Life is filled with untold hardship. It is indeed, a journey which has its ups, downs and in betweens. It is akin to a journey across a grand canyon with only a flask of water and a day’s meal. Dante’s travails across the length and breadth of the metaphysical universe does not come within a mile of the untold sufferings human beings face. This goes for every human walking this earth. If we were all asked to dump all our problems in a basket and pick another one at random, I bet we may end up going home with a problem that we are ill-prepared for. Such is the nature of life and living that suffering and pain cannot be extricated from its core. Just like Thomas Hobbes aptly noted, life is indeed nasty, brutish and short. It is a dog-eats-dog world.
The African man is no stranger to suffering. He has been familiar with it from time immemorial up to the time of the slavers, down to the onset of colonialism. The suffering during these times can be chalked up to man’s inhumanity to man, however, it beats the imagination as to why the African man glorifies avoidable suffering above all else.
Do not get the wrong idea. It has earlier been stated that some types of suffering are unavoidable, and that leads me to the concept of self-inflicted Institutional Suffering. If you’ve been part of any government scheme, or a program in university involving hundreds of students in which registration is really necessary, you’d find that it is indeed a hellish process which has been made so by planning and the lazy attitude adopted by individuals in administration and the personnel who have been directly assigned to see to the smooth running of operations. It is not uncommon for you to hear a story of University administrative staff who would eat groundnuts at her post while a long queue of students are baking and boiling in the sun while waiting for her to respond, or cases of senior citizens standing in the sun for days to collect their pension, or cases in which people faint from exhaustion at selection exercises because the number of people present is more than the selection arena can contain, or cases where a government scheme would last for two days when the amount of time it would actually take for personnel to attend to everyone effectively is a week!
Most of the time the process becomes log jammed and it becomes a survival of the fittest. As it stands, no one is going to make noise about it, because of the Nigerian Philosophy of “It shall be well”, “it is the will of God”; our inexplicably incurable love for unnecessary suffering; our protracted “SufferPhilia”.
Our fathers praised the wisdom and the ingenuity of the white man, when unbeknownst to them, the white man took all those actions for which he received high praise, on the back of his desire to escape suffering in any manner, shape or form. Maybe we need to take a page out of his playbook and start hating and avoiding suffering with all the resources we have.