Purpose

Why are you here?

What is the purpose of your being?

Have you found it?

Have you ever thought about finding it?

Have you ever even thought about it?

Am I even making any sense to you? 

Or is it: “What is this one talking about now, what is purpose, we are talking better things here and this one is talking purpose, you that you’re talking self have you found your own? Bros make we rest jare. Just make sure say you chop this life before you die…”

You do seek fulfillment, I’m sure. 

Do you hope to attain that by simply doing things as they have always been done, as is expected of you to do them?

Do you question your actions (great and small) to see if they are your intentions or simply products of the direction of the mass mind? 

Do you do the things you do because they are in line with the essence of your being or are you just another one of the well trained ones who simply maintain their assigned spot on the production line and churn out what the world feeds them, meeting quotas and earning their fair wage of validation, not “minding their own business” (in Kiyosaki’s word), retiring from the world and passing their burden of “validation-upkeep” onto others?

Though we are in the world, we must not be of the world. Rather, we must seek to make the world like unto us by exemplary lives. Living lives that that portray our inherent divinities, walking the path of creators and not second hand fabrications of the children of humans.

Nigeria decides tomorrow, you need to decide too — tomorrow might be too late. 

For the sake of those who are gone (and the good they did),

for the sake of those not yet born (and the legacy you leave),

and most importantly, for the sake of you my blood (and your wellbeing):

Are you going to continue this mindless sojourn, going ahead with this herd, without an head, headed nowhere, with your head?

Or will you and let your holy spirit pastor you to your little pasture of personal peace and fulfillment?

Cast your votes whichever way makes you happy.

Joy, Peace, and more Life.

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STOP

STOP!
Yeah, stop!

When was the last time you did that?

When was the last time you even thought of doing that? 

How does it feel to do that?

Do you even remember you are allowed to do that?

In this world of incessant haste, at this time called the jet age where things have to happen at jet speed, and systems have to work at electric speed or they are considered broken. At this point in time where despite the progress in speed and effeciency we have achieved over the centuries, we never seem fast enough, and always seem to lag because there always seems to be at least one more thing we have yet to do at the end of the day, it is almost unthinkable to even for the slightest moment consider the notion of STOPing.

In this word where there are always things and nothings to do, where there are always tasks and expectations set out for you to accomplish, it is abhorrent, even evil to consider the notion of STOPing. 

How dare you say you want to rethink your life? What do you mean you want to take some time to decide where you’re heading? Don’t you see the path laid out for you?! What is there to think about Buffalo Soldier?! JUST KEEP MARCHING MATE!!!

You might think — I actually did consider this — it’s not always possible to stop. There are times, situations, circumstances where you must keep going at full throttle  in order to even keep “body and soul” together. What I observed was that there is always a way to take whatever life throws at you and make something out of it. There is always a way to take whatever situation even those that threaten to derail you, and make them work for/toward your dreams and fulfillment. It sure wouldn’t be as easy to do as it is to type this, but nothing — is the only thing that — is impossible; every other thing is quite doable. 

If I may, I’d like us to borrow an insight from the Gospels. The Christians are familiar with the parable of the Prodigal son, who having taken his inheritance, proceeded to squander it living la vida  loca. Having run out of cash, he proceeded to pawn his personal belongings to get by, until a certain point at which he had nothing to pawn but himself. His circumstance was so dire that he would have joyfully eaten the husks given to the swine he was employed to feed.

He would have kept himself on that expressway to nowhere, doing 240 kilometres per hour until a someday when he would have fallen and died, arriving nowhere, but his life got a turn around on a certain day. Why? Because he  STOPPED. He stopped for a very short moment and took the time to reconsider and reorganize the mechanism his life.

Now, you understand that when I speak of stopping, I don’t just mean quitting life and not doing anything, but taking some time to get off the road to consult your inner compass as to what direction you need to head.

Over time, through observation (mine and the watchers’),  I have come to the realization that every secret of life — spiritual, philosophical and all else— is openly hidden from us in plain sight in the physical observable universe. It is only left for us to observe and understand them, and what has the universe been teaching us about this topic since the dawn of existence? “There is always a calm before a storm”.

Pause and observe. Take stock of your life. Recalibrate your measures. Listen to You; To your body and soul, your mind, and perhaps your spirit. 

