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Mahatma Gandhi said that seven things will destroy humanity - (1) politics without principles; (2) pleasure without conscience; (3) wealth without work; (4) knowledge without character; (5) business without morality; (6) science without humanity; and (7) worship without faith.

In this series we are discussing how some of these deadly social sins are causing the decay of our Dominican society. Saving our nation will require us to reverse the entrenchment of these social sins and instead promote positive values and cultures. So far, we have discussed in some details the sins of "politics without principles" and "wealth without work".

In this article we will focus on the sin of "knowledge without character".

Increased knowledge has been the foundation for improving the quality of human life. Life as we know it today has been driven by ever-expanding knowledge; and innovations and new insights are the current drivers of global economic competitiveness.

There is an incessant push for individuals to educate themselves in order to improve their circumstances through being in a competitive position to obtain good jobs and/or to engage in entrepreneurial endeavours.

So, on the one hand, we see the result – a world of wonder with spectacles that would have been unthinkable even one century earlier. And even if Dominica has not been a generator of new ideas that are transformational, our lives has certainly been transformed by new global innovations and we have had to acquire new knowledge to be able to use these innovations to improve our lives. Hence our people have been trained in many fields to include engineering, medicine, information technology, law, accounting and management.

But on the other hand, with all the world's knowledge, there is much inequality and all kind of injustices, exploitation, environmental degradation, crime and violence, industrial and political unrest among other social ills that undermine the quality of life of societies. Will those social ills ultimately become so significant that they will contribute greatly to the demise of societies?

So how is it that a world of such wonder that was fashioned from creative knowledge, can exist side by side with these social ills? Part of the answer is that much of that knowledge is increasingly applied without character.

But what is character? Simply put, it is the inner conviction that compel one to do what is right. But where does that inner conviction come from? There are several sources and these sources are often interrelated. It can come from our socialisation – largely through good social values that are passed from generation to generation through parental instructions, community socialisation, and formal education during formative years. Inner conviction can stem from our faith and often it is our faith that influences social values. But beyond faith, there are certain values that naturally resonate within all of us – so, for instance, we all instinctively know that stealing is wrong and doing so requires stifling the conscience.

When a society or individuals begin to ignore inner convictions that are based on good social values and is instead are drawn toward self-fish or nefarious pursuits that are fueled by greed, fear, ego, a quest for pleasure, a thirst for power and control of others, then, character is lost, and the application of knowledge can become destructive.

Selfish or nefarious pursuits can be a very powerful temptation and without a moral compass many are drawn into its web. The moral compass is increasingly lost when the competing wrong values are increasingly showcased by leadership and powerful groups. In time, good values are increasingly eroded and negative ones become increasingly common place.

The scriptures say in Proverbs 1:7 that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instructions."

Clearly, this scripture implies that the application of knowledge must have its foundation in the conviction to do the right thing and that conviction is rooted in faith (the fear of the Lord). It speaks of the use of wisdom which really can be viewed as the right use of knowledge.

So, we see many in our land are despising wisdom and godly instructions and in so doing they are endangering the prosperity and peace of the country. Too many are not doing the right thing. Too many lack character. Some may be highly educated or/and experienced, but they lack character.

In the next article we will look at some practical examples of how some persons are using their knowledge and skills to support wrong-doing in our land and this is clearly contributing to the disarray in our country. How do we turn the situation around?

Part of the solution is that we must seek to restore the nation's moral compass. This will include reasoning with those who are guilty, not to condemn them, but to encourage them to have courage and to return to good social values. We certainly must start to re-educate our young people.

The Dominica Freedom Party desires that some of our Dominican people change their mind-set. In so doing we can save our country.

Kent Vital Political Leader Dominica Freedom Party


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