By Gaudence Were,

September 30th 2017,

Most of the times, man feels that he has to accept, discover and endorse growth. Even where it seems almost impossible to experience growth, there is always that constant urge to shuffle feet. Have you ever for a minute taken a break from life’s demands and just marveled at the beauty of your surroundings? For a minute or two, taken a long soft look at one or two people, a dog on the sidewalk, a lizard scurrying into the bushes or an old tree dressed in layers of advert after advert? How did it feel? I imagine that it must have been a moment of self-revelation. First, you notice that which you have never seen because you were too busy or engaged to notice. You realize that all these things existed but you were so sucked up into your own activities that you failed to focus on the nature of your existence. Then upon close observation, you realize that indeed this thing, animal or person has so many attributes that complement your own. It turns out that some of the benefits we enjoy in life are simply not from our own hard work but from other people or things that form part of one whole system. At that point, you finally realize that we are all cogs to a wheel and have to efficiently work together to keep our lives running. It is the concept of co-dependence. We all form part of an ecosystem and have to live dependently even at our utmost point of our independence. No man is an island. This is the culture that was deeply embraced by traditional African communities for ages. No member of any particular community worked in isolation. Most if not all members of the community felt the benefits of hard work. The feeling of communal happiness and satisfaction was eventually passed on from one generation to another. Each physical feature, plant and animal’s importance was acknowledged in a community’s world.

In our pursuit for money, power and happiness, it seems that we have thrown all this to the dogs. Individual interests now take more of our time than activities meant to ensure communal gain. Neighbor cannot trust neighbor and nobody’s child is safe with another nobody anymore. Poverty, pests and diseases are no longer calamities but tools of trade for crude non-governmental organizations seeking to make quick money. We are distrustful of each other. But we are not to blame. Neither are our parents or grandparents or whoever brought about the distrust in the first place. The society has immensely changed and so has its people. Therefore, it would be impracticable to expect man to maintain the same methods of doing things or standards for doing things. In the quest for money or happiness or general satisfaction, men have taken different paths. These paths may not always be intertwined or have T- Junctions. Sometimes, these paths may run so parallel that one would be going up the gradient while the other is snaking down the value. That is absolutely acceptable. However, man must take time to step out of the circus and from a bird’s eye view observe the circus. It is only then that we can work better as we would have known and appreciated what each person or sector brings to the table and understood how the system works. We can work, work and work all we want putting in all the effort. However, it will be all in vain and without satisfaction if we are not aware of what we are contributing to in the first place.

The writer is a Student at The Kenyan Law School and a Social Justice Crusader.

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