I was invited to speak to high school students, many of whom have recently graduated and are not sure what kind of university programme to study or what to do with their lives. In Ghana it’s very common to see talent go waste. So ofcourse I was happy to share my knowledge and experience. I had not prepared any notes so I spoke generally about education and work and told them to ask any questions they have.
Speaking about graduate and undergraduate programmes at the university where I work.
Explaining the importance of following one’s passion. Nothing beats passion.
I explained to them not to only focus on certificates but rather they must also focus on the transformation of their minds. Certificate gives validation but hard work brings success.
Here I think I was getting a little carried away but it was necessary because the ignorance in this country is frightening. There was a question about parents deciding for their children what programme to study. I answered the questioner whether he will be happy studying what his parents want him to study, he said no. Then tell your parents what you are passionate about, I told him; otherwise you will get your degree but will not be able to make maximum use of it.
I think the gentleman in white was telling me about his passion for biology and hereditary. I told him to read, read and read about genetics. As long as one aims at knowledge, one cannot escape reading.
Closing chat: Find what you love doing and build a career around it. You can decide to dabble in a lot of things but you can’t compete with another person who has the passion, has got the relevant education and is fully focused on the one thing he or she is good at. Success is not by chance.
At the end, I was happy to hit the nail on the head. I think it was a productive discussion. Sometimes one has to go out there and share his or her knowledge with others. If only one person among these youths listened and followed his or her heart, I will consider my job as a humanist done. They say when the learner is ready to learn a teacher appears. That’s all folks.
Success means different things to different people. To the vast majority success means certain affordances such as a car, a house, fancy clothes, electronic goods etc. This is how the god-men want the world to be. Money rules minds. Money is now the measure of all things. It seems to solve all human problems by silencing both the humans and the problem alike. If Mr. A desires something of Mr. B it gives Mr. B an excellent opportunity to control, exploit and dominate Mr. A. This is how the modern world works. In most parts of the world today one’s worth is directly proportional to the amount of money in one’s bank account. A high amount means high net worth and vice versa.
So is ordinary life worth anything at all? When a man with a fat bank account suddenly falls sick and dies, is the dead man still worth anything? Biblical literature says: “What shall it profit a man when he gains the whole world and loses his soul.” Although money can give an incredibly comfortable life, certain facts still remain. Money cannot fulfil such human needs as genuine sense of security, lasting happiness and love and faithfulness. Such things only come from being unfailingly moral and honest. The more money one has the more untrustworthy friends one would have. I personally believe, by observing people in my society, that the aggresive persuit of money generally reduces a person’s quality of life.
Thoreau says wealth is the ability to experience life in full and that’s correct but wealth can also cause anxiety and sleepless nights. One’s wealth can advance one’s intentions but only quantitatively – meaning one can use money to get more money or acquire more properties but the conversion to genuine human value system such as trust, which is qualitative, is not that easy. One cannot buy genuine trust and respect. The trust and respect one gets as a result of money is shallow and breaks down easily. The worst part of all this is that what the average person calls ‘success’ is normally the destruction of or the grafting of one part of the soul to build upon the other. As a result there is often a painful story behind every material success. I wish all my readers wealth and happiness but I hope everyone puts health and family first. Happy sunday!
In a complex social system, the effectiveness of one’s decisions is dependent on the decisions of others. In other words, for a trader to have a business there must be someone willing to buy. For a leader to legitimately lead, there must others willing to follow. Every decision we make no matter how reasonable it may appear has some emotional influence as the basis. The current state of our lives is as a result of all the decisions we have made since adulthood and decisions made for us by our parents since we were born. Most decisions are reversible. Decision making improves with accurate knowledge or information. The entire world is shaped by knowledge or ideas. Ideas basically comprise thoughts and emotions. Ultimately, the physical world is an extension of the mental world because everything man-made we see around in the environment today was once an idea existing in somebody’s mind. Others argue that thoughts and ideas are shaped by the physical world or arise as a result of physiological processes and therefore cannot precede physicalism. I don’t know how far that truth can go. There are large areas of the earth inhabited by only vegetation. Thoughts are not real there because plants have no mind to produce thoughts. But we can be sure that within human societies, thoughts, ideas and emotions influence everything human and therefore are the only realities to us. Thoughts, emotions and ideas cannot be perceived, they are perceptions in themselves. All other “realities” are real to us if only perceived.
