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Fearing the unknown

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Editor: I have noticed within recent times that a number of our intellectuals have allowed themselves to become engulfed in a cloud of negativism and pessimism, taking a number of unscientific and anti-scientific positions with respect to national development.

They have embraced the culture of, “It cannot be done,” or “It is impossible.” Their minds have been overpowered by the negative consideration associated with the process of development. {{more}}Instead of expending brain power on the mitigation of the negatives and the maximizing of the positives, they are paralyzed by their fear of the unknown.

The thought of impossibility becomes a knee jerk response to every challenge. They are at home with that which is conventional and traditional. Thinking “outside the box” is not their piece of cake. Innovation is an alien in their world. Development to them is about operating within a comfort zone and doing more of the same. They do not appear to understand that development is about overcoming obstacles and challenges. Gut instinct tells them that they must object to that which projects into the distant future.

Knowingly or unknowingly they embrace the philosophy of existentialism.

Some of the objections raised by certain professionals to certain developmental projects are nothing but insults to their own professional competence in this the 21st century. This is in light of the fact that an engineering marvel like the construction of the Panama Canal was realized at the beginning of the 20th century.

If we are to move forward we must be prepared to meet the challenges head-on, overcome those that can be overcome and mitigate as much as possible those that can not be overcome.

The road to true development is not going to be smooth, but this must never be taken as reason not to act. There will always be negative and positive implications associated with every move we make. Our professionals must never adopt a position of helplessness nor despair. Their function is to point out the negative and positive implications and identify ways in which we can overcome or mitigate the negatives and enhance or maximize the positives.

We must not allow our ambitions and connections to taint our professional opinions and ultimately the positions we take. While we must be cognizant of our limitations, we must recognize that the sky is the limit when it comes to our developmental possibilities.

There is no room for inertia or


Dr. Franklyn James