Ig­nor­ing warn­ing signs

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

For most Ki­wis, it’s im­por­tant to be staunch and sol­dier on in hard times, with­out com­plaint. Yet that char­ac­ter­is­tic con­ceals a less ad­mirable trait – our de­lib­er­ate re­fusal to recog­nise facts that clearly in­di­cate some­thing is wrong and de­mand ac­tion. Trag­i­cally, such blind­ness to de­fi­cien­cies in their work places, led to the deaths of those who died deep un­der­ground at Pike River and be­neath col­lapsed build­ings in Christchurch. Wil­ful blind­ness is a hu­man phe­nom­e­non. Sim­ply there is a limit to what our brains can ab­sorb, so they fil­ter the in­for­ma­tion we take in. While such edit­ing tends to ex­clude in­for­ma­tion that un­set­tles our frag­ile egos and most vi­tal be­liefs, it is not al­ways dis­as­trous and on a per­sonal level may help main­tain op­ti­mism and mo­men­tum. But col­lec­tively, wil­ful blind­ness can be cat­a­strophic as il­lus­trated by those bankers and gov­ern­ments who chose to ig­nore the warn­ing signs of a loom­ing fi­nan­cial cri­sis. Sim­i­larly, scant no­tice is taken of those warn­ing of the dan­gers in­her­ent in a grow­ing class of marginalised ci­ti­zens; un­em­ployed, lack­ing any sense of se­cu­rity and de­spair­ing of their fu­ture. The Sal­va­tion Army’s re­cent State of the Na­tion Report, The Grow­ing Di­vide, of­fers a sig­nif­i­cant con­clu­sion we might pre­fer to ig­nore but do so at our peril, ‘‘Presently we . . . lack the wit and in­sight to ap­pre­ci­ate the links be­tween the so­cial en­vi­ron­ment we cre­ate and the so­cial out­comes we reap.’’ Deputy Prime Min­is­ter, Bill English’s so­lu­tion, ‘‘fix­ing the prob­lem one child and one fam­ily at a time’’, is lu­di­crous but nei­ther has any other po­lit­i­cal party yet shown the courage or fore­sight to pro­pose the bold re­dis­tri­bu­tion of means vi­tal to this coun­try’s fu­ture.

Girls with rods: The way to aman’s heart.

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