Today’s first reading on Wisdom struck a deep chord in me. It was not so much in its listing of the benefits of Wisdom or in its presentation of Wisdom as a woman as in the fact that the readings challenged one to reflect deeper on the true meaning and indicators of Wisdom.
What then is wisdom? Is it knowledge? Is it accumulated knowledge? Is it applied knowledge used for problem solving purposes? Is it intelligence, good sense, proper discernment, ability to navigate moral and social dilemmas, pragmatism, context dependent decision making, love of God born from fatalism, accommodation of neighbour driven by instrumental transactional considerations?
What then is this wisdom? Is it cognitive intelligence with a strong lacing of emotional intelligence? How would Igbo, my mother tongue help in getting me to the conceptual clarity that I seek? The Igbos have the following words that relate in some way or the other to the word WISDOM. They are Ako, Uche, Izu, Amamihe, Mmuta, Nwota, Echiche oma….. Which of these best translates wisdom? Or is wisdom nothing else but the breath of God’s spirit blowing in us and showing us the way to true and enduring values and choices?
I do not have answer but I can identify the absence of Wisdom whenever I come across it. The absence of Wisdom manifests itself by its lack of humility, by the presence of hubris caused by hamartia, by arrogance, by pride, by gross insensitivity, insolence, absence of empathy and emotional intelligence and excessive self focus. These vices were part of Donald Trump’s undoing – a reality which reminds us that victory is always in the long run with those who possess wisdom and who seek after her. Theirs shall be the fruits promised in Galatians 5: 22-23.
Noel A. Ihebuzor
Sometime ago, following advocacy visits to some parts of Nigeria and to Sierra Leone, I wrote this poem to describe and condemn the practice of FGC. I later discovered with great joy that the practice of FGC was being abandoned in a growing number of societies/communities and so I wrote this poem to celebrate that positive development. The hope was that such a positive development would spread to more societies and that such HTP would eventually die and become history.
Just last week, I came across this article in the New York Times.
Progress is being made in the eradication of FGC but the practice still continues, largely because of norms and social pressures. The excerpt below from the NYT article explains why
“The most common reason women give for continuing genital cutting is to gain social acceptance. United Nations researchers for the first time cross-tabulated data on women’s views and learned that many mothers opposed to the practice reported having had their daughters cut”.
“This shows the gap between attitudes and behavior,” Mrs. Cappa said. “What you think as an individual is not enough to put an end to the practice because of social pressures and obligations.”
My view is that the world can end this practice when mothers, aunties, fathers, uncles and husbands and all of us join hands and forces to resist such social pressures. It is also important that we all come together to provide a network of security and support to all those who resist such pressures. Lend your voice today to stop this practice. Men and women, uncles, aunties, fathers, mothers, husbands and wives, yes, all of us stand to gain from an abandonment of FGC given the limitless health, emotional and relational externalities that would flow from such a humane and human rights based decision and choice,