“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” Matthew 10:29-31
Sharon Chambers, President, Positive Tourism Network once asked me, about the writing of my weekly column, “Which comes first the title, the biblical text or the topic of the article?” The question came as a bit of a surprise because I never thought about it in that way. I was committed to writing the weekly column and I wrote about some recent experience or in response to a reader’s comment or about some issue which I wanted to address. I do not remember, but my response was probably topic, text and title, in that order. I have since become more conscious about this and can truly say that in the many columns that I have written since then, the order has been distributed, not necessarily equally, among the six permutations of title, text and topic. The sequence of today’s column is text, topic and title. I had a very busy week, had not thought about a topic and hence, on deadline day, set out to seek inspiration from the “Bible Verse of the Day” at www.bible.com. My interpretation of this text is that we are all important in the eyes of the creator but some species are more important than others. Then I set out to do some research on www.wikipedia.org, the free Internet encyclopaedia, about the hierarchy of the species. I quote – A human being, also human or man is a member of a species of bipedal primates in the family Hominidae (taxonomically Homo sapiens—Latin: “wise human” or “knowing human”). DNA evidence indicates that modern humans originated in East Africa about 200,000 years ago. Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection and problem solving. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the arms for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other species. Humans are distributed worldwide, with large populations inhabiting every continent on Earth as well as low Earth orbit, except Antarctica. The human population on Earth is greater than 6.7 billion, as of February 2009. As of the present time, humans are a dominant form of biological life, in terms of their distribution and effect on the biosphere. Like most higher primates, humans are social by nature. Humans are particularly adept at utilizing systems of communication—primarily spoken, gestural, and written language—for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of traditions, rituals, ethics, values, social norms, and laws, which together form the basis of human society. Human culture shows a marked appreciation for beauty and aesthetics, which, combined with the desire for self-expression and proportionally a very large brain-size, has led to innovations such as art, writing, literature and music. Homo sapiens, as a species, is notable for the desire of some of its individual members to understand and influence the environment around them, seeking to explain and manipulate natural phenomena through philosophy, art, science, mythology and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills. Humans are the only species known to build fires, cook their food, and clothe themselves; as well as utilize numerous other technologies. Humans pass down their skills and knowledge to the next generations and so are regarded as dependent upon culture – End of quote. This quotation paints a beautiful picture of human beings, but only portrays the potential of the human being. The reality is much different. Yes, of course, the human being has done wonderful things with the God given resources available but the human being has also demonstrated elements of selfishness and greed which has been inimical to the cause of sustainable development. In particular, the behaviour of the human being has caused much stress in terms of: a lack of commitment to spiritual awareness, poor protection of the physical environment, a propensity for war, stymied economic growth and the lack of care for fellow man. As a colleague once said, “we need to develop men and women who take the time to pour into the lives of others, no matter how seemingly insignificant that individual may appear to be. In order to have a better society and to truly leave a legacy, each one of us must realise our own significance and rise to the challenge of making Barbados and the region a better place to live. We must become energised to do our best for our country and the best can only be achieved through the power of God and unity with our fellow man”. We must set about to reverse the trends by a renewed commitment to spiritual awareness, the conscious protection of the physical environment, the diffusion of the issues which lead to war, the development of creative and innovative strategies for economic growth, the appreciation of the finer things in life and care for our fellow man. President Obama is setting a good example.