Marty Gibson’s column from the Gisborne Herald (in full with permission). Much of this applies around New Zealand.
Like the rest of the universe, Gisborne has dark matter and dark energy.
Physicists assume 83 percent of matter and 23 percent of energy in the universe is “dark” because they can’t explain gravity using the matter and energy they can detect.
Here on the East Coast, stuff we don’t see or talk about is often the difference between how life in a beautiful fertile sunny seaside land like the East Coast could be . . . and how it actually is.
I’m no physics expert, but I have done some considerable thinking about our region’s dark matter. As I walk the streets and supermarkets, I can feel it. I dream about how great this place would be if we enlightened our dark places.
Here is my incomplete list of the dark energy I notice as it drags this region away from fulfilling its promise as a happy, healthy place of abundance and harmony:
1. Separation : whether it is between religious denominations, Maori tribes, left/right, rich/poor, brown/white, locals/outsiders, town/country, men/women, young/old, police/potheads. The push toward tribalism instead of universal “I’m OK, you’re OK” fellowship gets us competing when we would get more done co-operating. Clannish separation is the negative side of pride. It blocks compassion and causes good people to nurture hate in their hearts.
2. Wilful ignorance: one possible reaction to our mortality and inability to fully understand life is to regard simplistic ideas and slogans as reality. Humbleness is a healthier approach, with focus on things we can know and change, including our history and future.
3. Sheep in wolves’ clothing: we often have bureaucrats where leaders should be. Chairing a committee or board for years isn’t the same as having a vision, making positive change, nurturing new leadership then moving to a new challenge. Clambering up a party list or on to a gravy train then sticking to it like a paua isn’t leadership, even if we occasionally benefit from your career.
4. Violence: like suicide, violence is usually the least creative response to a problem. We should not accept its rotten presence as it stinks the peace and joy out of this beautiful place. Whether violence is directed at animals, children, men or women, it’s time we stopped justifying and celebrating staunch posturing and bullying.
5. Bouncing cash: a lot of money that comes into the region leaves in the next transaction. If it went through three times as many hands before heading back out of town we would be better off — even more so if it were not borrowed. If it gets easier to start a profitable business or buy local food and fuel, our region will thrive.
6. Inefficiency: non-accountability, cheap energy, and other people’s money have fertilised our inefficiency. Trucking polystyrene concrete and organic waste to landfills out of the district is inefficient. A person receiving less money when they work because of Working for Families is inefficient. Trying to teach hungry kids is inefficient. Allowing young people to drift into addiction and gangs is inefficient. Unhealthy rivers and eroding land are inefficient.
7. Mediocrity: unless our community places more value on excellence we will keep limping along at the bottom of the tables and stats, no matter how ardently socialism promises to pull us up toward its grey average by taxing success.
And who am I to say all this? I’m nobody special. Frankly, I am a bit embarrassed writing things that sound like they came down from Kaiti Hill, carved on stone tablets.
I’m not the first person to notice all this, so let’s talk about alternatives. What’s on your list?