PRESENT STATE OF MAN: CIVILITY OR BARBARITY?

tumblr_m44lbjc6PR1rwpqlio1_400
PRESENT STATE OF MAN: CIVILITY OR BARBARITY?

Man invented cars, yet pedestrians are ahead.
Man made clothes, yet he remains undressed.
Man built houses, yet he is never protected.
Man invented internet, yet he remains secluded.
~Adebajo A.F.

The present world is viewed by many as the peak of civilisation which man has ever experienced. Myriad sophisticated technologies and novel discoveries flood the whole planet. Even areas of extreme isolation and underdevelopment have a taste or two of the gigantic transformation taking place in the world of mankind. An attempt to compare ancient empires such as the Sumerians and Babylonians, or even pre-historic man, such as the Australopithecines and Homo habilis who lived millions of years ago, with the present day America or Britain, would leave one ‘flabberwhelmed and overghasted’. We tend to wonder how it is possible that man has achieved so much within such a short span of time.

What has amazed me, however, is the ironical state of affairs man is going through. We claim to be civilised yet we bare striking resemblance to savages who are believed to be near-extinction. We claim we are educated, yet we nurture unfounded theories just to promote our egoistic wishes; and then various illnesses mess around with us. Even the best amongst us are unable to find causes, let alone the cures to numerous medical afflictions. We boast we are much skilled, yet find it difficult to govern ourselves peacefully. All these affirm for me, the assertion that too much of anything is deleterious. It is like the life-span of a man. At a point, you reach the peak of intelligence, beauty and strength. But after this point, what ensues? He starts to depreciate in all these qualities. He becomes, more or less, a child once again. Even more a liability than the child. That is the eternal law of God, or if you like, Nature. It is akin to what happens to the marginal utility curve when supply exceeds the point of equilibrium, or to an elastic band pulled to its limit.

Numerous attitudes, mentalities and activities abound today which are, after critical analysis, no different from what is derived thousands of years ago when man was still struggling to understand his habitat and learn how to survive. These phenomena have resurfaced in more endearing but, even more dangerous shapes. Perhaps, it is true that history has always repeated itself. Year after year, epoch after epoch, civilisations spring up and die, dictators come and go, new inventions are made and before we know it, they pass into oblivion.

One of the things most popular, most attributed to early, uneducated, animalistic man is that he was stark-naked. If you ask any kid or grown-up to draw an image of Ape-man, he will definitely not draw him with suit, a waistcoat or any garment. At best, he will be portrayed with an animal skin across his shoulder. This fashion is considered barbaric by any right-thinking man. We all thank God for civilisation, and being born in the present generation. However, I dare ask that what is the difference between the manner of our dressing this present day and that of our animalistic forefathers? We boast of our great intelligence, yet our attitude towards clothing is no different from that of lower animals. The situation in this civilised age is that in which we ‘dress’, nevertheless we are still bare. I shake my head for the set of ‘human beings’ who even believe that wearing nothing at all is the best. In the words of a great scholar, ‘if civilisation is to be measured by how much of your body is nude, then animals not humans are most civilised specie.’
We have reached a time when you are persecuted, fined and laughed at for covering your body, while others are paid, praised and adored for showing the world what is meant to be, and is actually labelled ‘private’. We have reached a time when lunatics, prostitutes and philanderers are our youths’ role-models. We have reached a when people who honestly religious and self-conscious are loathed and jeered.

And again, anthropologists, most particularly Henry Lewis Morgan, would tell us, when treating the evolution of marriage that man started from having a courtship system characterised by group sex or promiscuity, to being polygamous, and later on subscribing to monogamy. This group-sex courtship system is attributed to the era of pre-historic man, because there is really no empirical evidence for it; but they thought that since man is theorised to have originated from the same source as apes, and apes are known for their uncoordinated sexual drives; therefore man too must have been like that, mating with any of the opposite sex whenever the appetite comes. I would say, however, that we need not search too far for evidence for this type of behaviour in the human race. If we look around us, we will definitely know that group-marriage is still the most widely practiced marriage system. We can continue to deceive ourselves saying ‘one man one wife’ is the way to go, and is the most civilised manner of expressing our sexual urge, but reality keeps telling us the exact opposite. An average monogamous man, religious or not, is, in reality, also a coveter of numerous concubines. That is why I hereby suggest that restricted polygyny remains the best form of marriage. I do not wish to go deep into that as it is not the focus of the moment.

This bit of ‘modernism’ is evidently more prevalent in western cultures, and as gradually diffused to unsuspecting areas of permeable customs. Westerners, who are purportedly the most refined of the human race, are also infamous for having the highest rates of rape, domestic violence and divorce cases. While their backward, underdeveloped counterparts in Asian and African countries can boast of better conditions. I remember once again the words of another great scholar. He was advising an American to marry early as he is already of age, but the reply he got stunned him. The American said; ‘if the reason why we buy cows is for us to get milk, and then milk is available for us in excess quantity; why do we still need to but cows?’ What he is saying in essence is that, if the reason why we marry is to satisfy our sexual cravings. And then we have the opportunity to satisfy ourselves at little or no charge, why then do we still need to marry? That is to tell you how bad our situation has become as a race.

Women are now treated as sex-toys, all in the name of feminism, female liberation and gender balance. You can pounce on any girl you like and use her to your whims and fancy, without getting sanctioned by the society, as long as both parties (i.e. you and victim) gave their consent. Even if the other party does not do it out of volition, it is easier for a blue-whale to enter a needle’s eye than for the guilty individual to get caught, prosecuted and convicted. It is very demoralising that punishments for fornication and adultery, just like sodomy and bestiality, are far becoming obsolete.

Apart from all these, my assertion that the human race has slipped into barbarity yet again without knowing is also based on the fact we are growing more individualistic by the day. If Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s proposition concerning the state of nature in his social contract theory is anything to go by, then man from the beginning of time, or from the start of his existence was few in number and scattered all over the planet. This made communal relationships impossible to take place. Each man was to himself. Each man catered for his own nutrition, shelter and survival. But as he increased in number, he started clustering into families, and from families, communities, from communities, kingdoms and from kingdoms, nations. He started establishing social institutions and promulgating laws to facilitate peaceful co-existence. He began to trust and rely on his neighbour.

Conversely, what is noticeable in this present time is that we have retrogressed back into that original state of ‘each man to himself’. Nobody cares anymore if his next-door neighbour is starving to death as long as he is satisfied; nobody cares if his course mate is on the verge of getting rusticated as long as he is having A’s, nobody cares if his cousin is unable to get a job as long as his robust income is constant. The truth is that nobody cares anymore. The government does not care about its people and neither do the people care about one another. Everybody wants to be independent of the larger society, and be able to make selfish decisions without having to worry about sanction or opprobrium. It has got to the extent that an average man is hesitant of assisting his fellow man due to the fear of being ill-treated. This is the horrendous situation we now find ourselves.

My dear reader, please ask yourself, are you one the barbarians parading the streets as a civilised ‘human person’ or are you truly refined in the ideal sense of the word? … At this point, I would like to say that Rousseau’s proposition that ‘science, art, and social institutions have corrupted humankind and that the natural, or primitive, state is morally superior to the civilized state’ {Encarta} is not absolutely mistaken as it contains elements of veracity.

If truth be told, it is high time we left the shackles of immorality, ignorance and savagery. It is high time the human race sprang up and makes progress which is actually productive and pro-forthcoming-generations. It is high time we pondered on the odd but germane question, what is the present state of man, civility as it is widely believed or barbarity as it seems more likely?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s