I am amazed every day to read or hear grown people in The Bahamas running around in a panic about things that are simply not real. They are fleeing in terror from the phantoms created by their unwillingness to educate themselves about anything other than that which might personally enrich themselves.
What is worse is that they seek to impose their fake terror on others. It is simply awful. If their children or grandchildren came to them and said that there was a ghost under their bed, they would quickly reassure them that such was just their imagination and that ghosts were not real. Yet, these same people conjure up fantasies about what exists or does not exist in this world and arrogantly proclaim that these unproven, made-up, non-fact-based illusions are real. Moreover, they would suggest that the world should bend in the direction of their illusions and self-serving ghostly interests. If this is not madness, what should it be called?
We must be an educated people. By “educated” I don’t mean someone who has a doctorate, master’s, or even a bachelor’s degree, rather an educated person is one who seeks knowledge, and who uses the levers available to him or her to research, study and dissect information in order to arrive at a fact-based, or at least reality-based, conclusion.
Bahamians, we must educate ourselves. We must act based on information. We must demand of ourselves and others that pronouncements be made based on fact. It is one thing to have no knowledge; but it is completely another thing to share that ignorance with others as if an expert. It is one thing not to like what is studied; it is completely another thing to simply ignore it. Education matters. It matters entirely. Informing ourselves before we speak with authority matters. It matters entirely. Being elected to a post, being appointed to a position or achieving prosperity does not make one informed about everything. They also do not give anyone the right simply to get up and pontificate.
In matters about which we know nothing or little, seeking knowledge is wisdom. Silence until then is prudent. What kind of example do we set if we treat education as if it simply does not matter? it matters, and whether you are old or young, you should encourage children to get as much of it as possible.
In ignorance too many of us run around seeing phantoms. Phantoms are not real and if they are, almost no one will believe in them without some proof, some evidence, some basis of fact. Why then should we run around proclaiming things about other parts of the world when we have as our only basis of fact, the fiction that is in our heads? It is foolishness. It is folly. And, it is dangerous.
God help us to learn better and do better. Education matters. Information matters. We must do our best to get our fill of both if we are to speak reliably and purposefully on any topic.
• Zhivargo Laing is a Bahamian economic consultant and former Cabinet minister who represented the Marco City constituency in the House of Assembly.