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Noble: The difference between hope and wishful thinking; reasons for cheer in 2019

Vaclav Havel, the Polish leader, said: “Hope is a state of mind, not a state of the world… a dimension of the soul… not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation… is not prognostication.

“It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart, it transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond the horizon.”

Photo: Trinbago Knight Riders fans battle nerves during the CPL final against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on 9 September 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Hope has occupied man’s thoughts since the times of the Greek philosophers. The early ones felt that it was an attitude of those who had insufficient knowledge or who were easily swayed by wishful thinking, which misleads into bad actions.

Aristotle posited a different dimension: we can be hopeful when in danger of being shipwrecked or when we are very sick, but these circumstances do not require courage since they require neither prowess nor achieve a noble end.

For him, hope comes through deliberate courageous action and may be the preserve of the young leading them to pursue noble ends. Not every hopeful man is courageous, but every courageous man is hopeful.

“The coward, then, is a despairing sort of person; for he fears everything. The brave man, on the other hand, has the opposite disposition; for confidence is the mark of a hopeful disposition.”

There is no room for being like Pollyanna at this time of our country since there are real dangers. But there are ‘green shoots’—to quote economists—that should spur us to have hope.

In December 2015, three weeks before Christmas, our then Central Bank Governor abruptly announced that the economy was officially in recession, naming certain companies as the main users of foreign exchange. In so doing, he fulfilled Dr Terrence Farrell’s earlier caution that he was not suitable for the job.

Photo: Former Central Bank governor Jwala Rambaran (left) and communications manager Charlene Ramdhanie.

But he was not the only unsuitable one. We had a non-energy man running our flagship energy operation: the NGC. These examples of political appointees, with questionable qualifications in crucial positions at that time, in no small measure contributed to where we are today.

We ought to breathe a sigh of relief that we have a soberer Central Bank Governor and a CEO at NGC whose breadth of experience qualifies him as arguably one of the stellar energy operatives we ever had. The ship is not in calm waters, but it will be less likely to capsize.

In 1983-89 we had seven years of recession: wages frozen, homes lost through foreclosure and major job losses. Unemployment rose to 22% in 1989. Are we there?

We were griping and complaining because we are coming off the ‘sugar high’ of the last two decades when Eric Williams’ reputed words about money being no problem were amazingly true. We are like the prophet Elijah—on a ‘high’ one day and wanting to die the very next.

The sky did not fall in. We, not the poor who catch their ‘nennen’ all the time, have to fight now—possibly for the first time in decades. When we protect our turf and keep our eyes on people and what they have done or said, we miss and distort the truth.

Being personality-oriented nearly always lead to dire consequences. Instead of bold faith, we bring misery and pain to others. We survived those years, why can we not these?

Photo: Two spectators take a selfie during Trinidad and Tobago’s 2016 Independence Day Parade celebrations.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

We now have options through our substantial foreign exchange reserves and our Heritage and Stability Fund.

For years we wanted to diversify and now that Petrotrin is shut down, we will be forced to do so; we should not gripe. We did not do the closure the right way, but do we have the cojones to make a living in the new world outside?

Digicel, which we love based on usage patterns, brought the fight to TSTT. How does TSTT fight back? Is Digicel hiring only outsiders? Or are we seeing productivity at work?

Compare Gypsy then with his ‘Sinking Ship’ to Voice and his ‘A time for love’… “Bad man is a man who does defend woman and protect the young ones by any means, lad… Yuh ain’t no bad man, boy nah… A real bad man does make his own decisions, he don’t need anyone, he only needs God.”

Which one is the active agent of change?

Civil society is more active and militant, forcing accountability. Witness Martin Daly SC and Sophia Chote SC, Fixing TnT, Keith Look Loy and Wayne Kublalsingh.

The defiance of the ordinary citizen in the MFO’s Petrotrin Poll re the matters of trade unions and the Industrial Court. The Greenvale residents’ town hall meeting performance. The Kalpoo brothers. Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) keeping us on our environmental awareness toes. Afra Raymond, the indefatigable campaigner, and the UWI students who jumped out their shells. The brave spokespersons for the Women’s National football team.

Photo: Residents move through the Greenvale community by raft.
(Copyright Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

Should I add Wired868 and its crusading ways?

They may tire but never lose heart, the move is on. He that has eyes to see, let him see.

About Noble Philip

Noble Philip
Noble Philip, a retired business executive, is trying to interpret Jesus’ relationships with the poor and rich among us. A Seeker, not a Saint.

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One comment

  1. Good will prevail. We will make it once we keep resisting and refusing the negatives. #Hope