The Ugly Side…

 

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”The most beautiful as well as the most ugly inclinations of man are not part of a fixed biologically given human nature, but result from the social process which creates man.” Erich Fromm

Recent events in the world are enough to sum up the fact that humanity’s ugly side appears to be dominant. We are very quick to tear apart than build, we hate anything that remotely differs from our way of thinking. We want to love but find that so difficult, rather it’s easy to be suspicious, have zero empathy and yes, we find a safe haven in hatred.

James Carroll got it right when he wrote, ”we cloak ourselves in cold indifference to the unnecessary suffering of others, even when we caused it.”

Hatred brings out our ugly side when we hide behind our knowledge of what’s right and wrong. We believe our lives are somehow a priority compared to others and when we’re not having things going our way, we’re quick to complain, bemoaning our fallen state.

We’re also beautiful creatures, that is when we want to be. Imagine doctors risking lives and limbs to save Ebola-stricken victims in a remote village in Africa or people pooling resources together to save Syrian refugees from the freezing sea. That, is the beauty of human nature just to mention a few.

However, we all have ugly sides, if not, why do we have laws trying to curtail our nastiness from spiralling out of control?

I penned this article shortly after the Nice truck massacre, somehow I couldn’t publish it but it’s still relevant today. Most of the time,  it’s very difficult to comprehend when such tragedies occur, like the killings of African-Americans by rogue white police officers or the killings of thousands by the so called Isis’s mad soldiers or the time when Lord Gen Jeffery Amherst, British Commander-in-Chief of America wrote to Col. H. Bouquet to use Biological weapons (small pox laden blankets) in July 1763 against Native American Indians. He wrote, “You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.” Hitler wanted to wipe out the Jews and subject the world to his madness. In the end, I think our lives shouldn’t be mapped out based on such events no matter how sad.

Humanity is renowned for fortitude in the face of extreme violence. Hitler was keen to turn the world into a huge wasteland, but he failed, even though, in the process, millions lost their lives. The incredible thing I’ve realised is this, our ugliness and monstrosity would not prevail over the beauty and love inherent in us (this is where free-will comes in). That’s contradictory but it’s the truth. As Daniel Goleman wrote, ”societies can be sunk by the weight of ugliness.”

There’s real hatred in the world, just check social media where some segment of humanity compares others as inferior to them. It’s heartbreaking but over the millennia, it’s been part of the history of mankind, the pervading hatred, the palpable feeling of helplessness experienced by slaves which brought the brutal book, ‘The Heart Of Darkness ,’ written by Joseph Conrad to mind. More than ten million people had died in the Congo in the 19th and early 20th century under the rule of the notorious Belgian King, Leopold II. The Congo had been plundered and its inhabitants killed with ruthless efficiency. It’s one of the greatest acts of mass murder in human history. That’s humanity’s ugliness at its height. According to a review on Amazon, ”Conrad makes it painfully clear that the heart of darkness can reside within us all,” how sad!

Unfortunately, the killings in Congo is still ongoing, according to an article written by Owen Jones in the Guardian Newspaper on 6 March 2015, he lamented, ” African lives did not matter enough: a death toll of up to 6 million would surely not have been tolerated elsewhere. For the West, it is a country of little strategic importance.”

Overall, I still believe that our ugly sides can be tamed, maybe I’m wrong?

This article is open to debate, let me know what you think.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend wherever you are in the world!

Much love, always. 🙂

 

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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. 🙂

Out Of The Ashes

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I believe in life after death, not every one does, but I do. Human beings aren’t merely flesh and blood, we have souls, and soul are indestructible. I’ve got friends who are atheists, so I’m not going to expand too much on this before I start a debate that would rival a sitting in the House of Commons.

Yesterday marked exactly ten years when people with warped views of life took the lives of 52 Londoners, they also left almost 100 people with life changing injuries and scars. Yeah I know, my post is a day late but the topic isn’t. After work yesterday, I caught a few glimpse on the news and was sad at such wanton destruction of human lives. But I was proud, (in fact, I still am) to be a Londoner. Years has passed, but we’ve grown stronger as a city. More tourists visited London than ever before, I love travelling on the tube, bus or on a private car. It’s testament to the fact that evil will and cannot win.

If we read the news, there’s always stuff that would make our tummies churn (my daughter always says that), but life isn’t all gore and horror. There’s the incomparable breath of fresh air, there’s the sheer joy of clean water, what about the juicy goodness of an orange? The list is endless, life is good, and it’s tough, I won’t dispute that.

The relatives of the 7/7 bombing and the senseless and needless attack in Sousse would be comforted by the love and prayers sent their way. I believe in prayers but I also believe in living each day with a heart of thanksgiving in spite of my circumstances, that, I believe is what would keep me sane and out of the ashes of stress and despair. My husband used to say that everyone has problems, it’s just our ways of dealing with life’s daily grind that’s different.

