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Why We Fail

April 2 2011 at 7:48 PM
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Mangi Nating 

The failure of PNG is the direct result of a failure of our ideas. The West ascended from its barbarism due to the influx of ideas from the East, North Africa and the Mediterranean. What is now western culture is the result of cumulative knowledge that was created by men and women of various races and by a willingness of westerners to embrace and build upon those new ideas.

In fact all human progress is the result of thought. Now this may seem fairly elementary, but let the idea sink in for a minute. Every single man-made item - whether it is clothing, toilet paper, government or war - is first an idea in the mind. Every single thing of consequence that we do is guided by our thoughts.

The logical conclusion then is that the failure of Papua New Guinea (in areas to numerous to mention) is the failure of thought on our part collectively.

Now, we must be careful. I am not saying that we have failed because we’re not as inherently intelligent as our western counterparts – I am saying that we have failed to progress because we have not applied ourselves to thinking, which is not the same thing.

If you accept my premise that all human progress is the result of thought, then you must wonder how this can be harnessed for our benefit. And the answer is quite simply: education.

Drumming the idea into a child that one and one equals two is great, but one can just as easily train a parrot to do the same. We will only have succeeded in educating the populace when they not only memorize facts and dates, but also when they genuinely want to know why and learn to find out for themselves.

When a child asks why, this shows not only an intellectual curiosity (which must be nurtured) but equally importantly, it shows that she has started to develop the ability to critically evaluate claims. And that my dear friend is what we must teach our children. We must place in them the idea, - that oak seed of an idea - that not everything that our culture, that society and that the world says or does is necessarily correct. They must critically evaluate every single claim on its own merits.

Our ideas have been wrong ones - whether it is pay-back killing, a belief in sorcery, litter or corruption - all these stem from wrong-headed thinking. We pay back a wrong because of the idea that if we do not, we will be seen to be weak. We sustain our belief in sorcery because we do not understand enough about disease. We litter because we do not believe in the idea of personal responsibility and finally we allow corruption because of the idea that wealth can only be generated through theft and not enterprise.

Papua New Guinea’s failure is not completely the fault of 109 individuals given to fatuous speech-making, it is the failure of me and you as part of this society to embrace new ideas, to discard old ones that are no longer relevant and to come up with ideas of our own on how we can move our country forward.

In all this, we must not forget God, who has blessed us with sufficient intelligence to deal with our societal ills. I would like to expand (and perhaps expound on) some of these ideas about development on this forum, if the Lord is willing and I have the time.

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About this board - the Kumul Discussion Forum is administered and set up by PNGScape with the permission of the founder of the board and the Kumul Foundation pursuant to the Kumul Foundation's object of facilitating discussion and debate on issues of significance to Papua New Guinea's national development. The old Kumul board can be found at Discussion must be conducted respectfully, and rationally, with the object being that the dissemination of ideas will lead to action that will contribute to PNG's ongoing development.

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