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The simple life of value

Archbishop Joseph Harris's simple message of simplicity offers a powerful response to today's life of multi-layered complexities in which some of the most important things get lost. Things like family, community, nation, humanity, truth, duty and love.

When all is said and done, these are the things by which our lives will be measured. How each is interpreted and applied in the context of our life-times is a matter for each one of us as we search for self-fulfillment and seek the success of a life well-lived.

As essential as they are, these are the things that get shunted aside in the mad rush to satisfy the temporal needs of modern living.

In these early years of the Twenty-first Century, we are living the tail-end of the materialist age of industrialisation. Twentieth Century development has been a double-edged sword by which the lives of billions across the planet have been improved by industrial and technological progress even as we have suffered massive resource depletion, devastating wars and environmental degradation on a planetary scale.

Here in Trinidad and Tobago, we have seen within the relatively short period of under forty years, the impact of unbridled embrace of the consumer values of modern society. Our family and communities have not escaped the ravages that come with the lust for possessions as expressed in both legal and illegal ways.

Today, we are left with the challenge of rebuilding communities out of the shards of a shattered past when life had seemed so much more simple, direct and, in many ways, rewarding.

Even as we confront our challenges, we of this Caribbean country must acknowledge how much we have to be thankful for. With our natural resources of human creativity and goodness, fertile land, astounding flora and fauna, bountiful seas and oil and gas, we could really boast of being chosen children.

And yet, too often, we are quick to dismiss our gifts and blessings, throw up our hands in despair, curse the wind for our hardships and go at each other's throats

This year 2012, has been another year of extreme rancour in our public life with far too many of us willing to put self-interest above all else and, often, at the expense of the very values to which we claim to subscribe.

In making his Christmas plea for a return to simplicity, Archbishop Harris asks us to reconsider the direction in which we are heading and to assess how well the path on which we are serves the things of greatest value to us.

As the year draws to a close, let us embrace the coming days as a time for reflection and introspection. No matter how far we have gone, it is never too late to re-engineer our lives and our attitudes to each other so that those things that are dearest to our heart are best served by our thoughts, attitudes and actions.

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