Let Us Know Our Wrongs

The science of Ethics seeks to study and to evaluate human conduct. It deals with questions of Right or wrong Good and bad. It however considers man's obligation and what ought to be done. Ethical science seeks to examine conduct, and to deliberate or correct modes of conduct. Down the centuries, men have speculated about what constitutes “the good life”. The Greek great philosopher Socrates maintained that education is the secret of virtue for which knowledge is virtue. The Epicureans, on the other hand, regarded the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain as the only worthwhile aim in life.

The fact that people use the same word, but understand it differently directly leads to great confusion. Yes, man has spent a lot time in knowing his rights; all over the 36 states of the federation emphasis is made in all our Medias on the education of human right. Nigerians are engulfed in knowing their constitutional rights; no emphasis is made on how to know of someone's wrongs. One may argue that one's knowledge of his/her right gives him/her the leeway in understanding his wrongs, but not in all cases.

Man is a unique creature possessing higher powers than any animal. His conduct is controlled by thoughts and emotions, by desires and intentions. His actions become the subject of his own and other men's criticism. These actions may be judged good or bad, praiseworthy or blameworthy, right or wrong; in the light of these facts of his nature he is termed a moral being. Now, the early Greeks considered conscience as the reaction of man's own nature against any violation of what he considered good or right. Later the Greek philosophers saw conscience as a power of mind which pointed to the highest good or as faculty in man which should rule within him. Some scholars link conscience with the intellect. The advocates of this view like Immanuel Kant in his “Practical Reason” or Butler's Supreme Cognitive Authority….” Make conscience entirely a matter of knowing or of human reason. To Kant and Butler, given knowledge of what is right, a man will reason things out and conscience will point to the right course in any particular circumstance.

It becomes obvious here that following the reality of rights and wrongs, man's moral standard on which man's conscience has to work is very important. If man's standard is wrong it is a virtual certainty that his conduct will also be wrong. Therefore man must know his wrongs! It is man's inability in identifying his wrongs that has indeed kept our world in this unbelievable and deplorable state. Everybody wants to know his/her rights and none is willing to know his wrongs and to correct same.

I recognize no superiority in mankind other than goodness that is aimed at rectifying an identified wrong. No man is perfect. No wisdom can be greater than kindness and no kindness can be greater than the pain taken to say the truth. Upon the number of time spent in educating humanity on their rights, none has been able to know his wrong. Yes, we have known our right enough, yet we cannot right or wrongs. The degree we have acquired in knowing our rights, have left us as students who have refused to learn our wrongs.

Our prognostic dream of building an acceptable and comfortable future, rest on our knowledge of our wrongs and the willingness to correct same. The much of our rights we have known have kept our society in this deplorable quagmire. Let us therefore know our wrongs and correct them in order to build a lasting and enjoyable society.

Majority of us are too litigious because someone may have infringed on our highly esteemed and venerated rights, thus one is left with no other option than litigation to enforce his right. Who has ever enforced his wrongs? We have venerated our rights to the extent that the method we employ in fighting for it has become the wrong that is threatening the basic value of love and unity. Today it is indeed quizzical that our morals are now standing before us asking to be replaced due to the apex of our ignoble behaviors that have sent it far to nibiru.

The success of our economic growth and stability is dependent upon how we have decided to manage the wrongs done to Niger Delta of which every Nigerian has cried jowl. The yucky treatment done to the engine house of Nigerian economy is the beginning of our socio-economic predicament. What about the wrong done to the electorate? A situation where a man who masterminded electoral rigging, later sat in judgment against those culpable of electoral malpractices is a bugaboo. Who then is wrong? I can hear the voice of justice saying it is very malodorous! A judge sitting in judgment against you may be guilty of the same offence, what moral right has he to sit in judgment?

So many marriages have been divorced and separated due to over emphasis on individual rights. Man's inability in understanding his wrongs, has made it difficult for the cord that holds marriage union to stand. One woman said to me that she divorced her husband on the account of the man's wrongs, but the woman was highly promiscuous in her matrimonial home. Using wrong to fight wrong! Who then is right? Over emphasis on your right is too wrong because you may be wronging your fellow human by same.

The voice of poverty is heard loud and clear in every home today. There is no one that does not feel the pang, except those corrupt and insensitive leaders who only hear the Swansong of poverty without knowing how it feels to go hungry for a whole day, without tasting the scorching sun at the bus stop waiting for buses. Frustration is here with us without any one lending a listening ear. Everybody is right; it is only the Reformer that is wrong! It is amazing that one could struggle for either four or five years in the university ( together with ASUU strikes) only to come out to face the vagaries of life while a few opportune people who have been in power since Nigeria got her independence still call the shots in corridors of power. Even when they are out of power, they push their children to take over their esteemed positions while the over qualified ones with no god father roast under the pangs of abject poverty. Who is right?

Before I left Nigeria few years ago, I remembered when I gave my sister N20, 000 for her shopping while she was ready to return to school after the ASUU strike. My younger sister came home crying that the money was not enough, when I came out and saw the few items which cannot even last two weeks my anger dissipated. The bad economy that nobody is willing to do something about is responsible. A situation where you see a well dressed young man walking up to you with tales of his wallet stolen and begging you to give him transport money to go back to his office, is a glorified shame. Everybody is right and none is willing to accept his wrongs; earthmen, know your wrongs, for it is both hazardous and dishonorable for a man to act contrary to the dictates of conscience.

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Articles by Nathan Protus Uzorma