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Avoiding the Abyss


  Materialism in Jamaica is wild and generous; fed by the icons of the United States. But like everywhere, materialism is a sign of an alternative to happiness, an escape, a line of flight, which cuts out the in-between, the visible effort. Materialism is the cause of all form in this paradise of entropy. Possession is an escape from the visual symptoms of the abyss: self-interest is a complex and urgent phenomenon in Jamaica as the abyss feels so close. Whether it is or not depends on your personal view of progress. A one-dimensional view of progress is supplied by the image of the West. People paint the abyss with their opinions, their fervent and loud truths. The fantasies painted in the imagination of the apocalyptically inclined cause a delirious behaviour, an attitude that measures everything in terms of what other people possess. Every action becomes related to the attempt to escape from the abyss by clambering up one’s neighbours’ standards. Self-interest is measured against the quantity and quality of domestic technology with which the abyss and the world outside can be kept at bay, at least in the mind. Little do they know that the abyss is not there, the abyss is also a product of their mind! Enjoy the baroque delight in the glitter that is gold. It is the materialism of an absolutist frame of mind, which is why the abyss is given such full and glorious shape in the personalised language, the imagery and the escapist forms of Jamaica’s materialism.


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