Hello everyone and hope you are keeping well despite the recent realities that face us wherever you are in the world. It might seem overwhelming but I firmly believe that it is a challenge that we can overcome by having the right mindset.
I am trying to approach this season by putting into practice the following virtues; Faith,wisdom & love.
Faith because as a person of faith, I have no other antidote to fear.And there surely has been enough to fear to go round in the last couple of weeks.Do not get me wrong,I am not one of those who glibly discountenance fear especially those of others. I totally get why people are scared.Fear is actually wired into how we have evolved as a species. It is the emotion that is closely linked to the flight or fight reaction which is how our ancestors were able to respond to dangers in their environment.That said, living in a constant state of fear is counterintuitive to having faith .The very basis of living in faith is to believe in things not as they currently are.
Wisdom is the practical ability to use your knowledge to make good decisions.I want to emphasise two words here – knowledge & decisions. We have been drowning in ‘knowledge’ .The amount of WhatsApp broadcasts on your phone can attest to that! But how does the application of that knowledge really affect our decision making? I hear some people in Nigeria have actually over dosed on chloroquine based on the ‘knowledge’ that it cures COVID19.This just highlights that it’s not just about ‘knowing’.This definitely means that at no other point is it more crucial that we seek out wisdom that is profitable to direct. This is so that we don’t make knee jerk decisions that would hurt us( or others) in the short & long term.
And lastly, Love. And the love I am emphasising here is; the love of others. We live in such an individualistic age where we we have exalted the ‘I/Me’ to dizzying levels.There is a lot of talk of; self love,self actualisation,self development,Self esteem etc (pls feel free to add the other self(s) that come to mind)
I would never knock anyone seeking self development. If you follow this blog or know me you will know that I believe to improve society is to improve yourself.I believe though that the motive behind improvement should mostly be geared to a collective and shared purpose.Not just on an individual basis but for the greater good.
The events of the last couple of weeks have shown us that individual prosperity means nothing if we don’t act collectively.We have seen even the wealthiest nations of the world struggle to get their citizens to act for the greater good without enforcement. We have also seen the valiant and heroic efforts of some of the least paid members of society.
One of my interests and something I love reading about is how culture/values drive human behaviour .And one of the cultures that I am really intrigued with is the Japanese culture.This is not saying it is superior to any other culture but one thing they have been able to do successfully is to illustrate how values as a whole can contribute to both personal & collective behaviour that affects a whole society.
Please see below an excerpt from an essay about Japanese values and beliefs
(Article source – http://countrystudies.us/japan/)
No society can exist that tolerates significant antisocial behavior in the long term, but Japan is among the societies that most strongly rely on social rather than supernatural sanctions and emphasize the benefits of harmony.Japanese children learn from their earliest days that human fulfillment comes from close association with others.
Children learn early to recognize that they are part of an interdependent society, beginning in the family and later extending to larger groups such as neighborhood, school, community, and workplace.Dependence on others is a natural part of the human condition; it is viewed negatively only when the social obligations it creates are too onerous to fulfill.
In interpersonal relationships, most Japanese tend to avoid open competition and confrontation.Working with others requires self-control, but it carries the rewards of pride in contributing to the group, emotional security, and social identity.
Wa, the notion of harmony within a group, requires an attitude of cooperation and a recognition of social roles. If each individual in the group understands personal obligations and empathizes with the situations of others, then the group as a whole benefits. Success can come only if all put forth their best individual efforts.
Please note the behaviours noted in bold.It really made me ponder and reflect especially on how it seems most societies are more inclined to exalt individual achievement .I have never been to Japan(hope to some day it’s one of my bucket list destinations) but I have heard first hand accounts of how the values illustrated above actually translate into ‘how’ you experience the country.
My colleague went there on holiday and came back declaring he wanted to move there. They are still human and therefore will have their own imperfections. But their regard for others is truly an admirable trait and one that we could have more of in today’s world . This translates to the littlest things such as not leaving litter on the floor(google Japanese fans at the World Cup ).
Another specie (that we would consider the least) that I would love us learn from is- The Ant.
‘Ants work for and illustrate the consequence of public good.Each ant,is dedicated to the task it ought to do for the benefit of the others. The modern scientific narrative about the division of labour that characterises ant colonies tells essentially the same story: ants demonstrate that if everyone does the job they are supposed to do, indeed were born to do, all of us are better off.’- William Gould(paraphrased)
I would like us all to draw some parallels from the examples illustrated above on how we live our lives. There are questions and conclusions that we can all deduce from the above as we continuously shape our values especially those we pass to our children/next generation. And my sincere hope after all of this blows over is that we all begin to seek the WE over ME.
Thank you so much for reading and do take care of yourself. God bless you
Quotes/Picture credits- Pinterest