Tuesday, 17 January 2017 19:11

The function of the critical person

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THE CRITICAL PERSON IS SELDOM LIKED BY PEOPLE BUT SERVES PUBLIC GOOD

Ozodi Osuji

Generally speaking, human beings like to be admired by their fellow human beings. People like it if you said nice things about them.

If you want people to like you then flatter them.   I think that most of us are aware of this narcissistic tendency in the human psyche and therefore try as much as is possible to say mostly nice things about people and desist from saying anything that people could construe as unflattering to them.

The safest place to be in this world is to say what brings one the applause of the people; conversely, the riskiest place to be in this world is to criticize people. If so, why do some people criticize people?

Perhaps, they do it because it has to be done? Perhaps, someone has to point out the untoward aspect of people's behaviors?

We cannot all be praise singers; we cannot all exist to gratify people's vanity by telling them what they want to hear, that they are special and do not make mistakes! May be, people need to hear that they make mistakes!  May be it is from such knowledge that people improve their behaviors.

There is danger to the self in the business of stating the truth instead of living the lie that most people live! The safest thing to do is to be a coward and not say the truth and live a wasted life!

THE STATE OF AFRICA

If you have eyes to see you will see the civilizational differences between Africans and Europeans. Europeans, beginning with the Greeks 2500 years ago, have been making efforts to rationally understand the world they live in. Their efforts at understanding their world was truncated by the advent of the Christian Church. The Church, more or less, put a stop to Greek rationalism and gave Europe one thousand years of uncritical relationship with their world (called the dark ages; from the fall of the Roman Empire, 450 AD, to about 1450 AD).

The Arab Muslim conquest of southern Europe reintroduced Greek rationalism into Europe and thus began European renaissance. This means the return to using rational faculties in approaching the world. That effort led to the re-examination of the teachings of the Christian church and the result was the Reformation of the church (beginning with Martin Luther in 1517).

The Reformation of the Christian Church produced the age of French enlightenment; here, folks (such as Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau and Montesquieu) tried to use only pure reasoning to understand their world and to live accordingly.

European enlightenment, aka age of reason (include English logical positivists like Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Adam Smith, David Hume, George Berkeley, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill) led to science. Science (include Isaac Newton, John Dalton, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, James Clark Maxwell, J.J. Thompson) and its applied form in technology (James Watt, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford)  led to industrialization.

Industrialization led to urbanization as people came to factory towns to work.   Today, the West lives in a world made by science and technology (we now live in the age of information technology led by folks like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg).

We can date modern science to Nicolas Copernicus' (1543) publication that the Sun is the center of our local universe and not the earth. In the past the Church had taught folks that the earth was the center of the universe (geocentricism) but now folks are told that the sun is (Helios centrism).

Actually, modern science began in 1610 AD when Galileo used his telescope to verify Copernicus hypothesis that the sun is the center of the solar system.

Science is a methodological approach to phenomena that accepts only what can be observed and verified as true and rejects what is mere opinion (Karl Popper added the criterion of falsifiability).

We can safely say that for almost five hundred years now the West has lived in the age of science; initially, the embrace of science was hesitant and halting but in the second half of the nineteenth century science exploded. By the early twentieth century science won its war with religion so that today most educated Europeans operate from the frame of reference of science (Henri Becquerel, Ludwig Boltzmann, Rontgen, Marie and Pierre Curie, Max Plank, Albert Einstein, Ernest Rutherford, Neils Bohr,  Louis Broglie, Werner Heisenberg, Emil Schrodinger, Pauli, Paul Dirac, Born, Alexander Friedman, Georges Lemaitre, Edwin Hubble, Lise Meitner, Enrique Fermi, George Gamow, Fred Hoyle, James Wheeler, Hugh Everett, John Bell, Alan Aspect, Murray Gell-Mann,  Steven Weinberg, Eugene Wigner, Alexander Flaming, Francis Crick and James Watson and a few others are the major twentieth century scientists).

Today, in contrast, most Africans, by and large, operate from the parameters of superstition.

So, is there a civilizational difference between the white man and the black man?  What do you say?  Of course, there is a civilizational difference between them.

Pure reason tells us that there is, at least, five hundred years of civilizational difference between white folks and black folks (from Copernicus to the present is almost five hundred years).

