In a conversation while waiting for a flight today, I heard a unique definition for one of my favorite groups of people ever (Nigerians!). When asked what cultural differences set Nigerians aside from the rest of the world and its people, my friend said: “Nigerians are suffused by the will to survive.” And her colleague, who is European, could see such evidence of that statement in everything that he encountered during his stay in the country that he has taken that as a gospel of sorts, an infallible truth about the country and its people.
When I heard about their conversation, I was pleased, being Nigerian and liking to think of my nation as being a 160-million supermen trying to conceal their red and blue superhero costumes under the guise of Clark Kent, but as is typical with my mind, given a few hours to stretch between countries, I wondered if that wasn’t true for the whole world.
Humankind impresses me endlessly. We have come from an era where we thought the constellations were deities (well, most of us have) to interacting with our solar system quite literally, and aggressively challenging the borders of the envelope of once accepted possible reality. Would I be wrong to assume that we achieved that mostly because we bore a restless curiosity, which drove us forward to discover our world and universe?
There are schools of thought that believe that our curiosity is a functional response to our fear of the unknown, and there are others that believe that our inquisitive nature is really an offshoot of our love for life and the desire and will to live it, I think the two ideas are correct.
Fear is the understanding that there is something to be lost, and what is acknowledged as a loss which does not possess value? I love my country, through her ups and downs and heartbreaks and triumphs, but I think that while the passionate will to live is easily seen in the Nigerian people, who have such gargantuan obstacles to surmount daily, it is something which is clearly visible in all of mankind, why else would we try so hard every day to be better?
It would seem as though we are coming in for landing and thus time to shut down all electronic devices. Fight the good fight, celebrate all victories great and small, and don’t be afraid to make a mistake or two. Peace.