The following is commentary from Dr. Charles Wheatley.
I have been listening to a fair amount of discourse about the symptoms which characterize the current situation in our homeland, but not sufficient discourse on the root causes of the situation. The status of our people should be measured against the goals of the Territory. The outcomes are symptoms of the inner workings of the homeland. Let us take a brief look at Mahatma Gandhi’s seven dangers of human virtues published in October 1925:
1. Wealth without work;
2. Pleasure without conscience;
3. Knowledge without character;
4. Business without ethics;
5. Science without humanity;
6. Religion without Sacrifice;
7. Politics without principle.
The word “virtue” is a translation of the Greek word “arete’ “which is also translated as “excellence.” Different objects natural and artificial have their particular arete’. There is arete’ (excellence) of a horse, and there is arete’ “excellence” of a knife. Then of course there is arete’ (excellence) of human.
The seven virtues found in the bible are: faith, hope, charity, justice, prudence, temperence, and fortitude.
The qualities which are important in helping to mold our characters are: putity, peace, truth, knowledge, power, love, and bliss. Gandhi’s seven dangers are symptoms which tell us that we have lost our moral compass bearings. We need to reflect seriously and conscientiously on the occurrences of Gandhi’s symptoms in our culture. I have seen the birth and nurturing of some of these symptoms by our community, in my lifetime. We have failed to cut off the Gorgon’s head when it rose up and it grew more snakes until the snakes are sharing our accommodations, our businesses, our learning institutions, our worship centers, our minds and our hearts. The first danger is “wealth without work.” In the B. V. I. there is a “treasure sub-culture” which has been alive like the “underground railroad.”
Many B. V. Islanders have gained their wealth from that treasure hunt. Both my mother and father had been offered wealth from that treasure hunt in their dreams. They told me the detailed instructions given to each of them and once they followed those instructions they would get the treasure. They refused and I asked them why? They were as poor as a country mouse. They said to me one should work honestly for what they want, and you do not lose what you did not have, and don’t take up what you did not put down. They taught me to work for what I want and keep my eyes off people’s things. Those instructions were given like the Lord’s prayer. Their approach to the acquisition of wealth reflected the culture which was popular then. You got to know that through the daily narratives circulating in the community. Today the desire to become wealthy with little or no work is growing stronger from the pulpit to the pew, from the House of Assembly to the street, from father to son, from mother to daughter and so on. The moral, social, and political dangers have been made known to us. We cannot bury our heads in the sand on these issues in going forward. We must reset the moral compass of the Territory. It will not be easy but we have to address the root causes as well as the symptoms. We can win this battle if we are willing to take on the challenges faithfully. We must regain our axe head.