Surviving ‘Civilization’ – By P. Ogbaje

December 14, 2020
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It is difficult to express the irony of this topic simply because it is a very subjective perspective at things that we very often ignore as we go through daily rituals of life. Rituals that are sometimes predetermined by unrefined ancient beliefs. Beliefs that may have become obvious misunderstandings and outright falsehoods. Falsehoods that many of us do not need to search too far in our cultures and convictions to identify. Nonetheless, sentiments and mental identities we hug ever so tightly and dearly may have hindered our collective progress. Put this, perhaps, in a corner of the kitty for now.

Then, we have ratiocinations, self-inflicted assurances that we are something that we believe ourselves to be. Borrow from the psychologists who attempt explanations of self-concepts and personality types. While those are indeed laudable efforts, mental shackles still exist that bear no clear definitions. It is somewhat like that person who looks in the mirror and believes all that the mind puts forward. Some try to make up for perceived deficiencies and walk off with their noses in the clouds, so to speak, while others may be humble enough to even water down their coveted assets. Put this, too, in another corner of the kitty.

Now the questions: When we strive to acquire or accumulate wealth and fame, what are the underlying motives? Do we even have faint indications of where the line should be drawn? If we were able to singularly achieve the feat of having the world’s wealth, would sleep elude us or become more blissful?  Will material affluence become a curse or a blessing? For instance, will what we are planning to leave behind cause grief to its benefactors, or are we knotting the noose for our progeny? How have we contributed to the legacy of civilization even in our own little way? Maybe to put this more bluntly, when we gather “enough” for a reasonable lifetime, what difference does it constitute when we primitively acquire more than we can consume? These questions and diverse answers should also be thrown in the kitty, somewhere, but I poke at consciences and reasoning, at that urge to seek excuses and complex explanations.

Let’s bring this even closer home. When we hunted and brought back adequate meat for the village we failed to pause and perfect what was optimum. That is why certain creatures went extinct because we became mechanized and developed means to kill far more than we could eat or need. A buffalo served the village well for days but we started chasing whole herds off cliffs and ended up just taking a few more home that eventually rotted away like those we couldn’t. Apply this analogy to most things and it becomes evident that even getting used to eating far more than our bodies require usually results in discomfort and bad health. And do not take the mental misstep yet again here to assume I refer to what is historically considered bad food. On the day of departure, we leave empty-handed regardless of how many bags we filled up.

Until certain philosophies are re-engineered to reset the human psyche, until we can see basic humanity in all, we will never be civilized. Just a muse.

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