Congratulations to Archbishop Jason Gordon, who was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters on November 1, 2022, by the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT).
In his feature address to UTT’s 2022 graduates and staff at the Lord Kitchener Auditorium, The National Academy for Performing Arts (North), the Archbishop used the analogy of his childhood boat, the Mattabelle, to highlight the power of the individual in changing the metaphorical “tides” of the world’s global “currents”.
He spoke to the Earth’s ecological crisis, social injustices caused by poverty, Trinidad and Tobago’s spiralling crime rates and the hyper-sexualisation of our world.
Nevertheless, he highlighted to the 2022 graduates that there needs to be more focus on the heart, which remains an “enigma”. “My thesis is that the fundamental challenge facing Trinidad and Tobago and the world as a whole is at its heart, a spiritual crisis. Albert Einstein has famously said: ‘We cannot solve problems at the same level of thinking that we were at when we created those problems.’
“For five hundred years, we have developed the mind, believing it will get us to utopia. Now having achieved such great material and scientific progress, we are perplexed because it is this same rationality that created the global ecological crisis, gender ideology, the oil addiction, and the conditions for nuclear war. We have conquered the material world and the outer reaches of space, but the motivation of the human heart remains an enigma to us.”
Recommending a daily practice of meditation and gratitude, and a focus on the “inner landscape”, Archbishop Gordon highlighted the ‘Golden Rule’ that underpins each major global religion – “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Lk 6:31).
“This is the fundamental foundation of virtue upon which we can all agree. A version of this rule turns up in every continent and every religious tradition. If our schools, universities, temples, churches, and mandarins were to see their mission as forming citizens to live the ethical life we would begin the construction of that little engine.”
The power of the individual to change the “tides” of our time is the tremendous opportunity and power we each hold.
In closing, Archbishop Gordon re-emphasised the importance of those aspects of humanity that are lost due to an over focus on the mind, soul, and heart, and encouraged the graduates to “reconstruct” those aspects of themselves for the well-being of the collective society.
“We can reconstruct those parts into a useful instrument and if we together embark on this journey, we will find all the power we need to rebuild our nation. Then shoulder to shoulder, we can stand and sing with great confidence: ‘Let every creed and race find an equal place’ and the heavens will declare: ‘and may God bless our nation.’ ”