This essay says that in a world where God exists, and he is just and gave his children freedom to experience whatever they want to experience, that people experience only what they want to experience. In that light those who oppress others and those who are oppressed want to experience their current states and both experience the consequences of flaunting God’s will that his children should do like he does, love, hence live in conflict. A return to obeying the will of God, which is love, means a return to loving all people (a return to union) and the result is peace and happiness.
Can An Unhealed Healer Heal Igbos Tendency To See Themselves As Victims?
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
With the possible exception of a few, most Igbos that I have encountered see themselves as the victims of other Nigerians; they believe that other Nigerians persecute them; and, on the basis that they are persecuted justify verbally abusing Nigerians; they call Nigerians every put down name their vocabulary can muster.
Nigerians perceiving themselves derogated by Igbos feel their pride hurt and thus justify discriminating against Igbos; Nigerians marginalize Igbos, and, occasionally, kill some of them.
Of course, Igbos are not the only people that see themselves as victims; practically all human beings do. If you have been in America for any length of time you probably have learnt that African-Americans generally see themselves as white folk’s victims. They were in the past enslaved and in the present discriminated against by white folk so they justify seeing themselves as the victims of white folks. However, despite the reality based nature of their perception of themselves as victims one feels annoyed always hearing black Americans present themselves as white folk’s victims; one can see how they contribute to their dreadful social situation in America. If a young African- American male gets many black American girls pregnant and disappears and those children grow up poor, whereas the larger white society is partially responsible for the poverty of those children, the black stud that gets his women pregnant and abandons his children is also responsible for their poverty. We are all co-responsible for what happens to us and to our world.
I believe that Igbos response to their perception that they are victims, verbal abuse of other Nigerians, provoke the persecution that they get from Nigerians. If you put someone down, insult him, call him derogatory names, especially if you present yourself as superior to him, something happens to his pride; he experiences attack on his vanity and feels narcissistic rage and to assuage his hurt pride attacks you, and may, in fact, kill you.
How do I know this to be true? I know it to be the way people respond to insults for when some Igbos verbally put me down I felt like attacking them; I felt like using the American judicial system, a system that I understand more than their noise making would lead one to believe, to go after them and if necessary kick their black asses back to Nigeria. But I had to restrain myself because I realized that I was dealing with immature folks, children, really.
When I see Igbos see themselves as victims and on that basis justify insulting other Nigerians hence provoking other Nigerians to hate them, even attack them, my heart grieves for them; I feel an urge to help them see the role they are playing in their existential situation in Nigeria. I feel an urge to let them know that they are not victims but active participants in making their fate. But, alas, I cannot heal them.
Why can’t I heal them of their tendency to see themselves as victims hence justifying abuse of other folks?
I cannot heal Igbos because I am an unhealed healer. An unhealed healer cannot heal other persons; he must first heal himself before he can help other persons to heal themselves (the atonement is first for one before one shares it); each human being is responsible for healing himself (for each human being sentenced himself to the hell called world of separation we live in); he cannot directly heal other persons but when one is healed he can help those who want to heal themselves do so.
A healed person is a person who has accepted that he is the cause of his experiences and that he is not a victim; he has accepted that he separated from God and projected out all that he sees in his world and experiences and has no one else to blame for his issues.
To the contrary, an unhealed person sees himself as a victim of circumstances; he sees himself tossed around by events that he believes he has no hand in making.
One is saved, healed, redeemed and delivered from the ego when one accepts that one made one’s ego up and takes responsibility for what ones ego does. The healed healer having taken responsibility for constructing his ego lets go of it and does not blame other persons for what his ego delivered to him.
I have not fully accepted responsibility for what appears in my life; sometimes, I still blame other people for some of the unpalatable things that appear in my life; I sometimes say that other persons did bad things to me. I am still an unhealed healer. If so, can I heal Igbos tendency to see themselves as victims of Yorubas, Hausas and other Nigerians and blame them and feel justified in verbally abusing them?
