Only Africans can solve their problems

ONLY AFRICANS CAN SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS, BLAMING OTHER PEOPLE FOR THEIR PROBLEMS IS CHILDISH AND WILL NOT SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS FOR THEM

Ozodi Osuji

      In the world as we know it, what every person does affects one and what one does affects other people; we live in an interrelated general system where all parts affect the part, and the part affects all other parts. There is no such thing as an island; we all live in one interconnected world and universe and do affect each other, for good or bad.

    Having observed that other people do affect him, the unrealistic and immature person keeps blaming other people for his pathetic situation; he iterates what other people did to make him poor, sick and lacking in peace and joy; everything that he says is largely true; what is equally   true is what he did not say: regardless of what other parts of the system do it is what you, a part of the system does that  determine your fate, good or bad. 

     The entire system is a challenge to you asking you to see it as it is and do something to improve your life under the conditions of the system and not just to complain about the situation.

      In our contemporary world, Europeans, and the West in general control the world’s economy. They decide how much they pay for African goods and services; therefore, they do affect Africans economic welfare. No one with a head on his shoulders would disagree that white men do negatively affect Black men (and, also, positively).

      We are all aware of the deleterious effects of the Arab slave trade and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade on Africa. African slaves were captured by their fellow Africans and sold to Arabs and later to Europeans. African slaves were used to develop the Middle East, Europe and North and South America. No one denies that African slaves were used for the good of non-Africans.

     However, what is not talked about when we talk about slavery is the role that Africans themselves played in it. It was African slave raiders that captured and sold their people to Arabs (beginning in the 600s CE) and after Europeans discovery and colonialization of the America’s in the late 1400s CE. For over 1400 years Arabs and Europeans have been the bane of Africans.

     Thus, realistically speaking, we must blame Arabs and Europeans for slavery, but we must also blame Africans for capturing and selling their people. The people who captured and sold their people were more vicious to their people and if truth is said ought to be given more blame in the odious trade in selling and buying human beings, but for our present purposes we shall allot fifty percent responsibility for slavery to Africans and fifty percent responsibility to Arabs and Europeans.

     Both Arabs and Europeans did colonize Africa. North Africa, from Egypt to Morocco, used to be African lands. After the death of Mohammed in 632 AD, his followers used military force to capture African lands and colonized them to the present, beginning when they captured Egypt in 643 AD. By the end of seventh century, Arab forces got to Morocco (Maghrib) and from there swept into the Iberian Peninsula and captured it in 711 AD and thereafter swept into France in 732 AD.

      The Europeans, beginning with Charles Martell, the King of the Frankish Germans, the Hammer of God began pushing Arabs out of France and later from Spain. Gradually Europeans drove Arabs out of southern Europe and by 1492, the year that Christopher Columbus came to the Americas, the last Arab colonizers were driven out of Europe.

      The same did not happen in North Africa. As we speak, Arabs have colonized North Africa for over 1400 years and imposed their Arab religion of Islam, language and culture on North Africans; today, North Africans speak Arabic and practice Islam, and have forgotten their African- Berber names, as is the case of Africans in the Americas; Africans in the Americas, too, were forced to speak their masters languages of English, Spanish and Portuguese, to forget their African names and to embrace the European religion of Christianity (originally Christianity was Jewish but what it became is colored by European culture).

   Arabs destroyed African culture and people probably in greater detail than white folks did to their enslaved Africans in the Americas.

     Most people, these days, tend to assume that North Africa is Arab land whereas, in fact, Arabs are like European colonizers in North America, both stole other people’s lands and imposed their world views on the people whose lands they took by force.

      If we like, therefore, we can blame Arabs and Europeans for the African condition, except that that blaming is not going to improve the fate of Africans one bit.

    I have already alluded to the economic condition in the extant world. What exists in the extant world is Neocolonialism whereby Europeans see Africa as a raw material producing area and see Europe as the factory of the world; African raw materials are cheaply sold to Europeans who transform them to manufactured goods (cars, airplanes, ships., cocoa, coffee etc.) and resale them to Africans. The Metropolis controls the periphery’s fate; no one disputes this unfortunate reality.

      I do not dispute reality, where I depart from the cacophony of voices blaming Europeans for Africa’s fate is my insistence that Africans have, at least, fifty percent blame for their situation.

      At present, the African ruling class, the compradors, are conspiring with Europeans in exploiting Africa and keeping Africans poor and disease ridden. If we must blame people for the dreadful situation of the world, we must blame all of us.

