Humility is a virtue

Humility is a virtue

Opinion and observation are siblings, and though modern pseudo-cognoscente associate the former term with rabble speak, the truth of the matter is that opinion can never be considered opinion unless such an individual that makes it actually bothers, in advance, to go find the truth (itself an elusive term to define) about that which they make an opinion on.

One does not wake up in the morning and begin to make opinions on that which they have a vague understanding of; it actually takes more than peripheral knowledge to reach a conclusive point of confidence to make arguments upon a particular (not certain) issue.
This is due to the simple reality that all things in the world are constantly changing, metamorphosing into something other than that which they previously were in form or were considered to be.

So before one makes an opinion, they actually observe the current state of the entity which they want to give their opinion on, and in this instance, what that entity was in the past actually matters, but the present state is of paramount importance in the making of an opinion or drawing conclusions on the character or the behaviour of an entity.

An individual who wants to make an opinion on the greenness on the surface of a piece of copper has to know that the piece was once red before oxidation came/occurred.
The life of a news finder (researcher, journalist, columnist, expert . . .) is often hindered by the prevalent double-speak and hypocrisy from whom they have to get their piece of news or opinion.

Many of those that are first-hand sources treat that which they know that needs to be shared with the world as if it is the sacred scroll in the Holy of the Holies, and once somebody decides to publish the story with the information that they have, then such high priests come out barking as greyhounds baying for the blood of the hare.

I am sometimes met with overzealous criticism that the pieces that the paper I work with do not go deep enough, and my mental reply is always simple, “why did you not give the reporter or journalist deep enough news . . . ” the truth of the matter is that many of those individuals that are supposed to divulge needed information choose to keep quiet about it.

What then happens is that the journo goes and writes their piece, irrespective of potential complaint from the party that chose to self-gag when they were supposed to speak. The most important element in the equation is the reader who should know what is going on in the world around them.
Colonialism brought with it the malformed idea that only a certain class of people are meant to hear certain pieces of news; the rest of the native masses were left to wallow in ignorance, often drawing on hearsay to make their opinions.

That era is past (for most of us), but for the beneficiaries of the system, the illusion of greatness is kept alive by the maintenance of the lopsided ‘class’.
Only a certain class is meant to read this, only a certain clique can get to watch this, and when it’s convenient for ‘them’ we can do all things together (like fighting over crash sale goods on Black Friday).

I was disgusted with some dud of a public relations officer who thought it wise that I should not speak to a certain ‘PS’ despite the glaring press/media card I wore as identification.

For some strange reason, the poor fudge-brain told me that the only way I could get to the PS was if I went to the office and made an appointment. We were at a public event organised by the ministry, I was invited by the ministry, and the secretary had shaken my hand in thanks for my presence.
But for the poor slob, only the office of the secretary could authorise my meeting him (as if they had authorised the handshake in the open). Neo-colonialism, I thought; where the masses would gain no access to the man they had voted into office due to ‘protocol’.

Being right and being wrong are similar; they each find their causes in each other, and one just has to understand the scale and to know the direction in which it tips with regard to their treatment.

The common everyday folk judges their right on a legal scale, without understanding that the legal is only legal if it does not in its constitution infringe on the basic rights of all individuals irrespective of their social standing or profession. It is right to judge the smell of sewerage, but it is wrong to put the whole blame on the planner or the plumber that constructed it.

There are extenuating factors that may in themselves be causes to the seepage of the unsavoury contents from toilets and drainpipes, and among those could be found a large part that stems from the critic himself, that is to say, the person who does the judging of the smell and the ‘carelessness’ of the water and sewerage authorities could well turn out to be the culprit upon analysis of the causes to the seeping sewerage.
There is a lack in dustbins, and the tendency is to throw away garbage wherever, whenever, whatever.

Where a thrown-away plastic bag goes, the owner does not know unless they put it in the dustbin where they can make the safe presumption that the rubbish collection services shall safely dispose of it at the dumpsite. But for he that scatters their dirt without care, a word of criticism aimed at the water and sewerage authorities when the drain pipes are blocked is nonsensical, for their piece of garbage could well turn out to be that which is clogging the system and preventing the proper flow of sewerage. Look into your conscience before you blab.

