Surviving Decay…

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      (Photo credit: Flickr)

”Although the living is subject to the ruin of the time, the process of decay is at the same time a process of crystallisation, that in the depth of the sea, into which sinks and is dissolved what once was alive, some things ‘suffer a sea-change’ and survive in new crystallised forms and shapes that remain immune to the elements, as though they waited only for the pearl diver who one day will come down to them and bring them up into the world of the living.”

Hannah Arendt.

I saw this quote by one of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century. I studied some of her writings, and was pretty impressed by her bluntness, ingenuity, and simplicity. Some  of her works are ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism, ‘The Human Condition,’ ‘On Revolution,’ and ‘The Human Mind.’

It’s a known fact that when we don’t really use our cognitive function, we rot and decay. It’s no wonder that people with warped views of the world and society caused most of the evil in this present age. In layman terms, cognitive function can be aptly described as ‘an intellectual process by which one becomes aware of, perceives, or comprehends ideas. It involves all aspects of perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering.’

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I won’t go into too much details about the lack of this important aspect of our civility as humans, I’ll just try to touch base with some of the setbacks we would experience if we don’t use our brains. Lack of cognitive function is responsible for most of the ills in our societies today. Citing the examples of religious bigots like Islamic State murderers, Boko Haram and serial killers whose brain have been irreparably damaged by their intellectual paucity, its little wonder that they believe in fables and riddles purportedly yarn to elicit their obedience.

Decay is essentially part of all living things, we are born, we live, we grow old or maybe not, and then we die and the decaying would start. All living things, especially humans, have the extraordinary ability to survive decay through our offspring, thought patterns, actions and deeds.

How do we leave great legacies behind? How do we defeat the theory of decay which governs all living things? It’s simple – our thought processes is as important as the air we breathe because that would ultimately affect our choices in life, beliefs, and the quotidian or relatively mundane life we led.

Another thing I wanted to point out, also by Arendt, was the effect of thoughtlessness in the life of human beings, it’s always disastrous to lead a thoughtless life. This was aptly described when Hannah Arendt went to Jerusalem on behalf of The New Yorker, to report the trial of Otto Adolf  Eichmann, who was accused of crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Arendt described Eichmann as thoughtless;  quiet authentic inability to think. Succinctly put, absence of critical thoughts can actually turn us into a monstrous, stupid, or crass entity who could be easily blown apart by every wind of doctrine.

Critical thoughts are what makes us the higher beings, capable of making sane, rational decisions. That’s simply what differentiated us from animals.

Arendt is a political theorist but many scholars hailed her as a philosopher. I love reading her works, it makes me think deeply about life and society in general. The above quote could be used and interpreted in several ways, I have chosen my way and that is the fact that we can surely survive decay. We only need to think and we’re free to create a better life for ourselves and everyone around us. Life is in stages, enjoy it while you can and THINK before you act.

NP: The life of a writer is a lonely one, I’m still slaving away on my books hence the sporadic updates on my website. I’ll be visiting your blogs as time permits. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts, I’ll love to read what you think.🙂

Enjoy the rest of your week my friends!

Much love, always.🙂

53 comments on “Surviving Decay…

  1. Enjoyed your interpretation by one of the profound thinkers of the twentieth century.

  2. advocacine says:

    Enjoyed reading your article!

  3. I like your interpretation on cognitive function. The malaise prevalent in our our society today is due to thoughtlessness. If people could pause and think, many needless tragedies could easily have been avoided. I’ll try and read some of Arendt’s works. She was a brilliant mind. I totally enjoyed reading this article Seyi.
    Christy Nelson.

    • Seyi sandra says:

      I agree Christy.’If people could pause and think, many needless tragedies could easily have been avoided,’ I agree with your assertion. Imagine a world with zero angst and strife, how cool would that be?

      • That would be cool indeed Seyi. Someone once quipped behind me that, ‘thinking is the hardest thing in the world.’ And I think he’s a fool. Thinking should be the easiest thing in the world. Just have a sit, look at things objectively and do the right thing, voila!