Happy new year to all my readers. Those who recently followed, welcome to a meaningful and a meaningless blog.
This concerns possibilities in our personal lives and I intend to make it short. Why are some things thought to be possible and others not possible? And yet the opposite often manifests as true. Many of you will remember the door knob in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ when Alice mistook ‘impassable’ for ‘impossible.’ The knob replied: ‘Nothing is impossible.’ I imagine the fuller meaning will be nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. For instance, most people don’t see any kind of possibility or opportunity in Africa but many are also making a living there and Europeans arrive and depart everyday. A few even naturalize. Real opportunities exist only where there are real problems.
Of course there are limits imposed by actuality on us individually but there is always a way out of every difficulty – it just might take some time. How futile and deficient one’s efforts will be if one is looking for a job but already believes that jobs don’t exist – looking for lasting happiness but already believes that happiness is an illusion – looking for genuine love but already believes there is no such a thing as genuine love. It will be impossible. One’s belief system is like a magnetic field, it has to exist and be strong enough to detect and attract what it’s designed to attract.
If we look at our personal lives, everything we have ever achieved is as a result of believing first that, the objective set is achievable. Our field of perception seem stronger and sharper if backed by a strong realistic belief. I’m not speaking of religious jingoism or delusions or infatuation for a pop star, in the case of love. With such strong realistic belief you will not be drawn back by the dark voices that constantly remind you of your past mistakes and tragedies. The more fearful you become in any venture the more errors you will likely commit. And even when it comes to love and relationships, fear and doubt creates misunderstanding. Openness and honesty is key to character.
In the mind, thoughts and feelings are not categorized into social, economic, political etc as we have it in the institutionalized world. So one problem in one aspect of our lives can affect all other areas if not solved. If you were hurt by those who were supposed to love and protect you, still believe you are lovable. If you had an unhappy childhood filled with traumatic events, still believe you can experience peace and happiness and lastly, if you were despised and didn’t get much by way of erudition, still you can earn a living. How else will I know if I had not directly and indirectly experienced most of these. Happy Sunday to all of you! Especially you. You know yourself.
Those who may not know, euthanasia means mercy killing – to ask to be put to death either because of deteriorating health, abuse, misery or simply despair. Euthanasia is legal in some European countries but not yet in Africa, where there is so much gregariousness. It will be absurd to even speak of such a thing to the most ordinary African.
I must convey a very important observation here. Many people confuse moral laws with legal codes or rather they superimpose legal instruments over moral ones. If something is legal it doesn’t necessarily make it moral. Immoral laws are sometimes passed because there is so much pressure on the judiciary to help solve certain perceived problems. Suppose that a friend feels so much pain as a result of disease or personal misfortune and asks to be put to death, I can never be the one to do it. My solution will be to give him as much help as I can and send him to social welfare or public care home.
My deep mistrust of medical doctors was confirmed recently when they put a woman (alleged to have been sexually abused for over 15 years) to death because she had asked to be killed. I can tell you assuredly that they are murderers though they did it legally. There are serious ethical problems right there especially the fact that every physician swears an oath to try his best to save human lives. The average underprivileged person has had suicidal thoughts at least once in his or her lifetime but those moments are only transitory. The storm soon disappears and life resumes to normality. Therefore, as a society we should not be quick to grant people their wishes. Nobody likes death. When people choose death it’s because they feel rejected, empty and abandoned by humanity and it’s a shame. This is why I think everyone needs to cultivate spirituality because it acts as a ‘shock absorber.’ Spirituality is an attitude and a valuable survival skill. I may not be religious but I don’t joke with my personal spiritual life.
Concerning euthanasia, it speaks worse of the society where it’s accepted than the people who request for it. At many levels, I think life is a gift which must not be wasted.
