The Attitude Lounge by Kodwo Brumpon
“Those who trade their swords for plows, will plow for those with swords.” – African proverb
When we were very little, we were taught that “the sun rises in the east, and sets in the west”. Then as we got a little older, we were also taught that the sun is motionless and that the planets revolve round it. This means, technically and logically, the sun does not rise. Rather, the revolutions of the earth make us perceive the sun as rising. Sadly, many of us are stuck with the poetic language used in the description of our father’s perception, and continue believe that the sun actually rises.
The agony of life is that some of the knowledge that we hold fast onto may not necessarily be so accurate, and could be blocking our ability to improve upon ourselves. We are creatures of our environments and experiences. But we also know that not all of them are marinated in goodness, truth and beauty. This means some of the shared schemes and knowledge which are used to perceive, interpret, express and respond to the social realities around us might not necessarily be accurate. This awareness challenges us all to strive to verify – and if possible, unlearn – most of the inaccurate knowledge in order to learn that which is good, true and beautiful to improve upon the human lot.
Fortunately, there are some among us whose lofty ideals to set the world on fire exempt them from this call. Such individuals aspire to make life good, truthful and beautiful in their own unique ways. They therefore willingly suffer themselves to stride and push, to play around the boundaries of existing knowledge, with the hope that they can add on a little more. This group of people have no qualms when it comes to the art of unlearning. They appreciate that it is part of the renewing process, and therefore constantly engage in it.
But there exists a class of people who radically function by perpetuating whatever has been handed down to them without questioning. Without mincing words, this lot behave like programmed creatures. They easily swallow the line, hook and sinker as soon as they are dangled before them. In reality, they have no cause to disbelieve anything because they do not strive to bring about change in any form. They go along with whatever is existing because they have not been taught to challenge the status quo, nor question their teachers. Scarily, they are usually in the majority.
These are individuals who attach meaning to their actions without knowing the meaning of why they did it in the first place. Their sense of consciousness has stagnated. Change has no meaning for them till the earth they stand on gives in. They understand that their life is inside that small circle that has been drawn inside their comfort zone. We need to set them free. We have to push them off the cliff and encourage them to flap their wings so that they can fly.
Just as the earth revolves, so does life evolve. Nothing is ever the same, and never will be. Progress is extremely political. It views the status quo with suspicion at every turn, challenging accepted mores, ethics and traditions, and seeks to redeﬁne them through innovation. It is no secret that such a challenge to convention will always be met with brutish force.
With all our understanding of diversity, one would have imagined that society would be kinder to those who question. Interestingly, it is not. It seems the maverick element in these questioners, who care so much for how life actually evolves, scares the keepers of the moments. They smell the questioning attitude as an unholy stench, and will go any length to raise an outcry against it. Maybe they have a right to question why the non-conformists are questioning the status quo – but they forget that the existence of their rights also gives others the same rights.
The truth of this life is that there is ‘no gain without a pain’; just as there would be no harvest if seeds had not first been sown. Our enthusiasm with the status quo is the story of how, long ago, an individual whom everyone thought was crazy laughed and kept laughing until everyone thought his laughter was funny – and they in turn starting laughing, till laughing became the norm of the day.
His first laughter was a mission of cosmic proportions. He had meant for it to ease the seriousness that had gripped society by its throat. Indeed, he set out to undo the then-status quo: and we should be thankful he did, because the stench of its stagnation was becoming unbearable. But they did resist him until they found themselves laughing at him. Unknowingly, their laughter was his victory. His efforts had paid off. He was able to dismantle aspects of their lives that were stifling the status quo by his action.
Today we, too, are challenged to challenge the status quo. We are creatures who were created to create. Do not be so uncreative, like a computer application without an update clause, that you forget who you really are and what you really desire – to love and be loved. Therefore, step out there and do something innovative and positively interesting with your life.
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]