“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” –Aristotle
In addition to really wise sages I have encountered in my short experience, there are three types of ignorant ‘Abasongarere’, facing critical information that if acquired would make them better, stronger and more open human beings.
|Ignorant of the ignorance||Blissful oxymoron||
Ignorant of the ignorance is a really sad place and the knowledge of its existence should make everyone restless. The agency to learn, graduates people from the category of bliss to that of restlessness.
Before acquiring the knowledge that one doesn’t know, one remains a blissful oxymoron; happy, innocent, confortable in one’s ignorance. In that position, one is vulnerable, disarmed and ripe for ‘mental slavery’ as Bob Marley called it.
The moment one is awaken to a hint of information, if one is curious, they develop a void for knowledge, they start seeking for the truth, sometimes they stumble onto definitive evidence or to revelations and guidance from a sage, or continue to be experimental thinkers, avid readers and listeners; that is what an intellectually curious person is. They judge less and seek the unknown; they are progressive and reformists for they evolve everyday. They take a value stand; an ideal, and move from there; they stand for something; usually it is LOVE – my only definitive truth and, in my opinion as a restless ignorant: the center of everything.
Moving from first to the second category is the struggle of everyday life and that is where I long to always be, and wish for every reader of this piece.
Each one of these categories is a lifestyle. Restless ignorant yearn for more and more knowledge. The more they accede to critical information, the more they realize how much more there is to learn. Each time, fresh information makes them more knowledgeable, open and decent; better of themselves.
There is a third category of people who know less and think they know more, or know it all. Although they detain only one side of the story – a debatable side, they are not alive to the next person’s perspective and they are uninterested. They are quick to judge, they set themselves apart and do not seek: ‘my truth is the only truth’ – they say. These are the idiots.
I will be honest with you right now: seeking constantly, being curious is tedious and uncomfortable. The moment one opens the door to knowledge, one is terrified by the endless sea of information that they foresee. Which is why most people prefer quick truths; half-truths that they can hang on to.
‘Knowing oneself’ as Aristotle advises, ‘is the beginning of all wisdom’. Yes colonization was aimed at making tabula rasa of our history and identity. It claimed a civilizing mission, thus calling us primitives, savages, with no past, nor identity. It succeeded in that mission, for most of us do not know who we are.
Cheikh Anta Diop (29 December 1923 – 7 February 1986) was a historian, anthropologist, physicist, and politician who studied the human race’s origins and pre-colonial African culture. He spent his life arming himself to set the historical record straight about our history. For that he had to complete five Doctorates, namely: in Physics, African history, Egyptology, linguistics and anthropology. ‘He is described as: ‘a tireless militant of African cultural revival and integration’.
Not paying tribute to him, worse yet; not knowing him is so sad. After all he went through, all so that we can have a basis, a point of reference, for our existence as Africans.
Father Alexis Kagame was a Rwandan Philosopher, linguist, political scientist and poet. He wrote more than 150 books so that our history can be preserved. So that we can have a leg to stand on. According to Prof. Joseph Nsengimana our presenter of last evening, our current government draws massively from the governance system of the time of the Kings, whose three missions; namely: 1. Consolidating the Unity of Rwandans; 2. Expanding the country’s horizons mentally, financially and internationally and 3. stabilizing the country are enshrined in the founding principles of uRwanda
Some idiots are popular or in positions of power. We fear that they may tragically be taken for role models. For instance Leaders who plot plans to kill their own masses are not leaders but inherent idiots, oblivious to their history, past and their identity. Most importantly: they do not read! So are the show offs from Nyarutarama: shallow, superficial impostors: Abasongarere b’Ikigali. Or other punks from Nyamirambo: rebels without a cause, angry at everything and anything, who know little or nothing about were they came from, their history and identity.
It thus makes sense that we launched the Monday talks with thematic months on the works of Cheikh Anta Diop and Musenyeri Alexis Kagame. Their discipline, altruism, sense of purpose and excellence are indeed a strong example to our renaissance. Their colossal work gives us really ample intellectual basis upon which we, Africans, Rwandans can face the world and thrive.
Come to the Monday talks if you are Rwandan and African. Come to the Monday talks if you are a citizen of the world who wants to understand others. For the deeper one understands oneself, the wider one opens up to others because the human connection from nearer and further afield becomes clearer.
If you come to Monday talks, I promise that you will learn what will make you a decent person and a contributor to building a better world.