I wrote an article where I opined that It Takes A Man Of Culture To Reject Some Culture
While peregrinating about on the information superhighway, I came across the following fable which struck a deep chord within me.
ARE YOU GUARDING A CONCRETE SLAB?
There Was An Army Barracks That Had On Its Duty Roaster 4 Soldiers To Guard At All Times A Concrete Slab In Front Of The Barracks. The Soldiers Changed Shifts Guarding The Slabs For Many Years. Different Commanders Came And Went And The Tradition Continued.
After Many Years, A New Commander Was Assigned To The Barracks. Amongst The Things He Did Was Asking Why Things Were Done The Way They Were. When He Asked Why Soldiers Were Guarding The Slab, He Was Told, “We’ve Always Done It This Way. It’s Our Tradition. Our Former Commanders Instructed Us To Do That.”
The Commander Was Adamant On Finding Out Why.
He Went To The Archives To Look For Answers And He Came Across A Document That Had The Explanation. The Document Was Very Old. It Had Instructions Written By One Of The Retired Commanders Who Had Even Passed Away. The New Commander Learnt That Over 80 Years Ago, The Barracks Wanted To Build A Platform Where Events Could Be Performed. When The Concrete Slab Was Laid, Wild Animals Walked Over It At Night Before The Slab Would Dry. The Soldiers Would Fix It The Next Morning But When Evening Came The Same Thing Would Happen. So The Commander Ordered That 4 Soldiers Should Guard The Concrete Slab For 3 Weeks To Allow It To Dry.
The Following Week The Commander Was Transferred To Another Post And A New Commander Was Brought In. The New Commander Found The Routine And Enforced It And Every Commander That Came Did The Same.
Eighty Years Later The Barracks Continued Guarding A Concrete Slab.
There was a recent discussion about the Osu Caste System still ongoing in some cultures in some Eastern Part of Nigeria.
Someone from that part of the country, opposed to the practice, while feeling powerless to do anything to arrest an age long archaic culture, said,
Years back In School, We Were Asked To Write On Any Culture In Our Community That We Would Like Abolished.
I Thought Of Writing About The Osu Cast System But When I Reasoned It Critically, I Developed Cold Feet. I Was Afraid That I Could Unwittingly Rake Up Bitter Memories Of The Lecturer, Not Knowing Her Origin So Decided To Write On The Masquerade System Instead.
My response to this was,
Traveller there is no path. Paths are made by humans. Waiting for others to start this revolution is a chicken and egg situation.
Somebody has to start the process of helping this wood cat
The abolition of this kind of backward system won’t start on its own. Humans have to precipitate it. And it begins with you and I.
How about marrying, or encouraging your son/daughter to marry an Osu?
Many of the things we do emanate from mind conditioning. Some practices can be legislated out of existence, but in the case of Osu as regards marriage, for instance, you won’t have a legal backing when rejected in marriage matters based on unspoken osu caste status of the suitor. So, attitudinal change is the only way to go here.
Remember the story of the baby elephant?
When Elephants Are Very Young And Much Smaller People Use The Same Size Of Rope To Tie Them And, At That Age, It’s Enough To Hold Them. As They Grow Up, They Are Conditioned To Believe They Cannot Break Away, And So Never Even Try Something They Can Accomplish Without Effort.
Or, The Famous Ivan Pavlovian Experiment?
Don’t be an elephant.
Some Men are dogs,some are doggy, but men don’t have to be a Pavlovian Dog.
Simple mind conditioning, and many animals (and humans!) are ‘trained’ using the same method.
It Has Always Been Like This. I Have Always Done It This Way. So, That’s How It Would Remain.
Let us stop guarding the concrete slab, shelve the toga of retrogressive negative programming, halt the perpetuation of nonsensical cultures, and rid ourselves of the shackles of anomalous thinking and attitudes.