  4. I enjoyed reading your piece, Seyi. Happy Writing!

  5. Deep thinking my sister.🙂

  6. FCEtier says:

    I’m not as concerned about people NOT thinking as I am about what they ARE thinking, especially those whose actions have some influence on my life.
    Thanks for a “thought provoking” blog.🙂

    • Seyi sandra says:

      Thanks for reading my friend. You’re right, hopefully, when people in our lives use their full thinking skills, it would only be full of love! Appreciate your visit and comment!
      Blessings.🙂

  7. Love your thought here.. we need more philosophy in our writing.

  8. seyi, always enjoy your posts, they make me think, something that we all need to do more of , I know I do, I get too caught up in life and do not reallly take time lately to read on important thoughts and think about them !!! I hope the writing comes easy and you are happy with your work !! Cannot wait to see what you are up to !!!
    Stephie

    • Seyi sandra says:

      Thanks Stephie. I appreciate your kind comment. I was doing some research on my new book when I came across Arendt. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have known most of her works. Life is fast paced and we have only 24 hours in a day, we can only do what we need to do. Thanks for your visit my friend!
      Blessings.🙂

  9. Amazing write up as always Seyi. Once I start reading, I wan to read more. Awesome you. God bless.
    Mojisola
    http://www.mojintouch.com

  10. kirizar says:

    I might argue that it isn’t a decay of reason but the absence or atrophy of conscience that is the greater horror. Acts of depraved indifference are often perpetrated by intelligent and thinking individuals–the Stazi in East Berlin who spied on its people for decades and destroyed any rebellion against the state; the KGB in the Soviet Era were the remnants of the intelligentsia who massacred the monarchy; the Nazis who enacted methodical and precise exterminations of any who did not measure up to the standards set by their Fuhrer; the highjackers who deliberately learned how to fly planes in order to create chaos and mass destruction of 9-11. These aren’t ‘thoughtless’ acts as much as they are acts without soul. It is too easy to say “they did it without thinking” when what they really did was act without regard for humanity, dignity, or moral turpitude.

    • Seyi sandra says:

      Thanks for your comment Kirizar. Conscience, reason, indifference, superiority and other feelings associated with civility stem from cognitive function. You can be intelligent and your thinking could still be flawed. If you really read my article, you’ll realise I mentioned people with ‘warped’ views about life. These set of individuals aren’t thinking straight. Those guys you mentioned are acting based on the belief that they’re being patriotic to a cause, their right thinking faculties had been flawed hence their thoughtlessness. When an individual is thinking right, he won’t hijack a plane and slammed it onto a building. They believed they’re doing the right thing, for a ’cause’ they believed in.

      At the end of the day, they lack basic thinking skills, when you plan a murder or a genocide, you’re not in the right frame of mind, because if you are, then sanctity of life and regard for humanity comes first. It all boils down to our thought pattern Kirizar. Our soul is connected to right thinking, nothing more, nothing less.

  11. Kendra Turner says:

    Thank you for this!

  12. unclerave says:

    Very interesting. We can delay decay, but we can’t really stop it. It is an inevitable fact of the cycle of life. Like the change of the seasons, it’s something we need to embrace. Just don’t let your own mindset be *crystallized* in thinking that there are only Muslim extremists. All religious extremists – Christian, Hindu, Jewish, etc., as well – represent a rigidness that divides us all. In fairness, they are ALL fables that we’ve been taught, from birth. The warm and cozy term is “tradition”. The harsher reality is that it is “indoctrination”. Accepting this opens the mind wider. — YUR

    • Lori says:

      Don’t let your mindset “crystallize” in thinking that extremists only come out of religion either. There are extremists who reject religion too, as we’ve seen recently in Oregon.

      • unclerave says:

        Lori,

        My comment was based on a very specific line of Seyi’s, where she singled out Muslim extremists. You’ve apparently taken issue with the latter portion of my comment. That is your prerogative. But, I don’t think it’s fair to categorize someone who was mentally disturbed/psychologically broken, and just happened to be against “organized religion” as part of an “extremist” group. Certainly, the act was extreme, but it was a lone act of a very desperate soul.

        Seyi and I are old WordPress reciprocal admirers. I know she values all reasoned opinions. Take care of yourself. — YUR

      • Lori says:

        I don’t have an issue with anything. Just sharing another viewpoint from a different perspective to stretch the thinking process. My point was that there are extremists in all walks of life, whether they be individuals or parts of a group/religion. Ted Kaczynski was extreme as well. Groups are made up of individuals. Any one person or religious group of extreme individuals that sees the need to be violent for their “cause” surely must have some sort of mental instability. I’m aware that there are extremists in all different religions, but I only know of one at the present time that is being violent as a group (again, at the present time).

