The Attitude Lounge by Kodwo Brumpon
“That which is on the mind is what we take into our sleep and dreams.” – Akan proverb
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” This is the question we ask ourselves every moment of our lives. Fortunately, the mirror cannot lie. It reflects our innate attitudes. So every moment it replies: “Famed is thy beauty and great is thy name, sir or madam, whichever one you are. But hold, if you really want to know the beauty and the greatness I am referring to, take a look at your society. Your make-up cannot hide its flaws, nor the evils fostered. Alas, it is an exact reflection of you”.
The mystery of the person staring in the mirror has been with us since the beginning of communal living. Society by itself is nothing. In actuality, society ‘is’ because of you and I. without us, it does not exist.
It graces us with a livable environment, and yet we hardly understand the delicate threads of interactive reciprocity by which it binds us together. It has no existential value; rather, it is us who create it – and it in turn gives value to our existence. It is a product of our attitudes; a mirror of our presence and a testament of our attitudes. That is why it cannot lie about our beauty, or greatness.
Many among us, wish for a ‘just society’ to evolve before we will take measures to pour our goodness on it. Until that time, we have tuned-in the zombie mood – grabbing whatever is within reach without questioning the impact of our words and actions.
Such an attitude is like “wishing to be understood before we have made ourselves clear to ourselves”. Society cannot be separated from reality any more than breathing from living. It is a part of us and its thriving depends on our creative sympathy. Its actuality is structured in our objective truths, our charitable goodness and our creative beauty.
Our society is a cloned piece of ourselves. The best description of it is ‘mirror me, mirror you’. It culturally expresses our take on truth, goodness and beauty. Sadly, we are quick to bewail its ugliness, yet we perceive ourselves as beautiful.
We swiftly lament its falsehoods while we glory in our truthfulness. And we hastily grieve over its evil while distinguishing our individual goodness.
It is an interesting contrast, but this is the play of the day. Maybe it is happenstance – or it could actually be an offshoot of the ‘me, myself and I’ culture. Whatever it is, it looks like a beautiful face masking an ugly soul.
A bigger challenge in our time is bridging the void between who we feel we are on the inside, and the society that is staring back at us from that mirror.
Society conforms to the demands of our thoughts, words and actions. It is a receptacle of our impulses. Its state is an exaltation of our preoccupations.
It spews forth the experiences of our intellect, sensations and sentiments in an expression that mimics what we do and how we behave.
Well, the good news is that we have the skills and abilities needed to create a just society. The bad news is that we do not know what to do with what we have.
The story is told of a sage teaching his pupils about building a society. He placed a cup of water on the table and struck the table strongly.
The cup tilted and the water spilled over the table. Then he said, “There will be lots of challenges. You will be bruised and you will be persecuted. But whatever is inside you, only that will come out.
If you are filled with truth, goodness and beauty, that will come out. On the other hand, if you are filled with deception, evil and ugliness, they will pour themselves on whatever society you create”.
We cannot build a ‘just society’ when we are always converting personal trivialities into ‘values’ in order to disguise our selfishness. What society do we intend to bequeath to our children when we are trying to normalise greed with ‘smartness’, because that is what everybody does?
The time has come for us to question our attitudes and their impact on society. Societies cannot just be sought or desired. We can dream about one, but the reality is it must be constructed. It must be put together like a jigsaw puzzle. And it must be undertaken as a virtuous exercise that complements our belongingness and identity.
Whatever we do, we must understand that the truth will always shine through. History has always been replete with beauty that lured individuals to destruction.
There have been instances of the reverse as well. In each of these, it was the attitude of the individuals that mattered the most.
Each one decided what they wanted to see for all eternity. What do you want to see for all eternity as your legacy?
The purity of our attitudes goes far beyond any social forms. It leads yonder, sweeping truth, goodness and beauty in a swirl to produce joy.
It appeals like a miracle, and the miracle consists simply of the fact that you have poured love, faith, hope, compassion, respect, humility, kindness and mercy onto others.
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 while nudging them to let goodness govern their actions. Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at [email protected]