There will always be time to do things, but:

As Fela said: “if you miss road, e no matter as you take fast reach, you no go reach where you dey go, because that no be the road wey you for dey.”

And as Fola said: “If you fall down and kpai now, what will heaven say?

Even God rested on the seventh day.”

Sit in a quiet corner for a few minutes a day — like I’ve been meaning to do for sometime now — and just be, just breathe, and just be.

Last last, we go dey alright.

The Death of a People

Excerpt from ‘A New World’ by Jesse Jagz

Often I’ve heard parents across the South-western region of nigeria, especially those from the older generations express their disenchantment with the general outlook and ways of life of the younger ones, especially on issues that concern cultural appreciation — dress sense, language use, and a host of other areas. The inadequacy and possibly perfunctory nature of these efforts have continued to belie any good intention envied by policy makers. The double standard views expressed by these same seemingly concerned older citizens have become ingrained in the young ones raised by them, thus permeating all strata of the society and hampering any real progress on the subject of cultural revival.
Appreciation for our native languages have continued to dwindle in recent times. One would expect that any effort at revival to include and perhaps even start at our basic educational institutions, but this is not the case. Our languages are not even taught in a lot of schools anymore. Even in schools that offer the courses, students merely go through the classes without the lessons going through them. The result is senior secondary school graduates — arts students particularly — who after twelve years are unable to read or write Yoruba properly. I observed a particular example of this during my Junior Secondary Certificate Examination, where a number of my classmates opened/closed letters with “Dear Mother”/”Yours Sincerely” and other similar remarks. One would wonder what a student who is unable to open or close a letter properly would put together in the body of write-up. The fact that these students had gone through three years of coaching — nine if you consider primary school as well — bears blatant testimony to what goes on in most of our local language classes.

The baffling nature of this observation is less so when one considers the prevailing obtainable in our society. To speak English with a local accent in this part of the world is a felony worthy of being stoned for. Perhaps our people need to be reminded that Bolton, Offhand and Sanford; all within Greater Manchester have individual accents, different from that of other regions within England. Accents whose differences are sometimes conspicuous enough for non-natives to recognize. Why then do we equate use of English with brilliance/intelligence.

Modes of dressing underlies by and showcasing our ‘much revered’ culture have been cast off in favour of foreign themed ones, even when these are much less comfortable. One thing that has perhaps catalysed this is the “corporate culture”; the unwritten rule that we must be attired in western style clothes. What makes a well tailored buba and soro unsuitable for office wear, or why our judicial officers have to wear robes and wigs is beyond me. 

Of everything that affects an human, religion is arguably the most important one. Our mortality has led us to seek the philosopher’s stone, the fountain of youth and other ways to satisfy our craving for something above and beyond the ordinary. Nigeria’s two major religions (Christianity and Islam) have adherents making up more than ninety percent of the total population. The import of this to this essay is that religion controls every aspect of the adherent’s way of life, and in the two cases stated above, a lot of extraneous cultural practices are introduced to; and even foisted upon converts. One man who has contributed greatly toward the annihilation of our culture was Bishop S. A. Crowther. His equation of Yahweh with Olorun; Esu with the quintessential evil Satan; and the reduction of other deities to being minions of this evil archetype. Today, we find people in churches praying to Olodumare in Jesus name. Our divinities having being reduced to generic or evil entities. 

Considering the fact that these religions were heralded by and are relics of a period of slavery, we can rightly infer the effect that are bound to have on our psyche. If the white man’s fair skinned God is the true one and mine are fauxes, then he is better than me; since he’s more like the true God than me. How then can I be expected to appreciate my culture; the way of life of my people; my heritage, if it’s all falsehood?   How?

The only way we can make any real change to the status quo is to go to the very roots of the problem. Only by truly understanding our traditional religious heritage and embracing the beauty of it can we have any hope of reviving appreciation for, and sustaining our culture; which is the only way we can move forward as a people. While it is quite impractical and would be very detrimental to totally revert to the old ways — the Zeitgeist having changed with time; and not just with respect to our culture by every other including those represented by the Bible/Quran — we must be ready to take all that is good, refining and modifying others as need be.

