“No matter how sharp your teeth are, you can’t bite water.” – African proverb
We have nurtured a culture wherein many seek power by any means necessary because the ‘might’ behind ‘the power’ enables them to “act more like themselves rather than having to act as the wider society would like them to”. Interestingly, the shroud of sycophancy that veils the attitudes of many makes us applaud them even though we know it is not proper or just. What we forget is that applause is a testament saying what the individual is doing is right and should be encouraged. Thus, it is not strange that it gets into their head, and they start believing their ways are truly ‘right’, which inspires them to start demanding that others follow their ways.
This attitude of applauding actions without thoroughly thinking them through is dangerous to our humanity. It encourages many to put on the cloak of duplicity, embracing an ethos so alien to themselves they lose themselves to themselves. Many of us are fortunate to have encountered individuals who act ‘goody-goody’ to people’s face and strive to pull them down behind their backs. We know how they make our skins crawl with disgust…yet we display the same attitudes. Maybe if we started questioning ourselves on the same points we ask about hypocrites, it might help us realise we do more damage to our humanity than those we point fingers at.
By itself, life a wonder. But “our posturing, our self-imagined importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in it” has led to the rise of evils and cruelties in life. This has to stop. And it should start with us as individuals and then as a group. For starters, we need to appreciate that ‘right’ is not the privilege of the powerful. To think as such and lend your support to that view is equal to demanding that only the fittest should live – a principle that more or less dictates that life should be an eternal war.
Interestingly, those who assume ‘might is power’ forget that “if the earth and its treasures were booty for the bold” they would probably not have survived to become who they are now. In fact, it would be logically unsound for any person to engage with others for their success – because their rise to power would mean they would turn round to exploit, weaken and crush them.
There is no other life apart from what we have. There is no other realm to dive into in order to escape from the atrocities we are creating in this life. That is why we need to be sensible about our actions. In fact, it underscores our responsibility to deal more humanely with one another and to preserve and cherish the wonderfulness in life, instead of trying to superimpose our ignorant ways on it.
And to those among us who assume our ‘might makes our ways right’ for everyone, we need to understand we are suffering from intolerance and bigotry. It also reveals how ignorant we are about life in its wholeness. Life is a complex concept. In reality, it is so multifaceted that we need a willingness and readiness to accept that our views and beliefs should be questioned by others in order to generate the collaborations we need to create a state of order that flourishes for all. Otherwise, we will constantly be living in a state of conflict. It is probably deserving that we often tout those who recognise and embrace the wonderfulness of the diversity in life as leaders.
We all need the moral courage to recognise that ‘right’ is a natural ingredient of life. It is the cumulative aspiration of all of us. It is why ethicists often err on the side of the greater good. Thus, when an individual or a group wants to assert their limitedness on the whole in order to create a stage where they can control the actions of others, and we unthinkingly support them, we are using our energies to oppose life itself. That is why we need the courage to be one with one-another in a manner that allows us to flourish. To seek being apart from others, to be on top in order to impose your ways on them, is a measure of the weak. It is a way to hide our weakness, rather than the ignorant belief it is a sign of power.
Nature teaches us that the powerful do not need to demonstrate their strength. It gives us the example of water as an illustration. Water is the softest substance in the world. It can be contained in anything, and so many of us disregard it. It covers the greater space of our earth without showing dominance. And it can penetrate the hardest substance in the world and cause the greatest havoc when enraged. Yet it so humble in nature we do not give thought to the fact that its absence would also be the end of life as we know it. Water is life, and it actually serves us. Let those who assume they have might, serve…
Kodwo Brumpon is an author, a life coach and a philanthropist who inspires individuals, groups and organisations to think and feel that which is true by helping them positively respond to that which is beautiful while nudging them to let goodness govern their actions.
Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at [email protected]