Monthly Archives: February 2013
Today, we want to take a look at one of our national psychological deficiencies. Of course, we do that a lot on this blog—taking looks, that is, not that we are psychologically deficient (although many of our readers will disagree with that claim). For instance, we’ve talked about our misguided idea of heroism here, made fun at our love for “food” here and then risked inciting your anger here by curling up our noses at your constant lookout for divine favour.
You see, we could talk about politics and yab the government all day long, its easy to do. But in reality, we won’t be able to change the mental state of the government until we change our own mentality first. And what better way to inspire change than through well tested fables? So let’s start with a well known fable, certainly familiar to our readers who had already contracted puberty before the invention of the world wide web. Its the classic story of the farmer, his son and his donkey. We said “his donkey” and not “his ass” because we don’t want to offend some of our more sensitive readers.
Now, here’s the condensed version of the story. A man and his young son are on their way to town, and the two were accompanied by a donkey, for no clear reason. Father and young son started off the trip to the mall by walking beside the donkey—but folks criticised them for being damned hypocrites and urged them to ride the blasted ass. So, the father rides the ass and the boy runs along. But this solo ass-riding by the man doesn’t sit well with some other people, and they tweet comments accusing the father of child abuse. So the son rides the ass instead,but the family have to contend with twitter critics who sub the son for lacking respect for the elderly. Frustrated, both men ride the animal, but folks post pictures on facebook showing them as being cruel to animals. Frustrated, the father and son tie the donkey to a pole and they carry it on their shoulders— and inspired a perfect LOL moment for generations to come.
The ostensible moral of the story is, of course, that you can’t please everybody, and, also, that donkeys are bad for business. But there’s another lesson we can extract from the story which, for the purpose of our discussion we will call: “The Danger of Spinelessness.” This moral, though connected to the moral of avoiding trying to please everyone, is also distinct in itself. Essentially, the Danger of Spinelessness states that when you lack principles, you will be shifted right and left by every change in circumstance.
The story illustrates the life of a man who has no principles. Here was a farmer who had no clear definition of why he had a donkey and what he expected from the donkey. His attitude to the donkey was dependent on the current fashion trend. He was inspired, not by an innate principle of life, but by kowtowing to the wishes of everybody— a way of life more aptly described as “Mission Impossible”.
Unfortunately, quite a number of folks around us—and ourselves too—are without defining principles. The principles of a clown are not necessarily a socially acceptable norm, but they define the clown well enough. As we’ve pointed out before, if your principles are definite, you will spend more time achieving your goals and waste less time defending yourself to people.
And that is why heroes are getting rare—too many people prefer to swim with the circumstances rather than being principled. In this sense, “principled” does not mean disciplined or harsh, it simply means staying true to one’s philosophies irrespective of the circumstances in which one is. But what if you have no principles? Well, that’s awesomely unfortunate. What do you want to achieve in life? How do you intend to get it? What will you do when you meet an obstacle? You should be able to coherently answer these questions or quietly close this page now.
Take a look at one of the daily instances that shows how people can be one thing somewhere and the opposite elsewhere. The bossy team leader becomes subservient when reporting to the MD, the usually irate MD becomes a sniveling lackey when discussing with the Chairman, the ordinarily arrogant Chairman toadies up to the Minister of Commerce, and the disciplinarian Minister is a “yes man” to the President. A man is confident in one place and a sycophant in another. A man is all for the truth in one place, carefully editorial in another.
Of course, philosophies change, and people abandon some principles and take up new ones. Russia moved away from the communist mindset and America is gradually moving away from absolute capitalism. But a change in principle should be more like the change of a caterpillar into a butterfly—which is fundamental, and not like the “change” of the chameleon—which is circumstantial. When reality proves a principle to be wrong and unworkable, by all means abandon it and fashion out a better one. As Lowell, said, the foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions.
And that’s the bone of our beef today: developing the ability to decipher between what is principled and what is circumstantial. Circumstances will always change. Life has always been cyclical. Your philosophies shouldn’t be defined by who you are with, what position you occupy or where you are. Your principles should be identifiable and persistent. Because, at the end of the day, what matters is not the circumstances that surrounded you, but the person you were. But, we will make no attempt to judge you on this blog, because after all, we say “ass” when we promised not to say it, and that’s just unprincipled of us.
