I have been thinking once again about the homeless in Hawaiʻi I’ve seen on my trips as well as on various episodes of Dog the Bounty Hunter. Why are there homeless in Hawaiʻi who do not want to embrace being an integral and responsible member of the larger Hawaiian family? I realize that some of them are actually responsible people, people who work and get paid but who simply cannot make enough money to keep up with rent, food for their family, medical expenses and the many other ambushes which are part of modern life.
The homeless that mystify me are those who are dirty and unkempt, those who live a life centered on the pursuit of drugs and alcohol, those who outright say that they are not going to pay rent to anybody or abide by what the larger Society demands of them. To my mind they resemble adolescents who are terrified of embracing adulthood. What could have possibly happened along the way to these Children of Aloha? How did they arrive at a mindset of rejecting Society, the Social Contract and all the Hawaiian dignity of being human, choosing instead a life of self-centeredness, lack and limitation, struggle, depression and self-sabotage? What were the less-than-holy choices that finally left them washed up upon Hawaiʻi’s beaches and stranded in parks?
If some of the homeless in Hawaiʻi have been brought up within a cultural emphasis on Aloha and ʻOhana why do they choose an outright rejection of Kuleana? Just because we have the right to do something does not mean that it is the right thing to do! Just because we can say “NO!” does not mean that we should! And yet people do make bad choices. There’s a saying “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” I would re-translate that as “Just because we have been taught does not mean that we have learned.” Today we do not grow if we refuse to grow up, and we do not grow up if we refuse to make right choices. And those choices can be painful. Even in Paradise it seems there is the mystery of pain. (click any pic for larger)