An ordinary person wakes up in the morning, intending to fend for his family. Nothing appears workable, as income is unachievable. Inflation erodes whatever little he could manage to produce. He doesn’t know what causes inflation, except to listen to the lies peddled by politicians.
Zimbabwe is one of the so-called independent countries, having attained self-determination, some forty years ago. The wrong things about the mismanagement of national resources were originally blamed on the late former president Robert Mugabe. Currently, the blame is on Emerson Mnangagwa (ED).
Those blaming the politicians are known to categorically state: “There is nothing one can do about it.” They assume that there is survival in such statements when the opposite is true. This is similar to allowing an unlicensed driver to cruise at 160 kilometers per hour, even without a clue of how to stop the cruising vehicle. Having been granted independence, Zimbabweans ought to have known that they had been granted the capacity to control their own environment.
The issue of control is vested upon all humans in this world. If unable to control a cruising automobile, your demise is inevitable. The wrong thing is to allow a lunatic to be on the steering wheel, thereby placing the lives of innocent passengers in danger. This is common sense, but not so common to those assuming that nothing can be done about wrong things.
Such people were born to be spectators, where others have to determine their destiny. With that kind of thinking, how far can one get to the state of insanity? When diagnosing the problem, the search-light has to be on the following tripod; religion, culture, and education.
In the highlighted tripod, we can discover the cause of human capture. How can anyone extricate those engrossed in religion, or in culture, supposed to be reflective of his identity? In an important topic as education, one would assume education provides enlightenment. However, education is emasculated, in the hands of authoritarians, with the appetite to control other people. Moreover, the most dangerous thing can be associated with controlling other human beings.
A human being was created in God’s image. However, the conduct of ordinary humans is not shaped by God, although humans were created in God’s image. The human instinct drives towards craving for a sense of belonging. He is oblivious to the fact that there is no survival in the sense of belonging.
This illustrates the behavior of degraded beings on this planet. Unless understanding the principle of responsibility, humans wallow in degraded conditions. Many people enjoy watching animal behaviors in the jungle. Other animal species were created to feed on other animal species, whose numerical advantage could make it impossible for the predator.
But, animals are not equipped with the reasoning capacity. One can find it fascinating to watch a herd of a thousand buffaloes being tormented by one or two lions. They are unable to rescue one of their own being feasted on, by hungry lions. Giant buffaloes would stampede in terrific speed, being fearful of one or two lions.
Buffaloes move in groups, but without appreciating their group advantage. Their reasoning is focused on their own survival, yet frightfully stampeding as a group, fleeing from one or two lions. Nevertheless, the same behavior is found in degraded humans. Animal behavior mirrors the subjugated humanity.
Why should those created in God’s image behave similarly? They blame someone else for what is wrong in their environment. With group instinct the degraded humans coalesce in total agreement, blaming others, for things gone wrong. The issue of responsibility is far from their intellectual radar. The majority of them take comfort in hiding behind religion.
God is blamed for what they ought to have taken responsibility for. The most ignored Scripture, especially, by Christians is Genesis 1:26-27. Jesus came to bring freedom to humanity. The definition of slavery implies the inability to exercise self-determinism. Nothing is wrong with brute animals.
God created them to behave in that manner. Of course, it would be impossible for lions to attack buffaloes when such buffaloes would be concerned for each other, in their existence. But God made it easy for lions to attack and kill their prey, failing to take advantage of their numerical advantage.
In God’s creation, some animal species survive on meat, while others survive on vegetation. The ecosystem requires balance. Overpopulation by one species could cause the demise of all species. Diversity in such characteristics was intended for sustaining the ecosystem—for the perpetuity of all life forms.
However, the story is different, for human life. A human being is not part of the animal kingdom. Having been created in God’s image, the survival of human beings was designed for eternity. The story of Adam and Eve shows how humanity lost their identity, as God’s children.
All failures of humanity are a result of succumbing, which took place at the Garden of Eden. A newly born baby is not allowed to discover its own true identity. The slavery chain extends to the failings of the original ancestors, at the Garden of Eden. Jesus came to break that chain, making it possible for anyone to then discover his/her true identity, linking him/her directly to God.
As soon as one discovers his/her true identity, one ceases to be identified with failures in this world. All failures reflect the inability to discover one’s own identity, as God’s child. Although having been born of a physical mother, Jesus never lost His identity. At the age of twelve, He had started to entertain His Father’s business.
“When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them(Luke 2:42-50 (NIV).
