Cultural Maturity

Posted by on January 15, 2005

Diplomad is at it again. Great stuff.

These phrases in the NYT’s story cited above sum it up well:

1) “We are abandoned.”

2) “[A] community meeting hall, but no one in the community has the keys . . ..”

3) “Mr. Cáceres said they finally got electricity six months ago. The United States Army Corps of Engineers installed a water system four months ago; it promptly broke down.”

4) “We have new houses, but all the rest is the same”

This sounds like a “waiting for the lottery” society.

Excellent summation of the situation not only in Honduras but in alot of other places on the planet…including here in my beloved Kentucky and other places in the US. I can’t remember what turned me on to the idea I’m about to spew out here but who ever it is…I hereby give them clear credit for it. 😉

We look at various groups of people…not races or “ethnic groups”…but just groups of people and wonder why THEY seem to struggle while others, perhaps just across the path, do okay for themselves. I believe this is a cultural thing. Groups of people tend to develop little micro cultures based on their own belief systems(faith or lack thereof, work ethic, political, whatever). We see it the world over. Every town has a section and it’s usually on the “other side of the tracks”. These people may “struggle” for generations until a charismatic individual shows up with a vision and drive that can only come from the Angels. In the late 80’s / early 90’s we heard alot about these kinds of people revitalizing urban areas. Taking on the criminal element, changing the lives of the children, and dragging the adults along willingly or not. THAT is the beginning of the maturity process…showing the “down trodden” that there is a better way…teaching them to fish.

I think larger cultures have the same maturing process. We can look at our own America for instance. For many years we were colonies of Great Britain and seemingly happy to be just that. No representation in the Court, exorbitant taxation, and anyone who would attempt to stand up to the authority would get squashed by the Crown. When the Patrick Henry’s started screaming about our God Given rights and all that, the Crown started the squashing process. The rest is history.

There are a couple reasons for the seeming “immaturity” of cultures. Some are forced to depend on their rulers through a combination of terror and faked altruism. Our latest example is Iraq where Hussein would torture, slaughter, and brow beat his people into submission while at the same time claiming he was keeping UN Inspectors out of the country for fear they would spy on “the people of Iraq”. This terror combined with “I love you people” propaganda brings about a Stockholm Syndrome of sorts in some people…while in others it creates a greed that is almost impossible to comprehend. “I’ll suck up to this monster and he’ll continue giving me the goodies”.

Another reason is community attention…continuous community attention. Children are dependent on their parents. Parents feed them, cloth them, provide shelter, both physical and emotional,from the ravages of the World. As the children grow up these provisions become less and less, forcing the child to become more and more independent until maturity is reached and the child, now adult, can fend for themselves. IF, however, the parents continue this nurturing throughout the child’s life, the child will always come home when they need ANYTHING…and will refuse to reach out for it themselves. Think Paris Hilton and her ilk. On the World Stage we see this kind of mentality out there in the peoples of the third world. I’m CERTAIN there are some folks out there that want to work their way out of the situation they are in. Unfortunately, the world community continues to send them FISH…not fishing poles.

I have often considered Haiti to be a third world nation stuck in the “fish eating” mode rather than the “fish gathering” mode. When the latest dictator was kicked out we saw a new leader emerging…one Guy Phillipe. He seemed like a reasonable fellow. Sure he was a former member of a gang and probably hacked up a few people himself, but he was standing up against the tyranny and succeeded in getting Jean-Bertrand Aristide ousted. This “reasonable fellow” Guy Phillipe STOPPED his assault on the “Presidential Compound” so US troops could get Mr. Aristide out of the country. The linked BBC story leaves one with the impression that MORE International attention is necessary to help bring Haiti into the 2nd or 1st world. I think not…more people like Guy Phillipe need to step forward and LEAD their people out of the muck and the mire. If Mr. Phillipe(or other leaders who may step up) turn into thugs as well it is the responsibility of the people to get rid of them. International attention will only bring more fish. Haiti needs fishing poles…lots of fishing poles.

Back to my parent-child analogy for a minute. If a child refuses to take on the responsibility of adulthood the parent may start charging them rent, asking for money to support the grocery bill, paying for the utilities etc. If this fails, then it may be time to cut off the flow of everything and offer the “right foot of fellowship”. This is what the International Community should be doing to these third world countries. Offer the fishing poles of maturity…the RESOURCES to build their communities. Not food grain but SEED grain. Not plastic trays but steel hoes. Not roads and structures but shovels and hammers. If the people use the hoes, shovels, and hammers to kill each other…well…where do you go from there? If people wanna kill each other they are gonna kill each other and I’m not sure we need to be getting involved with that.

Last modified on January 15, 2005

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