    • Seyi sandra says:

      I understand your point of view. There are all kind of extremists world over, it doesn’t have to be only Muslims but I was more particular about the use of our cognitive functions and the ability to think clearly. I’ve got atheist as friends who are more open and loving than so called religious people. In all, I enjoyed reading your comment and I hope your weekend has been great so far. Thanks for stopping by my friend!:)

  13. Lori says:

    This is a very thoughtful and insightful piece, Seyi. I really enjoyed it. I love this type of deep philosophy discussion. I might add that I believe our thoughts are also an energy that goes out into the Universe, similar to The Law of Attraction. What we think and perceive is what we cause to happen.

    Though decay happens, there is a lot we can learn from the process. Going inward can bring us closer to that which never decays.

    • unclerave says:

      No issue, Lori. Huh. But, you chose to share your view point, as a reply to mine, by taking my words and trying to turn them back on me. I see. You don’t need to be honest with me, but you should at least be honest with yourself.

      Groups ARE made up of individuals, but not all individuals are parts of groups. The young man in Oregon was a desperate and disturbed individual, with no indication he was affiliated with any group. Religious extremists, whether physically violent or not, truly *believe* that they are justified in their actions. Kim Davis is not violent, but her repugnant, and illegal, actions are based on her *beliefs*. But, if you are aware of only one extremist religious group that is utilizing violence in the world today, then you really need to read up more on world news. There is plenty out there. Look past the standard corporate media. They only tell you what they want you to know.

      — YUR

      • Lori says:

        Dear Sir, I argued the issues, I did not attack you personally, as has been done here with me (accusing me of dishonesty and not being knowledgeable). So, I will leave you at peace with your own perception of the world and move on. Blessings to you sir.

      • Seyi sandra says:

        I honestly don’t know what to write on the comments between you and unclerave. But one thing is sure, we can agree to disagree and we’re all entitled to our opinions. Unclerave is entitled to his, and so are you. I’ve never deleted a comment on my website except if it’s offensive and I want to apologise on his behalf. I sincerely hope you’re not offended.
        As adults, we have a right to voice our opinions, either right or wrong, that’s what a free world is all about. Thanks again for visiting my friend. I’ll be visiting your blog soon.🙂

      • Lori says:

        Hi Seyi. I support everyone’s right to free speech, not just those who agree with me. That’s part of the problem, people’s free speech is being squelched by political correctness. That is a tragedy, because squelching free speech will also squelch the thinking you mentioned in your post.

        I would never expect you to delete these comments, nor to apologize for someone else’s comments. I appreciate the opportunity you’ve given us to for this discussion.

        When someone stays on point of the issues at hand, then it is a healthy debate of differing opinions. I’m all for that. When someone decides to make it about the other person’s integrity, then their argument is falling apart and there is no need to continue the discussion. I said what I did, not because I was offended, but because I wanted to point out how the discussion had changed from the issues, to making them about me as a person. That is when we should learn to walk away, at least IMO.

        Thank you again, for the opportunity to discuss these differing opinions.

      • Seyi sandra says:

        Thanks for your reply, I read it twice, and learnt a few lessons about opinions and our right to voice our objections.

        I appreciate your visit and comments. Take care of yourself and see you soon.
        Blessings.🙂

      • Seyi sandra says:

        Temper, temper my friend. We’re all friends and you have every right to exercise your excellent thinking faculties. There seemed to be a miscommunication between your view and Lori’s, which is perfectly normal because we’re all humans and could take a word and misunderstood what it meant. Take care my friend and have a great week!
        Blessings.🙂

    • Seyi sandra says:

      Thanks Lori. Our thought is central to our humanity, once we lose it, we lose who we are. Decay in a sense doesn’t have to be physical. What would people say about our legacies when we’re gone? That’s the kind of decay I meant. Leaving the world a better place than we met it is how we could survive decay. I truly appreciate your visit my friend. Do enjoy the rest of your weekend!
      Blessings.🙂

  14. RoSy says:

    Nice to “see” you here & there. I’m not a writer – but – been away from the WP more than being on it. Life… Overall – it’s all good.😉
    {Hugs}

  15. unclerave says:

    Lori,

    I took it as an attack. You can argue an issue without taking someone’s words, and twisting them to suit your needs, by trying to make the person look bad. I’m a loving and open person, but I don’t lie down for anyone when attacked. We can always just agree to disagree. Right?

    I think we’ve taken up enough of Seyi’s comment space, so I promise I will not reply if you feel the need to get in the last word. Peace be with you, sister.

    — YUR

  16. unclerave says:

    Seyi,

    I stand behind what I’ve already said, and there was no anger in it. Lori, apparently interpreted my initial comment as either an attack on you, or on organized religion, or both, and decided to defend you, and/or organized religion, by attacking me. That should be pretty clear for anyone to see. I also think it was pretty clear that I enjoyed your post, but I simply couldn’t allow your generalization to go unmentioned.

