Tuesday, 15 August 2017 18:20

In memory of Heather Heyer, WHAT ARE YOU LIVING FOR?

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In memory of Heather Heyer, I ask:


Ozodi Thomas Osuji

When I hear that a person has died I ask, what did he live for? I ask myself that question; I do not ask it of the dead or other persons.

The implication of my question is that each human being ought to be staying alive doing something; to stay alive just to stay alive, to me, is not enough.

If one stays alive just to be alive all that one is doing is eating food and dealing with one's medical issues until death does one a favor and takes one out. If one got to be alive one ought to be doing something that one deems socially important.

What is the something that the individual ought to be doing? Nobody can decide for another person what he should be doing. Only the individual knows what doing it he feels fully alive and not doing it he merely is surviving. It is not enough to just survive. One must be surviving for something.

Each of us has certain inherent aptitudes, certain trainings and certain interests; when the individual does what he likes doing and has an aptitude for doing he tends to feel alive.

Since we are also social beings, if the individual does what he likes doing that serves social interests, in one form or another, he tends to feel fully engaged.

So, what are you, the reader, doing that makes you feel that you are alive? As long as you are living for something you have reason to be alive but if not, well, you are like a living dead person.

Nature did not design us to be living dead persons. Nature did not design us to just survive, survive for what? It is fear of harm and death that makes us not live doing what we feel is socially important.

Over the weekend (August 11-13, 2017) white Neo-Nazis, white nationalists, white alt-right and assorted other white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia to demonstrate their desire to take their country back from nonwhite folks (the immediate cause of their demonstration is the proposal to remove the statue of a confederate general, Robert Lee, from the center of this lovely college town...University of Virginia).

These white supremacists are convinced that white folks are superior to other races and resent the presence of nonwhites in the USA. They want to get rid of all non-whites and or use them as slaves.  That is their goal. That is what life means for them: to get rid of some people and or use them as slaves. Their goal is very crystal clear.

Those who believe that all people are the same and coequal came to Charlottesville to counter demonstrate.  The counter demonstrators knew that the racists are armed and dangerous; indeed, many of those folks were carrying weapons so opposing them places one's life in danger. Yet, the opposition came and opposed them.

One twenty year old white racist, James Alex Fields, from Ohio, drove his car into an area where the opposition was milling around; he injured nineteen persons and killed a young white woman, Heather Heyer.

Heather died fighting for what she believed in. Even though she was only thirty two years old most human beings would say that she lived fully and died a hero's death.

It is good to live for a day and live for what one believes is right and die than to live a hundred years as a coward. The woman lived fully and died a hero of mankind. A hundred years from today people will be writing about her life and sacrifice.  If there is such a thing as heaven she is headed to it.

The question I ask you is what are you living for?

I lived to understand people; I have filled the world with literature on my understanding of human nature. Writing is a passive activity but nevertheless it is a worthy effort. What matters most, however, is living what I know is true. What do I know is true?

I know that all people are the same and coequal and ought to be loved and respected. Do I love and respect all people? If I do then I am living according to my light.

And, in as much as we are social beings, I must also be involved in the struggle for creating the type of society that serves our common good. If I was at the Charlottesville area on Saturday I would have been there demonstrating against the bloody racists. I would do so because I know that this country and the entire world belong to all of us, not just to this or that group. Clobbering me to death is irrelevant, what is relevant is living the truth as I know it.

My political ideology is social-democracy with mixed economy (a mix of capitalism and socialism, as in Scandinavia); I am for providing all people with a single payer health insurance; I am for providing all young people with publicly paid education through university level.

If I am fighting for these goals regardless of the danger to my life I feel alive but if I merely write about them and do not engage in social action to bring them into being, perhaps because I am afraid of harm to my body and self I am a coward. As a coward I have no reason to be alive other than the animal desire to be alive. If I am living for nothing I might as well not be alive.

As we all can see, in Nigeria and much of Africa people just live to be alive but do not actually stand up for something that they are fighting for. Most Nigerians and Africans are driven by fear; they are cowards who are afraid to stick out their necks for noble social causes. They live for nothing hence live miserable lives.

Because they are not living for causes greater than their puny lives I really do not give a damn whether Nigerians lived or died. If I heard that a Nigerian is dead I do not bat an eye, for, to me, he was not alive when he supposedly was alive; he was a living dead person. What difference does it make that a living dead person died?

If Nigerians wanted to live they would organize and get rid of corruption in their country; they would organize and establish a government that cared for all the people; they would create a business friendly environment that attracts investors and industries that provided people with jobs.

Instead of working for the collectivity Nigerians indulge in the cowardly criminal activity of kidnapping people and holding them hostage for monetary ransom. That is a selfish behavior.

Courageous and prosocial behavior is if the young Nigerian criminals organized and take over the Nigerian government and transformed it to serving all Nigerians.

Instead of doing these social serving and courageous things Nigerians steal the treasury dry and use stolen wealth to masquerade around as very important persons (I call them very important garbage). As I see it, most Nigerians are living for nothing and, as such, are not alive; I do not miss them if they died.

So, what are you living for?  This is the question that each of us must ask his self.

Unless you are living for something get the hell out of my sight! I do not want you around me; and don't ask me to do anything for you, for to me you do not deserve to be alive.

Why should I do something that enables you to keep your unproductive-self alive if you are not doing something that contributes to public good?

It is not for me to do something to help you stay alive just because you want to live in fear of the harm the rulers of this world could do to you if you challenge them. Challenge them and if they killed you, you are a hero of mankind and deserve the company of Heather Heyer in the heaven she is in.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

August 15, 2017


(907) 310-8176

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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