      However, I choose not to blame anyone and instead roll up my sleeves and do what would improve my situation. I want Africans to stop merely blaming other people for their fate but to accept the situation as an objective reality and thereafter do the work that liberated them from serfdom to other people instead of merely bemoaning their dreadful state.

     There is an African proverb that says that when you point accusatory two fingers at other people that three fingers point at you telling you that you are more responsible for the problem that you blame other people for; thus, you are better off trying to solve your problems rather than blaming other people for them.

      Blaming other people for your problems may make you feel like an innocent victim and enable you to retain your ego sense of perfection but does not alter your situation; the problem you blame other people for remains and if it is poverty blaming other people for it does not make you rich.

      I should also add that we all know about white folks’ perception of Africans as unintelligent, lazy, and shiftless. This perception is, of course, based on white folks’ self-serving view of Africans.

     Whereas Africans must not bother with how white folks see them but if they seek to be seen as productive, they must become productive.

      Only changed behaviors make other people see one differently; merely asking other people to see one this or that way does not make them do so. Asians are on their way to matching Europeans in economic development; Europeans no longer see them as underdeveloped.

      What now is at stake is how Africans respond to white men; to keep blaming them for their African fate or to do what they can to improve their fate.

     Africans can do something to improve their fate. What they first must do is take responsibility for their individual lives and for Africa in general.

     Some African leaders are already doing so with positive results; Paul Kagame, by any one’s view, is a magnificent leader. In a few decades he is industrializing Rwanda. Other African leaders ought to copy and do what this great leader is doing.

     Because of the role of poor leadership in Africa’s underdevelopment, let me devote a few paragraphs to talking about leadership; if you desire more detailed information on this key variable in the wellbeing of human societies, you can read my books and articles on leadership.

LEADERSHIP

      Each human being is not able to do all that he needs done to meet his entire needs for his survival. It takes people working in tandem, in concert to do certain things that serve all individuals’ needs. This is where leadership comes in.

      Ordinarily, each human being takes care of his business, does what he must do to earn a living for himself and his family but not necessarily for other people. Each human being is self-centered and is primarily concerned with his welfare and the welfare of his spouse and children and seldom thinks about the welfare of all people.

       Leaders are those rare human beings who not only think about their personal welfare but the welfare of all the people around them, their society.

      A leader sees what he lacks and what his social group lacks and recognizes that he needs the efforts of many people to obtain what is lacking in their lives.

      Leaders set goals and objectives the accomplishment of which serve their group’s needs. To accomplish those goals and objectives, leaders and managers use human resources, people and capital and money to do so. You need people’s specialized abilities, money, and organizations to accomplish what society needs.

      Thus, leaders organize people and material and use them in pursuit of societal and organizational goals that left alone each person may not be able to attain.

       Consider most African countries and their present needs. Africa needs educated workers; therefore, African leaders must provide opportunities for most Africans to go to school (go to elementary, secondary and university and technical schools).

     Africa is not industrialized; therefore, African leaders must industrialize Africa. Africa does not really have good infrastructure (roads, railways, seaports, airports, hospitals, schools etc.); therefore, African leaders must strive to construct infrastructure that would enable economic activities in Africa.

      Africa is composed of many ethnic groups; these diverse groups need to have good relationships with each other. African leaders must build interethnic harmony in Africa and not divide Africans to satisfy their ethnic groups interests.

      Simply stated, leaders identify social needs and use people and capital to pursue those goals and objectives that meet social needs, which can only be attained through social organizations (hence the need for political, economic, and industrial organizations).

AFRICAN LEADERS ARE CORRUPT

      As you look at Africa do you really see the continent’s so-called leaders doing what leaders are supposed to do, setting developmental goals and objectives, and using people and resources to seek accomplishing them?

      I am from Nigeria. Let me just say that what I see in Nigeria are thieves in government; I see folks who see the public treasury as a place from which they steal. The level of bribe taking and corruption in Nigeria is off the roof; nothing gets done without people bribing someone; Nigeria is a bedlam of lunatics who behave as if there is no value to integrity.

      Consider the nauseating amount that Nigerian politicians pay themselves (members of the national legislature make over a million dollars a year, plus publicly provided houses, cars, and other allowances); these criminals in politics make more money than Western politicians. Can you believe that leaders of a banana republic like Nigeria make more income than American, German, British and French politicians! This is outrageous.