Can I prevent Igbos from getting the consequences of their egoistic behavior, their tendency to feel superior to other Nigerians and insult them hence provoke Nigerians attacks on them; can I prevent them from taking the effects of their behaviors, thus circumvent the law of cause and effect?
There is a spiritual law operating in heaven and on earth: the law is the law of cause and effect. It means that our behaviors have effects; we are the cause of our actions effects; as the cause of our actions we receive their effects. We take the effects of our behaviors and no one can prevent us from taking the consequences attendant to our behaviors.
Even when our behaviors are patently childish, such as feeling superior to other folks and or verbally abusing folk, we still take their consequences for the law is the law and one cannot circumvent it.
Love other people and they will love you; hate other people and they will hate you; insult other people and they will attack you; feel superior to other people and you have felt superior to God hence committed a sin (God is in his children so if you feel superior to any child of God you have felt superior to his father hence sinned against God and is punished with attack on you by those you fancy yourself superior to).
Other Nigerians generally see Igbos as arrogant pricks, as empty boasters, and to get back at them by discriminating against them. Indeed, some Nigerians are known for attacking and killing some Igbos living in their midst. As it were, they want to get rid of haughty folks who seem to live to tell other people how superior they are to them.
Igbos seem unaware that no human being can ever accept that other human beings are superior to him; see, despite white folks superior scientific culture, black folks did not accept white racists telling them that they are superior to them.
The reason why no human being can accept another’s supposed superiority to him is because each human being has God in him and the God in one cannot accept the superiority of the God in another person, for God is the same and equal everywhere he manifests on earth. This reality not withstanding deluded human beings march on trying to convince themselves and those who would listen to their madness that they are superior to other persons.
Paranoid white racists like Adolf Hitler wanted to convince us that they are superior to black folks and paranoid Igbos want to convince us that they are superior to other Nigerians. Superiority feeling, aka grandiosity is the hallmark of delusion disorder (the other key ingredients of paranoia are sense of persecution, suspiciousness, lack of trust in people etc.).
As any mental health professional knows, delusion disorder is the hardest mental disorder to heal. If a person is healed of his delusion disorder he accepts our sameness and equality and loves all people; thus, he becomes a true son of God, a Christ.
Can I help Igbos to see that they are the cause of their dreadful situation in Nigeria when I still see me as a victim? Can a person who sees himself as a victim help cure others who see themselves as victims? This is the real problem facing me.
Strictly speaking, an unhealed healer like myself should not strive to heal other people; one must first heal one’s self, that is, see one’s self as totally responsible for ones issues and not see one’s self as a victim and blame other persons for ones circumstances before one can tell other people not to see themselves as victims.
That truth been said, I still want to help heal Igbos of their tendency to see themselves as victims of other folks persecutory behaviors when in fact they stimulate those persecutory behaviors. (When a person is totally healed he tends to exit from this world of separation and return to the world of union, for sickness is separation and health is unified mind; thus, it takes an unhealed healer who must still be in this world of separation to try healing other people in the world of separation, sick people.)
(I once did a review of Chinua Achebe’s writings and pointed out that the man sees himself, Igbos, Nigerians, Africans and black people in general as victims of other folks; I concluded that he is childish; he had not grown up yet. There is a quality of childishness about the man and what he says that irritates me. One is grown up when one accepts responsibility for one’s fate. Yes, other people do affect one; we live in a general system, in a world where we are all responding to what each other does hence do affect each other; yet, each of us is totally responsible for his fate. If God exists and is just, only the individual can be responsible for his fate; if I am innocent and others can harm me then God is not just and an unjust God does not exist!)
LOOKING INWARDS OR OUTWARDS
Western civilization, especially its science, leads people to focus on the outside of them, to try to understand how the external world works and how it affects them. It therefore tends to make them feel like they are victims of the world that allegedly shape them.
Spirituality (metaphysics), on the other hand, teaches people to look inwards, to look inside them and understand how their minds work. Spirituality leads to taking responsibility for ones thoughts and actions and changing what can be changed in ones thinking and behavior and having the courage to live with what cannot be changed (give it to God…in all one does one asks God to guide one; in practical terms, since God is love, one uses love to guide ones behaviors).
