“No matter how full the river is, it still wants to grow.” – African proverb
The most intense squabbling in life is not about human rights, or climate change or even the science – religion dispute. These, and all the other controversial debates are subsets of the interplay between nature and machine. The two have been the bane of almost all our conflicts. In almost every situation, we wonder whether we should be natural or adopt the artificial means we have developed to dominate the world around us? And in our desire to give answers, instead of questioning, we find ourselves divided along Jackson Pollock’s assertion “I am nature,” and Andy Warhol’s “I want to be a machine.”
Despite all the big talks about diversity, and the golden rule and a “love for our neighbours like we love ourselves,” the greater numbers amongst us, have a tendency to want to gain dominion over others. The notion that someone has to be on top and another or the others below, has been ingrained in us and greatly favoured because it provides immediate gains. So we compete against each other, all the while hoping we will come out on top, so we can dominate others. This desire for dominion is so tangible, it has been idealised and widely adopted in politics, religion, education, media, and all the isms of our humanity. And the more we strive to dominate others, the more we attempt to reduce individuality among the masses.
Not many leaders desire followers who out of their uniqueness and curiosity about life, question their authority or suggestions. And it is no secret that not many of us want those we dominate to know more than we do or be ahead of us in the eyes of the public. Thus the strategy has always been to employ the mechanistic attitude, which is an endeavour to churn out mass-produced sameness. The objective is to reduce the wonderfulness of the dominated so we can control their outputs. Every time we talk about uniformity and conformity, it is an unconsciously striving to standardise the behaviour of the dominated for control, rather than creative purposes. We know the life is always evolving, but we would rather hang onto the static ideal of regulating, wishing the masses would eat the same foods, listen to existing genres of music, hear the same news, have interests in similar subjects, and so forth and on as long as it is about sameness.
But the way of nature is to ensure no two events, or circumstances or even creatures are the same. Studies upon studies have revealed that there exists extreme wonderfulness in each creation and each moment. And the more we research, the more we appreciate the unique purposiveness of the individual and the moments. Not only does this support that fact that we are fearfully created, but it nudges us along the path that we should show a genuine interest in individuals and in events, in order to relate well with them. To be able to do that, you first have to cultivate a genuine interest in yourself. Many of us, as a result of our mechanistic attitudes, do not care much for how things are made, except that they are made. To this end, we do not even reflect on our uniqueness, much more, being truly interested in others. It is surprising we behave suspiciously around those who are different from the norm. We would rather they behaved hypocritically, than accept them for their uniqueness.
It is said that the only irreplaceable possession of a person, is his or her individuality. Let us therefore ask ourselves, what we think happens to that individual, whose individuality has been diminished and walks about like a mass-produced object? Not only have we taken away his or her creative force and purposiveness, but altogether, life is poorer because we would never, ever benefit from the wonderfulness that nature first purposed him or her to sprinkle upon life. Domineering is naturally an undemocratic way of relating to people and to life. In all honesty, it is mainly individuals who are ignorant about the dynamics of life or who are afraid of their uniqueness who seek that to control others.
Conformity and uniformity are not really essentials for creativity or development. In fact, they are inhibitors. The “dominion” concept has been misinterpreted and misused, and our humanity has suffered greatly as a result. It is time to imitate the ways of nature, to let diversity flourish. It is actually safer to let out the wonderfulness in each person, than to curb it. Research has taught us that most crimes are committed by individuals who are frustrated with their inability to bring the best of themselves out. And we know this happens because of the machine systems that prevails in the dominant cultures in society. It is time to unlearn that which does not add value to our lives and life in general, and embrace the natural systems that life was first carved out of…
Kodwo Brumpon is a management consultant and a life coach who inspires individuals, groups and corporate bodies to think and feel that which is true, and helps them to positively respond to that which is beautiful is, whilst nudging them to let goodness govern their actions. Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at [email protected]