Distancing Oneself from the Masses

By Ben Anson

HAVANA TIMES – It is a pleasure to be submitting another piece for this publication, after having been in hiding for quite a while now. One has found oneself engrossed in all sorts of personal affairs, from the demands of being a high school teacher to writing a first book, which I do of course, pray to be a success.

However, here I am once again, dear readers.

Today’s topic, shall run along the lines of inner and peace and happiness, we could say.

The Honduran Emerald Hummingbird.  Photo- taken from the American Bird Conservacy official website

Honduras, is my special place. Those who’ve read my previous articles on here are well aware of this. Yet, as I almost always state, it is anything but a special place for the average Honduran.

“Nobody hates Honduras more than the Honduran,” I’ll tell people here upon hearing their complaints, opinions and if I may – ridiculous beliefs.

“Welcome to the third world,” a coworker told a US colleague and I on catching us at the bank one afternoon – after work. He was attempting to make jest of the large line of people outside the bank in question.

“You think people don’t have to line up in the first world, bruh?”

Silence ensued.

The last thing that your average Honduran desires, is to hear the truth concerning what they refer to as the first world, for quite obviously, it destroys their nice, little fantasy of the grass being greener on the other side.

“Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed”, said Friedrich Nietzsche.

Even Friedrich would have been taken aback by the sheer, shameless reluctance to accept the truth here in Honduras. 

I hail from Europe; born in Greece, raised mostly in England. I’ve lived in Spain as well and have set foot on most continents bar South America and Africa. Honduras, being the truly beautiful nation that it is, has become my chosen home.

Personally, I am delighted to watch those tiny, exotic hummingbirds flutter and dart around, or majestic eagles soar in the distance. Parrots squawk as they shoot past me on walking through the neighborhood – resplendent, dark-blue mountains across the background.

I am delighted to waste a day or two upon one of the Caribbean beaches, reveling in the gorgeously warm waters  – rum in one hand, guffawing with my Garifuna bredas. I am delighted to waltz my way into a coffee shop and order some outstanding, local, fresh Honduran coffee.

Likewise, I am delighted to come to work and enjoy a good laugh with the students, who do, keep one feeling younger – truth be told. I am delighted to receive a phone call from close friends and acquaintances, whereupon we reminisce on bygone days in the barrio, where all sorts of madness occurred -great and soul-defining moments.

I see through the traps and ultimate emptiness of materialism.

I know the reality of Europe and North America; I am little impressed by big buildings and expensive cars, which seem to fuel the desire of so many here to immigrate.

“I don’t know why you came here, Ben, you’re from England”.

I’ve heard that line time and time again. Shame I don’t get a dollar every time it gets said, really…

One becomes isolated, the more one knows and understands.

Everything in life comes with a price.

Happiness, too. People will try and shit on it, steal it, dampen it, fuck with it, make a mockery, criticize, judge, etc. etc.

People here have absolutely zero idea of what life in England is like. One chuckles and allows the comments to disappear into thin air.

“Oh, you don’t know… that’s a shame. I was hoping you would… After all, I came to Honduras with the sole intention that you, yourself, would know what I was doing here”.

British sarcasm doesn’t travel though, such responses go clear over their heads, which is indeed why one deploys them.

I feel at peace. I feel calm. I feel myself to be on a path; a path that I myself chose and have defined step by step. I know what I’m doing, whereas they don’t. Everyone is following everyone, chasing Instagram photos, chasing cars that will indebt the purchaser and pollute the environment, chasing money in whatever soul-exchanging endeavor it may be.

All for the approval of others, others whom they don’t even like deep down. Fuck people. As harsh as it sounds. You have to say it once in a while. Steering clear and listening to your own thoughts is key.

“Turn off all outside noise” as the celebrated businessman Gary Vaynerchuk always says. Don’t pay attention – ‘do’ for you.

It feels good, knowing that you are the happiest soul at your place of work. It feels good, knowing that the higher powers blessed you with intelligence and perspective.