Science tells us that nature determined us that events since the Big Bang that got the world of matter, space and time going shaped us. In fact, science tells us that our thinking is epiphenomenal, that is, is a product of the configuration of chemical elements and particles in our brains, that our brains biophysics and biochemistry determine our thoughts and that if anything happens to our brains, say, organic damage we would have scrambled thinking. Simply stated, to science human thinking and behavior are products of nature and there is no such thing as choice; we are all victims of nature.
In effect, there is conflict between the scientific paradigm and the spiritual paradigm; they present two diametrically opposed ways of looking at the world; they are irreconcilable. These two opposed ways of looking at phenomena is confusing.
The egos perspective looks at the external world and tells us that we are shaped by the world hence are victims of the world; this perspective rules what is taught at our universities.
On the other hand, the Holy Spirit’s perspective says that we are not victims, that we are the dreamers of our world, that we projected out our world and as the dreamers are responsible for everything in the dream world hence have no one else to blame for the good or bad of our world.
Most people with any kind of scientific education accept the thesis that we are the products of nature. Thus, to say that the persecuted brought about their persecution is seen as blaming the victim of persecution.
Black Americans are persecuted by white folks; Igbos are persecuted by Nigerians; to see them as responsible for their bleak social status is to blame them and this does not seem fair. Yet spirituality (as taught by, say, A course in miracles) teaches that we are responsible for our experiences.
Many persons, myself included, find it difficult to make up their minds as to which perspective of reality, science or spirituality, is entirely correct; they try to combine them except that they cannot be combined hence neither approach works for them. You are either a rabid empiricist and see the external world as determining you hence see yourself as a victim of the world and fight it (and obtain pain ridden results) or you see yourself as in charge of what happens to you and not fight the world but instead change your mind about the world to get different outcomes from it (peace and happiness).
What you cannot achieve is mix both approaches to reality and have the mixture work well for you. If you try mixing both you would be paralyzed by indecision and neither would work well for you.
In the light of spirituality, I chose whatever has happened to me in my life. If I am sick I chose that sickness.
Why would I choose sickness? Medical science easily shows me how germs cause my sickness and offer me medications.
As metaphysics sees it, I choose sickness to feel how the sick feel. The sick feel like the world treats them like orphans hence feel angry at the world and fight it. In fighting with the world they separate from those they fight with. Thus, sickness is a means for separating from God, other people and from love.
I choose it to fight with people and in so doing push them away from me hence separate from them. I choose sickness to feel separated from people. In feeling separated from people I retain my ego. I develop a big ego (big ego leads to narcissism and paranoia).
The lesson is for me to learn that I am not separated from other people and not separated from God and then let go of the ego of separation and return to God, to love, to union with the creator and his creation.
In union with God I experience peace and joy. In God I lighten up (light has no weight yet as Albert Einstein showed in his 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect of light, light acts as particles and can move things; a light person can move things even though he appears to have no weight).
An egoistic person has dead weight and feels important and actually does nothing that matters; he throws his dead weight around but is mere empty vessel that makes a great deal of noise.
My perception of Igbos (and I am an Igbo) is that they tend to feel like the victims of other Nigerians. Their talk invariably comes down to telling you how other Nigerians are screwing them up. They tell you how they fought for Nigeria’s independence and how the British arranged to have Hausas rule Nigeria, for in doing so British interests are served. From 1960 (when Nigeria got her independence) to the present they tell you how other Nigerians are marginalizing them in Lugard’s case (their derogatory name for Nigeria; never mind that Lugard actually did them a favor, he put them under one polity; before him there was no such thing as a unified Igbo land, each village was, more or less, self- governing, making them weak and easy picking by organized large human polities).
In 1966 a group of junior army officers led by Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu, an Igbo, overthrew the elected Nigerian government led by Abubaker, Tafawa Balewa, a Hausa man. Major General Aguiyi Ironsi, an Igbo, formed a military government to rule Nigeria.
