Letters to the Editor

'Pragmatism' in a society without shape

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

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Dear Editor,The typical Jamaican is a pragmatist. This concurs with our remarkable ability to stand up against the odds. Unfortunately, though, it makes us “too smart” for our own good.

Take the example of a man charged with simple larceny, who, when asked by the judge why did he take a commodity being sold by a place of business, replied that it was there to take, so he took it. This is the same reason many motorists drive through a traffic light that is on red. How about those who take medication contrary to the instructions of manufacturers? The list of examples is inexhaustible.

I suspect our tendency towards such “flexible thinking” is partly due to the harsh socio-economic conditions that we face. However, clearly, the lack of wisdom is implicit in such sometimes deviant and 'pragmatic' thinking and behaviour.

Studies have shown that one's intelligence quotient falls as one's financial standing diminishes. Therefore, there needs to be an unfaltering drive to develop and maintain a threshold level of wisdom among our population, both in terms of numbers and quality, that will not only just withstand the challenges we currently, and shall face, but surmount them without the need to break the respect of the time-honoured instruments of truth and justice, such as laws and science.

It might sound cliche, but education is the key. It helps to break the cycle of poverty and helps with the wisdom of its owner. It partly makes up a wisdom that helps us to not “lean on our own understanding”; a wisdom that states that, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” A wisdom that allows us to know, to know why, and to do accordingly. That wisdom shall help us not to rubbish that which has been put in place for our own good.

Andre O Sheppy

Norwood, St James





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