But who has the courage to say that there are differences between the West and Africa?  If you come right out and flatly state the obvious folks would call you a racist and hater of black folks. Thus, instead of stating the obvious, folks dance around the truth and make infantile excuses for the empirical differences between black folks and white folks civilizations (biologically all people are the same but people are at different material cultures).

WHY ARE AFRICANS UNABLE TO GOVERN THEMSELVES WELL?

Why are Africans not doing the right things in their attempts to govern themselves? The answer is very simple. They do not know what the hell they are doing!

But would you be able to state it in those brutally honest terms? Most people would not. Instead, they would engage in an elaborate dance proffering pseudo explanations as to why Africa is in the latrine.

In college, we had to read what is called modernization literature. Here, folks like Samir Amin and Walter Rodney regaled us with silly information on what Europe did to keep Africans backwards. They talked about slavery, colonialism, neocolonialism.  They told us that extant African leaders are compradors, are agents of the metropolis (the West) exploiting the periphery (the third world).

We learnt that Africa is backward because of Europeans.

We were not told about Arabs; Arabs actually enslaved Africans, at least, five hundred years before the white man did so.  The Arab enslavement of Africans lasted for at least one thousand years (900-1900 AD) whereas European enslavement of Africans lasted about four hundred years (1500-1900 AD).

If you actually come into contact with African leaders and compare them to European leaders you see that Africa is backwards not just because of what non-Africans did to Africans but because African leaders do not know what they are doing.

Consider Mohammadu Buhari of Nigeria. Does that man have a clue as to what to do to govern Nigeria? Look at him objectively and what do you see?

You see an illiterate who ought to be herding cattle pretending to be governing a modern human polity. To govern a modern polity one needs some education in political science, law, economics and general management.  One probably needs a JD degree and an MBA degree to be able to govern a modern human polity.

Most African leaders are neither trained in law nor business and thus do not know the first things about leadership and management.

Africa's so-called leaders are mostly in office to seem like they are big men and loot their countries treasuries.  Most of them are actually thieves (their standard personality type is anti-social personality disorder); Africa's so-called leaders are criminals who instead of been locked up in prisons are occupying the halls of government!

WHITE LIBERALS PATRONIZING ATTITUDE TOWARDS AFRICANS

White Liberals in Europe and North America are acutely aware of how primitive Africa is; they sense that as a result of their primitive status Africans feel low self-esteem and inferior. They resolved to help ameliorate this sense of inferiority in the black man. To do so they decided to treat black folks as adults treat children: tell them that it is not their fault that they live in a shithouse.

White liberals try to soften Africans sense of backwardness and consequent inferiority feeling by telling them that it is not their fault that they are backward. Elaborate pseudo explanations are given as to why Africans seem shiftless and unable to fend for themselves.

What it boils down to is that Africans are told that it is not their fault that Africa is a shit house and that it is the fault of white folks.

Please notice that this behavior by white liberals is condescending and patronizing; it assumes that white folks are adults who ought to take responsibility for their mistakes whereas black folks are children who are not responsible for their mistakes.

When something goes wrong between an adult and a child you blame the adult not the child, hence liberals blame adult white folks and do not blame child Africans for what is wrong with Africa house. The white liberal treats Africans and black folks in general as not his equal but as children!

Please notice that white liberals seldom allow their children to go to the same schools with black children; they assume that black children are inferior and would retard the learning of their children; also white liberals seldom allow their daughters to marry black men for they assume that black men are childlike!

In the meantime, Africans lap up Liberals blaming of the white man for whatever is wrong with Africa. Having accepted liberals condescending attitude towards them, Africans do not do what they have to do to catch up with the white man.

With right thinking and behaviors, Africans can actually catch up with the White man in this century. If Africans really want to they can catch up with the white man before the end of this century but to do so they must accept where they are at: backward, and resolve to become developed; they must stop blaming other people for their backwardness and accept responsibility for it and do what they have to do to make Africa's modernization possible. Asians have done it so there is no reason why Africans cannot do it.

IGBOS AS SAMPLE AFRICANS

When I was young I read up on the slave trade. I asked my elders how come our people sold our people to white folks.