States of Mind

This morning, I came across a post with essentially the following message: “Sometimes your mind just feels all over the place. You’re neither happy, nor sad, neither excited nor depressed, neither peaceful nor angry. You feel you’re in a chaotic state of messed up neutrality.”
A lot of people misunderstand and fail to grasp the power of an ’empty’ mind. We must learn  to ride, learn to create and BE.

We must understand that that state of neutrality is actually a most peaceful and desirable state of being. It is ॐ (ohm); absolute serenity, the sound of silence. It is ‘Ginnungagap’ the nothingness from which all else rise. It is the primordial state of being, the deafeningly silent, turbulently calm, fully void oceans of creation from which everything else is brought into existence.

It is what we seek to attain when we Iditate. That point where I an I become one with I self. The point where one becomes free of all sensual encumbrances and are thus able to get in touch with oneself and all of existence. To know I self and all that is. 

It is like a bicycle. The first times you get on it, you keep falling left and right and all over the place. And if you have simply happened on it without realizing what it is, you keep falling, getting frustrated and hating it, not knowing what a useful thing it is. But once you realize what it is and begin to learn to control it, you find it is a veritable tool for navigating this road that is Life.

The Middle Path 

Behold; I looked and I saw that the world is neither black nor white, but both.

We are all neither here nor there, but somewhere in between.

Neither on this side, nor that; and no, not on a fence,

For there is no fence, only a path.

The middle path, for all to walk toward awakening. 

For who can awaken but they who truly see things as they Truly are, 

They who are not lost to wandering the wilderness of unreality, 

Those who truly Know the reality of things. 

They who have taken to the middle way.
I looked at the world and I saw a pair of scales

And there was balance, for the scales tipped not. 

Even in the entropy and disorder, there was an order, a balance, an equilibrium,

For without the order, without the balance, there would be an extreme;

Extreme joy or sadness, extreme pleasure or pain, extreme heat or cold, extreme height or depth, extreme abundance or penury, extreme light or dark, extreme righteousness or wickedness, extreme wisdom of folly, extreme drink or thirst, extreme filling or hunger. 

None of these should be, for extremes are without balance;

Thus, none of these last.

A bowl of boiling water placed in a cooler room gives off heat, seeking to attain the mean state, seeking balance.
So does a bowl of ice take in heat, seeking to attain the mean state, seeking balance.

In blinding light or in absolute darkness, everyone is blind. 

Extreme filling is death, same as hunger. 
The perfection you seek must therefore not be the attainment of any supposed extreme, but of equilibrium.

Equilibrium which is the ultimate form of reality. 

For the world is neither black nor white, but diverse shades of gray.

And extremes never last; for everything seeks balance.
Blessed are they that hath ojú inú (inner eyes?), for they not only see but perceive these things,

Blessed are they that hath etí inú (inner ears?), for they not only hear but understand these things.

Blessed are they that hath ọgbọ́n inú (inner wisdom?), for they do not just believe, but Truly Know these things.

​Christianity and The Law: A New Covenant

For a couple of weeks now,  arguments have raged within christiandom on the question of tithe. Each group have crafted interesting and sound arguments to support their positions, every one of these arguments suffer the same basic inadequacy: they are all based on Old Testament ideals. I do not contest that these laws were given by God, but we must understand that a New Testament has been given, which supersedes anything that the Old Testament might say. As Christians, and as heirs of the Salvation which Christ has brought us by virtue of the new covenant, we must base our lives on the teachings of this same — new — Testament. 
In this article, I shall try to paint a very clear picture of the proper Christian position regarding tithe and by extension the Law of the Old Testament, that is from the dealings of the apostles and the early church. In a previous post, I have already discussed the fact that Jesus, despite stating contrary to this, actually lived to annul The Law.

The idea of ‘Tithing’ is part of the Law of the old covenant which according to Hebrew 7:18 has been disannulled (done away with), due to It’s weakness and unprofitableness. The same convenient which Hebrews 8:7 implies to be faulty, thus necessitating a new convenant. If we consider what Paul discussed in 2 Corinthians 3, especially the 3rd verse where he contrasted the writings made with ink and on stone with the epistle of Christ (Christ’s basic principle) written by the spirit of God in the hearts of men, along with verses 5 & 6 which shows we are ministers of the spirit, not of the letter. That is, we are guided not by the law (of ink and stone), but by Christ’s basic principle. Looking at verses 7 through 11, it’s quite clear that the old is done away with, while the new is established. That is, the old convenant and the laws, instructions and practices that go with it are no longer valid under this new dispensation.

