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The Epoch Of Reason

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 Source: Okofo-Dartey,

We have seen or heard of the stages the world has travelled as it journeys on its course. It is believed that it will grind to a perpetual halt and eventually destroyed by its owner who is very appalled by the depravity of his own creation- human beings. As to when this dreaded day is going to be exacted, we are not made privy to it.

Christians and Muslims alike do acknowledge the spiritual logic in this belief and strive earnestly to do away with pitfalls that will sabotage their transportation from this corrupt and yet-to-be destroyed earth to a celestial cosmic classified as heaven. The agnostic on the other hand, sits somewhere and admires the anxiety of those in his view are hopeless religious fanatics and wishes in his heart they would recover from their delusion and fantasies. Well, if you ask me where my foot is in this simple but complex affair, I will tell you this: everything that has a beginning definitely has an end. So if you do not experience the end of this earth, then you should know your life has an expiry date attached to it.

Several generations have walked on this earth; they have left both positive and negative images in the annals of history for us to feast our eyes and imaginations on them. Among all the benefits inherent in these historical artefacts, I think what pipes to our advantage is the hindsight that affords us the opportunity to fine tune our decision making. For example, no individual or nation would clamour for a third world war, why? The least reference or answer I can readily proffer is Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Every generation is powered or guided by a certain spirit, attitude or a set of standard. The ancient Greece was driven by the quest for wisdom and knowledge. They sought to understand their world as well as apply what they gather from their intellectual expedition. It is worth mentioning at this juncture that Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are products of this noble quest. Undoubtedly, their ideas and principles to a large extent have shaped the history of humanity.

The Roman Empire has contributed its bit to world history and civilisation; theirs was the desire to redefine and reposition the empire as a powerful and dominant force in governance. Hence, the numerous wars they fought to dot their supremacy wherever their battle cries got to. (See Microsoft student with Encarta premium for further reading).

In this era, we can cite America as a good point of reference. There is this American spirit embodied in such expressions as the “I can do” and the “American Dream.”This political, psychological and economic branding as I would term it greatly transforms the masses in a country. I must admit it works efficiently when there is a mass and intensive education as well as a group effort on the part of all and sundry to make this goal a reality. I once heard of the brand Ghana office and I don’t know what has become of it; is it a white elephant now since it appears to have lost steam? Is the National Commission on Civic Education resourced adequately to play a pivotal role in this regard?

It does not, therefore, come as a shock when our friends, mothers, uncles and aunties are shipping themselves en masse to these developed countries which have clear cut agenda and policies carved out from the current of spirit and attitude they would want sail along with. If I use the word spirit, it does not relate to the metaphysical or point to religion. It encapsulates the will, group loyalty and the shared outlook of a group of people, especially if it has to do with a country like Ghana. Well, I have heard a number of such positive and captivating slogans from politicians who garner for power. Those I can readily recollect are “domestication”, “I believe in Ghana”, and the “The better Ghana agenda.” As it stands, we are yet to witness the maturity of any of these well intended proclamations.

The political climate tends to make sense of these slogans but beyond that there is somewhat a snail pace gravitation towards the realisation of the good intents inherent in these slogans. I know the current administration is trying to push forward their agenda by commissioning projects initiated by the erstwhile administration and those it has completed. I pray the momentum does not wither.

I once asked a seventy year old retired educationist whether she supports any of the political parties in the country. Her reply was stunning: it does not matter whoever is in power; all I want to see is my grandchildren well educated, gainfully employed or managing their respective profitable businesses and above all going to sleep without any fear of political instability lingering in their hearts. By simple deduction, she appears to embrace any political party that shows commitment not through words but through their actions by concretising what she enumerated. This indeed was a heart-felt supplication to our political leaders.

It is positive news that the generational baton has successfully been handed over to us. We are now in the driver’s seat to determine the course of our destiny. It will be imprudent to lift our foot off the accelerator and blame our predecessors unduly when we can restore, strengthen and elongate the broken walls of our forebears.

In order to accomplish the above, of all the spirits that characterise every era, I think the prevailing force today should be the spirit of reason. I duly acknowledge love, quest for knowledge and wisdom, kindness, peace, prosperity among others as very vital in propelling a country forward.

But what has really occasioned this proposition is the high level of gullibility and the irrational actions of certain individuals. Sometimes, the question that pops out of our mouth is, did this man, woman or youth reason before opting for this sordid path? Essentially, at the root of all this is the high level of illiteracy in the country. Interestingly, those who are highly educated are sometimes branded as “educated illiterates or half baked illiterates” due their questionable actions and inactions.

The word reason primarily has to do with or defined as the power of being able to think in a logical, coherent and rational manner with little or no emotions. Events must appeal to our reason and not emotions. When emotion submerges reason there is a high proportion of irrationality.

I believe Amina Haruna of the infamous Mensah Sarbah Hall absurdity would have had her dignity in pristine condition if those lads who dealt with her rudely had resorted to reason. The right line of action which the perpetrators knew but refused to perform was to hand over their helpless victim to the appropriate mandated outfit to handle the situation. But what did we see? Human barbarity at its summit!

Our world and daily interactions are now characterised by sophistication. That is why brutal force is not the best alternative in handling altercations. Try correcting your twenty first ward who has gone wrong by being tough and you will be awed the rebel you may be creating. But gather patience and reason with the child by making him or her know the ill in their actions and I am sure you will be saving a prodigal son of tomorrow. It is interesting how our heavenly father endorses this proposition by telling us to come unto Him so that we can reason together.

As we tilt gradually towards the impending presidential and parliamentary elections in 2012, we must call our reasoning power into action in order not for us not to be short-changed by corrupt politicians whose supreme interest is their personal gratification. Such politicians would want to play on our emotion by employing the tribal card and other divide and rule tactics. We stand the risk of shooting ourselves in the foot if political proclamations are swallowed hook, line and sinker without a thorough questioning and reasoning applied to them by us.

There is the need to put our politicians to task by challenging them to tell us realistic objectives they have in place for which they seek our mandate; such objectives should come with clear cut road maps which accelerate their implementation. The reason for such a noble call is Africans and for that Ghanaians have suffered greatly in the hands of poverty for far too long. We need to liberate ourselves from its jaws pronto; otherwise the future will be full of doom and gloom. I am sure if the African continent were to be a living being, it would have suffered from malnutrition and gradually asphyxiated due to the gross corruption and economic mismanagement.

This clarion call for the prevalence of the spirit of reason should cut across every sphere of our actions. Such a drive will better position us individuals, and our country to churn out the best in whatever we do so as to position Ghana among the economic power houses in the sub region and the world. As citizens there is the need to be logically rational and redefine our approach and analysis of events. For I am sure if our actions are not greatly influenced politically and emotionally but passed through the lens of reason, Ghana and its people would be beneficiaries in the end.

BY: OKOFO-DARTEY SAMUEL

E-mail: sodesq2000@yahoo.com

Columnist: Okofo-Dartey,