    I’m very sorry if you have seen things differently.

    — YUR

    • Seyi sandra says:

      I don’t think Lori was trying to defend me or organised religion, I think she’s just using her freedom of expression to convey what she felt was wrong. I used Islamic extremists as examples of people with ‘warped’ views of the world simply because of their fanaticism. I could easily have used the Japanese who used their Kamikaze planes to crash into allied ships during world war two, or IRA suicide bombers. There are loads of examples I could use but serial killers and Islamic terrorists suited my assertion on this particular post, it was simply a befitting example. All in all, My focal point was on our thought processes and I hope you got that on my article.
      And I didn’t see things differently, I just wanted to clarify that to you. I hope to see you again my friend, and do take care of yourself.🙂

  17. unclerave says:

    Seyi,

    As I tried to convey to Lori, I don’t agree that there are similarities between serial killers, or other mentally disturbed mass killers, and any religious extremist groups, Islamic or otherwise. In my opinion, it’s a matter of apples and oranges. Both run very contrary to what most consider sane, or at least civil, society, but I see the thought processes and mindsets as miles apart.

    I appreciate your attempts to play peace maker, and I do admire your writing this post. But, I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree, as well. But, you can count on seeing me again. I like the way you write.

    YUR

  18. gageier says:

    Liebe Seyi die Zeit vergeht so schnell die Blätter färben sich bunt und es ist kalt geworden ein Zeichen dafür der Winter ist nicht mehr fern hab einen gemütlichen schönen Donnerstag mit ganz lieben Grüßen Klaus in Freundschaft

    • Seyi sandra says:

      Sie haben ja so Recht Klaus . Die bunten Blätter mir eine große Freude . Es ist so traurig Sommer liegt im Sterben , und wir werden wieder werden Eingabe Winterland .
      Ich liebe Winter obwohl; Zeit, um gemütlich und warm. Schätzen Sie Ihren Besuch mein Freund. Achten Sie darauf, und haben eine gesegnet Wochenende!
      Viel Liebe von ihrem Freund.

  19. Ste J says:

    I have a few of Arendt’s books on my wishlist, which I now need to go through again and reacquaint myself with the ones I had forgotten about. I always think that if schools put critical thinking on the curriculum there would be less worry in the world and then perhaps politics, big business and the like wouldn’t have things so easy.

    I hope your writing is going well my friend, you always have so much on but it will all be so worth it!

    • Seyi sandra says:

      I agree with you Ste J. I wonder why no such subjects were taught in schools. It shouldn’t be all about making money and the economy.
      My writing is going swimmingly well, and as you’ve noticed, I’m swamped with work. All for a good cause!
      I’ll stop over at yours soon and do have a wonderful weekend!
      Cheers.

      • Ste J says:

        I’m glad your writing is going so well my friend, that always makes me happy but so does knowing you are taking care of yourself as well. Have a great weekend yourself!

      • Thank you Seyi for this thought provoking post, I really enjoyed reading them. I guess environment, circumstances, books/articles read or people we trust and admire have great influence in our cognitive ability or thought process. I definitely agree that decay happens when our actions affects others in a negative way. Even what the world says as highly intelligent but acts without heart and humility can be considered a fool, while a fool without any formal education and had zero ability by world standard but is able to show love, compassion, kindness and humility is really the one who had used his/her cognitive ability to the highest level. Their acts may be unknown, they may not be recognized as having left a legacy but to those who they touched and to God their names are written in the book of life. I really believe in any nation, religion, culture, these type of men/women exist despite their being trained otherwise. They are those willing to give their life for another but will not take another’s life for their belief.🙂 Kudos to you and God bless to your writing! May you have a great weekend.🙂

      • Seyi sandra says:

        Thank you for reading!🙂
        You comment could even be regarded as another post. You hit the nail in the head several times. There are several intelligent fools who don’t use their basic cognitive skills while some who didn’t see the walls of a school are more humane and kinder.
        It simply shows that humanity still has a long way to go but I’m optimistic that we’ll get there one day!

        Thanks for your visit and wise comment. God bless you!🙂🙂

      • Thank you Seyi, God bless you always!🙂

  20. This post is very thought provoking. An interesting read for sure. Thanks for the post. Hugs, Barbara

  21. reocochran says:

    I liked the lively discourse, although tired do did not get whole effect of debate.
    I liked in my school and family home, how we were encouraged to “debate.” In English or literature courses we were able to discuss humanity, the good, bad snd ugly.”

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