Right here, Jesus established a principle, to be applied by those claiming to be His followers. Such followers would have ceased to be linked to those of this world. Their children are no longer raised under slavery, characterized by authoritarianism. See [Earthly parents are mere custodians of their children].
The authoritarian control, embedded in culture, starts with parents at home. An ordinary child simply loses identity, when told how to behave by the authoritarian parents. The child would be emphatically advised that his/her physical parents should be regarded as models, on matters of survival.
That falsehood lingers in the child’s mind, until he/she also becomes a parent, to then recycle the same falsehood to his/her own offspring. This is premised on the philosophy of self-centeredness. Like brute animals, the focus is on their own protection, without concern for other people’s troubles.
Religion enforces this philosophy, by strictly counseling believers that obedience to Church doctrines is what implies goodness. This removes the idea of responsibility. But the effectiveness of good principles can only be measured by good results. Though sounding good, such parents and religious leaders are never willing to take responsibility for what prevails in the environment.
Children are taught to pray and wait for God’s Kingdom, without contributing anything, for the envisaged Kingdom. Most religious leaders are harbingers of bad tidings. Their favorite Scriptures include what is in the Book of Revelation. Their appetite being to highlight the beast’s power, as prophesied in such Scriptures.
The motive is protecting self, without regard for those living in sinfulness. Materialism is considered as God’s favor. This brings them temporary comfort, as the evilness in the environment eventually catches up with those assuming to be “blessed” and favored by God.
Education exists in the same stream as culture and religion. Education is not viewed as intended for improving the environment. It is intended for making one look smarter than others. One feels proud and comfortable when more educated than others. This connects well with culture and religion.
From all this, comes all problems in the environment. When less educated, one imagines that education is designed for sophistication, befitting those in intellectual echelons. The unconverted seek to copy the lifestyles of those appearing as doing well, in their religious circles. Bad things in the environment are blamed on “sinners,” foreigners, and the uneducated.
The idea of taking responsibility to change things for the better remains without takers. Politics gives a ray of hope, somehow. But, having been adopted by the charlatans and crooks of all time, politics does not appeal to those identifying with decency, among members of society.
The blame-game is adopted by each and everyone, associated with the tripod, sustaining ordinary humans—being; (a) culture, (b) religion, and (c) education. These three caveats are not necessarily bad, as deserving to be discarded. The real challenge comes from not knowing one’s identity. The mindset should not be animalistic but taking concern for other people more than a preoccupation with one’s own survival.
Culture is good, as long as one uses it for adopting the principle of service. Such service becomes even more useful when enabling those other fellow humans to also discover their own personal identities. This is a principle called altruism and is fantastically workable when adopted as a culture.
Religion is good as long as one uses it to discover one’s true identity. Rituals used in prayer and other Christian activities can, actually, be acceptable. This is as long as one appreciates religion, as the role of changing the environment for the better. That religious person can benefit more, when insisting on following the teachings and the footprints of Jesus, without fail. In Jesus, is found the principle of altruism at its best.
Education is good, as long as following that route, appreciative of the responsibility that goes with it. Education should be viewed as necessary for changing the environment for the better. Rather than being used for the purpose of making oneself look smarter than others. Education is good, only when altruism is applied.
The illustrative tripod stand can be regarded as sustaining our civilization. Nevertheless, the same tripod stand has been the cause of failure, producing the current unworkable conditions in our society. Such failure appears as having originated from the inability to appreciate that human behavior should be different from species in the animal kingdom.
The survival of human beings evolves from the survival of their fellow human beings. The only reason for the government offices to be occupied by thieves and looters portrays the nonexistence of good culture, religion, and education. The discovery of one’s true identity is the discovery of one’s dignity.
Dignity is what is called, “Ubuntu” in IsiNdebele, or “Hunhu” in Shona. This principle is not necessarily sustained by culture, religion, or education. It is sustained by one’s discovery of his/her true identity. Jesus had to use the example of a Good Samaritan to illustrate this viewpoint.
At the end of that parable, Jesus simply told the questioner to go and do likewise. The expert lawyer had focused on attaining eternal life, as projected in the Law of Moses (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus had, actually, highlighted this principle, when delivering what is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount to His disciples:
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves’” (Matthew 7:12-14) (NIV).
It takes a wise person to consider seriously these things, without being blinded by soothsayers, whose focus is on controlling other people. One way of dictating truthfulness is considering whether the advanced principle is altruistic. Or that it would be the principle of self-centeredness being advocated. This is not a question of going with the majority.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99