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Sunday Perspectives

Reality versus ‘alternative facts’ (1)

Presently Nigerians are suffering as usual whereas those they elected to serve live as if Nigeria belongs to them alone. Perhaps the President is trying his best; but given the escalating hardship nationwide, his best is not good enough

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I, you, we: A philosophical analysis of the human condition (2)

In a nutshell, their existentialist interpretation of the human condition led to the depressing conclusion that life is meaningless and absurd. Even so, although Camus and Sartre recommended heroic defiance in the face of existential absurdity, the strong nihilistic flavor of their writings is not suitable in our contemporary world which urgently requires that go beyond existential nihilism and construct meaning for our lives, both as individuals and as members of the global community, to promote knowledge, love, kindness, solidarity and brotherly feeling among the more than seven billion inhabitants of this planet within the context of environmental sustainability.

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Donald Trump and the “cunning of reason”(2)

Secondly, we have human passion. Hegel correctly observes that human desires, passions and personal aims, people’s drive to satisfy their selfish interests – which means the entire infrastructure of our subjective wills – are the most effective springs of human actions. In apparent agreement with David Hume, the Scottish philosopher who claimed that reason is the slave of the passions and can pretend to no other office, Hegel affirms that passion, not rationality, motivates human beings, that “nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” It follows that human beings are propelled to action by their own inner subjective wills to satisfy their natural instincts, inclinations, interests and needs.

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Donald Trump and the “cunning of reason”

Virtually all the commentaries in the Nigerian media concerning the largely surprising outcome of the November 8 presidential election in the United States of America suffer from one fundamental defect: they were not situated within a philosophical theory or paradigm which alone can give intellectual depth and meaning to such an important event pregnant with possibilities of global ramifications.

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Appearance, reality and the idols (5)

The recent unprecedented nocturnal raid on the residences of Supreme Court justices and judges of the Federal High Court by the Department of State Services (DSS) based on allegations of corruption has been discussed from every angle by Nigerians. In my opinion, it is really a sad reflection of serious intellectual kwashiorkor in our universities that two well-known Professors of Law, Yemi Osinbajo and Itse Sagay, actually endorsed the Gestapo-like tactics used by DSS operatives around midnight sometime in October to arrest the top-ranked judicial officers.

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Appearance, reality and the idols (2)

Nigeria is not yet a nation in the real sense of the word, because the awareness of belonging to a community with shared history, common values and feeling of oneness and solidarity to shape the future together has yet to germinate and blossom in a significant number of Nigerians from various ethnic nationalities and religions across the country. Nationhood is not just about belonging to the same geopolitical space with others. Rather,it entails a dynamic psychic nexus, a glue of creative imagination and habitual feeling of unity-in-diversity with fellow nationals at both conscious and subconscious levels, including a shared strong belief in an ideal, dream and historical destiny that must be worked for – and, if necessary, die for as well.

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Appearance, reality and the idols (1)

One of the most interesting issues dealt with in metaphysics as a branch of philosophy right from the time sages in different parts of the world began to philosophise in antiquity is the question of appearance and reality. In thinking about the subject, philosophers use it to signify a contrast between the world of “mere appearance” usually considered to be nothing more than a reflection or shadow of something greater, with what is real and, therefore, probably of more value and permanent. It is claimed further that when the “really real” is cognised as such, it serves as the foundation of wisdom and knowledge.

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