Do not seek what others seek, follow your heart but take your head with you, listen and act always on your most inner thoughts and desires. Life flies by like a speeding bullet, thus, it is of the utmost, sheep importance that we be who we truly want to be.

That, dear readers, is perhaps the ultimate meaning of this thing called life.

La vida es bella, aunque sea jodida papa. 

—–

Read more from Ben Anson here on Havana Times



Ben Anson

“The moment that I disembark (from a plane), I notice that everything in my body and in my mind readjusts itself for me", so remarked Gabriel Garcia Marquez - when speaking of his relationship with the Caribbean. He felt the strongest physical and mental connection with this part of the world and deemed it as far as ‘grave’ and immensely ‘dangerous’ for him to leave its zone. Only here, did ‘Gabo’ feel ‘right’ in himself. Honduras, does for me - precisely what the Caribbean did for Marquez. A resplendent yet troubled nation, that I have been decidedly unable to part with ever since 2014. I thus seek to capture its essence through the written word.

Ben Anson has 28 posts and counting. See all posts by Ben Anson

8 thoughts on “Distancing Oneself from the Masses

  • Olgasintamales,

    Did you even read the article?
    Highlight one part where I mentioned Cuba, please.

  • Ben so you are not bored or bothered my cousin in Cuba will trade citizenship with you. You can now live as a proletariat in Cuba – you don’t have to suffer anymore eating at least three times a day, the pain of clean water, the sacrifice of a good wage or the insufferable freedoms in England. Cuba will take all of those away and you can contemplate all you want on an empty stomach, in a “house” that’s about to collapse and if you complain about anything you get all the jail you want – with free bugarrones. Please feel free to pass on your contact information so we can make a trade. You are the wisest of the wise – I can’t wait to hear what Curt or Nick have to add.

  • You made no point at all, Stephen.
    You sought issues where there were none and constructed arguments from totally irrelevant topics.
    Hasta luego pues.

  • Ben,

    I made my point.

    If you find my input offensive, incomprehensible, incompatible with your inward reasoning find someone there in your surroundings who is more open-minded, rationale, and progressive in their worldly outlook.

    Adios and so long . . .

  • Stephen,

    I see you persist in dampening the comments section with your asinine, contemporary western ideals.
    Mark Twain, eh?

    I shall share my particular favourite quote.

    “Never argue with idiots, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience”.

    Here goes, anyway…

    What I want to know is, why have you done your utmost to find fault with a short article focusing on “inner peace and happiness”?

    Perhaps you should consume a lot more material upon the subject. After all, you’ve brought your nonsense to what was intended as an ultimately positive piece centering on the individual and not the misguided masses, which Hondurans, as a whole – are.

    Nobody is discussing Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela. I WRITE ABOUT HONDURAS.

    One understands perfectly why people from the aforementioned nations migrate. I have been to Cuba and Nicaragua. We cannot lump all of Latin America onto the same pile, just as we can’t do with Africa or Asia, etc, etc. There are many differences and variations in all sorts from nation to nation. The reality of Honduras is not what people like you believe. Do you think I would just come on here and invent things? Really…

    Also, nobody is interested in or debating the meaning of the word ‘freedom’ or your personal take on it.
    Thank you for sharing it though, kind of you I guess.
    Thank you for sharing details of your life in Canada too.
    Oh wait, isn’t that one of the countries with the most overpriced, expensive property markets on a global scale? Freedom, yeah?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jw_3O4wHkE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1zJ7N6qQeY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_sGdZ7DDow

    Took me literally forty seconds or so to find those videos on a swift YouTube search.

    Your worst and most disgusting comment, in terms of sheer stupidity was the following:

    “With regard to “white man”, I will not comment on your false prejudicial presupposition statement regarding skin color as that says more about your prejudice and attitude than this writer’s, or any writers, written contribution to HT.”

    So the white man can’t even call himself white anymore? I’ve shown prejudice to myself have I? hahahahahahahahahaha
    WOW…
    And I guess you’re going to sit there and pretend that you didn’t take me for a white man when you went out of your way to copy and paste the part about one hailing from Europe? You know, where you showed your clear, pathetic envy – “good for him”.

