Sunday, February 7, 2010

Changing Places, Changing People.

What is the purpose of man?  To hold an idea and purposefully persuade other people to give ear to that point of view, and if moved in heart, to walk over and give assent to it.  I am wholly convinced that persuasion is the only proper intellectual process.  Now, there is no easy way of convincing people.  Scepticism seems to increase as the new idea tugs at the heart of the inductee.  Nature abhors disturbances, and this level meniscus is no more exhibited than in people's worldviews.  People will only welcome change if it is inevitable.  It therefore serves the propounder of a great idea best, if s/he can courageously go fast ahead and implement it, while the indecisive masses mull over its viability.  Man is largely a fatalistic being, who will almost predictably 'live with what he can do nothing about.' 

If you build a highway, someone will ride on it.  If you build a hospital, someone will convalesce in it.  And somebody else will train to be a nurse, and a teacher, mechanic, and all the rest.  Objects react to objects and spirits respond to spirits.  To change a people, just change their place.  In this era of 'improving access to services,' to urbanize a rural township is to influence the hinterland in a most profound way.  Most people have ideas of how to ameliorate their lowly positions, all they need is a helping hand out of the trench.  Where they will go once they stand on the firm ground of Equality, is the subject of the Bill of Rights. 

Overwhelming majorities are always led, whichever way the leader decides.  In great societies, this malleability works well to yield unimaginable progress to the population, when a visionary mastermind strides boldly up the public stage, faces the audience and exhorts them to see their world through the technicolour lenses of his inspired pair of eyes.  That is how you end up with Rome, the British Empire, America or the Panama Canal.  That is how Kwame Nkrumah birthed the Independence struggles of Africa, and how Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired the Civil Rights movement in the United States.   But, on a far wider scale, this technique has been misapplied, or rightly utilized to further wrong, deceptive intentions.  The world abounds with histories of masses roused to fight wars that are not their own, and afterwards becoming embittered when this realization sinks in.  And that is how you end up with the genocide of Rwanda, the electoral pogroms of Kenya, the xenophobia of South Africa, or, as earlier and on a larger scale, the Holocaust of Nazi Germany.  Majorities focusing on inane illusions, and not minding their supervening self-interest. 

That is how the masses of Guinea can 'demonstrate' to have their coup-executing leader returned home from Burkina Faso, to suffocate them with his deadly whims.  Honestly, a majority that asks for military rule is quite incorrigibly misguided and irascible.  Why not forment a 'civilian coup d'etat' against that headless military?  I never saw a better opportunity washed downstream.  And all is now well, because this sense has been grasped!  Since I wrote this, some sense seems to have seeped into the sills of their minds.

Possibly, that means there always is a vacuum in the mass-mind that can be filled by anyone with a bold idea.  No one can deny that a coup is a bold idea, or that ending a genocide, like Paul Kagame's Rwandese Patriotic Front did, is a heroic deed.  The odd point is why heroism must, on our patch of Earth, only be associated with ill. 

There is no point lamenting about our present.  And the best way to face our future is to defeat our past.  We learn without heeding the many lessons of the frail tastes of man.  Does one man, for example the former NBA great, Michael Jordan, inspire a global male hair trend of skinheadism?  Does England's David Beckham popularise feminine masculinity?  Did President Barack Obama re-ignite the embers of hope in the breast of every global citizen, for unity in a fractured world?  Does Shakespeare still clutch the rhythm and diction of the English tongue like the beat of a musical tune? 

Yes.  Infact, that is the point.  That it only takes one man.  But a 'man' it must be.  Not some crybaby or demagogue, and definitely not some copycat.  It takes a man with Adam's originality, and Luanda Magere's boldness.  A man with Mandela's foresight, Gandhi's patience, Emerson's wisdom and Euripides' courage - to say, 'Give me a firm place and I will move the world!'  Critically, it serves well to remember, that all genius is borrowed.  The genius is the dwarf who learns and adapts to standing still on the shoulders of giants. And no dwarf ever complained of an obstructed view from so lofty a perch.  He becomes a giant at that level and is only limited by the shortness of his attitude. 

The only firm place I offer you is the strong conviction within your heart, of the truth of your view.  Solidify your idea, and convince the world to move.  You can then claim all the fame of having moved it.  Friend, if you can move people, you will have changed their position, you will have changed their place in life, and a civilization will owe you one.

Are you a 'man' to change a place, and change a people?  You are the leader!

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