I would end my post with this simple quote from Groucho Marx, ‘I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.’ 15598033400_01b66cb659_k (2) NP: I’m still writing, albeit slowly. I’ve informed my publisher of my inability to submit my manuscripts until next year. Life seems to have a way of sending many distractions my way and I always oblige 🙂 I hope everyone is fine. Please, stay safe! Much love to you guys, always! 🙂 🙂

The Promise

 

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Such Innocence… rights words make great men!

Yesterday night I was rummaging through my eldest son’s stuff ( he was asleep by then 🙂 ) when I found this note stuffed in one of the pocket of his school trouser. I simply presumed one of his teachers must have given him in his new Secondary school.

Here it is, word for word:

”There are three things that you must never do in life, for any reason…

The first is use drugs. Some of them taste good and they whisper in your ear that they will make you feel better than you could ever feel without them. Don’t believe them. Promise me you won’t do it.

I promise.

The second is use weapons. Even if someone hurts your feelings or damages your memories or insults God, the earth or men, promise me you’ll never pick up a gun, or a knife, or a stone, or even the wooden ladle we use, if that ladle can be used to hurt someone. Promise.

I promise.

The  third is cheat or steal. What’s yours belongs to you, what isn’t doesn’t. You can earn the money you need by working, even if working is hard. You must never cheat anyone, all right? You must be tolerant and hospitable to everyone. Promise me you’ll do that.

I promise.”

And that was it. I was happy when I read it, I mean, there’s no preaching better than that. If our children, and even the society at large could adhere to this simple words, there would be no ISIS, no wars, and we would be having street parties daily. 🙂

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NP: Friends, I’m embarking on series of projects that would seriously impact on my ability to blog, nevertheless, I would always visit your blogs as often as I could, and I would also find time to write every week or every other week until New Year. Have fun guys and take care of yourselves. Remember this words, ‘Always do for other people everything you want them to do for you,’ Peter Nelson used to say that to me often, and he was my dad!

Much love, always!

🙂 🙂

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”It is said that in 1923, seven of the world’s most successful men met at a Chicago hotel: the president of the largest independent steel company, the president of the largest utility company, the greatest wheat speculator, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, a member of the President’s Cabinet, the president of the Bank of International Settlements and the president of the world’s greatest monopoly. Collectively these tycoons controlled more money than there was in the United States’ Treasury.

Now, fast forward 25 years and let’s see what happened to them. Charles Schwab, president of the largest independent steel company, lived the last five years of his life on borrowed money and died a pauper. Arthur Cooger, the greatest wheat speculator, shot himself. Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange, spent three years in prison. Albert Fall, a member of the President’s cabinet, went to prison for bribery. Leon Fraser, president of the U.S. Bank of International Settlements, shot himself. Ivan Kreuger, head of one of the world’s largest monopolies, also committed suicide. If the recent economic upheaval has taught us anything, it’s that money brings neither security nor happiness.”

I agree with the writer of the above stories that we ought to use our money to reach a hurting world with love because that’s the essence of life, the only way we could truly live. I read this a few weeks back and it had a profound effect on me and I thought, why not throw this open and find out what others think?

Now I’ve got a question for you guys! Where do you think you’ll be in 25 years? I get to choose the best answer and whosoever got this right and I’m sure many would. 🙂 would enter my world of creation, which means that I’ll use the best answer to write a short story based on the commenter’s vision of the kind of life he or she would be living in 25 years’ time.

In the meantime, you can all listen to these awesome guys, their song is truly refreshing! You can achieve a lot if you put your mind to it! And in 25 years, you could be on top of the world…

I know I’m creature of impulse but I just feel like doing this! 🙂

So where do I think I’ll be 25 years time? Hmmmnn, I wonder…

Love you always guys! 🙂

The Two Face Monster!

 

the battle

I love this wise statement from Mahatma Gandhi, ”My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realising Him.” Gandhi extol the virtues of peace and truth, something I think the world lacks today. A friend of mine said recently that religion has shed more blood in human history and that was why he’s an atheist. Grudgingly, I agreed. People kill in the name of a god they have never seen, they destroy and slaughter without remorse and it made me think, shouldn’t religion be a personal thing? A private belief? A right for one to believe whatever one chooses to believe, without fear for one’s life?

But I guess, I’m wrong!

The recent campaign of hell unleashed on Christians and other sects like Yazidis by ISIS in Iraq is not something we can conveniently ignore any longer. Everyone has the right to live but things are not as easy as they seem, or are they?

America is a country which prides herself as a Christian nation. When our Prime Minister, David Cameron stated that Britain is a Christian nation, all hell broke loose! Many were quick to state the opposite, while others were quick to say exactly the same thing. I believe Britain is a Christian nation, and anyone who has a problem with that should go and study history. A nation, or people has the right to call or align herself to certain beliefs or way of life. It’s simple, that’s just ‘free will.’