In July of that same year Hausa soldiers overthrew the Aguiyi Ironsi feckless government and Lt. Col Yakubu Gowon, a Northerner, came to power. From Gowon to the present Hausas ruled Nigeria (with an interregnum of Yoruba rule; Obasanjo’s stint as a military ruler and as a civilian president; and Goodluck Jonathan, an Ijaw man).
An Igbo has not been elected to rule Nigeria. Thus, Igbos tell us that throughout Nigeria’s 51 years of existence non-Igbos have ruled Nigeria and screwed Igbos, big time.
There is some truth to what they say, for, as they say, just because someone is paranoid does not mean that there is no truth in what he says. The paranoid person is always persecuted but the problem is that he does not understand that he initiated his persecution by trying to seem superior to those who persecute him.
Igbos have been screwed by other Nigerians, there is no doubt about that; Nigeria’s oil wealth has largely been carted to non-Igbo parts of the country. The real question is why were Igbos screwed?
If one assumes amoral politics where power rules then all the various Nigerian tribes are in power struggle and the more shrewd and Machiavellian rule the less able. In that vein Hausas are more politically savvy hence out-maneuvered weaker Igbos and rule them. If you accept politics as a science and do not inject sentimentality and morality into it then there is nothing else to say other than that the more astute group of people rules the less astute group of people. One should not be emotional about politics. In real (power) politics the strong rule the weak and that is all there is to it.
If politics is a science that describes the rule of the powerful over the weak without emoting about it, why should Igbos cry foul if the strong Hausas rule them, the weak? At best they would seek ways to become strong and rule others, and such is political life, C’est la vies.
We are not talking real politics here, for Igbos appeal to sentimentality (aka political idealism) when they talk about being victimized. To see one’s self as a victim is a moral perspective on events, for one assumed that there ought to be justice in the universe and that the strong ought not to have oppressed the weak.
In amoral politics the strong rule the weak; strong whites drove American Indians off their land and appropriated it and enslaved weak Africans and that is all there is to it. If you do not like it then go become strong and conquer white folks and rule them, and expropriate from the appropriators.
However, human beings are seldom that amoral and objective in their analysis of events and political behaviors; they always appeal to morality. Thus, folks see themselves as victims presupposing that they live in a world where no one ought to be victimized. (In nature powerful animals like lions and tigers eat weak ones like sheep; that is, victimize them and we do not cry for the sheep; we say such is life; big fish eat small fish; life is a cruel thing for we eat other animals to stay alive!)
A world where nobody is victimized would be a loving world, a world where we operate out of what Alfred Adler (my psychological mentor) calls social interests and serve each other’s interests.
However, let it be noted that no such an idealistic society exist anywhere in the real world, on planet earth. To the best of my knowledge there is as yet no socialist state where wealth is equally shared and all are treated equally. Even in Alaigbo the strong rule the weak!
Nevertheless, let us assume a moral world where justice ought to reign. In a just world no one should victimize another person. But as we know folks do victimize other folks. In objective terms Igbos are victimized in Nigeria so what we are left with is to find out why they are victimized.
In a world ruled by a just God we must agree that he cannot allow some of his children to victimize his other children.
The only way a just God can allow some persons to oppress others is if he gave them freedom of choice. In a world where we have freedom and our actions are freely chosen then oppression can be understood. How? It is because in freedom some persons can choose to oppress others and others choose to be oppressed.
If we grant perfect freedom, it is possible for there to be sadistic persons and masochistic persons, oppressors and oppressed persons, each choosing his state.
If justice exists in this world nothing can happen to the individual if he does not want to experience it. If something can happen to one without one wanting to experience it there is no justice in the world and God is not just and therefore does not exist.
If God is just and exists and gives his children freedom to do as they like then some of his children could choose oppression and others could choose to be oppressed. In that light, I submit that some Nigerians choose to oppress some other Nigerians and that some Nigerians choose to be oppressed. (Why would people choose to oppress or be oppressed? It is because they are insane. To be in this world is to be insane; to deny ones spirituality and manifest in body is to be deluded hence mad.)
