Everything that’s good and bad in the world can be summed up to what people perceive as the truth.
That’s how I feel right now.
I know I’ve been away for so long, but I’ll talk about that some other time. Right now, I have to talk about what truth is and how we perceive it because I might change my mind tomorrow.
Frankly, it’s not so hard to see why many of us are wired to think and act a certain way.
Throw a healthy egg and sperm into a bowl and let nature do its thing. Spice it up with family life, culture, and environment (if you live in Nigeria you know how it goes). Stir until everything mixes nicely together. Ding ding – your average human is ready.
Whenever you meet someone new, that person is a cocktail of all of the above. I have been meeting new people lately and it’s crazy the things I’ve come to realize about humans in general.
We interact with our environment through our senses. What we see, hear, smell, taste and feel, tells us a lot about reality. The brain takes all of this information and processes it for us. This is the reason why I know not to play with fire or I’ll get burned. I was and still am a very curious person, and I learned the hard way about the dangers of fire. This is the science behind truth and what keeps us alive, if not we would keep on doing stupid things that’ll get us killed.
Magicians do a lot of illusions. And movies too. You’ve seen it with your eyes, it might as well be real, right? You’ve heard people say that Germans ate Jewish children. They must have done it, right? No smoke without fire. Every rumour has a grain of truth in it. Blah blah blah…
Remember that there was a time when a lot of people used to believe that the earth is flat. It took overwhelming scientific evidence to disprove such notions, but some people out there still refuse that the earth is spherical (they may be keeping a low profile).
Just like the senses are very powerful, beliefs can be unshakeable.
When I was growing up I used to have nightmares. The kind that made me scream my lungs off. It was especially bad I watched a horror flick or if something triggered my emotions. No matter how many times I was told that I was just dreaming and none of it was real, I wasn’t having any of that. My dreams felt real to me. When I was being chased or attacked or scared witless by a ghost or creature, it was as real as the warmth from my sister’s body as she slept unbothered beside me (some people had it good).
Our perception of the truth can be distorted…but we’ll still choose to die on that hill.
For instance, K-dramas are not for everybody but they are one of the best things to have happened to me. You can close the coffin now – we die here.
A person’s life generally revolves around the same activities, people and places. Anything that is removed from what we are familiar with cannot always be trusted (oil and water don’t mix). The way I see it, the things that divide us are naturally a part of us – skin colour, hair texture, eye colour, language, facial structure and so on. When we come into this world, long before we start to understand the world, we’re divided along racial, ideological, religious, economic and political lines. Already, the circumstances of our birth and the history of the people we identify with mark us in so many ways that we automatically embrace the truth that we are told to believe.
Nobody was born racist. They become racist.
What the law follows is the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Biases and stereotypes follow guilty until proven innocent.
So even when we feel (emotionally) that something is not true, it’s hard to deviate from the addictiveness of the cocktail recipe I mentioned earlier that sums it up for us.
Let’s do a little test. Which people fit the description below?
Slanted eyes. Kung Fu moves. Obsessed with rice. Eats any kind of animal. Can do maths.
What’s your answ
I visited Badagary with a tour agency, LOS lifestyle, to learn more about the Slave Trade in Badagary. Slavery in Africa started a long time before the transatlantic slave trade. Our ancestors had little or no regard for human lives.
The truth, they say, is bitter. I visited the Brazillian Baraccon where the slaves were housed before they were sold off to the Europeans. At the Heritage Museum, I saw the chains and torture devices they used on the slaves, and the goods they traded them for.
I took the boat to Gberefu Island where the slaves had to pass to get to the European ships. I looked into the Well of Attrition (many believed it made the slaves lose their memory when they drink the water from the well. When I got to the point of no return, I started to see the truth of what these, women and children (slaves) had to endure at the hands of their oppressors – Africans and Europeans alike.
I know that slavery happened. I’ve heard tales about it. I’ve seen the evidence of it. I could smell the desolation in the air as I walked to the point of no return. When the tour guide was done telling us about all the nasty things that went down during that time, I was a mess on the inside.
The truth can be whatever we perceive it to be. Who we are, where we come from, and what we do influences how we accept the truth.
For instance, in Nigeria, we spend a lot of our time sabotaging each other because of tribalism and religion and leave little room to consider how we can come together despite our differences to make the country better for all of us.
Wherever we find ourselves, we should always strive to keep our minds open, in order to make allowance for a difference in opinion. It can be hard, I know. But this way we can learn and become better at doing this thing called living.