What do you believe in? No, I’m not talking about just a deity; this is about every single thing you stand for. Your VALUES, you may say. So I ask again, what do you believe in?
As an African Millennial, I was raised by a generation of people who had and stood FIRM by whatever values they held. They were people of their word. But much more than having a solid value system, these people understood the laws of the universe. They had their truths, but they also understood the facts. I admire(d) that. It is something I carry along with me as I age. Alas, my generation has forgotten the ways of their fathers, and I daresay the world as I knew it is going to ruins today on our watch because of it.
I am of a generation that knows too much, yet knows nothing at all. The amount of information we have at our disposal should ordinarily make us unfuckwitables (excuse my french) in all areas of our lives, yet we have given clueless a new meaning. We don’t know ourselves, we don’t know what we stand or do not stand for – we stan EVERYTHING. We know so little, yet we won’t let anyone tell us anything about nothing. We have successfully made paradox a people. It bothers me. A while ago, a friend and I were talking about the information overload we have to deal with today. Like for any and every topic you can think of, there’s a thousand and one people with a Blog, YouTube channel, Podcast, or some sort of platform about it. He said the phenomena is to blame for our foolishness; that we’ve got way too much information to wade through and it has made/is making our minds muddled. I call bullshit.
There is ALWAYS going to be ‘too much information’. The world rotates, times change, processes improve & change, new systems are born; the trick is in discerning which evolution is for you and which isn’t. My generation has thrown discernment to the pigs. It doesn’t mean said evolution or trend is good or bad, it just means it is not for you! And the only way to figure that out is to know what you’re about in the first place. The Delphic maxim KNOW THYSELF is one of my favourite sayings of all time. Pythagoras put it quite well. He said “Man know thyself; then thou shalt know the Universe and God”. The Suda explained that ‘Know Thyself’ is a warning to pay NO attention to the opinion of the multitude. Do you know who you are?
I’m a BIG advocate of learning to better one’s self; the amount of information (new and improved) I consume on the daily is impressive if I do say so myself! I was raised by academics after all. But over the years, I have had to discipline myself to sift through information, to learn which to dwell on and which not to give a second thought, to know where to go looking for knowledge and what traps not to enter. It is a practice that has saved me many a trouble. And guess where I learnt the importance of this skill from? The older generation! – the one that raised me, the one we barely pay heed to now. The secrets of the universe are ours for the taking, but we must first know who we are to begin with, what we are about, the things we stand for.
Take away social media and all your favourite celebrities and idols, the ones who’s every word you hang on. Take away all external sources of information, the ones you let make decisions for you by proxy. Take away the herd mentality you somehow acquired, the one that convinces you to always sit with the majority, the loudest voices. Take away society’s expectations of you, take away the disguise you so expertly wear. Strip yourself of all falsehood and prejudice. After all has been said and done, who are you when the world is not looking? That is the YOU you should let guide you. And if that you is less than excellent, improve it! But by all means, know thyself.
When you are in tune and at one with yourself, you create room for the best you to shine forth. Sieve, test and try every thing you come across by nature’s laws. She never lies, her ways are true and steadfast – all you need do is LOOK and I promise you fair sight. We were all created differently for a reason, we each bear unique gifts to bless the land with. It will do no one no good if you suppress your voice in the din of the crowd. You need to stop living other people’s truths – know your truth, then LIVE IT without apology.
Oh, and about the question I asked earlier, about values. Mine are LOYALTY, INTEGRITY & RESPECT. Whatever doesn’t hold room for these 3, I cast away. What are yours? All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells are within you; know yourself.