What is “Positivity?”

What do people mean by positivity? Offering half truths? And hoping for the best outcomes. There is an objective reality that is much different and independent of thoughts and feelings. Different cultures have different truths but one cannot live in all cultures at the same time. One lives in only one society at a time and therefore the universally acceptable morality within such a society applies. What one feels is one’s truth but only as regards “the self” not the external world of matter.

I have encountered many people present nefarious ideas as “truth” simply in the name of “positivity”. Whoever teaches that the universe conforms to our thoughts and feelings must test his or her assertions by writing a job application, put it under his or her pillow and simply wish for a job. It’s an experiment. Or wish to travel from one location to another and then suddenly, since the universe conforms to our wishes, one’s destination is brought to one’s doorstep, thus saving one from the arduous journey. It’s another experiment. I’m sure the proponents of “positivity” or selective truths will oppose such logical applications of their own philosophy. So what then do they mean by “positivity?” Must we dilute or sugarcoat the truth? Is that not immoral? Could the scribes not have simply said that Stephen died after being stoned? Why did they write that he fell asleep. Sleep is completely different from death.

I’m a realist and I believe that in order to be sure of what’s happening in every single aspect of our lives we ought to perceive our social world with as much realism as possible. Our consciousness has to be as clear as a flowing stream. It’s the only way to perceive the whole truth to the bottom and there is some comfort and inspiration in finding the whole truth – both positive and negative.

Speaking with high school graduates about career choices

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.

At the museum 

I visited a museum this week where an exhibition was being held. It was called the Museum of Science and Technology. I knew some of the artists who exhibited and I was happy to see them again. 

By the way, what is the role of art in society? To excite, inspire, communicate or provoke change? Enjoy!


I really liked this ink sketch of a girl carrying yams. It was done in I think 1940. I like the crude and original look of the work.


Another indigenous theme of ‘pouring palmwine’. I think the beauty of painting lies in a certain sensitivity of the artist that translates into capturing everyday activity in an exceptional form.


Market scene. Ghanaian markets are very overcrowded and this artist captured that perfectly. Actually it was done by a very renowned painter who I read about in my art history class in high school.


Pencil drawing by a younger artist. I think the subject matter here is beauty. You can clearly see differences in themes between the young and old artists.


Indigenous clay masks. These look like they are singing.


Clay Sculptures – possibly ancestral figures


Another sculture. I like this one, his eyes are partially closed and he does look like a politician I know.


Dyed fabric depicting a fat woman. In Ghana, gaining weight and looking curvy is trendy.


A model of a ship


At first I thought these were live snails crawling up to the ceiling but I realised they were shells glued by the artist to the pillar and the ceiling.


British colonial relic. It must have been used in WW1.

This is the entrance to the Museum of Science and Technology. Happy weekend to especially you. You know yourself. That’s all folks.

It seems all the money in the world fulfils only the quantitative need

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!

Visitor

1.

And when death knocks on their door

Then do they run to the poet whom they despiseth

And say, trembling: “Poet, we have a visitor!

Death knocketh on our doors with his handcuffs

And as yet have we not enjoyed life enough,

2.

Will thou allow him to drag our souls away? 

Will thou allow him to drag us into the underworld?”

Then will poet sit on a rock and speak thus:

“I cometh and speaketh to you about death everyday.

How it sneaketh in the night and enters thy room

3.

And draggeth thee to the underworld.

But thou despiseth me and mocketh me.

Thou did not listen. Neither did thou say, yes!

Poet, we have heard thy sermon and we shall put our

Modest houses in order before death comes.” None

4.

Paid any attention and now must the poet fight death

For thee? Poet is mortal too. Poet wrestleth death but

He winneth not. For this reason does poet admonish

Thee to prepare thyselves for death’s unannounced visit.

For death’s entrance and life’s exit are but same door.

Reconstructing My Consciousness

Everyone stumbles through many illusions on his or her way from childhood to adulthood. Illusions commend themselves to us because they afford us enjoyment but the greater the illusion the greater the pain when we eventually and inevitably collide with a bit of reality. The job of the mind, as I would understand it, is to help us survive and thrive until the finishing line, by differentiating between reality and illusion and making decisions based on the former against the backdrop of personal priorities. So congratulations to whoever made it into adulthood. It means, likely with the help of parents, you have done away with many illusions. Reality is inseparable from nature. No two people are exactly the same, which means there are probably more than seven billion personality types in the world.

But then another challenge emerges and that is: the mind is not a homogeneous mass of thoughts and feelings. For the most part, it is filled with confusion arising out of incongruent ideas. Ideas or thoughts, the stuff with which we build bridges from the unconscous to the conscious. Whoever lacks that lags. All true spirituality aims at the harmonization of thoughts and emotions, something Nietzsche will call “the spiritualization of the emotions.” This is essential for healing, spiritual growth and happiness. Ultimately one’s world reflects one’s mindset. And it is within the intellect not the emotions that the true battle rages.

The deception which every society feeds it young generation is the root cause of all forms of human deterioration – violence, rape, drug abuse, dereliction, criminality and terrorism etc. Many children never recover from those lies. When compelled by circumstances they find substitute lies because those lies inflate and caress the ego. And so everything snowballs into some soggy mass of deception. Chief among these hoaxes is organized popular religion. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry in Africa. They only need to create two conditions – fear and ignorance. As one may already be aware the Chinese have also settled in. They are in good business with Africa which many have even been described as a “love affair.” But Africa itself is still not yet on its feet and I hope they don’t introduce Buddha or Confucious to her.

I weep for the youth in particular because they bear the brunt of whatever happens as leadership continuous to fail in Africa. By reconstructing my consciousness, I have been able to at least make sense of my world and my existence. It’s a good exercise which must be conducted frequently by all who believe their consciousness needs reparation.

All moral laws are reducible to reciprocity

It is a fact that different societies have different morals and value systems. This argument is further advanced by most amoralists and serves as a basis for a rejection of universal moral values. But even when we look at the great diversity in human nature, societies and their values and norms, it is by all means that whatever one does, one will be repaid in full. This is what justifies vengeance even if it is done in the name of one god or another god. The desire for justice is innate in every human. Morality itself is not based on reason, it has its basis in instinct. So a rational discussion on morality is futile – one would just be moving in circles. However, one thing that runs through all moral laws irrespective of geographic location, social group, race or nation is that there is reciprocity. There is something akin to a reward or payback (though sometimes difficult to perceive) based on an act that was perpetuated or neglected thereof. This reciprocity is not peculiar to only relationships within social groups, it is the fabric of all individual human interactions. Others call it karma. The problem however is that sometimes this reciprocal relationships are also subject to subjective interpretations and people with similar perspectives randomly self organize and create a morality of their own. They may even seek to punish someone who may have done something right for the majority. In a society as dysfunctional as mine, based on random self organization, criminals or the most unscrupulous are sometimes selected as the decision makers and adjudicators. When it happens that way the righteous is punished and everyone turns evil. There is reciprocity in there. Society has to be better than individuals so it is very important that people aspiring to leadership positions have high ethical principles and are people of highest moral standards. This ensures that the right values are emulated and promoted in the system. Sadly, as the reader may be aware this is often not so. We elect leaders based on their wealth and connections, then we turn around and complain when they attack us.