Make up your mind, pace off mountains

(By George Alade)

Order sustained by discipline has seen mankind through to advancing his wellbeing within families, in security and social settings, trade and commercial interactions, and in knowledge. Order based on discipline-regulated pattern of behaviour has sustained man from the Stone Age, when he sparked fire from stones, the Iron Age, when he continued to forge and make tools and pillars, the Bronze Age, when he cast legendary figures, produced coins and fine jewelry, to the Age of Discovery, ranging from Johann Gutenberg’s Printing Press of 1456, Galileo’s Telescope of 1609, Michael Faraday’s Electricity of 1831 and Graham Bell’s Telephone of 1861. Then the strides to the Information Age of United States’ computer and Internet in the 1990s and Europe’s mobile communication devices in the 21st Century.

BIOLOGICAL Science makes us understand that humankind originated from the family of Homo sapiens. This fact implies that a human possesses the mental capacity for rational thinking. It is a unique human quality so fundamental to general existence that it makes us superior to lower animals. Man puts his mind to function even when he is incapable of using either his hands or eyes.

Cases abound of the blind learning by means of the Braille, despite their disability of sight. This calls to mind the legendary black American musician, Steve Wonder, who sang the classic, I Just Call. There is also the Nigerian Christian prophet, T. O. Obadare, among others. And it is just as well that other categories of some physically challenged persons can brilliantly exercise the use of their minds. We all know that the international sports festival, Olympics, now organises Paralympic Games, which provides avenues for such special athletes to creatively adapt their peculiar use of the mind to situations.

On the other hand, the animals make use of their limbs more than their minds. They do not talk, sing, or communicate in the intelligible way human do. When an animal is deprived of its wings, limbs or fins, it is rendered helpless, stuck, and might soon give up living. This makes it rather awkward to imagine a reptile with a paralysed trunk; a live goat in my countryman’s native bowl of Isiewu (goat head), a cock crowing at dawn without its legs or wings on which it stands and by which it beats its body before it acts.

In man’s inclination to attain completeness as an orderly state of the components of mind and body, he has perfected their use beyond the crude and ordinary methods of the lower beings. Though these animals are themselves artful, yet their limited abilities prevent them from being as productive as humans. This, therefore, makes a whole lot of difference.

Think of the eagle, which fetches dry reeds and produces its eyrir with the aid of its beak and legs; the baboon and the cat pouncing and resting in the foliage of big trees – mahogany, Sapele – and in caves; the ant meeting and moulding structures of anthills; the dog with its ever sniffing muzzle and wagging tail endearing itself to the mind of man and is domesticated around the compound; the whale withdrawing its nakedness and, by means of its fins, dipping its crested head deep in the deep; and the globe-trotting spider spinning its web and making its universe of other crawling, smaller insects, for food.

These activities, in each case, explain their own level of the system of orderly state of the mind and body to find some wealth for healthy living. Man, unlike the animals, has since ages found that the mind is the wealth that enriches his body. So he has coined this truth in modern expression as Health is Wealth, meaning that without any of the two components, he is not truly complete. Among men, the system is run with discipline. Without the required level of discipline at specified commitments, efforts yield no good results, no required finesse.

Order sustained by discipline has seen mankind through to advancing his wellbeing within families, in security and social settings, trade and commercial interactions, and in knowledge. Order based on discipline-regulated pattern of behaviour has sustained man from the Stone Age, when he sparked fire from stones, the Iron Age, when he continued to forge and make tools and pillars, the Bronze Age, when he cast legendary figures, produced coins and fine jewelry, to the Age of Discovery, ranging from Johann Gutenberg’s Printing Press of 1456, Galileo’s Telescope of 1609, Michael Faraday’s Electricity of 1831 and Graham Bell’s Telephone of 1861. Then the strides to the Information Age of United States’ computer and Internet in the 1990s and Europe’s mobile communication devices in the 21st Century.

All along, the orderly state of the mind of man has kept together the body of all men in humanity. As a result, while the animals lived from age to age without standards in their system, except when guided by man to train their minds and help to coordinate systems, man has grown more and more aware of his potentials, and so has begun to ask, to probe, to want to know more. World history documents the various stages of how humans have refined the development of the mind as a scientific, philosophical or technological exercise. It recognises the stoic or stoic philosophers. These were the great Greek men that lived some 400 years before the birth of Christ (BC). They started the teaching of discipline of the mind and exercise of composure when situations are good, or turn bad.

Furthermore, history has records of the thoughts of a man called Thales, who was a native of Miletus in Asia Minor. That was a geographical location that was to become known as the country, Turkey, by the Mediterranean coast of the continent of Asia. Miletus enjoyed close diplomatic ties with ancient Greece, and Thales, an Asiatic Greek man, became known as the “Father of European Philosophy.” His philosophical thoughts centered on the main/ultimate truth behind all things. This man distinguished truth from beliefs, for instance, in the goddess of the sea; he did not trace mental capacity to the mythologist himself, or his myth, but to the unique human quality that enables the mythologist know the truth.

History also records the thoughts of other men believed to have influenced present-day exploits in science and technology, and knowledge in space and moon travels in the universe. There were the Sophists, who practiced sophistry and taught men the art of arguing. There was also a modern scholar, Francis Bacon, one of the men who enhanced enlightenment by propagating search for ideas with clear, logical and intelligible qualities. All the stages to the development of the human nature gave rise between 1400 and 1600 in Europe to a movement known as Revival of Art and Learning.

The attainment of innovations in arts and learning became a phenomenon worldwide, and has since that time seen humanity from the past, crude engineering feats in blacksmithing to the stunning feats of the contemporary period in (human) genetic engineering. All along, order regulated by discipline helps keep together the body of all men everywhere.

It is in light of this global truth that one finds that any man (especially youth) who strays the mind, wastes his precious time as he toys with the sacred subject of discipline, unconsciously attempting to thwart the laws established for order in human life. He, a literary scholar, Ms O.Fayemi, PhD, once said, is merely using the body without the aid of his mind in that situation. He is like someone chewing a gum, forgetting that no gain comes from a fruitless exercise: his hands are moved and teeth bite in such an inclination. But the mind? He or she simply chews to infinity, for his or her mind ceases to keep the indulgence.

Any such human may be seen chewing a gum like the ruminant chewing the cud, but he or she really needs to guide the mind scientifically to realize how a man is to stand to attract a wealth of health. This is the cardinal goal why citadels of learning are to boast of a fountain of practical wisdom where a trained mind is seen in terms of his human essence: character and knowledge.

• George Alade 

“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”

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