Mental emancipation is Africa’s next frontier

23 Jun, 2019 - 00:06 0 Views
Mental emancipation is Africa’s next frontier

The Sunday Mail

In last week’s sermon, the Bishop went to great length to explain how inscrutable a human mind is.

Throughout the ages, sorcerers, soothsayers, scientists, spies and politicians have spectacularly failed to unlock the age-old secrets of the human mind.

What is, however, scrutable is how fickle human beings are.

This is precisely the reason why success often has brawling fathers claiming paternity, while failure is – like Oliver Twist – a dirt-poor orphan.

This is precisely the reason why it is not uncommon nowadays to see people who hunt with the hounds and run with the hares.

And definitely this is also precisely the reason why the same crowd that cheers you during your coronation is most likely the same crowd that would jeer you during your persecution or execution.

Do you still remember the ‘gedye-gedye’ brigade?

Yes, the one that was passionately and spiritedly led by that learned bae who once stained our social media with a yellow-themed campaign for political office that we were told was supposedly sophisticated.

Although the greenhorn politician was ably egged on by a full complement of social media ‘imbongis’ and gawking social media perverts, the stilts of her outlandish campaign came crashing down in spectacular fashion during the elections and her barely-begun political career was shattered into smithereens.

The praise singers quickly retreated to their shadowy corners from whence they had come from, but not before the bruised young politician questioned what those patronising tweets, retreats and puffery that preceded the elections had amounted to.

They definitely didn’t tally with the vote count.

Overnight, we all watched in wonder as the praise singers mutated into unforgiving cynics who contrived jibes at the grieving politician’s expense.

Well, they say Karma is a nocturnal creature that pleasures lustful men during the night only to torment them for her dues during the afternoon in the full glare of disbelieving family and friends.

But the Bishop now hears that the young lady – like Humpty Dumpty – now wants to pick up her broken political career by becoming a political stowaway on the MDC flight to nowhere.

We wish her good luck, but we, as we will always do, can only caution her: Politics is not a beauty pageant, but beastly business. Good luck. You will need it.

Well, for those who do not know the ‘gedye-gedye’ campaign, it was a derisive reference to the central bank’s decision to maintain parity between the US dollar and the RTGS/ bonds.

It was a subtle advocacy for the liberalisation of the exchange rate.

The suggestion, though reasonable to an extent, was delivered with contempt and shocking derision.

And then in October last year – bam! – RBZ Governor John Mangudya obliged, not because he was told to do so, but because it was time.

Predictably, the exchange rate began to move, and with it prices of goods that were indexed to the US dollar.

And then our social media economic advisor began disingenuously complaining about why RTGS prices were now different from US dollar prices.

Argh!

One can never win with this eternally pessimistic lot.

In Revelations 3:15-17, the Holy Book rebukes such fickle species.

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

You see, the wily old Uncle Bob had discovered a magic wand that could solve his problems, and it was called Treasury Bills.

When he eventually decided to leave office, he left Mangudya with a $9 billion-sized headache.

However, Mangudya’s prescription to detoxify the system will necessarily involve some tumult, which is currently being felt.

Zimbabwe is a junkie that is now in rehab and the withdrawal symptoms from some quarters are now apparent – hallucination, irritation and pain.

Reform, like revolution, involves pain.

As ED said during his radio interview recently “the process of reform is not an easy one” and “brings about short-term upheaval”.

Bishop cringed when he realised ED actually mentioned the word reform 12 times in that very short speech.

But again, he remembered Mark 4:35 when Jesus had to ask the panicky disciples – who feared they would be drowned by the raging sea – why they were so unbelieving.

Though China sits pretty today, 41 after beginning its reforms, it was not that easy.

Deng Xiaoping faced the same challenges.

Reform is not about doing the right team, but it is about the determination to do the right thing.

Bishop thinks that after two decades of isolation and stagnation, people definitely have to be mentally conditioned to prepare for the painful hard work to rehabilitate the country.

Chinese journalist and publisher Wu Xiaobo – who has written extensively about the transition of China from an economic backwater to a country that is on the cusp of being a superpower – once noted that “any major change in history must be preceded by the people’s conceptual framework.”

“After a full ten years of the Cultural Revolution,” he also observed,“all normal functioning of the country had been destroyed, including the people’s ability to think creatively and clearly.”

The Bishop always tells his followers that if one wants to measure how psychologically and mentally damaged we have become over the past two decades, they have to simply look at the dross on Zimbabwean Twitter.

It is gross.

Personal biases often lead to unscientific debates and conversations that are not edifying in any conceivable way.

The lanky ex-FBI director James Comey said in his autobiography that confirmation bias is one of the most powerful and disconcerting forces in human brains.

Such a psyche works against the collective good to contribute towards societal wellbeing.

It is anti-development.

“Our brains have evolved to crave information consistent with what we already believe. We seek out and focus on facts and arguments that support our beliefs. More worrisome, when we are trapped in confirmation bias, we may not consciously perceive facts that challenge us, that are inconsistent with what we have already concluded. In a complicated, changing and integrated world, our confirmation bias makes us a very difficult people. We simply can’t change our minds,” he said.

One would expect supposedly learned people like our learned bae to know this.

Our past, as our present and future, is shared and will always be inextricably linked.

One of the lasting legacies of colonialism was to cruelly imprison us in our own minds.

So clearly, mental emancipation will, therefore, be the next frontier.

Bishop out!

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