There’s great power in sharing ideas

SOMETIMES, seized with a powerful idea, mankind has bridged divides and literally moved mountains or drilled through them to make tunnels and connect two previously unconnected places.

By Admire Kudita

Think here about the Victoria Falls bridge or the point in South Africa which leads through a mountain. Those responsible for the projects decided that there was no other way except to make a way where the Creator had not seemingly provided a way.

Perspection

But “perspection” (my own word combining perspective and reflection) is what matters. Perspection is how we combine our view of life (perspective) informed as it is by pre-existing knowledge of the situation with our reflection of the situation arising. Our ideas about life will shape the way we live the life.

If, say, you believe that there is no hope of a way out of a situation, that very reflection of your situation is what will inadvertently shape your conduct. Sometimes the outcome is tragic, as happened with two of our children this past week in two different university sites.

One now deceased former National University of Science and Technology student committed suicide repeatedly after falling pregnant, albeit with someone else other than her boyfriend’s baby. She could not, according to the suicide note, stand the idea of betraying her boyfriend. Another young man from the Midlands State University committed suicide after failing to come to terms with his girlfriend’s conduct after allegedly catching her in flagrante delicto with another man.

Fuel for change

Sometimes, because of an overwhelming idea that there is nothing to lose, a mass of people will embark upon an inexorable course of action such as happened with the French Revolution or our armed struggle.

Well, historical events are guided by the prevailing culture and the output of ideas led interestingly by powerful personalities. In the case of France, it was the cultural context of Enlightenment ideas of the 18th century thinkers such as Montesquieu, Voltaire and John Locke, which animated the seismic change in society.

The idea of a system of government based on egalitarian principles was formulated during this time out of sheer necessity and as a reaction to the prevailing gross abuse of power and privilege. Of course, history did not follow a linear path.

There was a major detour and, ironically, the rise of a dictator in Napoleon Bonaparte, who had postured as a great revolutionary. But it turned out that Napoleon was really just seized with his own delusion of military grandeur. The official portrait of him depicted a swashbuckling hero on a proverbial white horse leading a charge against perceived opponents.

Not every idea is good

The Napoleonic era led to war in Europe and an overturning of existing regimes. Ultimately, Napoleon ran out of steam and had sufficiently roused enough enemies to thwart his pretensions at world conquest.

The idea of one nation lording it over others did not perish with Napoleon nor had it begun with him. Germany Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was to try it again in the 20th century with harrowing consequences for millions of people across the world. The world became convulsed for six years, with the idea of succumbing to the force of Hitler’s thousand-year Reich for his socially-engineered Aryan race. As we all know, war begets misery and then peace when people have punched themselves out. War’s aftermath is, indeed, dicy. It usually means spoils for the victors and retribution for the offenders.

Zimbabwean idea

What is the idea that we are a seized with as a nation at present? We are seized with the idea of a “new dispensation”, juxtaposed with the idea of the stasis and inertia, which has been cultivated over 38 years of Zanu PF’s malevolent rule.

Slogans are the way this nation has long conducted its business. Culturally, Zanu PF has maintained the idea of repeating deadly slogans. This was the case in townships at Zanu PF rallies, which you really could not refuse to attend. After sitting in the sweltering heat for hours, the then leader of our nation would arrive either by helicopter or motorcade to address the weary yet fearful crowds.

Standard cultural practice was to first bellow his party’s slogans, which included a slogan about the opposition and the need to crush or bury it. “Pasi nezvimbwasungata”. Translated, this simply meant annihilation for those so-called. It was a wish of death for those who stood in the way of the rulers. The question that begs an answer is whether culturally we are in a place where we should dispose of the mediocrity of our sacred cows. In my view, we are grappling with the idea of a society in which selective justice, demagoguery, intolerance, State-sponsored violence and arbitrary actions thrive as opposed to one in which our conduct is “new” in terms of allowing for elevated discourse around how to organise our society.

Parting shot

I was sceptical that the masses of people who thronged the streets in November 2018 would live to see the birth of a society devoid of fear of state brutality and arbitrary arrests. The very idea of an African leader as public servant is so far-fetched.

From the chiefs, to the very top, those that ascend demand fawning obeisance which should be reserved for an all-knowing God alone. They even enact laws to punish those “undermining” their “office”.

I marvel at this practice because God has been blasphemed countless times, with the perpetrators continuing to have their daily supply of oxygen. I am not suggesting that they will ultimately escape judgement, but clearly God is gracious to allow the foolish an opportunity to repent. We are grappling with the idea in Zimbabwe in which might equates right.

Does having a gun equal having the power to take a human life? Perhaps. But history, which we never learn from, comforts me with the idea of the transcendent quality of ideas and justice. Good will ultimately triumph over evil.

For now, evil is a world in which a blatant lie is told that former president Robert Mugabe is really gone! His influence remains so pervasive that we have leadership across almost every strata of our society which affect his megalomaniac essence.

But we need to shine a better light as a nation and perhaps our idea leaders are not ardent enough to produce and implement truly inspirational ideas. The national karma must change!

Top