      No leader should annually make (from public office) more than five times the minimum wage of his people. Leaders, of course, are entitled to pursue private wealth and become fabulously rich, as long as they do so legitimately, not through corruption.

      We do not have genuine social serving political leaders in Nigeria and most African countries; what we have are criminals and treasury looters in government. Nigeria is a criminals’ empire; gang leaders use the military and police of the criminal empire to kill and intimidate whoever criticizes them.

     We must, therefore, find a way to teach would be Nigerian and African politicians the art of leadership. I have authored books and articles on that subject; they ought to serve as useful read for African and other leaders.

      In my view, all would be politicians, at all levels, local, state, and national ought to have the equivalent of a master’s degree in leadership studies (that combines present Master of Business Administration courses with courses on politics and leadership; to be done in three years).

     Leaders do not blame other persons for their problems, they acknowledge the problems and seek realistic ways to solve them through people and money and do not waste their time blaming other people for those problems, just because blaming other people make their egos feel innocent and perfect; solve the problem in front of you, since there is no finality to problem solving, do your best,  and leave it at that.

IF YOU WANT TO BE A LEADER SET YOUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES DOWN ON PAPER

      Do you want to be a leader of your society? If so, good. Then set in writing your goals and objectives for your society. Write a book of over two hundred pages delineating your goals and objectives for your society, do so before you run for public offices; this enables people to know why you are running for office and what you want to accomplish for them and gives them standards with which to evaluate your performance while in office.

      At present most Africans seek public office for the prestige of the office, and the money they could steal from such offices, not because of what they want to do for their people; their narcissistic and sociopathic goals must be moderated.

      Actually, it might be useful for would be leaders to take personality tests, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, MMPI, and those identified to be mentally ill (have schizophrenia, mania etc.) are weeded out and those who have personality disorders (paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, narcissistic, histrionic, borderline, anti-social, avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive and passive aggressive) are required to see therapists, for, at least, five years, to improve their caring for people and work for social interests.

     Goals and objectives are attained through the auspices of people, through workers and money/capital. Therefore, a leader must gather the people and obtain the money he needs to accomplish his goals and objectives and then go to work trying to accomplish them.

      Merely talking about leadership, goals, and objectives, while not pursuing them is mere schoolchild dreams; goals must be realistic and acted on to be adult goals.

      Do it and do not just talk about your goals and objectives; leave mere talking and no action to academics; leaders of people are doers not mere talkers.

     Leaders collaborate well with people; they must have excellent people skills; they go about trying to accomplish their goals and objectives through people so must have effective communication skills and good interpersonal relationship skills.

     Leaders live what they want to accomplish, twenty-four seven; in their presence their enthusiasm and passion for their mission infects you and you roll up your sleeves and join them in working to improve your society.

AFRICANS MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR FATE AND QUIT BLAMING OTHER PERSONS

      It is true that other people do affect us, for good and bad, and it would be silly to deny this fact, yet each of us must take responsibility for his fate. It is childish enumerating what other people did to hurt one (that is probably why Jesus Christ asked his followers to not look back and forgive what other people did to them in the past, to have uncluttered minds with unforgiven grievances, fresh minds with which one deals with the present challenges in one’s life).

     Therefore, instead of wasting one’s time and energy blaming other people for what they did to harm one, such as blaming one’s parents for the harm they did to one, blaming society for the harm they did to one, blaming colonialists for the harm they did to one’s country (and ignoring the good they did, such as teach Africans how to read and write, build rudimentary roads, establish governments where hitherto there were no central governments, such as in Alaigbo where the people did not have a government that governed all Igbos thus making them weak and easy prey for slave raiders to Walz through the land, capturing and selling the people), just don’t waste your time and energy blaming other people.  Do the little that you can do, right now, to improve yourself and your society.

     Examine your psychological make up, identify your weaknesses and strengths; each of us has weaknesses and strengths, and improve your weaknesses.

      Heal yourself and encourage other people to do self-examination and where they have physical and psychological illnesses to work on healing themselves.

     Only the individual can heal himself; you cannot heal other people. All that the individual can do is collaborate with other individuals to establish a good government in his world and help it pass laws and make public policies that governed the human polity right; a single individual does not have the power to change other people and or bring about an ideal and perfect society, whatever perfection is.

     Perfection’s goal posts are always changing so that no one ever achieves perfection; perfection is thus an enemy of the good; just do the little good that you can do and leave it at that.

