“FREEDOM from fear, injustice and oppression shall be ours only in proportion as / As men who value such freedom are willing to / Maintain its possession – to defend it against / Any thrust of ‘inside or outside.’ -Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
“Man”, notwithstanding philosophical, archaeological, anthropological, historical and scientific research through radioactive isotopes, etc., remains a mystery – a complex enigma and a stupendous myth waiting to be unraveled. His chameleon-like attitude, demeanor, disposition, traits, characteristics, and idiosyncrasies monumentally attest to these claims.
The 18th century philosopher and poet “John Arbunot” was baffled by the homosapian he asked for in his poem “Know Yourself”. What am I? How produced? And for what end? Where could I be from? of an endless chain of forged causes?And of thoughtless substance born with thought?The enigmatic labyrinth called ‘man’ becomes more complex every day.
But in the midst of the dilemma, “man” has, through emotion and reasoning, established a symbiotic and functional relationship with all other things. He has intra and inter human relationships, realizing that as a Catholic entity and person, it is up to man to marry and exploit other things around him. By making this relationship active and achievable, generosity, benevolence, charity, selfless commitment, and kindness to one’s species and others have become critically important.
What do we expect in return for showing kindness and generosity in material or spiritual form? Many will say they don’t expect anything to show kindness, some will say they expect a thank you and nothing more. Whatever we say is an attestation of the complex nature of ‘Man’. But overall, a large majority of people will expect ‘Gratitude’. Have our politicians been grateful to the poor masses of Nigeria from 1960 to date?
Gratitude as a human trait resides in the deepest recesses of a noble mind. It involves a form of reciprocal action, an avid desire to show appreciation, gratitude, and acknowledgment of good. It is the dividing line between great minds and worldlings. The ability to show gratitude stimulates and extends the tentacles of altruism and munificence.
Self-centered people do well and show kindness because they want to be appreciated in front of the market place. In front of the church and on the radio or television. They are selfish. Whatever one may say, it is called philanthropy or generosity, but there is a material price to their generosity. But giving or doing good without caring about oneself is true kindness. This has a spiritual price. Man is not armed with the tools to decipher and competent to judge a true giver, but we know he is more blessed to be a selfless giver. Let every generosity be marked by gratitude. Will the politicians who win and lose in the 2023 elections be grateful to the electorate who showed up in single file in bad weather to help them achieve their political ambitions? Have they ever been grateful?
It is reported in one of the Synoptic Gospels that ten lepers were healed by Jesus Christ; only one returned to show his gratitude and that one left with the approval of Christ. William Shakespeare, the English playwright in his play 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 a nobleman being one of them, he became discouraged: he said, “Notice how Caesar’s blood rushed out to see if Brutus stabbed so wickedly and as he ripped his steel cursed, ingratitude and treachery stronger than the hands of traitors broke his mighty heart……. it was the nastiest cut of all.
Nigerian politicians have never been grateful to the entire Nigerian electorate. This is why 99.9% of Nigerians still live in abject poverty and elephantine neglect. We still have a shortage of drinking water, we have no shelter, no motorable roads, no security, no medical facilities, no good schools, pensioners are still dying in the queue. meanwhile, we are still experiencing psychotic corruption in all strata of leadership. We ask our politicians to show their gratitude to the electorate by pursuing the greatest good for the greatest number of Nigerians.
In the poem “The Fallen One” by an anonymous writer, he tells the story of a man who worked selflessly for his community, but was then rejected and thrown into the streets during the winter season and at through the forest, he was lacerated and buffeted by the torrential winter winds, he shouted and said: “Breath, breath, breath, you winter but you are not as wicked as the spirit and the sting ingratitude. The quote 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 punishes him thus: “Do not enter the same hemisphere as me, dare not breathe the same air or use the same light with me, but get your own atmosphere and sunshine.
Ingratitude is dark, wicked, and a horribly teratoid trait in man. It is a blatant failure to show appreciation, gratitude and thanks in the face of obvious and clear help. He unearths the biblical “Cain – Cordes” in man. Ingratitude delimits and short-circuits kindness. It smacks of instinctive Neanderthal primordialities and engenders secular humanism – a consummate belief in self. That all I have, all that I am and all that I will become is within my jurisdiction and my powers alone.
Secular humanism has become the modus and locus of the modern era, it tends to overemphasize man and devalue ‘GOD’. We claim and boast that all of our successes are due to our hard work. We honestly know that’s a brutal lie. God puts everything in place. He tweaks the logistics, perfects the strategies, and orchestrates the actions that have led to everything we’ve achieved. Little-man is too full of himself to assume false dignities and claim the glory of God by showing him gross ingratitude. Will our politicians continue to simmer in the irreverence of ingratitude after 2023?
Ingratitude to God is the knot, the locus classicus, the fons et origo and the initium et finis of the scope of secular humanism. Ingratitude to God is based on our failure to understand our roles on earth. We believe that the acquisition of material abundance is the sole purpose of life on earth and man will stop at nothing to achieve it in his lifetime. But in all honesty, unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
To be continued tomorrow
Gbinije is from the Mandate Against Poverty (MAP), Warri.