Table – A Metaphor for Life

As the nation-states of the Caribbean wrestle with serious socio-economic challenges such as corruption, waste, nepotism, and violent crimes, I offer an insight for contemplation.

Imagine an individual, a human family, a society, and a nation as a four-legged table. Each leg symbolizes one aspect of who they are – a physical, spiritual, social, and intellectual entity, prepared to withstand the weight of life’s circumstances.

The physical aspect has a variety of internal and external features, each designated to carry out a specific function such as eating, urinating, or running. The body also has the capacity to feel, identify, name, express, and manage emotions.

The spiritual aspect can discern and relate to a Supreme Being which the philosopher Aristotle refers to as the First Cause. The One who creates the beauty, magnificence, and complexity of the created order. Religious and philosophical thinkers speak of the human person gifted with a soul – the immaterial…regarded as immortal…enabling us to connect with the Divine.

The social aspect gives us the ability to forge, manage and sustain relationships in groups, families, societies, organizations, and nations. It’s like pooling individual resources for the common good.

The intellectual aspect allows us to observe, learn, think critically and creatively, analyze, and solve problems in the advancement of our world.

The progress of individual human life, human family, society, and a nation largely depends equally on the strength of each leg of the table. If there’s a disproportionate development of the legs, then there’s the likely possibility of the table collapsing under the weight of life’s circumstances. For example, sexual education and sexual development of individuals need to partner with the intellectual, communal, and spiritual components to create a wholistic sexual person and society.

When a table is wobbly or lop-sided, the solution lies in a systematic examination of the quality of all four legs. Failure to embark on such an examination risks future collapse. In times of crises, examine the whole, not just the parts. 

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