      One must try not to hurt other people; one must do unto other people as one wants them to do to one, which is love all people, for one wants all people to love one.

WHAT LINE OF WORK DOES ONE DO AND NOT PRETEND TO BE WORKING BUT DOING WHAT SEEMS REAL WORK FOR ONE

      The individual does not have the ability to do everything people do. Each of us has limited intelligence and certainly has limited aptitude and interests; only a few lines of work interests one. One must, therefore, identify what line of work interests one, the type of work that one has aptitude and interest in, train for it and go do it. One cannot do well at every line of work.

     One can pretend to be working, or work to please other people to seem important in their eyes; it is a fatal mistake to do something just to impress other people and get their approval; one must do what one has the interest and ability to do.

     One can do the line of work that one believes is useful to oneself and to all humanity and in doing it one is calm, not anxious from pursuing the ideal self, or pursuing God’s and people’s approval.

     One must not aim at changing people for that is impossible; each person is who he is from birth, made so by his biology, parents and social experience; only the individual can change himself, if at all. One must not give oneself anxiety, fear, anger, and depression from not accomplishing a goal that is not for one to accomplish. No one ever attains ideals, for those are merely conceptual, not real and never come into being. Each person is a fourteen-billion-year product of evolution, and it is who he is; you cannot change him or her. Therefore, leaders do not aim at changing people but merely use people as they are now to work to accomplish social and organizational goals.

     When president Abraham Lincoln heard that his most war winning general is a an alcoholic and he was urged to fire him, he said, first find for me a general that wins more wars than the alcoholic general before I can replace him.

ONE PUNISHES ONESSELF BY ENSLAVING ONESELF TO SEEKING POWER IN OTHER PEOPLE’S EYES

      First, one interprets one’s body and ego to be weak; one thereafter seeks to seem powerful, powerful as judged and measured by what other people say of one, so one seeks power and glory in other people’s estimation, and perception. One thus enslaves oneself to perpetually seek other people’s attention, other people’s perception of one as powerful, important, and worthy. One now lives in fear and anxiety of not obtaining other people’s attention that tells one that one is powerful; and one gives one’s anger from one’s interpretation that other people see one as not powerful.

      One sentences oneself to slavery of obtaining other people’s sense that one is powerful; one is a slave of one’s own making.

      One can accept oneself as it and not seek power and glory in other people’s eyes, and therefore do not care what other people think of one. One liberates oneself from fear of social rejection and is no longer prone to anger from the perception that other people did not respect one; one now lives quietly.

     Neurotic, that is, personality disordered leaders seek glory in other people’s perception; good leaders accept themselves as they are, accept their people and all people as they are, and, more importantly, do not seek perception of them and their people as more important than other people.

     Good leaders just do what they believe serves social interests and public good and leave it at that.

DISCUSSION

WE EXPERIENCE ONLY WHAT WE WANT TO EXPERIENCE

     There is a metaphysical school that says that one and groups experience only what one and groups want to experience and that it is impossible for what one does not want to experience to happen to one. They say that the individual and other persons, in secret, project out what happens to them; some are to play the role of victims and others the role of victimizers, but both agreed to play their part, as in a play, drama. Life is seen as a dream where we individually and collectively project out the world we see and interact    in it; nothing happens to us against our wishes.

     For example, black and white folks enact a dream drama where each group plays a role for the other; white folks play the role of enslavers and colonizers, and black folks play the role of the enslaved and the colonized and this way both groups experience what they want to experience (and in future lives reverse their roles for each other; the enslaver becomes the enslaved). 

      This is an abstract metaphysics that we cannot demonstrate as true but one thing I found is true is that my wishes and beliefs, rational or irrational, somehow attract to me what I see in my world. My thinking and beliefs projected out the world I experience.

     For example, if I do not like a certain type of work, my mind does not allow me to obtain that type of work; the type of jobs that I desire, in one form or another, I get. I wanted jobs where I would be free and somehow have done such jobs. I do jobs where I am left free to do what I like doing, thinking, philosophizing.

      I do not like jobs where other people would be over control me, and do what other people ask me to do, so somehow my mind does not allow me to obtain such mind stifling jobs.

     It will be difficult to demonstrate that this metaphysics is true, but it is the basis of forgiveness. If what we perceive as wrong could happen to one, one should not forgive the wrong doer, one must bear grievances, and grudges and seek revenge and vengeance but if it is the case that the wrong that other people did to one is drawn to one by one’s mind because one wants to experience it, and learn from it, then one must forgive the wrong doer.