I knew about Aro folks using a phony religion to enslave Igbos; I knew about Aro folks hiring Abam and Abiriba folks and using them as mercenaries who roamed around Alaigbo, kidnaping Igbos, marching them to Calaba and Bonny where they sold them to waiting white slave buyers.

White slave buyers parked their ships at African sea ports and Africans brought their people to them. Why did we capture our people and sell them to the white man?  I was not given any logical answer by my elders.

If you are trading there ought to be rewards for your business. Igbos ought to have made money from selling their people, I thought. If so, what exactly did Igbos do with the money they got from selling their people? I looked at my area (Owerri area) to see if folks had mansions that they built with the money they made from selling their people. I didn't see any; most folks lived in thatched huts.

In the USA, I went to the south and saw the mansions built with slave labor. Much of France, Spain, Holland, Portugal and Britain were developed with money from the slave trade and exploitation of the new world, the Americas.

So, what exactly did Igbos do with the money they made from slavery?  Do you know what? They were given useless pieces of glass and cowry shells in exchange for selling their people!

Igbos placed those useless cowrie shells on their necks and bodies and called themselves Ogaranya (big men) and some joined Ozo society (rich folks club) and masqueraded around as big men.

So, all you got from selling your siblings are cowrie shells, pieces of glass and gin and whisky? If so you are not a rational person; you are a chomp. You are a freaking cock sucker; you sucked the dick of the white man; you bent over and allowed the white man to fuck your black ass; you are an idiot!

PRIVATE CONCLUSIONS AND PUBLIC BEHAVIORS

Having privately reached these conclusions about Africans, I came right out and called Africans chomps and cock suckers. Did they like this fact? Of course, not.

Instead, Africans preoccupy themselves with efforts to avoid self-blame. They know that they are fifty percent responsible for the suffering of African Americans in the racist land of America.

Aware of their sin they try to deny it and instead blame their partners in the sin, white men. To them they are innocent victims who did not do any wrong in slavery. They propagate the nonsensical idea that Africans were kidnapped by the white man. Really?

The white man did not enter into interior Africa until the discovery of quinine to fight malaria in the mid-nineteenth century. It was Africans that kidnapped their people, marched them to the coast and sold them to white men.

Africans are therefore fifty percent responsible for slavery and white men are fifty percent responsible for slavery. This is what common sense teaches one but Africans would like you to deny this common sense and, instead, join them in their infantile attempt to deny responsibility in selling their people.

AFRICANS OVER EMPLOY PRIMITIVE EGO DEFENSE MECHANISMS

Africans employ denial, projection, rationalization, minimizing, blaming and other primitive ego defenses to avert the guilt feeling they would feel if they accepted that they were complicit in selling their people into slavery  to Arabs and white men (the other ego defense mechanisms are repression, suppression, displacement, sublimation, reaction-formation, fantasy, avoidance, anger, fear, shame, guilt and so on).

As long as they are doing so they are unable to take their lives into their hands, take responsibility for their ancestors' crimes and their present crime of stealing from their people instead of governing them well.

As long as Africans blame other people for their problems they will not be able to do what they have to do in the present to begin rebuilding their fallen house.

I focused on Igbos not because they are more egregious in their crimes against their people but as sample Africans. What I said about them might as well be said about other Africans.  However, I choose to restrict myself to my own ethnic group.

Igbos, like other Africans, deny responsibility for their role in slavery. In the present they deny their role in misgoverning their people.  Just as they blamed the white man for slavery they currently do the same thing except that the other to be blamed is now Nigerians (Hausas and Yorubas).

What it boils down to is that Igbos deny responsibility for their evils and blame other people for them; this denial of their evil tendencies has led them to having governments that essentially exist to steal the money given to them to develop Alaigbo while blaming Hausas and Yorubas for the shithouse that is Alaigbo.

Igbo leaders, like other African leaders, have refused to develop their people. They do not provide all Igbos with publicly paid education, from elementary schooling to university and technical education; they do not provide all Igbos with health insurance; they do not build factories to employ Igbo youths. They leave Igbos to fend for themselves.

Some Igbos manage to go to universities but upon graduation find no jobs for them.  Thus, it came to pass that Owerri, Aba, Umuahia, Onisha, Enugu and other Igbo towns are overwhelmed by unemployed Igbo youth.