Today, we’ll talk about women —because we like women a lot on Idlemindset and also because, recently, it has been a trend on the social media and blogging circuits to decry rape, violence against women and other forms of abuse against the feminine sex, and we are eager to lend a voice to this crusade. You can read some enlightening and heart-aching articles here, here, also here and here. And unless your heart was formed from the offspring of a one night stand between a chunk of diamond and a piece of granite, you would whip out your anti-rape cutlass and go after the heads of rapists with the vengeance of a traumatized father.
Of course, there is nothing funny about rape, and so we will address this issue with the level of sobriety it deserves—with plenty cussing and wanton spitting. So if you can’t cuss and spit where you are, just fix an expression of metaphysical seriousness on your face while reading this post, and it will be quite appropriate for the occasion.
Now, most religious and social philosophies firmly place the blame for rape on the feminine of the species—because, you see, intelligence is neither spiritual nor cultural. But that fucked-up mindset has found less ground today: women, having wisened-up in this current civilization, have, also, not been hesitant in throwing back the blame at the male of the species for being incontinent assholes. And so the blame game between male offenders and provocative females goes back and forth—because, you see, intelligence is also neither masculine nor feminine.
This argument can be taken back and forth—and there’s plenty talk on that—on who is more to blame between the provocatively dressed female and the perverted mentally disturbed male. But today we want to shift blame to a third category of people who inspire the fucked up mentalities that allow violence against women: women themselves. And by “women”, we do not refer to that hot girl in a tight bikini that you have in mind already; but to the general category of females who are the first to cast stones against their fellow women on issues of gender relations and violence against women. You know those kind of women: the ones with the “serves you right” mentality.
These are the kind of women who promote laws that limit women’s freedom of dressing and appearance, or promote ideas like this insane website geared towards returning women to the era when a man can marry a woman by simply carrying her off the streets and into his house. But not all women are as straight-up treacherous as to sponsor a law against “indecent” dressing or promoting an association to suppress female progress. Most times, encouraging violence against women is effected in the most subtle of ways—through the wacky gender philosophies that women teach their children and also through the promotion, by women, of what Wikipedia calls: ideologies of male sexual entitlement.
Children are born without any impressions of male and female norms; but society, through the parents, impresses them with relevant social discrimination. This discrimination includes ethnic, national, race and gender types. And from a sociological observatory point of view, we can safely say that while fathers mostly indoctrinate the children in political discriminations, mothers are generally responsible for the ultimate mindset of the child in gender relations.
Therefore, a male child who grows up with the impression that men are superior to women or that girls who dress expressively are sluts, available for his taking, will eventually mature into the kind of man who takes provocative dressing as an excuse to rape a woman—or even children. And a girl who is taught by her mother that she will be raped if she dresses sexily will have no sympathy for women who get raped—instead she will advise the female victim to dress more decently and to accept the female role of subservience. But, that is the fucked-up thing about rape—no excuse can, or should be allow to, justify its existence. Instead, maybe the most appropriate way to rehabilitate a rapist is to chain him up in a room with photographs of naked women until he learns that the mere existence of something does not make it available for the taking.
But men in general, and rapists in particular, are never going to understand that fundamental logic that a woman’s body is her body and nobody else’s, until women themselves begin to drum this fact into men’s heads—in both ways. A woman’s body is not for her father, not for her brothers, uncles, nephews, boyfriend, husband, society nor God. Yes, God is included in this list because—the last time we checked, the Big One is not interested in the maleness or femaleness of a human body. On the plus side, at least someone got arrested for stating that Islam permits rape.
And that’s the lesson today for you women, and you dads. The more you encourage the idea that women who do not cover themselves from head to toe are definitely inviting sexual abuse, the more you give an excuse to rapists to commit atrocities. Even more importantly, women are duty bound to their own sex to unite and fight against laws and religious and social norms that repress women and give men the excuse to be physically abusive.