This philosophy that proposes indifference to pain and pleasure has been of immense help to many people. Indifference, as I understood it is not rejection or numbness to pain or pleasure but rather a prevention of the outward manifestations of such conditions of life. A good philosophy restricts or redirects one’s particular instincts or emotions to its proper course, meaning those who are overly sensitive and emotional may consider subscribing to stoicism which helps curtail their reactions. On the other hand people who take life too seriously and as a result do not even get the time to enjoy life may subscribe to Epicureanism or any philosophy that proposes such things as hedonism.
In real life we are all hedonists. There are no true stoics because we can only curtail our emotions at a superficial level, we cannot uproot them. Every individual has a peculiar emotional setup, even if born of the same parents, lived in the same family home or attended the same school with others, co-joined twins not excluded. The indifference to pain and pleasure is nothing but an outward indifference since almost everyone we meet are likely to judge us by what we do and say. But at home, in our private lives, who will know whether we ate hot spicy chicken or drunk beer or enjoyed with our love ones or went through pain at the loss of our loved ones. No one will know unless we confess these things with own mouths. So stoicism goes a long way to reduce our troubles in life and bring us peace of mind.
Revealing emotions is generally not helpful in business dealings. If one works in an organisation where colleagues insult or poke fun at the boss behind his or her back, stoicism says simply be indifferent and mind your own business. The reader will agree with me that by this stoic attitude one is likely to avoid 90% of his of her problems not only in that organisation but also in life. But keeping too many painful experiences to oneself can also cause mental or emotional instability. The key then is to share your thoughts with those you trust and those who are like-minded. Perhaps the only area that stoicism doesn’t help much is when one is in love. In love the emotions carry more messages or meanings than words so one shouldn’t hide them. And also in family life, stoicism may be misconstrued as hardheartedness.
Confusion arises whenever something exists but the source cannot be traced or is completely unknown. The mind, without which we cannot be conscious and for that matter we will not exist can be likened to a luminant object. It guides the body, communicates with the body and maintains the body in this physical world. In fact the body is simply a peripheral of the mind just as keyboards and monitors are simply peripherals of the system unit of a computer. The mind is the main proof of our existence and it is the organism within the larger organism.
It is important that whatever ideas, thoughts or emotions are produced in the mind be consistent with the organisms basic biological constitution and function. In other words a deer who behaves like a dog will experience problems since it has a ruminating stomach whereas a dog does not have one. But in actuality, such cases of mismatch of mind and matter are extremely rare. The matter in the organism almost always matches the function of its mind as a unit of the whole, right from the moment of cell division.
The mind is also a tool for negotiation and survival. We probably negotiate a hundred times a day on the average with friends, family, spouses, co-workers etc. Here I am not speaking of negotiating a contract but rather negotiating emotional needs. You have to give up something in order to gain something usually of a pressing importance – that’s negotiation. Through memes and sometimes personal experiences, one may be a better negotiator than another. But the mind is capable of learning just about anything.
Followers of Scientology, many of whom believe they are aliens trapped inside a human body through a process called ‘assumption’ are simply experiencing mind – body incongruousness. In other words, they believe their body does not fit or is not compatible with their thoughts and desires and since the mind is the true self they therefore reject their physical body, so to speak. Similarly, someone who desires to be a model or a basketball player but who is markedly short/unattractive may also end up rejecting his or her body.
Bottomline is this: one ought to accept oneself before one can accept others and ultimately the world. Whoever does not love him or herself will always fail at loving others. It begins with you.
….for your viewing pleasure. I love water and also blue is my favourite colour. The golden reflections of sunlight on the water was amazing. Of course the camera didn’t do this place justice.
After bathing, I sat facing this chair. Sometimes all you need is a little solitude.
This guy run across the view finder. I don’t know him.
I met a clown who acted for free.
That’s all folks!
If you build houses
Go where there is homelessness.
If you are a healer
Go where there is illness.
If you can teach
Go where there is ignorance.
If you can preach
Go where there is immorality.
If you can lead
Go where there is indiscipline.
If you can sing
Go where there is despair.
If you are rich
Go where people are weak.
If you build bridges
Go where the rivers are.
If you write
Go where there is no truth.
(a repost from 2013)