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.

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Beauty and Truth

It’s not only beauty but truth also lies in the eyes of the beholder because one man’s fabrication is another’s fact and vice versa. However, truth differs from beauty in that it is very ugly. I’m not sure if these two can ever cohabit. Beauty occurs where there is symmetry and ‘organisation’ whereas truth only emerges when organisation breaks down. 

Could truth be the opposite of beauty? Or a precursor to it. It appears truth can only be defined and searched for within a specific context which is why some argue that there are no universal objective truths. Beauty on the other hand can be universal but I have never experienced truth where there is unaccidental beauty.

On Perception And Subjective Reality

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.” – Douglas Adams

These statements are indeed true, but only up to a point. One is invited to observe his or her surroundings and inform us what he or she perceives and whether what is perceived is entirely specific to one. I had an interesting discussion with a friend sometime ago which led to the question of perception and its flaws. My opinion is that there is objective perception – something we all see or feel or think about, something that often pre-dominates external experience and is self evident. I will like to take the time to answer the question what is meant by “perception.”

Merriem-Webster dictionary defines perception as “…the way you think about or understand someone or something : the ability to understand or notice something easily or the way that you notice or understand something using one of your senses.” For the purposes of this discussion we will concentrate on the first part of the definition i.e. the way you think about or understand someone or something. This can also mean that the way you see the whole of something may be completely different from the way you see the sum of its parts.

We may all agree that, often times when people perceive they contribute some information to what is being observed and when they have to communicate their observation, this information often but not always becomes visible or perceptible. The accuracy of our perception is therefore directly proportional to one’s ability to detach one’s opinions or a priori from actuality. For instance, the difference between the educated and the ignorant person lies primarily in their perception which gives rise to the significant difference in their cognition or intelligence. I shall narrate an anecdotal story to illustrate my point:

Many people believe in ghosts. In fact, I have at one point being afraid of ghosts but now I have no intellectual space or energy for such thoughts. We still do not know whether ghosts exist or not. Although the idea of ghosts can be dismissed as an illusion or mere perception, it can be “real” depending on the number of people in a community who believed in it. When a significant number of people believe in something it becomes real to them. What one believes one acts upon it, and our actions inevitably affect one another in a community. In certain primitive societies there are elaborate rituals to drive away ghosts. So a ghost is real there, just as aliens and vampires are real in most parts of Europe. End of anecdote.

Now let us look at the effect of subjective reality on the individual. The first European to enter the African hinterland was a merchant. In the case of the upper Guinnea or West Africa, it was a Portuguese named Diogo de Azambuja, who presented himself to the chiefs and people as a friend and a trader. At that time, trading in humans had not begun. Diogo de Azambuja and his cohorts spoke nicely but had guns hidden in their cloaks. Once they had learnt of a flaw in the perception of the people, it was time to launch an attack. They presented gifts of strong drinks, gunpowder and muskets in return for gold and war captives. So the first slaves sold in Africa were war captives not nobles, belonging to tribes different and distant from those selling them. The sale of war captives was common everywhere including ancient Rome and Greece.

Then centuries later, many Europeans joined in the trade. Some African traders (mainly chiefs) with the aid of the foreign merchants could no longer wait to receive captives so they took to raiding weaker communities. An orphan, a rogue, any poor defenseless thing was captured and brought to the European forts and castles to be sold. This is the whole tragedy of the African existence which emanated from our inaccurate perception of the world around us.

This painful history is still relevant because it influences the way the African or people of African descent are perceived. The master thinks for the slave. Any slave with higher perception or thinking capabilities was a threat and was quickly eliminated. Nevertheless, flaw in perception exists everywhere not only in indigenous Africa. In fact all terrible mistakes or decisions, emanate from subjective reasoning or reality. This is my experience of life. Some say there are no mistakes, only choices and I think this is true only in regard to one’s personal life. But it doesn’t mean the mistakes or subjective tendencies of others does not affect us.

Revealing Truth Causes Chaos

Anas, an incredibly talented investigative Ghanaian journalist, has been able to secretly film at least 34 judges, including high court judges allegedly accepting bribes in return for passing lower sentences or acquitting criminals altogether. The news which broke last month shocked everyone. Many people are calling for the implicated judges to be suspended or dismissed. But I don’t think that will be enough to deter others. Simple dismissal is not the equivalent of miscarriage or abatement of justice. In fact dismissal could mean unlimited freedom for these allegedly corrupt judges. But of course not all judges are corrupt. I know that there are many who are fair in the true sense of the word.

If the evidence Anas has provided is sufficient proof, then I believe the law is supreme and must be applied. The most valuable thing a person has is his freedom and when that is rightfully taken just as it’s done to others, then we can be said to be serious about justice and equitable law enforcement. Keep in mind, that, justice is the prelude to peace. Considering the widespread allegations of corruption and bribery that hits the country every now and then, and now creeping it’s way like a virus into the judiciary, Ghana’s democracy is likely sitting atop a volcano.

In every organized system, revealing or speaking truth creates chaos. But that chaos is needed to completely turn the situation around sooner. To avoid the chaos is to postpone the change.

Very recently, Anas was expected before the judicial investigative committee which resumes work this week but it was reported that three hooded men, dressed almost the same way arrived at the premises of the court leaving onlookers with no clue about which one of them is the real Anas.

