Flummox….I had a good laugh when I first stumbled upon this word. I must have laughed for about three minutes, even sharing the moment with a colleague. Of course I checked the meaning afterwards then it only made me laugh some more. I know the word now and its meaning but I doubt that I will ever use it in day to day conversation unless I am somehow possessed by the same devils that currently torment a certain member of the House of Reps.
Reminds me of another word I discovered a long time ago. I must have been in primary three or something and I was reading a copy of Ikebe Super….(surely you remember, if you read it back then that is…..and for those of us forming ‘buttey’, you have no idea what you missed) Anyways, I was reading ikebe super and some guy…(the guy with the ‘kangol’ or ‘taxi driver’ hat- whichever you choose….always smoking his pipe) was ‘swearing for’ somebody and said ‘may Amadioha solder your oblong head’. It wasn’t the ‘swear’ or the ‘solder’, it was oblong. In my seven or eight year old mind that word had about the same impact as flummox had on me recently. I laughed until I was scolded by my aunt for being an ‘alaseju’ (extremist) so you can picture just how long and how hard. May I add also that when I looked up the meaning of oblong, I was rather disappointed! Can’t say what I was expecting but it certainly was less funny afterwards.
Yesterday, I found another word. Not as funny as the other two but it had a more profound impact on me. It made me think, made me ask questions. I thought to share….perhaps it would make others think, make others ask questions….
The word is Zeitgeist. I’m sure the Honourable from Edo state will be proud of this one. I looked up the meaning and it read amongst other things: ‘general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time’. It made me ask, what is the Nigerian Zeitgeist? Is all our intellectual life going to die out with the past generations? What will happen when the Achebes, Soyinkas, Osundares and Olojedes of this world move on to glory. The political scene is yet to provide us with worthy successors to Zik, Awo and the rest. We have presidents who can’t express themselves (their wives are worse, I’m told), their spokesmen lost their tongues and the ministers couldn’t hold their own in a decent secondary school classroom(not that we even have those anymore) if their lives depended on it.
Its not just in politics, its in education, industry, religion and every facet of our lives. As individuals and as a nation. We are tending towards a mindless horde, driven by self preservation and bowing at the altar of consumerism. It is so sad because without a mind, individual or collective, we cannot drive the development for which we all clamour. There are a few bright spots…sitting here behind my monitor, a few names come to mind. Of course rather than follow suit and develop our own minds, we all rush to be associated with them (many thanks to social media for enabling this nauseating version of pseudo-intellectualism…..Ooops! Retweet the tweet of a sharp guy to become sharp!)
We are now a land of Nags. It now seems as though the the only time we see Nigerians employing their ‘No 6’ is when complaining or our new favourite national past-time….Government bashing (We’ve gotten pretty good at it….considering that we are getting very little results). You see, its good….hold the criminals, sorry government accountable. However, once it comes to proposing solutions….all our rhetoric fall short. How so? After all people are so eloquent in suggesting to the government what to do. It is so because, in our daily lives and our microcosms we still fail to live out those ideals we so vehemently champion in public discourse. This is what makes our arguments hollow.
Hence, here is my two kobo: Every revolution that will stand the test of time must be based on reason and not emotions (ask the Egyptians). Every revolution that will be successful starts with the individual and then spreads to the collective, not the other way round. Every revolution that will have impact must be sincere. It starts with you and me….Not on the streets, not on TV or on Twitter but in our hearts, our heads and our homes.
Revolutionize your thoughts, revolutionize your mind, your business, your relationships….In time, you will get to your nation and eventually….your world.
So I ask, what is your zeitgeist?