    Please refrain from commenting any further Stephen, until you have understood the word ‘prejudice’, spent some serious time in capitalist-orientated Latin American nations and aquired some inner peace and happiness of your own.

    Blessings.

  • Hi Ben,

    For starters, I would like to dispel your negative preconceived notion or impression that you derived from my writing (rhetoric) that I fall into your negative category of “ . . . rich, wealthy, worry-less, white man rhetoric”. I suppose if you are comparing me with your economic circumstances, that is, being comparatively rich, wealthy, worry-less we may be equals. With regard to “white man”, I will not comment on your false prejudicial presupposition statement regarding skin color as that says more about your prejudice and attitude than this writer’s, or any writers, written contribution to HT.

    I agree with you that perhaps both of us are rich, wealthy and worry-less compared to the average Latino living in Latin American countries.

    I like you have traveled extensively and have seen the extreme deprivation of Latinos and their wish to extricate themselves from the daily grind of poverty, humiliation and political powerlessness to affect consequential and substantive political change in their homelands.

    You write: “Your beliefs concerning the reality of life in Latin America are pitifully inaccurate”. That statement presupposes you are the “expert” in the reality of life in Latin America and that other people who have visited and lived in countries like Cuba and Nicaragua (that’s me) are to be discounted because according to your writing someone with another perspective of the way life is endured is summarily castigated as “. . . rich, wealthy, worry-less, white man.” Absolutely, unequivocally inaccurate.

    Ben writes: “If you further believe that “freedom” exists or champions in the west then dear me… A comedian, no less.” Freedom? What is freedom? Let’s not use your preconceived bias notion of what that noun means and go directly to a neutral dictionary definition and see how it applies in this case.

    According to my Random House dictionary (feel free to use your own) “freedom” means “the state of being free”. To which one asks, what is “free”? To keep the definition pertinent, salient and short suffice to say that to be free is to enjoy personal rights or liberty as in possessing civil and political liberties – the ability to do something at will.

    In the world I live in – Canada – to be free is pervasive and paramount in society so much so that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows any citizen to lawfully protest on city streets. In fact, that is exactly what is happening today, as I write, in Canada, at the moment. Citizens, I do not necessarily agree with the protesters, who have parked, literally, themselves in front of capital buildings with civil authorities standing back and allowing these protesters to express their personal rights and liberty. Good for them. That is what it is like to be “free” in the “west”.

    Ben is this not, as you put it, “ . . . that “freedom” exists or champions in the west?” Perhaps you need to expose yourself more to the real happenings in the “west” before making comments that are, as you state, suitable for exactly you: “A comedian, no less.”

    In most Latin American countries – at least the ones I have had the privilege to visit with lived experience, the definition of freedom and free is anathema to communist governments, particularly Cuba. As you perhaps know, July 11/’21, protesters on Cuban streets seeking some dialogue with the political authorities were summarily arrested and handed extensive prison sentences.

    So what is the point? Do not all of Latin Americans who live in totalitarian hell not have the right in their heads and hearts to decide for themselves enough is enough of no liberty, no personal rights, no economic freedom to relocate to another geographical location where there is some semblance of freedom whereby a person can earn a living for him/herself and provide an economically prosperous future? To some, it is worth the possibility of even death.

    Mark Twain wrote: “ Stay away from those people who try to disparage your ambitions. Small minds will always do that, but great minds will give you a feeling that you can become great too.” Personally, I am of the latter.