Since truth has no place is this fallen world, the best way to present undiluted truth, if one must, is to constantly mutate one’s identity. I believe it’s an excellent thing he did.

The photographs remind me of the Ku Klux Klan but in contrast these guys are clearly aiding Anas and therefore the state in its fight against corruption.

The Kingdom of “God” Means Peace of Mind

 

Peace-of-mind

But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them,

 

“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”

 

“An honest man has never grown.”–Socrates

 

“The kingdom of heaven is within you.”–Leo Tolstoy

 

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”–Buddha

 

I quote furthermore,

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven (mind), where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal”

Here we can see that Jesus was encouraging his followers to acquire wisdom or something in relation to the intellect. Note that many of his disciples were practically unlettered.

 

“And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments:

Do not commit adultery,

Do not kill,

Do not steal,

Do not bear false witness,

Honour thy father and thy mother.

And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing:

 “Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said:

“How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”

 

Thus from this, I conclude that the kingdom of God means nothing other than peace of mind; in so far us we are being discouraged to pursue material comforts. If one has no property in this fallen world, then one has nothing to lose and if one has nothing to lose, then why worry? No property equals peace. And when one has peace (both inner and outer) then one has everything, for the flesh belongs to the devil and is condemned to end up in the grave whereas the soul strives towards the divine.

 

Note: I treat Jesus as a real man who once lived, whose occupation was carpentry and who later became a truthful preacher and a humanist.

The Nature of Truth

hearder image

Truth is not the same as reality as postulated by the ancient Greeks. Marcus Aurelius was wrong in saying: “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective not the truth.”

Friedrich Nietzsche also reiterated: “There are no facts, only interpretations.”

As regards Nietzsche, whom I have great respect and admiration for; I have noticed that in his writings, he will oppose every writer and philosopher including himself. From all indication he is a nihilist. And indeed, maybe not so rightly, Leo Tolstoy described him as “stupid and abnormal” but to some of us he is still a brilliant poet and philosopher. We all know what the excesses of knowledge leads to: in much knowledge is much sorrow, in much wisdom is much grief.

Going back to our subject matter, we must be careful with this “disordered” kind of reasoning. If everything is an opinion, it then seeks to say that the entire universe exists only because we perceive it; therefore it is an extension of the self (Ego) and its opinions. This leads us to Solipsism but that is the greatest illusion. I think we are moving towards a psychological situation when the ego is forcing its way into the subconscious trying to make everything its own, so to speak. Yet the ego itself is nothing but a poor borrower of mental energy. Nothing that exists in the go belongs to the ego.

Those animals, which are equipped with the relevant senses, also perceive the same things we humans perceive. The sun is not only perceived by me but by everyone who has eyes. Water does not only quench my thirst but also everyone’s thirst. Therefore water is a kind of liquid for quenching thirst. The peculiar characteristics of the sun and uses of water are not only real to me but also universally real to everyone.

Different things, people and entities have different realities. So if truth is misconstrued to be reality. The question then, is whose reality? The reality of the slave or that of the slave master, the reality of the boss or that of the servant, the reality of the society or that of the accused standing trial, the reality of the east or that of the west? So really, whose reality? Many confuse reality with truth. Truth, in a universal sense, is objective and independent and seems to radiate from a central point whereas reality is mostly subjective. Two or more people can experience different realities but may still be in the domain of same truth.

In my definition, truth simply is a “convergence of realities.” In other words truth is not something that is fixed but rather something that extends within the framework of core realities. The fact that my morning comes earlier and I see the sun before someone living in Philippines doesn’t mean the sun I saw was different from the one he saw. It’s the same thing seen at different times. Minor differences do not negate a thing’s objectivity.

I have a big problem, in this age of reason, with the dictatorship which scientific knowledge is trying to establish over the human mind.  Suppose that we didn’t know that something exists. Then science helps us to discover such and such as existing. Immediately theories are put forward as if the thing’s existence begun when the discovery was made. Let us take vitamin c for instance. The first man who ate an orange didn’t know it contains vitamin c. He saw the thing, it looked good, he tasted it, it tasted nice, and he ate it. And only millions of years later before science discovered exactly what orange does in the body.

Should we be waiting for the evidence from science before eating oranges, we would have denied ourselves of the enjoyment of oranges for millions of years. This same line of thinking is what leads atheists to say that there is no evidence for the existence of an objective entity called God so he does not exist. It’s like saying we do not know what nutrients can be found in an orange, therefore we will not eat an orange until further research is done to ascertain that it gives vitamin c. It follows logically that until the discovery of vitamin c in oranges, vitamin didn’t exist in oranges. This is exactly what scientific research is trying do.

In this regard, even the primitive man, who ate the thing because it appealed to his sense of taste, was wiser as compared to us. Excess of knowledge and wisdom pushes us towards nothing but foolishness. We know much about other planets, we know the components of gases on them, we have even built robots to explore extraterrestrial life, also trained chimps to talk using sign language and run errands, yet we have failed utterly – all of humanity – at simply raising young ones of our own kind into responsible and virtuous adults.

Hope Is A Thing That Flies

chicken in flight 2

 

Hope is something ugly,

Something on two legs,

Something tiny and unimposing,

But something bright that flies.

 

O yeah! Before we domesticated them,

Fowls used to fly.

It’s very much like what is happening in Africa today.

Before colonization, Africans used to fly.