There are a good few stories about human beings that have philosophical and aesthetical appeal. Like every aspect of the universe, the earth and human beings have experienced tremendous evolutionary progress. Indeed, the worship of God should be more if – before creating the universe or cosmic world well over 15 billion years ago – He had anticipated that the world would be this constituted and assume its present character and properties. I must hasten to say that this is not an attempt to suggest that the evolutionary process is not occurring within the framework of God’s design and purpose. I possess no alternative knowledge – or anything for that matter – to encourage me to venture outside the theological construction that all things are and do happen by the grace of the omnipotent God, who lives in heaven and who knows it all and sees it all.
No matter which way one views the universe, be you a philosopher, theologian or scientist, the inescapable conclusion is that there is a lot to be done to enable human beings to understand how its substances or components are related to one another. Although he is part of it, Man is yet to know much about even the earth. What is more humbling is the ignorance of the susceptibility of human beings to planet Earth, which is the most hospitable planet of the universe. Not many people spare a thought about the possibility of the sun swallowing our earth in the not too distant future. The human being is no less complex and enigmatic than the universe. Put in another way, human understanding of the universe, the earth and even human beings is still poor.
Wars are fought in furtherance of unbridled egos and ambitions. People and societies are exposed to terror by disgruntled and vengeful or psychotic individuals. Banditries and other violent crimes are committed by greedy and compulsive persons. Resources of countries are cornered and wasted by rapacious criminals masquerading as leaders. People are dying in the hands of other people by the hour. Wars, armed conflicts and crises are now some of the most lucrative businesses in the world. If wars and armed conflicts are bad for human beings, the proclivity of the human being for self-destruction and self-sabotage is confounding. Besides character and reputational self-injuries, impulsive and risky behaviours are destroying human beings daily.
The younger generation is most hit by the plague of self-annihilation and debasement. Many of the young people are growing up with less self-esteem and belief. The clingy ones rely on others for their validation and will stop at nothing in trying to please others and the public. Many go to the ridiculous extent of changing their looks, complexion, sex and even their entire being to please others or access social or peer circles. The maladaptive ones sink into depression, self-pity and other personality disorders. Education, future higher social and economic statuses, future political influence and power are no longer strong motivations to keep some of the youth away from self-destruction. Some live in – and for – the now. Their preoccupation is with self-injury, and their urges are for orgies. Self-indulgence and perversion are holy grails for them. Family pride and honour no longer mean much to the youth. The laws of attraction are turned on their head in the beliefs and philosophy of life of some young men and women. Positive thoughts do not have the same value among them as we know them in the books. Weird things and bazaar thoughts resonate more with them.
This is in no way suggesting that the older generation is any better. In truth, some of the disoriented youths are mere victims of the dysfunctional lives of their parents and/or guardians. Some are products of societies that are defiled and corrupted by the older generation. To be sure, every generation bears the genes of the preceding generation. The statements made are to provide a backdrop for the proposition that this enigmatic and evolutionary universe requires the human being to be proactive if it is to live and enjoy the hosting world. Human beings should expend as much energy and effort in trying to understand the human being as they are expending on trying to understand the earth and the whole of the universe. The human being cannot afford to lag behind its inventions and innovations. Creations and development of all kinds should be about not just the comfort of humanity but preserving humanity a little longer in this complex universe that is fast becoming highly irritable and less hospitable. The need for the accomplishment of the global village project is becoming existential.
In this infancy stage of the digital world, what seems apparent is that the digital world is heavier and stronger on individualism than it is on bonding and social harmony. Its social codes seem to promote islands and independent kingdoms and personalities even within families. Patriarchal or family authorities are losing their grips on families. Fidelity to the family is becoming more optional than authoritative. Members of the family can now create, connect and be bonded with a world outside that of the family. Parents and guardians now have the harder task of creating and walking on the delicate balance between family life and the independent and guarded lives of the members who make up the family. Lifestyles and orientations do not necessarily have to be reflective of family values. Such themes as protecting the family or doing things for the family are becoming anachronistic. Surveilling children, wards and even spouses is of less importance than it was in the days of yore.
I propose that irrespective of the tensions between the older generations and the younger ones created by the digital world, there is still the abiding duty for the older generations to put out themselves to ensure that their sweet children and wards grow up as responsible and productive all-rounded individuals. The digital world has not taken – and will never succeed in diminishing – the benefits of love and care for one another.
As fathers, brothers, uncles and guardians, we of the older generation need to be concerned about the behaviours of the children and wards under our roofs and care. We should know that rebellion, nonconformity, waywardness and other impulsive behaviours are attractive socializing tools for adolescents and youths. Within their social circle, rebellion is an effective prop. It breaks resistance and courts acceptance and respect. They communicate and assert independence and self-control to their peers by breaking rules and being different. Living in denial and believing that you have done enough for your sweet child to remain and ever be the dream child is dangerous. Our images are no longer attractive to the younger generation. Not many adolescents and youths want to grow up in our images. The stricter or more pious we are to them, the more we prop their rebellious instincts. For the child and ward, nothing will substitute for love and care. Courting and winning their friendships, confidence and fidelity is a must. If your world is not about them, they will create their own and you would not be part of it.
One of the most unforgiving and destructive paths for the younger generation is drug addiction or substance use disorder. Their age and adventurous minds make them easy and common candidates for drug addiction. Social recreations are avenues for the laundering of egos and experimentations. The money you give to make up for neglect or regular interactions or as a substitute for love and care could be used to buy booze and what could sometimes first come as recreational drugs or opioids, but will turn out to be the wrong turn in their lives.
The alarming trend of drug addiction among the youth – in particular, female teenagers and school going girls – is most concerning. Young women are into smoking hemp or Cannabis Sativa as much as young men. That drug is no longer in vogue and too normal to give notoriety in the wild world of the youth.
In addition to cocaine and heroin, the attractions for the big boys and girls in town are Colorado, Loud, Meth and Flakka. Colorado is a deadly synthetic drug that infuses temporary madness in the user. Loud is a slang term for extremely powerful, pungent, and high-quality cannabis. A whiff of Loud is said to be capable of giving instant highness. Meth is another name for Methamphetamine which is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Flakka is described as a man-made drug that is said to be even more dangerous than cocaine. In addition to these genres of dangerously addictive drugs are many other self-made concoctions that give “highness” to our young men and women.
The effects of drug addiction among our most vibrant population are too telling to imagine. That some of them could kill and have been killing is a cause for worry. We cannot afford to sacrifice our children and ward for our careers and professional pursuits. Wealth of any kind and proportion cannot heal the wounds of a dysfunctional family or society.
We have made the point that the human being is too complex to understand and that by nature, the human being is given to self-destruction. Be that as it may, we can conclude that for there to be good families and peaceful societies, we must have good and well brought up individuals.
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