  • Dear Stephen,

    I would have taken the time to respond to each and every one of your points if they were not so typical of the common man.
    I shall have to put you right on a few things here and there though.
    One has been so economically poor at times here in Honduras that I have had to clean myself after visiting the bathroom in a freezing shower as my closest friend and I (a Honduran) literally had no money. Not even for toilet paper.
    So, you can take your “rich, wealthy, worry-less, white man” rhetoric and do certain things with it, for starters.
    That’s the very point right there, despite all the highs and lows, I still choose Honduras.
    Your beliefs concerning the reality of life in Latin America are pitifully inaccurate, I see that you are one of the millions who believe the ‘hype’. Nobody I know after six years in Honduras has “gone missing”.
    If you further believe that “freedom” exists or champions in the west then dear me…
    A comedian, no less.
    I suppose you enjoy the 9-5 lifestyle and needing a licence or permission from the government to even think…
    If you ask most Hondurans why one should immigrate to the US, most will begin by responding immediately with what you can buy over there. If materialism was a sport, Latinos would reign as world champions. A Cuban comedian once joked that Cubans on the island know more about designer clothes than Cubans living abroad.
    One last thing to mention, is it fair that ‘developed’ countries should have to clean-up cultural problems? Hondurans are paid relatively little because Hondurans don’t value each other.
    They’ll pay a gringo more to do the same job.
    So, whose fault is that?
    Tackling these problems begins at home.

  • Ben writes: “I hail from Europe; born in Greece, raised mostly in England. I’ve lived in Spain as well and have set foot on most continents bar South America and Africa. Honduras, being the truly beautiful nation that it is, has become my chosen home.” Good for him.

    However, there is the huge difference between Ben’s worldly living experience and his native Hondurans. Ben has had the luxury of living in the “West” living in areas of wealth both materially and politically (freedom to elect political leaders of his choosing) that he has chosen. He has had the experience of living in areas where freedom is a given and where one can move about from one geographical area to another effortlessly. He obviously has the funds to geographically go where he pleases. Good for him.

    Ben writes: “I know what I’m doing, whereas they don’t. Everyone is following everyone, chasing Instagram photos, chasing cars that will indebt the purchaser and pollute the environment, chasing money in whatever soul-exchanging endeavor it may be.”

    “They don’t”. What? Really? Hondurans don’t know what they are doing? Isn’t that sentiment a bit disingenuous and condescending for a non native Honduran to be making of his host country? He castigating his Honduran friends as being ignorant of the good life is being insincere if not outright smugness.

    Hondurans, Cubans, like all the other downtrodden citizens of Latin America want what other citizens in other wealthy countries take for granted. The citizens of Latin America do not want to have to sacrifice daily for next to no remuneration, have their families threaten for perhaps speaking out, see no progressive opportunity for their children to prosper. Do they not have the right to at least try and better themselves and their families in the only way they can. That is to emigrate,

    No, they are not necessarily chasing materialism though that may be an end product of their quest for freedom and a better life. What they are chasing is to be given a chance, a realistic opportunity, to better themselves and their families. Freedom, when not realized, is an elixir to strive for at whatever the cost as many Latin American refugees are experiencing. Living in totalitarian states as Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua the average citizen has sacrificed a great deal listening to their powerful political leaders promising nirvana when they see themselves consistently getting progressively poorer with each passing day. Enough is enough they say. Freedom and success is attainable, perhaps, elsewhere.

    They see the corruption, the ineptness of their leaders leading their countries not towards “. . . chasing cars that will indebt the purchaser and pollute the environment . . .” but consistently walking and walking daily to a job, if they are lucky to have one, that pays poorly, that is insufficient to feed their families. Their heart and head says enough is enough, strive for better.

    Ben writes: “Do not seek what others seek, follow your heart but take your head with you, listen and act always on your most inner thoughts and desires. Life flies by like a speeding bullet, thus, it is of the utmost, sheep importance that we be who we truly want to be.”

    Having experienced the “West” with his freedom and his monetary success and his ability and fortuity to globe trot and then deciding to live in Honduras and proclaiming to his friends “Do not seek what others seek . . .” is a bit puzzling and moreover, condescending.

    Perhaps a bit more humility and understanding should be forthcoming because Latin Americans, specifically his Hondurans compatriots are seeking exactly what Ben has had and still has – freedom – and is now living quiet comfortably in his chosen comfortable country with adequate pay and freedom to come and go as he pleases. Nice.

    The ultimate meaning of this thing called life is freedom. Freedom for all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.