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Salvaging our gifts

I said: “I believe we’re all sent here with gifts. I believe finding and manifesting those gifts is our mission in life. The search for and the expression of our gifts gives us purpose. Living our gifts gives us joy, and in turn it will provide. In living your gift you’re simultaneously of worth to your community and yourself.”
You said: “But what if we live in a gift-killing nation?”

My last column on “Emancipating Genius” stirred emotional responses, so I’ve decided to go deeper. This article continues exploring the stakeholder masterplan for the creative sector—plans to grow it from a $1.9 billion annual earner to a $7 billion one in four short years. The plans, although approved by the Ministry of Finance three years ago, haven’t been implemented since.

I’m writing this at a time when most of the super-gifted creative Trinidadians and Tobagonians I know are in absolute despair. They’re at points of bankruptcy, suicide, mental breakdown, exile, bordering criminality, and worst. Elders are in clinical-depression, feeling their works have been in vain. They feel they’re witnessing the destruction of everything they’ve created. They may be right. These are silent screams from our best. All are frustrated, stifled, artificially impoverished, dishonoured, disrespected. Each is potentially worth tens of millions of US dollars. They’re here, tortured, inert, underutilised.
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Emancipating Genius

This series continues to look at the stakeholder Masterplan for the creative sector. The Plan identifies areas that should be resourced to grow the industry from a $1.9 billion to a $7 billion earner in four years. One pillar—one many people would not believe constitutes an industrial sector—is the work of “geniuses’’.

In our calculation, “geniuses’’ in the creative sector—if enabled properly—can contribute over $2 billion to the economy annually. Up from $.2 billion at present.
But first I’ve a confession: I’m a snob. I love genius. I believe in the beauty and power of genius and its ability to change the world for the better. I believe that genius is at times resident in individuals—as well as communities. What I do know is that this dark world stretching back into time has been ceaselessly illuminated by the exploits of genius.

A friend of mine was doing a “bucket list’’ recently (these list of things that you promise yourself you must do before you die). I found it mildly morbid. Upon reflection I realised that a “bucket list’’ is not necessarily an act connecting you to death—but one that connects you deeper to life. The list allows you to dream on a planetary level. To feel your spirit owned by the earth and the universe—and owning it in return. The list asks you, “What are the things I must experience?” So I started my list…

I don’t know what it looks like for everyone else, but my list could be broken into three—intimate human experiences, visits to natural wonders, and visits to awe-inspiring works of art created by man. What I couldn’t get over was how many things on my list were connected to works of the genius of man. From the NASA space station to the Pyramids to the terracotta sculpture city in China, it was a long list of ancient ruins, sculptures, paintings, buildings, bridges, technological marvels, museums and temples of entertainment. All works of human genius. The list made me realise, deeply, how much human creativity makes the experience of living majestic…And also makes a lot of money! Read the rest of this entry