By Debbie Olujobi
There is a great fable of a race ran by the tortoise and the hare. Both animals are healthy, capable and very able to live well and survive their environments. They are as different in looks as they are in gifts and abilities, they each had different tastes and different needs but they were an integral part of the animal society they lived in.
The hare till date remains a very fast animal while the tortoise is built with a steady but decidedly slow gait; it cant run as fast as the hare; some will say it cannot even run at all. The race itself seems designed to show off the hare’s ability and humiliate the tortoise for its inability. As expected the race begins with the hare leaving the tortoise in the dust and he gains so much time and distance that he decides to take a nap for just a little bit while the tortoise just toddles along.
The race ends with an unexpected winner, the tortoise! He may not have had the speed but he made his way slowly and consistently and as Luck would have it the hare woke up from his short nap just in time to see the tortoise cross the finish line.
Learning via stories like in the above is how society tries to teach us lessons in morality and there are a thousand and one fables, parables or even jokes that should teach or tailor make us into perfect human beings. At this stage in my life, I am evolving into a being of love and light; I am learning to live without the yoke of judgement and criticism and it is harder than you would think.
Humanity is destroying itself by ego fuelled competition; running races we are not meant to, scrambling up ladders that leave us hanging in the air! Personal liberty is a legitimate pursuit but I wonder just how many people know exactly what keeps them bound? What’s worse is that most of us don’t even realise that we live in captivity, we live in chains, bound by shackles that are as old as time itself. I am a christian by confession and faith but I would be lying if I claim that I have acquired and achieved one tenth of the liberty that Christ died for me to enjoy.
In life you would always have the tortoises and the hares, some people are hares, they run fast and cover more distance while some are tortoises; their race takes longer, they seem not to cover much ground initially. Society has fundamentally always pitted people against each other, competition has replaced harmonisation so instead of everything working for our good, most things work for the good of a few and the detriment of the rest.
The competition to become a part of the privileged is what will break humanity unless we embrace our diversity and accept that the ultimate race we run is personal! Running a race that mirrors the above fable is an effort in futility and will break some of us, make some of us but even more tragically we will end our lives with the sad realisation that we wasted time and spent our entire lives climbing a ladder that is placed against the wrong wall. Our destination shouldn’t just be material wealth and power, it should be living a life of peace, where we are happy, content and not under any pressure. A steady stroll or toddle just like the tortoise did is looking better to me than the hare’s speed.
The major issue facing humanity is ego based and competition driven, our need to better one another will leave no man standing. At this point in time in the world, men have replaced ego with God and atrocities are being committed left right and centre in defence of faiths that have no basis or interest in the continuation of life as we all have come to know it. It cuts across all the major religions and those who don’t violate us by bloodshed and mayhem do it from behind the pulpit.
In the era of jet-setting pastors who gauge anointing by opulence, we have fundamentalists who want caliphates at the cost of blood and gore. Both sides compete for prominence and influence and seem to be in a race to either capture our minds by fear or manipulation. I sat across a religious leader that I admire and while I remain very awed by the sheer charisma of this person I was disillusioned beyond measure to hear what our christian leaders think of us their congregation.
In his words ” Pentecostal Christians don’t think, they look to their pastors for direction and the Holy Spirit, which is highly subjective”. I pondered those words for a while and it’s taken me a long while to make my peace with the truth in them. It’s irresponsible for me or anyone to delegate my thinking processes to any religious figure as my salvation is ultimately my struggle. Religious figures of all faiths are not to be entrusted with decision making for us all unless we wish to be the mindless fools some of them think we are.
Competition begins in the classrooms and it echoes across the halls of government around the world. Across the sea, in the parliament of our colonial masters, you find the conservative and labour parties in Britain parrying insults like recalcitrant school boys, its not much better in the United States, the republicans and the democrats put all their energies in competing and annoying each other rather than serve the interests of the people that elected them.
The politicians are a reflection of all that is awful about humanity as their egos know no bounds. Nigeria is currently in the grip of election fever and the 2 major contenders have devoted our meagre resources on trading insults and ego tripping. I watched a news report on the crisis in Ukraine and concluded that the most egotistical person on the planet is the current Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is unfortunately the most powerful man in the world because he cannot be punished for any of the evil he enjoys perpetrating at the moment.
Russia’s wealth and arsenal of nuclear weapons makes him untouchable by the rest of the world. He has invaded Ukraine a neighbouring country, civilians are being slaughtered like animals and no one can do anything to make him stop! He supports King Assad of Syria and prevents the world from stopping the slaughter of innocents! He is above the law of man, the sanctions of society and remains totally impervious to the morality of good and evil. The current fluctuations in oil prices and even economic tumult can be traced to his tantrums; the sanctions imposed on Russia are punishing us all!!!