Friday, 22 October 2010
It’s a quiet night in this small Canadian city. We’ve all been entertained, saddened and made pensive by acoustic singers from Ontario and Iceland. I enjoy some parts of their performance, and don’t others. I guess that when acoustic music descends into being clichéd; the sort of thing any North American teenager in his room would play, I just get bored.
Somehow our conversation shifts from talking about how this one time a friend and I tried to pull a cart up a hill, to talking about what really moves people to action, to demand for change. We all first admit that for change to occur, there really needs to be charismatic figures able to inspire people to demand for change. An argument rises when we have different views on if charismatic people are the way they are by nature or by choice. A friend feels that one really can inch away from complacency and choose to act and speak out against what one simply doesn’t agree with. In my mind, I feel there’s a distinction between those who, by their natures, cannot do without fighting injustice and those who get on with life. I voice this to them. I feel that most people, really just want to get on with their lives, rather than risk it or property for the sake of voicing opinions and convictions that might end up not effecting any change. I realize when I say these things, that this idea has branded itself in my mind for a long time. It really is part of my world view. The argument sidles away from this theme back into what truly moves people to ask that the poor state of things become better. My very optimistic friend feels that people want change when the present state of things contradicts with their ethics and beliefs system; that their very existence and what constitutes it: their morals, values cannot co-exist with the norms or dogmas being enforced by their society or whatever governing body. In my mind, something completely different is there. To me, people are shaken to their very core to seek, fight for change, only when their very existence becomes unbearable. That to risk one’s life and the security which progeny could have, one’s present life has to reach a breaking point; a point where living isn’t really worth it.
I arrive at my apartment. Walk into my room and the fan whirs, and sends cool air at me. I want to throw myself at my bed, but I can’t. I’m bothered by love and my worldviews. I’m wondering what kind of a person I am when it comes to these two things. Love almost seems like a cross-examination of myself. Almost as if it watches me, gruels and laughs at me, to see what I’m willing to sacrifice, what I’m willing to be weakened and made foolish by. I digress. I really couldn’t just sleep, because I wondered where my worldviews really do come from? These opinions, principles that I try to keep, but sometimes forget are there in the first place, I wonder where they squeeze out from. I get confronted with news from my family of things happening back home, I have experiences here, good and awful and I decide what I think and feel about these things. Yet, I’m not satisfied that it is at these points my opinions take shape. I wonder why I hold such pessimistic views of what goads my fellow man to simply want something different, better for himself or his brothers and sisters. Why am I so convinced, from my very core, that if one section of society is being dragged down by poverty and oppression, and another enjoys peace and plenty, those capable of speaking will do nothing? I’m saddened that I hold such pessimistic views that come across as so archaic and the very mentalities that will not spark change. I want to sleep, peacefully, but I can’t. I can blame growing up in Nigeria, that country that I love so much and yet I am so pained by, for this worldview of mine. Or I can, conveniently, say that the view I have is the reality of humanity. But I can’t. A part of me, the part that writes this, is disappointed and wants better worldviews to take the place of these views that enmesh themselves to my mind.