“Your thought makes your life conduct; our attitudes are the results of our thoughts” Dr. Munro Myles. This quote asserts the truth that, the way we practice and live is the result of how we think indeed. The basic question here is “do we think and act correctly?
I am writing this article without intention of imposing colonialism mindset in our society, or trying to deny our embedded culture that we enjoy. However, one has to read through carefully to discover my entire intention for the betterment of our country and other developing countries as well.
In fact, I am curious to see the mindset of our generation is transformed into positive way with high level of civilization; that could add to the advanced state of civilization and hence contributes to the sustainable development.
For example, have you ever asked yourself these questions: why we live in the societies where people cannot respect the queues in the public services offices, banks and other offices?; why people can steal road infrastructures such as electricity lights in the cities high ways?; why people can break and steal the office buildings or industries facilities?; why drivers do not respect zebra signs on the road?; why people can walk along the cities throwing garbage and wastes all the ways in the streets while there are special dustbins?; why people can smoke in the public areas/transport facilities while it is prohibited?; why if you walk around the streets, you can rarely greet people with smiles on their faces?; why, if you walk around in the cities and towns, you see a lot of security guards in front of shops and houses with guns while those shops/houses are built with strong fences and grill doors/windows?; why people do not manage time scheduled for meetings, works or appointments?; why people can set fire on natural forests and kill animals blatantly?.
With all these questions plus many others that you could ask more, I think you need to get the answer of which is going to be the first step towards understanding and changing your mindset and ultimately your attitude. The answer is simple, “lack of civilized thinking and acting”. Again, this doesn’t mean that all people living in Tanzania and developing countries are uncivilized, of course there some degree of civilization though at low or medium level.
The definition of civilization according to the English dictionary is referred to as an ‘advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry, and government has been reached’. It is advanced state of human being simply because there are things that one cannot find in a lower thinking state of human beings life; in the lower thinking state there are levels of primitive culture, less or no science discovery, low level of industry and poor governance. I can simply say civilization is the best way of thinking and doing things/actions.
Nevertheless, Sustainable development refers to the practices of utilization of resources to meet the needs of the present and future generation in the universe. In other way, "Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. In this case, civilization and sustainable development are interconnected somewhere in their realities given how human being practices in their daily life. Either Civilization has ingredient to the sustainable development or sustainable development produces the civilization? Who knows? May be I am right to say that, without civilization “ceteris Paribas”, no sustainable development can be realized in any country in the world. A country can try hard to develop but if its people are lacking civilized minds and actions, sustainability is jeopardized.
Civilization in the Developed countries Versus Civilization in the Developing countries
In August, 2014, I first landed in the Netherlands; this is among the countries that are found in the developed World. Yes it is a developed World, why? Because, what I saw and realized in my stay of about 15months is that, in this society, there is high level of culture, science, industry, and governance in practice. I observed things that I never or rarely observed in my home country of Tanzania. Things such as good and impressive roads and building infrastructures constructed more than 90 years ago and their status looks like constructed just six months ago!; a very impressive way of public services delivery in the public/private offices; high peace and security you can walk in the street at midnight alone, no street robbers; low level of social crimes; no grill doors/windows on shops and living houses; high level of consciousness in time management; high level of personal honest in terms of relationships and communication; Freedom of expression and assembly in practice; high quality and standardized products; high level technologies both in Agriculture and Industries; very clean cities; buildings built in 1600’s but still have new look.
It is in this country where prostitution business is legally allowed and women are earning their life through prostitution “bitching” business; the government collects revenue through tax from the prostitution business sector.
I spent some times travelling to other countries such as Germany, Belgium and Northern Ireland, where was similar observations. In fact, I discovered that, these people are living in a very different ways of life conduct indeed; I was puzzled but I came to conclude that “Civilization” is what maintaining all these good things to their countries; that’s why they are seem to be in another better world of development “Developed world”.
The reality can never be denied in life, whether we like or not, these are the people with high level of not only civilization but also self-civilization thinking. Of course, besides all the good things, these countries experience some social economic problems as well but in different pace as compared to the countries in developing world, Africa in particular.
The opposite side of the coin, if one has been in Europe [in the developed World] and has realized all the aforementioned things and ways of living, he or she will agree that, there is no match with developing countries.