Whose fault is it that over 90% of Igbo youth is unemployed?  What do you think?  It is Igbos fault of course. But instead of looking at it realistically, so-called Igbo leaders blame Nigerians (meaning Hausas, Fulani's and Yoruba's); nothing is ever the fault of Igbos. In the meantime, Igbo leaders zoom around in imported expensive cars, private jets and live lavishly.

Some Igbos flee into fantasy; seeing how backward they are they fancy that if only they separated from Nigeria and created what they call Biafra that they would transform their world to Eldorado. Ah, history teaches us that folk's antecedent behaviors predict their future behavior.

Past and present Igbo behaviors show lack of caring for their people, selling their people so we can reasonably predict that were Biafra to be attained Igbo land would continue to be a place where the leaders do not care for the led.

Until there is a change in the African psyche, from self-centeredness to social centeredness no African country would be well governed.

CRIMINALITY IN ALAIGBO

Unemployed Igbo youth, realizing that nobody cares for them and that their so called leaders don't care for them decide to engage in antisocial behaviors as a means of obtaining personal survival.

Most Igbos operate at the same level as their leaders: they are self-centered, opportunistic and unprincipled; they exist to fend only for their egos and do not care for other egos.

Since they exist for their egos only, their egos tell them to steal from other egos that seem to have what they desire, money. Their egos tell them to steal from other Igbos, to kidnap those who seem to have money, hold them hostage and demand monetary ransom before releasing them and kill those who do not pay them.

Igbo criminals, like criminals everywhere in this world, are cowards; the criminal is always a coward. If they are courageous they would organize to fight for good governance. But to do so entail self-transcendence for one could die in fighting for public good; no one makes omelets without breaking eggs. If you fight for good governance you might be killed by those benefiting from the status quo; so to avoid death you do not fight for public good but instead resort to the cowardly behavior of stealing for personal gains, not for public good.

THE ROLE OF THE CRITICIZER IS TO STATE THE TRUTH REGARDLESS OF WHO IS AFFECTED

In the above paragraphs I have started the truth of Igbos and Africans behaviors. I did not present Igbos and Africans in a positive light.   Many Africans will probably perceive what I did as denigrating.

Since human beings, Africans included, like to be flattered and I did not flatter Africans, some Africans would feel their pride hurt.

When folks pride is hurt they experience narcissistic rage; to assuage their injured vanity they would fight the person they believe insulted them. In face to face relationship, the aggressive ones would literally attack that person. Since I am not in their immediate space the least they think that they can do to me is call me derogatory names, such as idiot, mental (even as they do not know what it means to be mentally ill).

CONCLUSION

Igbos and Africans are human beings. Like human beings everywhere, Igbos and Africans are narcissistic and desire flattery.  They do not like to be told that it is their fault that their house has fallen down, that they live in a shit house. They do not want you to criticize them and tell them what is wrong with them. They want you to flatter them and make them feel like they are special and superior folks.

Nature and nature's God disposed some people to criticize what needs to be criticized. Such persons perform their role and talk about what is wrong with people regardless of people's desire to be flattered.

The criticizer plays a role in the governance of society; without him people would behave like amoral animals, as is currently the case in most of Africa.

If it makes you feel good to call the person who criticizes you and your people negative names by all means go ahead and do so. Get it off your chest, vent.  Your name calling behavior is quite human and understandable.

However, when you are ready, you must learn to be introspective and look into your soul and ask yourself why you and Africans are so backwards that it is not funny.

Blaming other people for your backwardness will not improve your situation; only taking responsibility for it, temporarily feeling bad and then doing what you must do to improve your house will save you.

PS:

To be critical one must first posit a picture of what is ideal self and behavior and then compare one's self and other people to it and find them not measuring up to it hence criticize them.  To be a critical person is to compare what is, imperfect people, their imperfect behaviors and social institutions, to what should be (who decides what should be, God?). Thus, the criticizer is engaged in neurotic behavior. Would normalcy then entail accepting people as they are, including accepting robbers, rapists and murderers without judgement? Okay, it is neurotic to be critical but is it healthy to accept African criminals who steal from their people? What exactly is mental health? This is a subject for another essay.

Ozodi Osuji

January 17, 2017

www.centerformindscience.org

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: ozodiosuji@gmail.com (907) 310-8176