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Erroneous thinking that has got to be reversed!

Jul 16,2022 - Last updated at Jul 16,2022

That the country is 100 years old now, going into its second centennial, means that a whole century has passed since its establishment; and this is, in many ways, a significant length of time.

The country has grown vertically and horizontally, with the population doubling, tripling, quadrupling; the urban centres expanding at an immensely quick pace; and the institutions, facilities, services and projects multiplying significantly.

Viewed from one angle, this remarkable development evokes in us a great deal of pride for the efforts exerted during what we refer to as the foundation, building, and completion stage; for the unwavering will in getting things done; and for the huge achievements materialising.

All of this has happened, and is happening, despite the country’s meagre means.

Indeed, Jordan is, in many ways, a success story: politically, economically, socially, etc.

If we look at the matter from an obverse angle, however, and we must continually do so; we will see many challenges, problems and, yes, failures accompanying the development.

And this is normal, as manifested in the stories of all successful countries. There is no absolute success, and challenges and mishaps are, dialectically, part and parcel of the overall picture.

This second angle, from which we are to zero in on challenges, problems and failures, concerns us most here.

The population and urban expansion just spoken of makes it inevitable for challenges, problems and even failures to happen.

In other words, problems do ultimately happen, and mistakes do inevitably occur, no matter how careful one is; and this should come as no surprise.

And the saying that “those who work make mistakes, and those who do not, do not” has a lot of truth in it.

The important question to pose here is, how to deal with these problems and mistakes. And there are several answers here, not one.

The first has to do with the principle on which our stance vis-à-vis problems and mistakes should be built: namely, that since we cannot have zero problems or mistakes, we should seek to keep the problems and mistakes to a bare minimum.

And this is the supreme, strategic goal we should set for ourselves as a society.

The second answer is that minimizing problems or mistakes clearly means that we should address weaknesses and potential threats “before” they happen, and not just after.

A lot of work needs to be done at the prevention level; and this is crucial.

We must remember that many of our facilities, for example, have become older now and are subject to the wear and tear of time; and they are in bad need of a great deal of maintenance or refurbishing.

What we often feel is that many of our existing buildings, bridges and tunnels, and public facilities are either left without the necessary maintenance or rehabilitation, or that maintenance or rehabilitation are conducted when they become almost dysfunctional or about to collapse.

Maintenance and rehabilitation, one emphasises, should indeed accompany the process of building or establishing. We build or erect and the second day we should start maintaining. In fact, just as we have a plan for construction, we should also have a parallel plan for maintenance and keeping facilities in good shape.

Take the following example by way of illustration.

Up until a couple of decades ago, we used to take our cars for maintenance only when problems happens: i.e. when it stalls in the street, when something breaks down, or when we hear a strange noise in the engine.

Now, with each new car we buy, we get a maintenance programme installed electronically in the car, telling us to visit the maintenance shop after, say, 5000 kilometres on the road. If we stick to this programme, we rarely find ourselves having engine failure or any other mechanical issue.

This principle is unfortunately missing in the thinking of most of our institutions. We leave things to time and only move to do something when things go wrong, when disaster hits, and when it is too late to prevent damage from occurring.

And when this happens, we address the symptoms rather than addressing the root causes. And this has become a way of life in our society.

This erroneous thinking has got to be reversed.

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