I have never been big into politics. I know this isn’t admirable, but the truth is, I find political discussions extremely boring. And worse, I find that more often than not, people are discussing the outrageous behaviour our politicians get away with, rather than debating actual issues that affect our society. To me, discussing politics feels like gossiping or catching up with your friends about your favourite series.
Quite frankly, I’d rather discuss Game of Thrones than think about the people governing our country. The plot’s more cleverly written and people die on that show all the time! But to be honest, it feels weird to write a blog post every week without acknowledging what’s happening around us. “A Life I Choose” is about becoming aware of our inner workings, our environments and how the two zones interact. To not address our situation feels contrary to this.
When I ask myself how I feel about the current situation, my answer is “unsettled”. I feel confused by the copious amounts of information flying at me from different angles. I feel unhappy to see so many people upset by the situation; the corruption allegations, the denials, and so on; and the impact this has on our being Maltese within the wider international context.
In the last election, I didn’t vote. I didn’t feel informed enough to pass judgement on who should govern our nation. I don’t blame this lack of knowledge on anyone but myself. As I said, I don’t find politics interesting, so I didn’t seek out information. I suppose, I was open to anyone coming into power. I wasn’t opposed to some fresh air, for some new energy to move things on our island.
There were some movements our country made that I felt happy about: Like gay marriage being legalised. But there’s been a lot that I just don’t understand. The mindless construction is just one of them. But what stays with me most is this situation of our national identity seemingly entwined with corrupt and possibly criminal elements abroad.
Yes, the economy may be doing well now, but it appears to be driven on the notion of “get rich quick”. There is no delay gratification, or “pleasure delayers”. Instead, there is the expectation for instant results and well-being; the election campaign hoardings say as much while taking all the credit for a job well done. Remember the marshmallow experiment (watch video below)? We are the kid in the marshmallow experiment, gobbling down the marshmallow the moment the experimenter turns his back to leave the room! Okay, so the kid enjoyed the marshmallow, but if they waited those 15 minutes, they could have got 2 marshmallows! And if the kid was really cute, they could have saved the second one for a friend.
We know the results of the marshmallow experiment: the kids who gobbled the marshmallow ended up getting lower grades, ended up unhappier, and less successful when they became adults. The children who tolerated the discomfort of watching the marshmallow and resisting the temptation to eat it for 15 minutes; they were the ones who ended up with better grades, better moods and more successful relationships and careers. In other words, if impulsiveness is borne of greed and a lack of self-control; it will not take you very far in life.
As I said before, I am no political genius and am far from becoming a political activist. I definitely don’t recommend you come to this blog for political wisdom. I am a therapist: I observe relationships dynamics, I look at how human beings develop, and I study what motivates and makes people happy. I am reflecting on the forthcoming election through my eyes, and this is what I am sharing with you. I am not following a party line here. Instead, I am here writing to you as your fellow citizen; and as your fellow-citizen-therapist, I feel that there is a lot more to the fulfilment of our collective natural state than the notion that we must measure success through monetary wealth.