Another instance to consider is Acts 15 where some of the Pharisees argued that Gentile converts had to be circumcised and instructed to follow the Laws of Moses (that is they should follow the path of the old convenant). This was seriously contested by Peter, Paul and Barnabas who showed that those things were unnecessary for salvation. Peter stated in verses 8 and 9 “God who knows the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith”. Afterwards, the council agreed that converts do not need to follow more than the four restrictions James suggested.

Now, the fact that the requirements of the Law have been cast aside does not mean these people could go about murdering and robbing and doing other evil deeds. They would would in fact have to refrain from these things so as to be in line with the Christian principle of love, and not because of the Law.

Looking at things from the perspective of the Law and the old covenant/testament, one might feel the need to pick sides. Either to pay to the ‘Church’ or the needy or to consume the tithe in the presence of the Lord as various groups have argued, but coming to the new covenant of Christ, Christians are under no obligation to pay tithe in any form, for whatever reason, or to anyone. The doctrine/principle of tithing is clearly of the old covenant, a covenant which have been annulled by the new one, abiding by it would therefore be unchristianly. So, whatever means of payment you might be tempted to choose, know that tithing certainly has nothing to do with Christianity. In fact, it should not even be a discussion topic within christiandom.

Now, I totally understand the contention of those on the side of paying to the ‘church’/pastors. These group clearly aims to follow the divine order in Malachi 3:10, but  Apart from this, we as Christians should not need any laws or “sharing formula” before we bring ‘food’ to the house of God. For those who contend that tithe may be consumed in the house of God, I would ask again: what benefit could there be in following a rule that has been categorically overwritten? For those who say tithe is for the needy; Christ’s principle of love should guide us to give as much as we can with a glad heart. For verily, little given freely, with a heart of joy will be more acceptable than plenty given under the force of obligation of as apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”.

Except you are under the Law (which as a Christian you aren’t), you cannot receive any of the blessings associated with any of the practices stipulated under the Law. So, forget Tithe and others like it. Live a life based on the idea of Christian love and you shall surely receive greater blessings than all of the blessings associated with the old covenant. For, just as the new covenant is more glorious than the old, so are the blessings greater than those of the old.

Remember to check out Jesus’ perspective concerning the Law here

May the light of truth guide us, now and for all time. 

“Olódùmarè”

“Olódùmarè”

