By Professor Richard A. Byron-Cox (PhD)
As I took up my pen to commence writing the central idea herein, news came: Leroy “The Black Stalin” Calliste is no more. I put the pen down, instantly inundated by a million emotions.
I pondered: Should I change plan and write a tribute to this Caribbean Hero? Within the hour, more nouvelles mauvaises arrived: King Pele had said his final goodbye. I was thrown into deeper reflection, upon which I decided to celebrate the GREAT Stalin in a later piece, for theme of this offering covers something these two giants practised daily, namely, love.
While not being a Christian, I celebrate Christmas wholeheartedly, my fundamental reason being, it hails peace and good will among men, which must be grounded in love. I speak not of sentimental feelings which roll in on seasonal tides; or are fermented by momentary abundance.
Or some fickle emotion, easily doused by the slightest chill in relations one with another. No. Here the discourse is on abundant selflove, which ought not to be confused with the selfishness and egoism that characterises the automized individual, a heartless and soulless existence.
Some among us are so consumed with hate that they poison whole sections of society, insisting there is no “us”; not even “we and them”; only “Them against us”. Therefore, no compromise! We are in a state of permanent war! They will give some “rationale” for their stance: politics, difference in ideology or religion…. However, a closer look reveals a terrible misfortune: a lack of true selflove. Oh, you see this conclusion as oversimplistic! Well, I have never been one to construct difficult equations in place of accepting simple truths.
It is useful to make observations of the weird, reflect on them, and then seek logical, reasonable explanation. From example: what makes a person living in a country or depending on it for his very livelihood, wish the most horrible plagues on that land? In that nation’s failure is his own demise and that of his children. Why would you wake up each morning only to lambast in the nastiest of ways someone who simply has a different political opinion? Why would anyone murder another in cold blood and especially on Christmas day? Why do men sodomize innocent boys; children neglect their elderly parents; and the filthy rich continue to steal from the desperate poor? There is only one answer. A depraved soul! And nothing makes the human more depraved than the absence of selflove.
It is this tragic absence that makes many feel that happiness is in the abundance of paper money and a mountain of material things. Much of man-woman relationship is largely a matter of financial transactions. Oh, that stung you! Guess why? The truth hurts. Marley once said, “Some people are so poor, the only thing they have is money.” The poorest, saddest, most inhumane people I have ever met have one common trait, no selflove. There are many who understand this selflove to mean, “me first, me only, me always, and me forever.” This Trumpian malaise is not just blind, unfeeling, and deft to anything that doesn’t feed the “I, me, myself” mania; it so poisons the environs, that any space it occupies is contaminated with mistrust and disunity, causing an unhealthy social order that breeds universal ill will.
Sure, we all have been victim of injustices, some terrible. And sure, fairness requires that there be redress. But hate could never be an adjudicator in matters of justice for it seeks vengeance, despises mercy and forgiveness, but worse of all, it’s blind to truth, without which, justice perishes.
We all know people who are permanently angry, who see no good in anything, who have no joy in living. They believe that forgiving, compromising, doing the good, is too much love to give; love the other doesn’t deserve. They refuse to accept that being envious is destructive to them first and more, than to the object of their bile. In fact, most people completely ignore their malice. Some pity them. Still, these haters are bitter every waking-moment by self-infliction. No one with selflove will deny themselves piece, health, and joy, holding on to the sick belief that hate is the source and meaning of life. It’s bad when others hurt us; but it is downright foolish to let hate dictate the course of one’s life such that personal piece and contentment never abide. Yes, the community might be affected by your hate; not due to some power you exert, but from the stench of your decaying soul, for without love we are living dead! You can continue to stew in hate, or blossom through love. The call is yours. Decide!