Those who verbally insult other persons are obviously calling on those they insult to attack and oppress them. If you told me that you are superior to me and called me degrading names you have literally and psychologically invited me to try to show you that you are not superior to me and that you should not insult me. Thus, I could attack, conquer and rule you to show you that you are not better than me.
I am saying that by degrading other Nigerians Igbos are asking them to attack, oppress or rule them; they are calling for oppression and victimization, and got what they asked for. In a just universe they ask for oppression and get it. If they did not want to be oppressed why would they insult other children of God, as if it is fun to do so? (Never mind their egotistic scholars, self-deceived and out to deceive would give us complex political and economic analyses why other people rule them…actually, many of them do not understand the politics and economics they present as the causal factors for their sorry situation in Nigeria. Never mind politics and let us for the time being talk spirituality and its perspective on the human condition.)
Given what we know about social organization and social psychology (organizational psychology was the area of my doctoral dissertation for the University of California); Hausas are better organized than Igbos. Igbos have an individualistic culture where each person seeks his personal interests, often at the expense of other persons and seldom care for other persons interests. Ojukwu, for example, optimized his material pleasure but did not spend a penny of his alleged great wealth for any Igbo (he certainly did not devote his life serving those young Biafran soldiers he led at war and they were deformed and are now beggars). Before his recent death he spent nearly a year at an expensive hospital in London, England where probably millions of dollars were spent to prop him alive. Those millions could have been spent helping his deformed former soldiers now begging for food at Orji River Junction.
Igbos could care less for other folk’s survival. As long as the Igbo feed himself and his immediate nuclear family (and may be his extended family) the rest of the world can screw itself!
Hausas, on the other hand, tend to care for their group members.
A society that is group oriented tends to make for better soldiers for the people are more willing to die for their group (for those who cared for them…why should one die for people who do not care for one?). Hausas are more willing to die for their group and thus would fight for their group than the individualistic Igbos. Each Igbo soldier is looking after his and his family good (he would not let his children go and fight and die at war) but would have other people’s children go die fighting for his vanity and infantile glory.
During the Biafran war the children of Igbo well to do folk did not see fighting at war fronts; it was riff-raffs that were conscripted and used to fight for Ojukwu. In fact, some members of Ojukwu’s clique sent their children overseas to prevent them from experiencing the suffering and deprivation that war visited on Igbos. This is ego self-centeredness at work!
Given what I know about organizational psychology and who makes good soldiers, in a war Hausa are likely to defeat Igbos. This view is based on science, not the boastful mouthing that Igbos are known for. Running ones mouth about how invincible one is does not equate to reality.
In sum, I am saying that Igbos set them up to be victimized and are victimized and in effect chose to be victimized. In a just and free universe, nothing could happen to them without their wishing to experience it.
If God is just and in his justice gives us freedom to experience only what we want to experience, then we can choose and experience good or bad. In God’s just world the individual or group experiences only what they want to experience; in which case Igbos experience victimization because that is what they want to experience. I am therefore saying that Igbos made their beds of thorns and sleep on them (from the ego’s perspective it seems that I am blaming the victims; but I am operating from a spiritual perspective).
I am motivated to prevent Igbos from making beds of thorns so as to not be pinched by thorns. But I am fully aware that I am still like them in that I tend to see myself as a victim and see other persons as the cause of my problems hence I am an unhealed healer.
A healed healer knows that he is responsible for what happens to him and chooses only love; he loves all people and all people love him; his life is characterized by love, peace and joy. From the perspective joy and peace (salvation) the healed healer then can tell other people how to heal themselves.
One can only give what one has. I have not yet healed myself and therefore cannot give healing to other people. Nevertheless, I feel an urge to state the metaphysical truth that we experience only what we want to experience and generate.
I am aware that I am presenting an uncommon perspective, not the usual ego, scientific way we see the world hence do not make sense to egotists. You make of it what you like. If you are an egoistic person (unhealed person, a person in hell) you are likely to dismiss it as rubbish and tell me that science tells us that the environment shapes us and proceed to see yourself as a victim of the environment and feel rational. Alas, you still provoke other persons, those you insult, to attack and victimize you.
