Competition or Co-operation
In the modern world, certain strategies have been developed to encourage and promote excellence. It has been established that the only way to obtain the best out of people is to get them to strive to out do one another. There is the conviction that the human mechanism is a powerhouse of potential. It is like fuel which is only waiting to be ignited that a huge blaze of fire may ensue.
This has been a powerful motivation for whole civilizations. It has put life into sleeping giants. It has galvanized people into action. It has rendered people industrious and given them a sense of purpose. It has renewed societies. It has developed countries that were hitherto thought to be unresourceful.
History bears witness to this motivating spirit in every walk of life and in every facet of human endeavour. It has been evident in the discovery of new lands. It has produced the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. It has engendered economic development throughout the world. It has spurred scientific invention. It has been evident in the conquest of space. It has existed in our schools at all levels. It has been a powerful stimulus in the breaking of world records, as is evident in the Olympic Games.
We live in a world in which the watchword is competition. Man struggles against man to triumph over him. Women strive to out-do others in their endeavour to capture their mate. No Sport has been spared. Competitors use every means at their disposal, including performance enhancing drugs, in their ruthless effort to overcome their opponents and win the coveted prize.
Here, in Dominica, we have our political campaign, which is not unlike a military campaign in which one army seeks to overcome the other. We have our Calypso Monarch competition and our Queens' Contest. We do have our various religious affiliations competing for the Christian fold.
Certainly, competition has its advantages. But it also has immense drawbacks. It creates divisions, which sometimes prove insuperable, as, for example, in the case of ethnic groups and political parties. Rather, than bringing harmony and development to the land, it retards good understanding and co-operation and even dampens the spirits of those who are left behind.
We, as a society, need to find some way of healing the gaping wounds of society. We must take seriously the task of healing a divided nation. No matter how many material structures are erected, we have achieved little if we cannot bring harmony among a small community of only 70,000 people. If we do not, we shall merely be repeating the experiences of the young men of William Golding's novel, 'THE LORD OF THE FLIES'.
We, Christians, pledged to follow in the footsteps of Christ, our Master, need to get off our high horses and face the burning issues of the day. We need to trumpet the need for compassion and concern for the powerless, the underprivileged and the marginalized in a world characterized by the entrenched right of the powerful.
It is a pity that many of our learned men, including legal and political leaders, refuse to understand one of our basic problems. Take, for example, the question of the Caribbean Court of Justice. A substantial number of people in the Caribbean are very skeptical about justice in the Caribbean. The main issue is not whether it is advisable for the Caribbean Court of Justice to take over the role of the Privy Council as our Final Court of Appeal. What is at stake is the credibility of the judicial system. The issue is whether our experience of the exercise of justice in our own countries warrants placing our trust in the judicial system at all. People are tired of structures that have no life!
We need to learn to co-operate, to work together, to walk hand in hand. We need to cease using the good things of earth, wealth, power, law, for our own private and selfish purposes and place them at the service of all. We need to see ourselves as entrusted by God with one another, all travelling on a common journey.
No man is an island, no man stands alone. Each Man's joy is joy to me, Each man's grief is my own. We need one another, So I will defend Each man as my brother, Each man as my friend.