“FREEDOM from fear and injustice and Oppression will be ours only in the measure/That men who value such freedom are ready to /Sustain its possession – to defend it against/ Every thrust from within or without.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
‘Man’, notwithstanding philosophical, archeological, anthropological, historical and scientific research through radioactive isotopes etc., remains a mystery – a complex conundrum and a prodigious myth waiting to be unraveled. His chameleonic mien, conduct, disposition, traits, characteristics and idiosyncrasies monumentally attest to these assertions.
The 18th century philosopher and poet “John Arbunot” was bewildered by the Homosapien that he asked in his poem’ Know Yourself’. “ What am I? How produced? And for What end? Whence drew I being? To what period tend? Am I the abandoned orphan of blind chance, dropped by wild atoms in disordered dance? Or from an endless chain of causes wrought? And of unthinking substance born with thought?” The enigmatic labyrinth called ‘man’ gets more complex every day.
But in the midst of the quandary, “Man” has through emotion and reasoning established a symbiotic and functional relationship with all other things. He has intra and inter human relationships, realising that as a catholic entity and person it behooves man to husband himself and harness other things around him. In making this relationship active and feasible, generosity, beneficence, charity, altruistic commitment and kindness to his kind and others became critically crucial.
What do we expect in return for showing kindness and generosity in material or spiritual format? Many will argue that they expect nothing for showing kindness, some will say they expect a thank you and nothing more. Whatever we say is an attestation to the complex nature of “Man”. But in all, a vast majority of people will expect ‘Gratitude’. Have our politicians been grateful to the poverty stricken masses of Nigeria from 1960 till date?
Gratitude as a human trait lies in the deepest recesses of a noble mind. It entails a form of reciprocal action, an avid desire to show appreciation, gratefulness and recognition of good. It is the dividing line between great minds and mundane ones. Ability to show gratitude stimulates and extends the tentacles of altruism and munificence.
Egomaniacs do well and show kindness because they want to be appreciated in front of the market place. In front of the church and on radio or television. They are self-seekers. Theirs is, no matter what we say, is termed philanthropy or generosity, but there is a material price in their generosity. But giving or doing good without caring about self is true goodness. Such has a spiritual price. Man is not armed with tools to decipher and competent to judge a true giver, but we know that it is more blessed to be a selfless giver. Let every generosity be hallmarked by gratitude. Will the politicians who will win and loss in the 2023 elections be grateful to the electorate that stood in an Indian file under inclement weather to help them achieve their political ambitions? Have they ever being grateful?
It is recorded in one of the synoptic Gospels that ten lepers were healed by Jesus Christ; only one came back to show gratitude and that one left with Christ’s approval. William Shakespeare the English playwright in his drama piece Julius Caesar showed how the great Caesar was attacked by the conspirators and as a Roman War General he wanted to fight back but when he saw his own friend Brutus – a noble man being one of them he became despondent: he said “Mark how the blood of Caesar rushed out of doors to see if Brutus so unkindly stabbed and as he plucked his cursed steel away ingratitude and treachery stronger than the traitors hands burst his mighty heart ……. this was the most unkindest cut of them all.”
The Nigerian politicians has never ever been grateful to the totality of the Nigerian electorate. That is why 99.9% of Nigerians still wallow in crass poverty and elephantine neglect. We still experience shortage of potable water, we have no shelter, no motorable roads, no security, no medical care facilities, no good schools, pensioners still die on the queue, we still experience psychotic corruption in every strata of leadership. We ask our politicians to show gratitude to the electorate by pursing the greatest good for the largest number of Nigerians.
In the poem “The Fallen One” by an anonymous writer, it tells of a man who worked selflessly for his community but he was later discarded and thrown into the streets during the winter season and through the forest, he was lacerated and buffeted by the torrential winter winds, he cried and said “Blow, blow, blow, thou winter but thou art not so unkind as the spirit and sting of ingratitude.” The quotation has also found a place in the works of many poets and authors condemning ingratitude.
In the Sheridan Comedy “The Rivals” Sir Anthony Absolute for his son’s insubordination and ingratitude punished him thus: “Don’t enter the same hemisphere with me, don’t dare to breathe the same air or use the same light with me, but get an atmosphere and a sun of your own.”
Ingratitude is tenebrous, wicked and a ghoulishly teratoid trait in man. It is a gross inability to show appreciation, gratefulness and thanks in the face of obvious and clear assistance. It unearths the biblical “Cain – Strings” in man. Ingratitude delimitates and short-circuits goodness. It smacks of Neanderthal man’s instinctual primordialities and breeds seculars humanism – a consummate belief in self. That all I have, all I am and all I shall become are within my purview and powers only.
Secular humanism has become the Modus and Locus of the modern era, it tends to over-emphasise man and de-emphasises “GOD”. We claim and boast that all our successes are by dint of our hard work. We in all honesty know that this is a brutal lie. God puts everything in place. He fine-tunes the logistics, perfects the strategies and orchestrates the actions that led to whatever we have achieved. Little-man is too full of himself that he arrogates to himself false dignities and claims God’s glory by showing gross ingratitude to him. Will our politicians continue to stew in the irreverence of ingratitude after 2023?
Ingratitude to God is the crux, the locus classicus, the fons et origo and the initium et finis of the purport of secular humanism. Ingratitude to God is based on our inability to understand our roles on earth. We think that the acquisition of material abundance is the sole purpose of life on earth and man will stop at nothing in bringing it to pass in his life-time. But in all honesty unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who builds it.
To be continued tomorrow
Gbinije is of the Mandate Against Poverty (MAP), Warri.