Today’s notion of intelligence and excellence is centred around academic excellence or its failure. It is taken for granted that one who has not furthered their education - at least to a tertiary level is regarded as not good enough to reap the benefits of societal prestige, as those who are highly revered for their academic excellence.
Yet one who has reached the highest level of excellence should be treated as if they can walk on water, and the rest should lie on the ground to walk. This is albeit the fact that this excellence is a transformation into walking encyclopaedia and memorabilia of other people’s ideas and concepts.
This notion though does a whole lot of psychological damage, which eventually becomes an obstacle to everything it wants to achieve. It marginalises those with less progress in academia. It makes one feel less worthy and a second-class citizen.
It makes men and women not realise their true intellectual potency. This can go as far as them not being able to make tangible contributions to society even when opportunities are presented to them due to the inferiority complex. However, one must understand that life is all about power and that to be powerful, the other must be weakened.
History and religion, though, talk about wise men and women who had lived in ancient times.
Traditional tales tell of forbearers who have lived and were ruled by some great intelligent and wise kings, queens and headmen. These were even way long before religion and western explorers landed in Africa. In the absence of academia, they managed to live fulfilling and productive lives.
Clearly, that is enough indication that academia is not the only source or entry point to intelligence and wisdom. It is also an indication much can be learned not only from books, but from life that every second, minute and hour presents us with an opportunity to learn by even observation, interaction, and intuitive realisation.
It must also be intriguing that even one of man’s biggest search is for truth – none of it appears in the curriculum. This must be for the fact that it needs not to be taught, because it is plain sight.
With this understanding, it must be that in the quest for progress at every level of society, there is a need for inclusion. This would mean that society should operate not in academic exclusivity. In discourses and deliberations that affect and determine the fate of all, natural intelligence and wisdom should be given a chance.
This for the fact that even for the marginalised man or woman living remotely in the jungle, no one would understand their needs and aspirations than themselves.
Therefore, any plans made for them in their absence would be nothing but social injustice.
Today, wisdom reminds us to realise that not one man has a monopoly over knowledge or what is best for the world. This is for the mere fact that even when we all live on the same earth, there is no one-size-fits-all perception, realisation, and experience of life.
For this alone, one must therefore be not only vigilant but considerate and cognizant of each and everyone’s unique needs, dreams, aspirations and even challenges.
Fundamentally, with this premise as a cornerstone for any society to gradually move towards excellence, leadership becomes a daunting task. For the true realisation of the harmony humanity has yearned for centuries, a new kind of visionary leadership must be born – a leader whose wisdom is not owned but acquired and derived from the common people. For there is only one true vision for humanity, which easily summed up is, treating others as one would love to be treated.
By Karlos TheGreat
Uncommon Sense is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka