Nicki Philbert

Nicki Philbert

Looking at the System

Sometimes, I imagine myself perched, most times in a tree, clasped unto a branch, possibly at the Morne, looking out at Roseau city. The buildings, the veiny streets, the river, the mountains and sea that border, the cars, the trees, the sidewalks, the sounds, the animals, the dirt, the life, the people.

From above, I gaze and find myself quite amused to observe my city from one stable point of view and reflect upon the system within which we live. No longer am I a school child walking home from school. No longer am I an employee, owned and managed by the powers that be. This time, I am a free individual. Free but focused on maintaining survival in this system.

The system: An intangible web, within which we all function; People, the environment, our economy, industries, life. All interconnecting and defined by a system that allows cohesion and strives for the greater function of us as a whole. But within the whole, each has his own role to play. For without that, the entire concept would be worthless.

Sometimes I find myself thinking deeply about the system. What there is around us, how do we get to where we want to be and how do we use what we have in order to get there?

Sometimes, the system is very restricting. Red tape lines the web, forming easier ways to get stuck. Slow process wastes time, lack of vision murders creativity, ignorance is bliss, false teaching corrupts minds and little opportunity stifles potential. That is the reality of our system.

Sometimes the strings of the web trap us.  Fixed to one place, with no sight of change or growth ahead, we are rendered immobile. The frustration builds and while the environment remains beautiful and inspiring, the system continues to trap. Its force is too strong to fight on our own, so some of us give in and give up. We remain trapped, stifled and corrupted because we have not yet seen our way. We buy into the system’s music, its image, it’s fashion, it’s set lifestyle, it’s lies.

But with an understanding of the system, we can break free. We can manoeuvre through the web that entraps us and use the system to our benefit.  And that is the great mission that we must all take on; One that will put all wit, heart, body and soul to the greatest test. One that is unique to each and most times becomes a life story.

Within the system, my path cuts that of others, relationships are forged, and I develop an understanding of Society; the larger group of people who occupy this land. Amidst all of this, I do not forget that I am on a personal mission. I must understand people and distinguish those who mean well with those who do not. I must also choose with whom I compete. Those who carry out similar missions to mine: the smarter, more beautiful, wealthier, more talented, more efficient, more skilled, the better and the worse. I must treat them all with respect and avoid hate and jealousy. For in the system, competition is both inevitable and necessary.

I must fight in order to survive. But the fight is neither easy nor short. It requires full on focus, faith and determination. Lazy ones become prey. Hungry ones become predators. I try to avoid the former and the fight to succeed carries on. In a system where “who knows you” is a primary element of achieving, I fight. I fight against failure, I fight against others’ intentions, I fight against the system. Every day, I fight. But limited experience restricts me and I am left wondering what to do next. I am always brushing cob webs away from my view, trying to figure out which string of the web to follow. I am young, so I continue to fight and try not to give in to the stresses and setbacks, hoping that one day, the battle will be won and there will have been a purpose.

Within the system, there is a cash flow. Money comes in and money goes out. I try to grab it. But it is not that easy. I must identify my strengths and use them to my benefit. I must identify a niche and exploit it. I must gain experience. Once again, the system blocks me. My strengths don’t fit. I feel like a square peg in a round hole. The opportunities are non-existent and I feel the web tugging at my feet, pulling me down, restricting my ascent. But I still fight, for there is nothing else I’d rather do.

One day, I will tear away at the web that confines me, and live. Enjoy the land and live. One day, the system will no longer be the villain of my story. I will understand it and I will win the fight. One day.

But today, I imagine myself perched, up in a tree, clasped unto a branch, looking out at Roseau city. The buildings, the veiny streets, the river, the mountains and sea that border, the cars, the trees, the sidewalks, the sounds, the animals, the dirt, the life, the people. And I think about the system.