You know we are asking for trouble on Idlemindset when we reference God in what is clearly an irreligious blog. Now that its virtually becoming Nigerian law not to take God’s name in vain, we really can’t predict the response of you, our dear, religiously sentimental, readers. Nigeria is a religious country and no one screws around with their God or Gods or gods. No one, that is, except us. Of course, when we use the word “God” on this blog, we expect you to fill in the relevant, itty-bitty details by yourself: e.g. gender, looks, musical preference, number of angels and tolerance level for bullshit. In fact, for our own purpose, and because we love women, we will consider God as a kindly ageless woman with plenty angels (three of whom will die shortly), listens to Afro hip-hop and has an unlimited tolerance for the bullshit we do everyday.
But today’s post is not geared towards a psychoanalysis of the nature of God, nor is it about defending the independence of God—She is perfectly capable of doing that Herself, otherwise She would have resigned the title “God” long ago. Instead, we’ll focus our precious time on examining that alarming, and almost specifically Nigerian, culture of invoking God in every half-assed achievement scenario, however irrelevant. And the latest of these infatuation with spiritual controllers is the relegation of God to the role of a favoritism prone, country partisan, asshole of a football official who lets one team win and double-crosses the other team.
Here’s an example of how prevalent that mentality is: at a barbershop yesterday, during the match against Ivory Coast, a Nigerian watching the play had a near heart attack when someone playfully suggested that some juju must have been involved in the seemingly improved performance of the Super Eagles. This cardiac-prone gentleman, like a desperate defense attorney, seriously began to rebuke his fellow fan for ascribing to Ifa what was clearly the handiwork of the Christian God. “This match belongs to Jehovah” he said with profound insight, and three angels collapsed and died on the spot (we warned you).
You see, playfully ascribing a football match to juju is one thing, seriously ascribing it to God, instead of hard work, practice and random factors, is another. The uncomfortable truth is this: God is freaking indifferent to the African Cup of Nations. And the Barclay’s Premier League, and the World Cup. But apparently, Mr. Keshi clearly thinks God is a Nigerian, because during the press conference after the victorious match, he confidently proclaimed that “God is wonderful, the boys showed character.” In fact, he started the conference with the verbal equivalent of tossing the ancestors a libation before commencing a social drink: “First of all, I want to thank God….”
Now here’s the crux of today’s post. Its okay to thank God in everything. But superstitious belief should not be confused with a personal thanksgiving. In a country where religion precedes common sense and folks are convinced that supernatural forces, and not human factors, decide what happens, we should not hesitate to fight against that mentality wherever it pops up. We will achieve a great deal more if we thank God less and work harder, than if we thank God more and work less—and it doesn’t matter what your religious leaders tell you. In any case they will be the first to abscond if this country crashes from the weight of their superstitious influences.
And God doesn’t mind your focusing less on superstitions, really. That’s why She gave you that pound of meat contained inside your skull—so get the fuck out and use it. And just like a fish doesn’t wait for God before using its fins, or a bird before using its wings, you shouldn’t sit on your sorry ass, praying, waiting for meat. Unless, of course, you live a zoo. Otherwise, you just have to work for your own goals. God is awesomely indifferent to your football matches, your fixtures, your players or your coach. And the same applies to a lot of everyday life and activity. The supernatural realm is very, very indifferent to a lot of things you consider very, very important.
And so what’s the use of religion and spirituality? Religion is an internal influence, not an external one. Your religion is a personal spiritual business, its not a physical force that will change things for you. Your religious beliefs will not change the laws of nature, logic and human psychology. Whatever your religion, either primitive ancestral worship or the more advanced Christianity, Islam and their several counterparts, if you jump from a skyscraper and fall on a rock below, you will break something. If you work studiously towards a goal, you will get it. Religion could give you knowledge, but it won’t give you resources. Religion could give you enlightenment, but it won’t give you progress. Religion could give you inspiration but it won’t give you success. You just have to do that freaking work yourself. And with that said, get off this blog and go do something useful.
P.S. Remember to order my short play “Death in the Dawn” here. It will not change your life, but it will entertain you some. 😀 😀 😀