Is nostalgia a throwback?

09th May 2017
ERNESTO'S BRIEF
Column

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By Ernest Moloi -


I once asked a friend if there’s anything called ‘absolute truth’ and he was adamant, nothing of the sort exists, every opinion, distilled in accord with one’s subjective conditions, can pass for truth!


That got me thinking; Is that why growing up our parents would scare us with ‘Gogo’ when in fact it was just a millipede or spider! I mean, have you ever seen ‘Gogo’ in your adult life? Perhaps our parents understood that our small minds could only comprehend so much, and I think they were spot on.


Unfortunately, these days we have strayed from that path of raising children. We give them so much freedom; we tell them everything even stuff we don’t necessarily understand, irrespective of their ability to comprehend. Can you ever imagine trying to teach a Standard II pupil content from Form IV syllabus, it just doesn’t make sense!


There’s an axiom that aptly captures this condition: ‘Cut your cloth according to size’ or better still don’t chew more than you can swallow! There’s no hurry. Bide your time, learn and practice accordingly. Quick fixes are sure paths to waywardness. Like they say, easy come, easy go: In Setswana we say, ‘Tsela kgopo ga e latse nageng.’


These maxims are wise counsel for a few people that find the answer to the above question that I asked my friend. There is absolute truth, yes, I believe. Otherwise what do we mean by right and wrong? Can we for argument sake, argue against the Sun being the Sun, or should we say it’s not the sun but an illuminating light?


Why do you not dispute the fact of your birth date or your name for example: Do you not hold that as an absolute truth: You see, education is good but wisdom is better. I know of many educated people who have nothing to show for their education except boasting about their strings of letters to their peers at pubs and drinking holes.


In the same vein, I know of many Batswana who have contributed immensely to this country even though they had never seen the door of a classroom. Some were merely cattle herders, others were cobblers or mere carpenters. But from the wisdom fountain that they drank, these humble commoners, some of them selling traditional brew, knew beforehand to prepare a future for their children.


Now, when they’ve graduated from the Ivy League Universities of this world, their children claim more knowledge than them, they perceive themselves masters, not only of their destinies but even of the destiny of their parents! We must go back to our foundation, remember the absolute truth, that the ‘biggest man you ever did see was once a baby’!


When you have accumulated wealth – silver and gold and all its trappings – forget not where you come from; don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house; be good to the people you meet on your way up, because you will need them on your way down. Isn’t that common sense, that everything that goes up must come down?




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