- “Don’t wait for the king’s downfall, the gods will not allow it.” – African proverb
We are in modern times, yet the greater percentage of the populace think we are neither here nor there. The glorious vision of modernity is fading out as fast as it was carved. The promised expectations of living – centred on acquisitions and accomplishments – on which we sculpted our hopes have been our biggest disappointments.
The imagined picture, packaged in material gains and material comfort, is more of a mirage than reality to most of the people. It is almost impossible to touch, and so our days are haunted by the phantoms of materialism.
From our politics to our religions, our confidence in the systems and institutions are fast-diminishing. Our faith is ebbing away fast as we replace the virtues we used to cherish with political correctness and rights. Our aspirations for the systems to make us better individuals, and cause us to respect others and treat ourselves better than before, never got off the drawing board. The intellectualism we promoted to make our society a better world and help us overcome diseases, poverty and environmental challenges has been a sham.
The colossal rise in unethical behaviour is symptomatic of our general loss of trust in others and in society. Around us, the paralysis of ‘grab-as-much-as-you-can-grab’ has infected all of us and is suffocating the good within us. We have misplaced the vitality required for human fruitfulness. Our spirituality and education have become mere attitudes; and our visions see-saw in blurry swings before us. In fact, too many of us have given up on living or postponed it. We are living for the future, because it is easier to live for the future, than to live for now. The result is a broken people, living within a broken society that is trapped in a broken economy.
Like Kweku Ananse, we have become tricksters – ready to betray others in our quest to accumulate materialism. Sometimes they happen as a result of momentary weakness, but more often than not the betrayals are premeditated deceptions. We know someone is bound to get hurt, yet our craving to fulfil our aspirations supersedes the better society agenda.
And so, we harness our intelligence to scheme and run hidden agendas on our families, friends and neighbours. No one is immune from the monstrous deception being levelled as smartness. What makes this sadder is the fact that we do it to others because we are afraid it will be done to us, and so we become more circumspect and close ourselves off from the world. We are letting our goodness and generosity die a slow death inside us.
But whatever is broken can be fixed; and in actuality, it must be fixed. We need to revive the good within us and revitalise our generosity. What we must do is start from somewhere: and that somewhere means starting right now. We need to exemplify a warrior’s response to an impending attack on his family.
There was a warrior who when questioned while eating, about his strategy should his enemies surround his house that very moment, replied: “I would go on eating”. His reply is an attitudinal testimony of someone living for now and is yet ready for the future.
Our call today centres on living and our response to it. Too often, we nurture the notion that living is about accumulating accolades. As a result, we have focused our strengths and strategies on setting and achieving future goals and objectives – and downplay the activities of present moments. The truth is that living is a response to your presence in life, and so it involves every single thought, word and action of yours in the moment.
If you acquired all the accolades in the world but you cannot help make another person’s life better, then what is your essence to her or him and society? We must live in such a manner that ensures our lives improve society and can be appreciated by others. In other words, we must live in such a way that we can relish the present and look forward to appreciating the future.
To do that, we need to accept the failings of modernity; we must become acutely attentive to the present and call spades by their names. The colourful illusions of greed which have blinded our perceptions need to be erased. We must learn to stand for good and goodness. It is sad that we cannot stand for anything because doing so implies you are being watched by everybody. Our understanding of watchfulness is made worse by the perception that when you critique anything or any person, then it means you think you are blameless. This notion makes people afraid to even voice their opinion on wrongs and evils.
The vision of revival and revitalisation is always challenged by ethical vigilance. It means that we must stare illicit and vile behaviour in the eye and tell it as it is, because they do not work in our favour. We must abhor them like we do the thief that comes in the night to rob us of our hard-earned treasures. We must correct the wrongs so that we can live for now and enjoy the moments as they unfold. If you do not do it, no one else will do it.
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 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]