Following and being followed has become the norm of the day and the main fascination for those that fancy themselves as good ‘speakers.’
For someone that studied rhetoric in depth, there is always the awareness that speaking is not just the act of combining sentences and phrases in a speech episode. Speaking properly takes more than just the sentences, of universal importance is the meaning behind the individual word in the sentence, the phrasing of the words, the mood in the words, and above all the intention of the speaker or the writer.

One that sets out to sensationalise what could be understood in simple words is merely following the wrong premise, for that which they seek to pass across loses its original meaning and sense.
It passes across according to the intention of its writer or speaker, for often, one may claim to be peaceful in their own defence, a fact which may not be observed when one explores their words closely.

What is hidden in thought expresses its explicitness in what is spoken or written and there it finds its true form that is left to the world to translate and to interpret.
One has to know what they mean in what they say, and they should learn to say what they mean to avoid being considered something less or more than that which they really are.

The sad reality of the world is that words and bullets are of the same form; they never return to the fold once expressed, and so, the speaker has to be wary of their words to avoid being followed for the wrong reasons. Promises expressed in words need to be kept; so should everyone that makes them always be aware.

Doing after saying largely depends on daring and cowering. The one that makes their promise should be daring enough to follow it through to avoid cowering behind lame excuses when the moment to deliver comes.
I believe in the idea of making promises to self first before telling them to others, and this has served me well for the large part of my long history on this here earth.

What irks me is the idea that oftentimes in certain spheres and occupations, promises are made as if they are air, for oftentimes they are made by individuals but never actually occur, and then these individuals choose to cower behind excuses falling into frenzied blame-games that for some parts of the world like this one we live in are evidenced by regression.

This state we live is one big broken promise, very far from what the original inhabitants had envisioned. What is seen is a country that largely hinges on neo-colonial support to eke its existence; a diamond Mecca that depends on aid to survive. Why what is spoken at the rallies is actually never followed to the 9th degree vexes one’s understanding.

Promises of roads and infrastructure end up in no road or where there are roads, they are of a quality that needs to be pampered like a kept concubine. And the country regresses.
Being true and being a liar are similar parts of one scale and their determinant factor is a tightrope act where, if one says the wrong word, they may be considered a liar, and if they have the right word are considered saints.

Hitler was a saint in the eyes of his Third Reich followers, Gaddafi was considered a pariah for those that did not understand his sweet ideals, despite clear evidence of what they were which the citizens experienced.
The ‘educated’ African of the modern times is often deluded into believing that the knowledge they read of in books is true knowledge. And so they express it as if it is a priestly sermon to be heard by the ears of the pious.
The experience over the years is that far often than less, it is the understanding of the simple folk of the village and the hamlet that rings true; for they say what they mean and they mean what they say without prior gauging of their statements as is done by the ‘educated’ class.
The uppity attitude of the ‘educated’ African often erases one fact; all of us are equal and human. Pretending that it is otherwise is just sheer delusion. Say what is right, that is, that which does not infringe on the basic rights of others, but also never refrain from correcting those around you if they err in their speech.
Last weekend I went to the funeral of a friend and, I remember him as a man that usually spoke of contentment and fulfilment.
He was a driver in his lifetime and I remember him telling me, what you have on your plate is enough; there is just no need to be looking for more than what you can afford. I did not understand it for the longest time until I met one ‘educated’ individual who actually riled me for ‘living below standard’.
This was not true, for there is one simple fact; I have a different opinion on how I should pursue my own happiness.
My happiness standard does not hinge on neo-colonial ideals of liberty where one has to be Eurocentric in their deeds to be deemed successful.
I believe in starting my greeting with Khotso (Peace), and I also believe in telling whoever wants to bully me (intentionally or unconsciously) into submitting to their point of view a clear piece of my mind.

Many of those individuals that share their opinions on the public platforms often hurt the feelings of people without concern, and their audiences soon believe that they have the right to insult the countenances of others who are as human as they are.

Why one would choose to say what is wrong without first asking themselves if they would accept the words upon themselves is in simple terms uncouth. Political speech in this state is abusive, bullying . . and it has seeped into the public sphere where some feel they can say whatever it is they want without prior thought or concern for the feelings of others.

It is a tide of careless talk that should be stemmed, otherwise we shall soon have a country of blabbermouths reminiscent to those witch hunters of the European Middle Ages. Say what is right, speak what is right. You conscience and consciousness know what that is, and it begins in humility. Be humble.

Tsepiso S Mothibi

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