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Common man Essay

At one level, the thesis is then just another callow compromise by the author in a life that he would call hollow, servile, and insincere. He is a weak and miserable man. Early in life, he was instilled with the desire to live according to what Bolles (1985) referred to as the three boxes of life, a desire that most middle-class parents bequeath to their children in the developing world. The three boxes of life being: foreign Western education, or rather training; high paying professional work in the West or the Middle East; and lastly a cushy retirement plan in North America and/or Europe, or a dollar-indexed pension to be paid in the home country. In other words, to borrow the incisive language of Malcolm X, my social milieu spoke to me in the following way: try to change your status from that of a field slave in the developing world to a house slave in a developed country so that you are of more use to the master and get to live a relatively comfortable life. On no account are you to forge a common cause with your fellow field slaves and work towards a new reorganization of the plantation so that all can live with dignity.

You are, of course, allowed to be compassionate towards the lower orders, give charity, and urge them to be like you in the lust to emulate the master. Thus, I came to view myself as a rat, in all senses of the word, and my country as a sinking ship. Foreign education was the life boat on which I could get out of the ship and serve with a smile those very institutions and interests that had boarded and scuttled not only my ship but many others like it. As for those drowning in the decks below, the thought never really entered my mind.

I now freely admit that I could not escape the clutches of the first box even when I became aware that I would be serving the very interests that were antithetical to what I thought represented the best in humanity. My ensnarement was due not so much to the strength of the box but to some path dependency processes which were accentuated largely by my own weaknesses, an unhealthy craving for wealth and status, and, lastly, craven cowardice that has made me so far, to quote Hamlet, ‘bear the ills we have than fly to those that we know not of.’ The jury is still out on the second and third boxes though. I hope the thesis will help me make my escape from them.


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