All known human societies, however primitive, have cultures. One of the most important aspect of all cultures is religion, with every other aspect of the people’s ways of life being codified into, and in turn regulated by religion. Religion governs aspects of life ranging from Mode of dressing through diet, interpersonal relationships, work ethics, even to general outlook on life.
All traditional religions have a pantheon of deities — which usually are either heroes deified at death or aspects of nature personified so as to be comprehensible to the early human. The Pharaohs were believed to be direct descendants of the deities and themselves became deities at the end of their earthly reigns. Odùduwà and Sàngó, two early Yoruba monarchs, as well as many other such progenitors were seen in a similar manner, so we’re the Chinese monarchs — usually referenced as The Sons of Heaven — and most other royalties the world over.
One very important thing we must bear in mind though, is the fact that the people who gave those explanations lived at a more primitive time than now. A time when the things we regard as common knowledge today were not known. A time when the Earth was thought to have ends. A time when the stars and other celestial bodies were deities or representation of fallen heroes. A time when epilepsy and such other rare diseases were considered exclusive spiritual maters. Regardless of this though, the human mind cannot bear to encounter and live in the midst of things it doesn’t understand, so even at that time, with the shortage of useful factual non-mythical knowledge and understanding of the world, things had to have explanations, but the people who made the answers had to work within the limits of their meager understanding. Which is why we have such ludicrous and far fetched explanations such as the monster Typhon being buried under mount Etna after a battle between the gods. A suitable primitive explanation for a volcano. Similarly, the Sun was widely worshipped as the Supreme deity in many cultures all over the world as it was seen as the ultimate source of sustenance. In many cultures, the Sun was also believed to sleep or die at night and rise in the mornings. Similarly, the moon and other celestial bodies were Worshipped as representations of deities, or as deities in their own rights. 
Just as religion has played an important role in the development and continued existence of governments, politics and secular order have played an equally grave role in religious set up. A clear example of this is presented in Egyptian history where gods and goddesses rose to prominence or fell to obscurity at various points according to the whims of the people and the rulers. Ra who became a major deity around the period of the 5th dynasty (25th and 24th century BC) was fused with Amun around the 16th century BC as the latter god had gained prominence, to create a portmanteau deity Amun-Ra which reigned supreme for ages. In what is  one of humankind’s first attempts at monotheism or more properly monolatrism, during the 18th dynasty, Pharaoh Amenothep IV—later Akhenaten—adopted the sun disc Aten (which was merely an aspect of Ra) as the single national god of all Egypt.
A deity who had grown in status had to be set apart from the divine rank and file. Cronus was king of the Greek pantheon until Zeus usurped him, thus becoming Father/King of all other deities. Similarly, in Norse mythology, Odin is the Father/King of all other deities. The Egyptian deity Amun-Ra (a fusion of the gods Amun and Ra) rose to a position of transcendental, self-created creator deity “par excellence”, His position as King of Gods developed to the point of virtual monotheism where other gods became manifestations of Him. A case very similar to this is obtained in the Abrahamic faiths where Yahweh/Allah is presented as the sole supreme deity, while all other divine entities are presented as being sons or mere manifestations of him. And as  these religions spread, converts also had to differentiate this great god from their original pantheon now believed to comprise lesser gods/goddesses. Therefore, this one had to become God while others remained or were demoted to the status of mere gods/goddesses. Thus, man made deities, gods and Gods made he them. 
So it was, that when Abraham was “called” out of Ur, it was by El, the original Supreme god of the cannanite/Samaritan pantheon. He was called by the the god that most appealed to him, who also happened to be the supreme God of his pantheon. It was this same El which Isaac, Jacob and the early Israelites worshipped. In fact, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which is the name of that nation. Although, just as it is with these ancient deities, another deity, Yahweh – which was once regarded as one of El’s sons – later came to replace/absorb the qualities and characteristics of El (at least in Isreali religious set-up) . Before the birth of Muhammad bin Abdullah, the pagan Arabs already worshipped Allah (Allah being a contraction of the title: Al ilah meaning The God) as a Supreme God in their pantheon in the Kaaba. Indeed, the name Abdullah (Abd Allah) meaning servant of “the god” was borne long before the prophet purported to have brought the knowledge of the one true God to humanity was conceived. One cannot but wonder at this claim. Just like Abraham and Pharaoh Akhenaten before him, I believe you understand and would agree with the clear indication that Muhammad simply adopted the deity with the greatest appeal, one already widely worshipped and acknowledged as the supreme God.

It is thus clear that all religions derive from devotion to deit(ies) and the distinction between a god and a God is merely a reflection of human whims.
Just like religion, all people have creation/origin stories which when stripped of their usually grand but mythical facade tend to reveal simple down-to-earth truths, which parallels those of other peoples. For most native American tribes (the Apache, Cherokee, Chinook, Chippewa-Ojibwe, Chelsea, Iroquois, Lakota, Navajo, Potawatoni, Seminole Indians etc.), everything came from a great sky spirit above, and a watery deluge below. In the Far East, the Chinese believe a giant cosmic egg existing in the Chaos of nothingness brought about all that is. Similarly, the Japanese hold that at the beginning, the world was immersed in a beaten and shapeless matter (Chaos) which was sunk in silence. For the Egyptians and Kushites, an infinite lifeless sea of Chaos called Nu is the ultimate source. The Nordic people of Northern Europe refer to this prime source as Ginnungagap — the gaping abyss, a Chaos of perfect silence and darkness. The Greek whose myths strongly parallel the Romans’ simply call it Chaos — a form of nothingness from which everything came. The Yoruba people of West Africa speak of Olódùmarè, an impersonal, non-anthropomorphic divine entity which is held as the prime source of all; deities, humans, animals, plants and all else that is. 
Thus, beyond the Gods, gods, goddesses and all other divine beings worshipped and revered, there is one which although acknowledged, is mostly unregarded and almost never worshipped directly, probably because of its seemingly incomprehensible nature. Thus, necessitating the existence of deities which are regarded as physical manifestations/representations of the various perceived aspects of this most superordinate form of existence. These deities then serve as conduits/links between mankind and the Almighty. All Gods, gods and goddesses were therefore necessitated by human inability to comprehend the singular nature of the seemingly complex Almighty (Olódùmarè). Humans could not understand Olódùmarè as a single being, so they created gods and goddesses to represent it’s various characteristics.
Therefore, even though Gods have been raised to  a status higher than those of other deities, they are merely just exalted gods. The Almighty (Olódùmarè), the original source of all existence is therefore different from gods/Gods or goddesses.