By now, readers and friends of this blog know when I’m trying to approach a sensitive topic, and I’d wrestled with this for over a week now, so the only sane thing to do  is to write it down for, maybe posterity.

I am a Christian, and proud to be so. I would not apologise to anyone for that, because I have a right, and the will, to be a Christ follower. That shouldn’t be a problem, should it? But yeah, it could be a problem if I live in the northern part of Nigeria, or in Iraq, Syria, or Turkey. Islam claims to be a religion of peace, yet Christians are murdered in that part of the world. In Nigeria alone, Boko Haram has murdered more than 12,000 people, majority of them Christians, women, and children!

Let’s go back in history a bit. Let me use Turkey as an example. The country used to be a 100% Christian population before Mehmed II and his marauding soldiers came and destroy Constantinople and turned all their churches into mosques around fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. You may think that’s centuries ago but in 1895, during the ”Hamidian  massacres”  almost 300,000 Armenians were killed by the Ottoman empire who had ruled over them for more than six hundred years. In 1909, more than 30,000 Armenians were again murdered, their blood darkened the streets unchecked. Between 1914 to 1922, more 850,000 Armenians were murdered. Anyone in doubt can check this link for full details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide

Writing in the late 1890s after a visit to the Ottoman Empire, the British ethnographer William Ramsay described the conditions of Armenian life as follows:

”We must, however, go back to an older time, if we want to appreciate what uncontrolled Turkish rule meant, alike to Armenians and to Greeks. It did not mean religious persecution; it meant unutterable contempt … They were dogs and pigs; and their nature was to be Christians, to be spat upon, if their shadow darkened a Turk, to be outraged, to be the mats on which he wiped the mud from his feet. Conceive the inevitable result of centuries of slavery, of subjection to insult and scorn, centuries in which nothing that belonged to the Armenian, neither his property, his house, his life, his person, nor his family, was sacred or safe from violence – capricious, unprovoked violence – to resist which by violence meant death!”

Anyone who says Islam is a religion of peace should go to Borno state in Nigeria, or better still, just type Boko Haram in YouTube and you would see all their gory acts explicitly displayed. If you live in Europe or other parts of the world like I do, don’t think  for a moment that we’re immune from such horrible and cowardly acts, it played out on our streets in London when a soldier was slaughtered like a common ram. True, some Muslims are saddened by the atrocities committed by this terrorists, but the fact remains that Islam seems to seamlessly perpetuate violence where all non-Muslims are considered ‘infidels’ and ripe for the edge of their swords or guns as the case may be.

Islamist terrorists would stop at nothing to maim and kill if given the chance but what do we do? Nothing! As a Christian, and a woman who believes in free will as God Himself does, everyone have a right to worship whomever they wanted, and if you don’t believe in a God seated in heaven, by all means, you’re right to have your opinion. But to impose the will of a certain religion on people, that’s just wrong.

Children as little as five were beheaded in Nigeria, Syria and Iraq. Women were stoned to death or had their throats slits. Christians were rounded up and shot or forced to convert to Islam and then still, they were beheaded. This is not the fifteenth century but it’s happening now. And my fear is that, if this two-faced monster is not curtailed, they could overrun everywhere. People of all faiths should stand up to this threat. Yesterday I read in the newspaper that British grown terrorists were seen distributing leaflets urging Muslims to join their unholy war in Iraq.

This is the Twenty-First century, and by God, Islamist terrorists would fail in their quest to kill and maim the innocent. I’ll be praying, and I hope the US, UK, Europe and other people intent on protecting the sanctity of human life would rise to this threat and quench this rampaging two-faced beast in the name of religion. I believe in peace with all people of all race, colour and way of life, but there would always be those who loves death, as Osama Bin Laden once said, ”Americans love life but we love death.” I pray that humanity would conquer this monsters.

To all my friends worldwide, have a great weekend.

Much love, always!

They Shall Not Age…

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Seventy years ago, Allied troops landed in Normandy, trying to recapture France from the Nazis. It was emotional watching real footage of the historic event and Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For The Fallen’ came to mind. I watched open-mouthed as those young soldiers fought bravely and died so we could be free. I wish history would not repeat itself… There shouldn’t be any more wars, or murders or shedding of innocent blood. How I wish the world is a paradise!

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With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

For The Fallen By Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

For The Fallen was first published in the Times on September 21 1914. Laurence Binyon (1869-1943) wrote it while working at the British Museum, and did not go to the western front until 1916, as a Red Cross orderly. The poem’s fourth verse is now used all over the world during services of remembrance, and is inscribed on countless war monuments.

NP: This was originally published by ‘The Guardian’ Friday 14 November 2008.

Have a peaceful weekend my friends!

Much love, always.

Seyi David.