[private] It was not too many years ago that this island was a safe and beautiful place to live. We were known as isolationist and pirates by persons from outside, but within the community we were a kind and caring people. It is very hard to determine any one reason for the deterioration of the whole community; but for unknown reasons we the people have adopted a big city attitude towards our neighbors and friends.
In big cities the population is so great that the people become introverted and do not display any respect, affection or kindness for their neighbors. Their attitude is of self-preservation, exclusiveness and they believe that by closing their front doors they will be safe from the evils that go on outside. We have lost our moral responsibility to our neighbors. We no longer train our children to respect and show kindness to others.
When I was a kid, respect for our elders was so important that if anyone even suggested that some of us had broken this rule our parents did not spare the rod. A few months ago I saw a small child climbing over a neighbor’s fence and out of my concern for the child’s safety I told him that he should not be doing that. This seven-year-old child had me told off properly and let me know that I was not his boss and should therefore keep my suggestion for my own child. The child fell on his way back over the fence and broke his arm in two places.
When the other kids told the parents that I had warned the kid but he had not heeded my warning, the father told me that I should have taken a stick to him. This same father has gotten into many a row because of his ill-mannered kid for reasons far less drastic than someone taking a stick to his kid.
We have lost our ability to share the grief of our neighbors. In years gone by whenever someone died the barrooms were closed and the shop doors were closed at the passing of the coffin. On these occasions the town came together and built the coffin, dug the grave and sat with relatives of the dead and everybody went to the funeral services and interment. For weeks after the funeral some of the town’s women did the cooking and the house work for the survivors. All this has changed. Now people die and are weeks buried before the word gets out.
On one recent occasion a restaurant owner lost his uncle to old age and decided to close his business for the night, out of respect for the old gentleman. The complaints were many and some of the more daring came to his house to demand that he open the restaurant, citing the known fact and well-versed argument that no matter what we do we cannot bring back the dead. We have lost our ability to display affection for our neighbors.
However, there is still one thing that we are good at: the propagation of malicious gossip. Even the members of the church take an active part in the spreading injurious information.
We are not dead but we may as well be. We have lost our humanity; and when we lose our humanity we revert to the animal within us all. It’s our humanity that lifts us above all other living things and without it our chances for salvation are slim. [/private]