By Karlos TheGreat
Earl Nightingale, in his book, titled ‘The Strangest Secret’, wrote that if you ask a hundred men and women why they go to work every morning, you may be surprised by their answers. Some may say they do not know, while others may say they do so because that is what they are supposed or expected to do. Most may not have personal reasons, goals, or purpose.
The same would also go for some of the common concepts that are blindly supported by masses but with no proper understanding of what they truly are. Success is one of those concepts that are widely propagated, and everyone would say they want to become successful. However, if you question what success means, it will be shocking to get some vague and ambiguous answers and explanations.
Why is this the case? It is very clear that this is a result of the fact that no one dares to question anymore. Everything is taken at face value with naivety, trusting that it is all meant for good and there are no covert agendas. Every now and then, trends, concepts and ideas are pushed down our throats for us to assimilate or propagate. Those who do so, in most cases, package them so well and do not create or encourage opportunity and platform for investigation.
Those who dare to question become strategically humiliated or shamed. This is done as a strategic move to deter those who may wish to do so in future.
In politics, those who dare to question even matters of principle or have different views may experience backlash, humiliation or even get expelled. In religious organisations, on the other hand, one is also expected just to listen and do as the adopted holy book prescribes without any questions. The preacher would do the sermon for hours with no provision of a platform for anyone who may need some clarification to ask a question thereafter. The assumption is that the preacher was very clear, and everyone has understood what was said.
Furthermore, this tendency is not only limited to political and religious organisations, though. It is also very much rooted in parenting. It would be very difficult to find a home where parents create a platform where they interact and share views with their children. It will also be hard to find parents who allow their children to ask questions and answer them with care and honesty.
This would mean that they would take the time to really listen to the child’s inquisitions with a purpose and honesty so much that if they have no answer or do not know, they simply admit. This would even help a child realise that their parents are not superhuman, have no answers for them, or know everything.
Often, when children ask questions they are often met with unfriendly attitude. They are often told that they ask too much or found to be irritating. As a result, they grow up with the understanding that one must just do as they are told, be it by their, parent, boss, teacher, pastor or government. This is because experience has shown them that questioning gets one in trouble to the point that one may even get some of their benefits forfeited.
One reason why questioning is not encouraged is that it is misunderstood. This is because it is often seen or comes across as criticism, although its purpose is just to understand. However, there are also some other reasons why questioning is often met with resistance and anger. This is because in most cases those who are in certain positions of authority are themselves not equipped or acquainted with knowledge and information. To these people, questioning will become a threat as they see it as an opportunity for the other person to expose their shortcomings.
Questioning must also not be misunderstood and be something that one should aim at others. The real and tough questioning is one of themselves.
This is because one must seek to understand themselves before, they understand others or anything else. This may mean that one must question existential questions and as far as questioning personal values, beliefs, ideas, behaviour, intentions, and actions. It is this questioning that will bring enlightenment and understanding because when one understands themselves, they would also understand others and everything.
By Karlos TheGreat
OSHIMWENYO is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka.