Notes Taken During Matsiko

January 21st, 2018

The crazy capitalist agenda would have us believe that what this world needs is jobs, it needs people to have jobs, to do things, to have professions that can be accepted by its agenda. More so, it suggests that to further this effort in traditional societies or newly capitalist societies or less technologically developed areas is more worthy of celebration. It refuses to accept that the work it insists on people doing is not necessary, that the deep work can not be advertised or exploited. Further, it cannot accept that because to accept it would be the very action of its dissolution, or its disillusion (there is no coincidence in their homophony). It even asserts that God is working through its mechanisms. Of course God is but God does not need capitalism to work in the world. Capitalism is in the world and so God works through it.

These are real people, real orphans, and they have found real hope in this program but I cannot accept that flying jets owned by the rich into a rich country to beg for money back home — through an intermediary at that — is an effort that needs support.

For me it’s like maintaining a COBOL program. Yes, it works, but at what cost? It’s not like COBOL was a masterpiece of engineering. It was just a step on the way to better solutions. No, we shouldn’t transition the system at every step along the way; that’s like Xeno’s paradox; we wouldn’t get anywhere. But we do need to revolve the wheel. It takes a lot of effort to move everyone to something new, especially when we don’t have a word for it, but we will never have the word for the thing that we will see for the first time tomorrow.

It is no coincidence either that the children in this program learn to ask for money from Americans, learn to speak English, learn American songs. Of course it is fun. Music is vital, vibrant. But we know that the easiest way to get someone to do something is to convince them that it was their idea, and the easiest way to do that is to associate it with something they already love. And all children love music.

And as for the educational aspect: it is good to learn, and it is better to learn from one’s own people. In that regard this is better than forcing children into English schools. But the English don’t need to do that anymore. They did it to an entire generation, multiple generations, so that traditions could be forgotten and their own tradition adopted. Now, they can print posters advertising traditional local education but be guaranteed that it will remain their system. This upon seeing a girl onscreen erupt in joy upon getting “all As”. Who told her that an A was worth striving for? Not her Liberian tradition. Can she make home implements? Can she harvest her family’s crops? Does she know the cycles of the earth and can she live according to them?

Not only that but I find if implausible that these children have “come to praise Your holy name.” It is not impossible that each child has had a direct encounter with The Is of reality and transcended their culture’s religious instruction but I find it more likely that they were divorced from that tradition. While living in a society created and informed by those ancestral traditions, they were told of a surpassing tradition, the vaunted Christianity of the English, and through demonstration of mechanical power (which is hard for anyone especially a child), convinced of that tradition’s validity without ever learning the intricacies of their own and allowed a chance to come to true religion through that path. They may, like everyone, come to that true religion but I feel it will be a longer road for the diversion.

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