believe Bahamians elect men for their honesty, I do see value in honest elected officials. In moving forward the question to be considered is: To what extent is a lack of honest officials the result of an essentially dishonest public? Currently, many Bahamians benefit from the actions of dishonest politicians, and quite frankly others may just be waiting in line for an opportunity themselves.

We always pay more attention to the withered leaves at the top of a dying tree, while the infection lie at the root.

Forward Upward Onward Together for a stronger Bahamas

Calm

I sometimes wonder if Bahamian people understand the term utilitarianism, and does government and opposition members understand the tenets that such a doctrine embodies. Accordingly, utilitarianism is an ethical doctrine of which postulates: virtue is based upon utility and that behavior should have as its goal the procurement of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of persons. In a democratic society this critical doctrine may be exploited at the disadvantage of those who represent the greatest number of persons.
Bahamian Politicians have ardently demonstrated that political will have more to do with the preservation of personal and party interest, and less to do with utilitarianism. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are guilty of this divisive, selfish and disparaging way of managing the peoples’ government.
As I read the daily papers I can’t help but realize the concealed and scheming messages that overtly espouses ideas and conjectures that are nothing more than jargon to a Bahamian electorate who think they understand. In truth, Bahamians are ignorant of the ambitions of those sworn to be transparent as representative of our people. Both government and opposition leaders have the very same mandate, none less important than the other. The government’s duty is to provide protection for its people, efficiently administer justice, and to provide the infrastructural developments required for the wellbeing of the society at large. The opposition has all these responsibilities as well. When the government is doing what is right, there should be a “Yay”, and when the government is not fulfilling its duties there should be a “Nay”. The government under no circumstance should exercise power in an abusive way. Also, the opposition’s job essentially is not to oppose, block or ridicule every position of the government; this constrains good governance. In many ways this constraint is perceived as a conflict of interest.
Conflict of interest is a term being used rather frequently in today’s Bahamian politics, what exactly do we mean when we use it?
Conflict of interest is generally used to express a conflict between a person’s private interests and their public obligations, or rather those whose personal interests might benefit from his or her official actions or influence. However, I am mindful to consider the illogicality of such a position when one attempts to administer the ethical doctrine of utilitarianism. How does one avoid making a decision that benefits those whom he or she has personal ‘interest in’ when procuring the greatest happiness for the greatest number of persons? As government officials, to what extent should these civil servants seek to ensure those whom they love and have ‘interest in’ not be the beneficiary of public enterprises?
Nowadays everything seems like its politics, I wonder who the winners and losers are in these fiascos? I recall hearing the older people say, “Hubert and Perry is best of friends…who you voting for?”. Bahamians continue to get lost in the politics, giving up the greatest good to honor political affiliations.
Ba-Ha-Mar is currently the topic of Bahamian political divide. If you do an independent research on the term ‘Bah’, it is an expression of contempt or disgust, while ‘Ha’ is used to express surprise, wonder, or puzzlement. Lastly, the term ‘Mar’ means to inflict damage. If we put the meanings of these syllables/terms together to develop a more cohesive understanding, we would get a definition like this:

The conveying of disgust in a manner of surprise with the intent to inflict damage.

Now, if we ventured to use this meaning teasingly to infer association between the proposed definition and the intended Bahamar, these are the questions we would ask: Has the Bahamar project created any disgust among Bahamian people? Has the project created any surprises? Has the project inflicted any damage? Perhaps we should use the answers of these questions as the test for the legitimacy of the proposed definition.
Everywhere I look afar, I see a strong sense of gratitude by people for their sovereignty and office of governance, but things seem different in my motherland. I wonder, are Bahamians more committed to country or political party? Are we for the greater good despite the color of the shirts of those whom exercise that power? Is the Bahamar debacle really about taking a stand or standing together?
Forward, Upward, Onward Together…March on Bahama land.

The noise over Bahamar

Bahamar2 The Bahamar fiasco like everything else in Bahamian society has become a topic politically driven. To make matters worse, there are individuals who are hyperventilating over the issue, while their views are completely nonsensical. I am not a genius, but I am quite aware that there are legal matters gleaned from both domestic and international law that surrounds this controversy, and must be addressed before informed opinions can be uttered. Bahamians are already casting aspersions on who the culprits are without sufficient facts. But like we say, ‘I live in a democracy and I could say what I want”. Democracy prides its self on pluralism and division, Bahamians argue for and against ideas not knowing the relevant details, all we see is gold, red and green. For many Bahamians this entire dilemma is about our local politics, this is such a tragedy. Nothing else matters so long as the world knows our individual views, Yes…we have a right to speak freely. Although we ramble on with dogma. What about the obligation to make sense of our ideas before we share them? The cost owed to freedom is responsibility. Free speech is a right that has been and continues to be exploited… (Apparently). Today everyone is demanding their voice be heard at the harsh expense of nobody actually listening. The vibrant parts of society functions like a noisy market, those spaces where people gather such as Facebook, under the tree, Barber shops, and Hair Salons to name a few. Noise in this sense would be those inflammatory dogmatic statements, or opinions that are disjointed, imprudent, lewd, and fixated on obscenity. Somehow, matters that require judiciousness and common-sense discussion are lost in the deafness of the noisy market. It is such a privilege that people, all people, are able to participate in unrestrictive dialogue, in an effort to express freedom of opinions. Sadly, Instead of embracing such a source of pride, we sacrifice meaningful contributions simply to make a little noise in the markets.