Olódùmarè clearly requires neither our service nor worship. It is exceedingly sufficient  enough to be a source without requiring returns. Unlike Gods which exhibit clearly masculine characteristics, Olódùmarè is beyond the classifications of gender, combining both the masculine and feminine characteristics as they both come from It. From It, all things came, through laws and principles that are foundational to all of existence. Unlike Gods, It is therefore not an interventionist being.
Just as humans have created deities as comprehensible stand-ins for the Almighty, religions were also created in place of true spirituality. In the best case scenario, religions would have been meant to assist humans in the practice of true spirituality, but just like all man made things, religions have become greatly corrupt, political, divisive and a tool for power struggle. Spirituality is not ideology or theology, bit simply a pure, true and original way of life based on the simple principles of existence as given by Olódùmarè, and which when followed, helps us connect with ourselves, with the universe and directly with the Almighty.

Get free PDF article here.

On Truth

Toward the end of autumn in 1913, Russian explorer and adventurer Ruski Issledovatel, along with his team of 3 assistants Yuri, Vladimir and Gabriella set out into the wilderness of Siberia. Toward the end of the previous century,  rumours had surfaced of the existence of an aboriginal people who had long inhabited that region undiscovered and oblivious to the world.

Arriving in mid summer of that year, Ruski found a community of people who had lived and developed a way of life distinctly different from those of contemporary Russia. Everything from their mode of dressing to eating habits could not be compared to that of early 20th century Russia. Most importantly though was their language which although being different from any known romance language, showed  some evidence of having evolved from medieval Latin.

To them, Ruski’s Russian, or Gabriella’s English was pure gibberish. Not much different than what an English trained parot’s speech would sound like to a Chinese. To them, theirs was not just “a language”, it was simply “Language”, The Language.

In our hearts, a vast majority of us are in the same state as this people. We were born into societies with maxims, ways, norms and mores which we have been taught, trained, cajoled and/or compelled to accept as The Truth. There are certain way things have been done for countless generations, ways which were taught to our parents by their parents before them, and theirs before them, which they have in turn taught to us not as a way, but The Way. Just as it is with the Berru child who has no idea about the diverse nature of humanity, our ancestors probably had no idea of this diversity. The implication of this is that they had no idea about ways of life that had been tested and proven more effective and efficient than what they held as “the Way”, and anyone who would attempt to experiment with new methods would have had to go against the will of the society and as Diana Gabaldon wrote “it takes a special kind of courage to stand against the crowd”.

A Yoruba adage goes “ení bá se ohun tí enìkan ò se rí, Ojú è á rí ohun tí enìkan ò rí ri”; whoever does what no one has done before would surely witness what no one has witnessed before, a form of subtle warning against non conformity. Given the close knit and communal nature of our traditional communities, along with their the cost of becoming a black sheep/pariah (having to pay reparations, getting banished or even ultimately payng with their lives)  would have been enough to enforce conformity.

A few decades ago, it would have been virtually impossible for a man in Igbó Orà, Oyo Nigeria to have any inkling of the way of life of someone in Kafanchan, Kaduna state or even Ikare, Ondo state within the same South-Western region. But with our technological advances came better and faster means of communication. While a man traveling from Lagos to Abuja in 1900 would have had to spend several weeks trudging along on foot, that same journey would take about a day by bus today and the same journey would be completed in a matter of minutes by air. This,  coupled with advances in other aspects of communication such as the television and ultimately the internet means ideas are easily communicated over long distances almost instantaneously. The meaning of this is that we are almost constantly being exposed to Vastness of human existence and the diversity of reality, so that as long as we are not being intentionally obtuse or close-minded, we learn new ways of doing things, some better than, some others not as good as ours, but ultimately we learn the fact that our ways are not “the Way”, but “a way”. Thus confirming the Yoruba adage which says only a man who has never seen beyond his father’s farm is absolutely confident that theirs is the largest farm in the world.

