Urban life in Kingston can imbue you with a false sense of achievement. On the other hand, rural Jamaica can instill in you a sense of failure. In either case, both reflect the pervasiveness of a false consciousness in Jamaica. The same life can often seem so different through different lenses. As such, we must seek to emancipate ourselves from our own subjectivity.
Country vs. Town
There is a dichotomy that exists in Jamaica; the rural and urban divide. What we call the cuntry and town split. To be a ‘cuntryman’ and a ‘townman’ is in effect to be two different kinds of man. Each trapped within their own realm of subjectivity.
My town friends will tell me of the cuntryman, roaming freely through the rivers and bushes. Knowing no shortage of food and belly always full with mangoes. The cuntryman so carefree, that even his doors and windows are left open at nights. On the other hand, you heard stories of the impoverished townman that is constantly stricken by hunger; deprived of food by the uptown elites. This makes a town man a very dangerous kind of man. The kind of man you often hear being gunned down by his kin or police. However, unlike the cuntryman, townman comes in two flavours: the criminal and the rich;downtown and uptown.
The False Consciousness
What I can tell from all this so far is that the Jamaican awareness of the rural and urban divide have an air of false consciousness about it. Those wrapped in false consciousness are mere products of the cultural stories we inherit. Since the average millennia does not investigate the motives impelling our world, we rely on the stories that justified the world of our parents. Failing to recognise the new world before us. The empirical reality of Jamaica has been distanced from our subjective awareness due to a lack of independent thought about how Jamaica currently operates.
This false consciousness I speak of comes from the two different perceived realities of the urban and rural dwellers. The idea that there are fundamentally two different people, the cuntryman and the townman. This is the falseness embedded in the consciousness of the millenial, inherited from the previous generation. Failing to recognise that all urban people comes from the country. The divide between the two have narrowed because the social networks of millennial are different from the generation before.
The Millennial Drive
What rings true about the conscious appraisal of both the rural and urban millennial are that they are concerned with life’s basic needs; those of food, clothing and shelter. People constantly tasked with survival have no time for big ideas. As such the Millennial concerned with surviving the fast life in the City or the monotony of the District have no time for thinking. Driven only by a sense of personal achievements or fear of personal failures, one misses the structures around you that may yield new opportunities. If the drive to survive inhibits one from seeing opportunities then one is doomed to be forever trapped by one’s own subjectivity.
Having a false consciousness is not about the facts of the world in as much as it is about the relation of our thoughts to each other. It is the thought process that’s the true motive behind why we see the world differently. How we come to view the same life so differently is a mere reflection of our shifting priorities.
The environment does motivate us in different ways and can affect our thought processes but it is possible to properly understand even this. One need only take the time to inquire into your own subjectivity. It is the understanding of these natural conditions on your thoughts that’s the key for emancipation from your own subjectivity. The dichotomy of the urban-rural divide will still persists because natural conditions do exist that make the realities of living in those places different. It is our understanding of how these natural conditions shape our perceptions that must change. The stories of our parents will not do. To adapt to the changing world we must build new models of understanding Jamaica that renders our old problems obsolete.