If only we are less defensive of our egos and have ears to hear the truth, the truth that is in our faces and we choose to ignore it.
The spiritual truth is that we experience only what we choose and want to experience. Those who are victimized want to experience it, provoke it and get victimized. Those who want to oppress people find those who want to be oppressed and oppress them. The two parties generate conflict for themselves and live in the hell of their making.
Is Nigeria not a hell, a place where some black colonialists (Hausas) rule some colonized black persons (Igbos) hence generate the resentment that ruled persons must feel and the result is conflict. Nigeria is conflict land hence a land where there can be no real economic development.
This is sad, very sad, for all it takes to change the situation is for all of us to choose to see each other as brothers and sisters and love each other and work for our collective welfare.
The person who sees himself as a victim generally feels powerless (even if he makes a show of being pretentiously powerful). If in doubt please notice that Igbos have not been in power in Nigeria (because they feel powerless). To have a sense of power you cannot see yourself as a victim of other people’s behaviors. Power means seeing one’s self as in charge of things and that does not go with seeing one’s self as a victim, which means seeing one’s self as powerless.
Those who see themselves as victims, hence powerless tend to resort to criminal behaviors. In North America some black Americans who see themselves as victims generally are the ones who engage in criminal activities and are in and out of jails. On the other hand, black Americans who see themselves as having realistic power, not grandiose, unrealistic power, seldom steal. One has to see one’s self as powerful despite being in a subordinate social situation to avert engaging in the criminal activity found in fellows who believe themselves powerless and victims. Many Igbos who see themselves as powerless victims often engage in criminal activities (watch those of them who come to the Internet to tell us that they are victims and the chances are that they are engaged in 419 and credit card scams that screw Americans out of their monies!).
Those who see themselves as victims are egoistic and like most egoistic persons are driven by fear; they are fearful persons even as they talk as if they are very fictionally powerful. When you listen to them talk you could be deceived and mistake them for efficacious persons but when you come close to them you would see that they are discouraged and feel powerless; say boo and they run for cover; that is how fearful these boastful persons are!
I could go on and on enumerating the other negative qualities found in persons who see themselves as victims but I have said enough to give the reader a gist of what I am talking about.
Before I end let me state that I am fully aware of political and economic realism. In ego realistic light, I can see some half intelligent person telling me that my thesis is bullshit and that after all there is no love in the USA and yet there was economic development in the USA. I would remind that wise by half bloke that in the USA real politics prevailed, that whites used raw power to oppress Indians and Africans hence worked for white interests and received attendant economic development.
It is possible to have economic development in Nigeria if one tribe is politically realistic and uses brute power to suppress others and then work for economic development regardless of people’s oppressed status. Joseph Stalin did that in the former Soviet Union.
Alas, that kind of option is no longer available to those living in the twenty-first century. What is feasible is for us to work together and to see each other as brothers and sisters. That is to say we have no choice but to return to the world of love, which is the world of God.
In the world of God justice requires us to experience only what we choose to experience. I have pointed out how those who seek oppression or victimhood get it (and both live in conflict for they contravene God’s law that we love one another).
We can now choose to obey the will of God, which is that we love one another as he loves us; we can now choose a world where there are no oppressors or oppressed, a world with balanced socialist and capitalist economy where we work for each other’s welfare, providing health care for all people and providing free education through university for all young persons and generally serving each other’s interests.
This is my idealism talking, and I know it. What else is new? I am an idealist, yet a realist. On that note I end this cogitation on the laws of God. (If you fancy yourself agnostic or atheistic hence dismiss all talk on God, I invite you to talk to me let me see if you even understand what those terms mean!)
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
December 1, 2011
*If you are interested in this type of thinking please see Dr. Osuji’s latest books, The Book of Self-knowledge (740 pages) and Essays on Africans, Americans and Spirituality (420 pages); both can be purchased from Amazon .com