Many are gifted with cognition yet few are able to see early the fault in themselves. So, they develop quickly hate in others –Abdul H. Akorede
Man’s life is a potential for ups and downs. Some of the ups pop so unexpectedly that we often slam into them and other times, I mean, more than half the time, the downs are sloppier, bumpier and longer. And, since man is also primly attuned to cutting corners out of a trouble nobody wants, he prays for the quickest chance to get this done. Sometimes, he cuts these corners through an ‘idiot’, who forget he is standing on a frustrated queue. Sometimes, it is by elbowing his way to the front of a job-seeking crowd – you know, BBNaija style.
And most times, in a more relatable scenario to students, by taking twice or thrice, his share of food at a function where all have not been fed. We cannot say outright that this is bad, neither can we claim a sanctimony that stretches only as far as the end of this script. Even if one did try, the oil stains of the amala or rice we shadily ate will probably appear on these pages. That we do not want, but what we do want is that we are at least conscious of the moral blunders we are, more often than not, wont to commit.
First off, one thing we must take into consideration while flexing the muscles of our ‘wokeness’ is our own vulnerability to emotional outbursts when the same hand is used in dealing with us. Often times, the nature of the human mind predisposes it to pain when it sets sight upon some injustice or the other but, as it had been mentioned earlier, this article was also gifted a chance to be written by the persuasive inner goblin which informs a necessity to visit same on others.
In other words, we are easy instruments of hurt while at the same time susceptible to its havoc. In reaction to this susceptibility, some people explode as fiery street warriors, peeling off some clothing as they recount the bedtime tales of experiences in their heydays with additional threats to summon the wrath of former comrades-in-arms who would be more than happy to oblige; others invoke the bard in them by regaling, to the chorus of ‘hoos’ and ‘haas’, emotionally distressing accounts of what-my-eyes-saw-today to similarly empathetic friends and family; for others again, it is neither a ‘soldier’s’ story nor is it a victim’s tales, it is simply none other than the outpour of an intellectual discourse on why people should be more civil and learn to watch for innocent toes, even spicing the lecture with a sprinkle of teeth-rattling grammar. Summarily, we are such weaklings in the face of actions that mirror us.
Second is the universal stance of fairness we all easily take when admonishing others on respect for fellow humans. This is perhaps most common in households where the maxim: “do unto others what you want them to do unto you” is often used. Personally, this author has witnessed the same senior member of the family who advised against opportunistic abrasion in public, perform same – and quite expertly too – while on outings on such similar functions. When this is met with a quizzical look, the reply bathes itself in the shine of a smile or simply submerges in the bubbly waters of a chuckle.
It is then behooving to ask the mysterious: is this particular wisdom of the elders only applicable within the parastatals of the mind and further bequeathing to coming saplings? For debate purposes, we might very well dance around this but for concision, one could simply assert that if the above is the truth then we will probably need to look no farther than the grooming chambers of individuals’ homes to understand why the societal standard still droops so low and dangerously close to the dusty earth.
Finally, although it is said that criticisms such as this are supposed to round off on a hopeful or at the very least, admonitory note, it is also reasserted that the intention here is absolutely not to play the guardian angel to anybody – we all have the natural good sense, slight as it may be, to see a potential-right or wrong – but to tell a quite regular tale of observations. Now, since that has been established, it is considered pertinent to express the urgent need for reticence when attempting to favour towards some misfortune we have suffered at the hands of those ‘smarter’ than us.
This does not mean to say that there aren’t instances where the victim is as pure as a newly purchased pair of white sneakers, neither does it disregard the fact that these lessons in street wisdom have a potential to breed wildlings, all it advocates is nothing but a very kind diffusion of the sympathy-seeking ambience that comes with being on the receiving end. Also, it is a considered opinion that when we dish advice on civility, our ladle must as well be clean of uncivil adventures, otherwise, the sermons can be saved up for another day.