Sunday, 28 July 2013

We've abdicated our responsibility to think !

I apologize for posting this late. It was due to network outage in my area.

Back in the days, when our ancestors clothed themselves in animal skin.... Back in the days when they had only stones and wood for farm implements... Back in the days when civilization was pre-colonial...

There were no hospitals or maternity clinics. Our expectant foremothers were delivered by an elderly female relative, who was the gynaecologist, paeditrician, nurse and hospital maid; all rolled into one. As the baby grew, all members of the family pitched in to instruct and train him in what obtained then as folklore education. As he grew older, he followed father to work: farming, fishing, hunting or even divination. He was schooled in his family trade so as to be able to fend for his family when the time came to start one. The moment he came off age, he was instructed to carve his working tools, build his mud hut some distance away, pack what belongings he had and leave to start his own life. In time, he would pick a wife and begin a family.

Nowadays, things have changed. Mother registers at ante-natal clinics several months before baby arrives. As the due date approaches, father's ears are fine-tuned to hear either the water break or mother's scream, whichever comes first. Hurriedly, he carries her into the car and speeds off to the hospital. She's transferred to a wheel-chair (or gurney in case an impatient baby is already crowning) and rushed to the labour room. After some hours, mother screams, doctor measures, mother pushes, baby comes out, mother sighs, baby cries, father dances, mother smiles and they all go home.

As the baby grows, they enroll him in school, enroll him in after-school classes, enroll him in summer school as he gets more and more educated. They pay for his books, pay for tuition, pay for school uniform as he gets promoted from class to class. He writes notes, writes tests, writes statements of purpose as he strives to become a graduate.

After some years, he bags a degree or diploma and then a spanner is thrown into the works! He can't go on because there are no jobs. His predictable life and well-charted course has led him here but he is stuck. He has tools - his education and exposure - but he is waiting for the government to give him a job, to give him a life. "They have provided clinics where he was born, schools where he was taught, why are they not giving him a job to make a living?", he wonders. He scouts everywhere but there are no jobs. His CVs have gone abroad to the farthest corners of the earth but brought him no jobs! He decides to carry placards and pickets government offices and buildings, "YOU MUST FIND ME A JOB", he cries.

Thank goodness, there are hospitals that foremothers did not have and both infant and maternal mortality have diminished. Thank goodness, schools have been established to provide standardized education to make students more rounded than their ancient counterparts. But, no solution is to be found for the job and livelihood atrocity. What's worse, we cannot find a personal solution because we have abdicated our responsibility to think for ourselves, unlike our ancient counterparts, who fashioned their implements and went out to make a living. Government has always anticipated and provided for every need and people are in danger of brain atrophy.

Right now, I recall the fowls my neighbour bought and kept in the backyard. Every 6.30 a.m the biggest cock crows and wakes everyone in the building. But, there is this smaller one that crows too, right after the 'alpha' cock and gets pecked for daring to make a sound. But as pecked as it is, it wouldn't stop crowing every dawn. Two days ago was the birthday of the neighbour's daughter and for the feast you can guess which cock made the execution list. Because the runt cock did not abdicate its responsibility to give its God-ordained crow, it has not forgotten how to crow and rouse sleepy neigbours from their slumber. It's smarter than most of us.

I know some friends will call me after posting this to tell me how foolish my analysis is and add that I could time-travel to the eleventh century and live as our forebears did; and they are welcome. But never would I keep quiet at this injustice I see us doing to ourselves by failing to think of how to independently strive to make a living for ourselves. I have done my part, let the pontificating calls begin!

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