During the past few days I have again and again been drawn to reflect on what really and fundamentally makes us human, different from other creatures. Well, let me acknowledge that this is only from the perspective of moral and ethical thought because as far as the universe is concerned we are simply just a part of it, no more important to its existence than insects or oxygen. Indeed we often forget that and promote ourselves as masters – even owners – of the universe.
It is the recently concluded Iran Nuclear Agreement and the arguments around it – most of them politically inspired – and the presidential campaigns currently underway that stirred my thinking to wonder, “where are we, in this vast universe and in the family of humans, and where are we going, or where will we find ourselves as we go on this course?”
Anyway, in my reflection I was reminded of some African proverbs of wisdom. Think of these 5.
- “In the moment of crisis the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams” – Nigerian.
- “A man who uses force is afraid of reasoning” – Kenyan (I like that it says man and I wouldn’t change it, especially in view of 5 below).
- “War has no eyes” – Swahili.
- “If you can’t resolve your problems in peace, you can’t solve war” – Somali.
- “Where a woman rules, streams run uphill” – Ethiopian.
You can find these and many more at http:afritorial.com/the-best-72-african-wise-proverbs/
I noticed that even people who are accustomed to turmoil, for example the Somali of East Africa, have this wisdom about war and peace. Similarly I observed that wisdom teaches us that choosing war to resolve conflict is a lot easier than peaceful means but then war itself is a problem that needs solutions, which we do not have.
Obviously I read the Ethiopian proverb very literally and when I think of Margaret Thatcher, then I have to accept that some women may be worse that men when it comes to waging wars. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the more women leaders of nations we have the better chances for peace.
You will discover, if you investigate, that wisdom is universal. You will find similar proverbs in every human culture. That is because we are all connected as one; we belong together. Whenever we vent our politics to harm others, we harm ourselves; when we seek healing for others, we heal ourselves too.