 As bright and beautiful a picture of humanity as the last paragraph paints, it is sadly not the reality for most people. Even though we now have access to improved communication technologies, meaning we can more easily meet and learn other peoples’ ways of life, and the price of nonconformity is not as great as it used to be, we are still held up either by the largely hypocritical notion of preserving our culture, and/or lack of objective knowledge.

A large number of us often feel or at least claim the conviction of having to defend and preserve our culture — although this is mostly a facade we adopt in an attempt to make amends for the aspects we have discarded in respect of better methods —  holding on to ways of doing things which have been shown to be of little benefit or moral benefit to humanity even when we have little or nothing to gain except the idea that they have been useful in preserving their culture. For example, the average Yoruba Christian man or woman, despite having rejected a key element of the Yoruba culture (the traditional religious practices) can’t stop prattling about how foreign influence has been, and still is eroding our culture, citing instances ranging from dress mode to language as well as abstract concepts like respect and fidelity. These people conveniently forget the fact that they have themselves rejected certain aspects of said culture, as well as the fact that culture is an ever-evolving construct, which changes over time, and not something set in stone and frozen in time. 

Similarly, a vast majority of people all over the world still lack access to proper objective education on the ways of others. Formal educational curricula represent the whim of policy makers. This means such subjects as history, religious and civic education are easily doctored to fit a narrative that suits the people in charge. An example is how media content could be restricted and outright ban impressed on certain topics which might knock the people out of complacency or cause them to lose their way. Just as the average white man must have been raised with the understanding that Africans, were sub-human entities, and the average Afrikaner was raised with the understanding that the native South-African was not quite human, and most Americans believe in the ultimate goodness of free market capitalism and despise the evil that is socialism/communism and inter-national prejudice still reigns among the nations of Nigeria, the advances we have made in communication have not necessarily translated to objective education. People are still trapped in opinion bubbles representing the society’s prevailing frame of mind. People are trapped in ideological echo chambers saturated with narratives which only serve to enforce the prevalent prejudices of the society, community or group they belong to.

The implication of this is that most people (even in this jet/internet age, even in the most developed corner of the world where people have access to the best communication equipments which grant them virtually unfettered access to virtually infinite information) still go through life without any concrete/factual knowledge of the ways and practices of other people, only resorting to hearsay and subjective media crafted on their side of the divide, and intended to enforce their own beliefs and worldview. Even more disturbing is the fact that most people lack thorough understanding of the views they hold as truth and vigorously profess. So, a great percentage of Americans simply believe their system of governance is the best, without actually looking at things from other perspectives, just as it would have been with the Spartan or Athenian of a past era. Much thesame way, most Christians or Muslims go through life without absolutely any knowledge of most other religions or even theirs, simply believing that they know The Way, and that Yahweh/Allah is The God, while in actual fact they merely know a possible way and he’s just a God (one among tens of thousands), the same way the Berru would have thought of his language not as a language, but as The Language just as a Norseman would have believed he knew The Way and Odin is the King of gods, the same with the ancient Egyptian would have thought of Ra, not as the Almighty leader of a pantheon of gods, but as the King of The Pantheon. 

It might be a fact of life that like minded people tend to instinctively gravitate toward one another, and we tend to reject views which contradict our convictions, thus setting in motion mechanisms that result in the formation of echo chambers, we must realize that the attainment of truth requires objective observation from all possible perspectives. We cannot claim to know The Way, or The Truth until we have objectively assessed and obtained factual understanding of the full spectrum of “ways” and “truths”, including that which we profess.

This means that you cannot rely on anyone for your education, but must embark on a personal journey of discovery. Read books you aren’t meant to read, discuss topics you shouldn’t even think about, question popular beliefs, don’t just accept the way your ancestors did things during the dark age many centuries ago, experiment and find new ways.

In essence, “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored or believed by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it”. Do not believe anything simply because you saw it on the internet, or because you read it in the news, or because you saw it in a movie. Do not even accept what I have written here simply because you see it in print, but test the truth of it. Prove all things and hold fast that which is true.

Belief never simply translates to truth, no matter the number of people who hold  or however deep their conviction. Neither the pope’s faith nor Galileo’s impiety could either make the sun orbit the Earth or make our world the centre of the universe.
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