      In forgiving the wrong doer one’s mind feels peaceful and happy but in bearing grudges one’s mind feels tense, fearful, angry, and unhappy.

      I personally see slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism and racial discrimination as what I want to experience. A part of my mind asked white folks to enslave me, asked them to colonize me and asked them to engage in neocolonialism and discrimination against me and all Africans. I forgive them their role in doing what I and other Africans asked them to do for us (what their own minds wished to do to us).

     My mind wants to struggle to be free from slavery, colonialism, neocolonialism, and discrimination hence I and Africans struggle against those.

     As I see it, the world is our individual and collective dreams and we, as dreamers, dream only what we want to dream.

     Why do we dream these negative things? It is because it is what we want to experience. Some people want to experience what we see as positive things.

     On balance both negative and positive lives are the same. The entirety of our lives in space, time and matter and body amounts to nothing (we are born to die, so all our earthly accomplishments amount to nothing). Life on earth and life in body is nothing; better put, life on earth is a game we enact to amuse ourselves.

     Real life exists in a non-material light universe where we all are formless spirits, are unified and are in each other and love each other.

     We chose to experience the opposite of our eternal spiritual union with each other hence invented a physical universe of space, time, matter, and house ourselves in bodies and now seem separated from each other and often do dreadful things to each other and live mortal existences (all in a dream but, we remain eternal).

     Look, I will not over play the metaphysical angle to our lives in this paper but suffice it to say that there are schools out there that say that we experience only what we want to experience, good or bad, and, as such, we do not need to perpetually blame those who did to us the negative things we asked them to do to us, forgetting the good they also did to us.

     A forgiving mind is a peaceful and happy mind; an unforgiving mind is a conflicted and unhappy mind. If you would like to explore the metaphysics that says that we experience only what we want to experience see Helen Schucman, A course in miracles; also see Jane Roberts, Set Speaks and her other books based on the Seth materials.

     Science teaches that we, human beings, and everything in the universe, are the products of mindless evolution; we were produced by the universe of space, time, and matter; in other words, we are victims, toys of nature doing with us as it pleases.

     Social science, building on the hypothesis that nature produced us, amplifies that thesis, and tells us that other people, beginning with our parents, siblings, teachers, and society in general shaped who we are. In effect, we are the products of our world; we develop a sense of being victims that other people do with as they please. Our age is the age of victimhood, each of us fancies that other people did what made him who he is, and he is angry at them.

     Science and social science are the dominant explanatory mechanisms of our time but they, too, like past explanatory mechanisms will come to pass and other ways of understanding reality will emerge. Thomas Kuhn, in his book, the structure of scientific revolution, tells us that each period in history is shaped by a dominant paradigm of what reality is and those caught in it do not see how there are other ways of explicating reality.

     There will be other ways of explaining reality. In the meantime, metaphysics, currently unproven, tells us that we are free agents choosing what we experience. What metaphysics says seems outrageous because in the empirical world we do see other people doing harmful things to us and we do not believe that we asked them to do so to us, or that we chose to experience them.

    One should just think about the metaphysical hypothesis along with our accepted science and social science hypotheses and make the best of both views.

CONCLUSION

     It is a waste of time complaining about what other people did to you and blaming other people when things do not turn out as you desire them. Complainers and blamers are always immature, and no one really wants to listen to them for more than a few minutes. They annoy those who identify problems and solve them without speculating on who caused the problems. Therefore, identity issues in your life and society and try to solve them and stop allotting blames to folks that you think caused them.

      You really do not know who caused what problem in your life and in your society. Do something about perceived problems; a little action is better than volumes of complaints and blaming of other folks for the negatives of this world.

    Leaders do something to solve their personal and social problems; losers merely talk about problems and, worse, blame other people for problems that they themselves helped cause. Become a doer and not a complainer and blamer; do something positive, just do it and leave it at that.

Note

     Ask yourself: what am I a leader in? There are many areas of social life that one cannot lead other people in all of them, but there are a few areas that one can lead. I answer that question by saying that I am a leader in studying leadership matters, writing about them, and showing people how to be calm and purposeful leaders. I am a social democrat and a mixed economist; I accept aspects of capitalism and socialism, and work for society to provide all kids with publicly paid education through university and provide all people with publicly paid health care. There you have my leadership goals and objectives, what are yours?

Ozodi Osuji

November 20, 2022

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