Attempted Prophecies By Yaw Afra YAO: On Awareness


Part 1: On The Person

I’ve been thinking about awareness a lot lately.

Because, here is the thing, my brothers and sisters, there are people who are just more aware. There are people who seem to be more awake to themselves—more than their fellow human beings are. There are people who just have stronger sense of selves than the average person. To their very deepest core, they know who they are, what they stand for; they know what they aspire to be—what they must be. They know all this and they know them deeply.

Having taken a critical look and stock of their innate capabilities and desires, these people have been able to cultivate a clearer sense of self, of what they want to be—what they ought to be. They know how they must live their lives in the present—what steps they must take now so that that desired future they envisage for themselves can be reached. These people basically walk upon this earth more aware—much, much more awake. It’s like, at every point of their lives, their eyes are always wide open.  It’s crazy when you think about it.

At the polar opposite of this equation, there are those who suffer a milder sense of self.

These persons lack, from the get-go, a sense of personhood. Such people, they tend to be good spectators to all around them but their very own selves. They are able to take a critical look at and stock of all that is around them, but not that which is within their own selves. Such persons, they lack a clear sense of direction, a sense of self—a definite sense of what they want to be and ought to be. Hence, their every present move is made on a whim—without clear purpose. Oftentimes, in this same pursuit of committing present actions, they tend to mimic the movements of others around them. No move of theirs is true; no decision of theirs proceeds from the depths of their own personhood. Nothing they do is really informed.

They are actors without a good script. Outward looking—always out on the lookout for clues as to what they must be and do; never inward looking.

That is not to say that such persons can never have the capacity for introspection—no. It is just to say that for such people, in order to arrive at this advantaged position of a strong sense of personhood, they must do much more conscious work on themselves. At each and every point of their lives, such persons must work on their personhood. It sounds like a lot of work, but it really does get easier with time. It gets to a point where this exercise in self-empowerment becomes second nature, and such persons end up finding themselves in the same camp as those described above—those with robust sense of selves. It’s impressive when you think about it.

There is no shame in putting in the work—only assured fruitful end results. Because, after all, this first group of persons—those who walk about the earth as though born with this deep sense of self—we will find, are not born with this trait after all. But rather, they are, we will come to realise, persons socialised at their very early ages into building this sense of self—through the work of a parent, guardian, teacher, or the environment within which they find themselves.

So, in the end, we really are all just students—successful and unsuccessful students, depending on the routes we choose to take.

I suspect you’ve read this column long enough to know that this article is not about you and I—nor the people we find ourselves surrounded with. Even though, I suspect, there are names flying around in your head even as you read about these two differing sets of personalities. But I know you know by now that this entire article is merely an attempt by us at the personification of nations. That being the case, let’s zoom right into this country of ours—next week, that is.

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