This is why; developing countries are characterized by low level of not only economic development but also unsustainable development. I sometimes ask myself “why are we here as of today aging over 50 years since we attained independence? I know one can answer this question by referring to historical background of being colonized by these countries situated in the developed world, yes indeed.
However, I would recommend arguing beyond the point of colonization and considering this factor of “Civilization”. For example, since we were left by the colonialists, how much roads, buildings and industrial infrastructures we constructed? Think of their status or situation as of today, what do you see?. Actually, it is in the developing free countries like Tanzania where one is willing and happy to take away/steal the public highway road electric lights; the bridge/railway irons for personal uses; one is willing to transport overweight cargo on the multi billions constructed roads…sabotage everywhere!.
With this kind of uncivilized thinking what do you expect in the perspective of sustainability of those social economic infrastructures? Shakespeare once he said, “There is nothing good or bad, it is our thinking that makes it so”. This means, civilization is the way of personal living, a way of thinking and practicing in life, this meaning marks the difference between the people in the developing world and those in developed world.
In fact, the governments in the developing countries are struggling too much to bring about social economic development something which is real appreciated. However, they forget to impart this new way of thinking to the generations so that, what they are making should be of sustainable in the development perspective. The generations in the developed world are sharped their mind in a way that, everyone is responsible to protect the available and new infrastructures; to protect resources to meet the needs of not only the present generation but also the future generations.
What lesson can we learn and change?
There is a Swahili statement that says “Tembea uone” meaning that, “walk around and see”. The thing here isn’t only to walk around and see but also to learn and to undergo changes in thinking and practices given the good things you have seen.
I know, I am not the only person who have walked around the world and see good things, there are several other people; others are my fellow countrymen who have seen even more good things than what I have seen in Europe; some are government officials as well. But what are the lesson do we bring to teach/impart the generation of the developing countries to facilitate changing their thinking?. In my views, the following are the issues that the generations of the developing world must learn from and change by putting into practices in their daily life.
Civilization is not something you can buy, it is something that is personally created and developed. The developed world people did this since the beginning of industrial revolution in the 16th centuries, and inherited throughout the generations.
The environments for the people to be civilized should be created and developed, these include putting emphasis on family re-constructions and mindset transformation programmes through education, mosques and churches institutions. Among the priorities of the government therefore should be to enhance these sectors. The developed governments did this hundreds of decades ago successfully.
Law enforcement is not only the best measure or solution to discipline and make the society civilized. Actually, if people are self-civilized, there is a very low possibility of law breaching in the society. Example, in a civilized society like that of the developed world, police forces and court are relaxed having very little or no criminal cases backlogs.
Investing in the best family attitude building is the preparation of the best civilized Nation on Earth where sustainable development can be realized. Definitely, if there is no civilization in a Nation, all that we do shall never sustain present and the future generations.
Changes is possible to Tanzanians
Appreciation for the few citizens with civilized thinking and actions; For the others, we are not rigid enough to changes, towards better thinking and acting, all is just because we tune our mind in that way of thinking. But changes are possible if we can try starting self- determination and thinking even from the family scratch is better. Living aside what the government can do in investment to promote economic growth/development, we, as citizens whom we construct the societies and we have a sole responsibility to change the way we think and act in our daily life. If we realize this fact and put into practice, we shall be able to use and enjoy what we have in our country for many years. In fact, all development projects that are geared towards benefiting the people would have long life span with little or no rehabilitations. Ironically, a person with self-civilized mind cannot be able to corrupt or misuse his or her authorities; destroy or steal infrastructure instead of protecting it.
Opportunity for further researches
It would be of paramount important if one could be interested to explore the issues beyond reasonable doubts on civilization context. For example, how civilization contributes to the sustainable development?. I therefore, encourage researchers to look at this neglected component of development paradigm.
Civilization is a man-made thing that is created through one’s life endeavors. In order to realize sustainable development, we need to reconsider “Civilization” as one of the significant factors for economic advancement and sustainable development.
About the writer
The writer of this article is Mr.Jackson Bulili, he is a professional Development specialist, Trainer, Agribusiness Expert and Economist. He obtained Masters of Development studies major in Economics of Development from Erasmus University of Rotterdam, in The Netherlands and Bachelor of Science with Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness from Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: +255785348972/+255754338911, Morogoro, Tanzania.