The surest way in resolving problems in life is to establish their causes and effects. Indeed, identifying the true causes of any problem is in itself the very first indispensable step toward a solution.
Conversely, misidentifying the causes of a problem leads to a compounding and a convolution of that problem and a loss of any opportunity that the problem will ever be resolved.
Unfortunately, the typical Ghanaian’s culture of analyses appears to spawn a tendency to neglect the simple logic of causes and effects and to seek metaphysical, unscientific and unrealistic ways in dealing with the problems we encounter in life.
Take for example our belief in witchcraft to which we ascribe most of our intractable albeit self-made problems. In this time and era, majority of Ghanaians are slaves to the medieval notion that spiritual powers mostly account for the dilemmas and frustrations we face in life. We therefore blame our old mothers, sisters and wives for the misfortunes that occur to us, sparing no thoughts to inquire into our behaviors and actions in order to discover the probable causes of our daily woes. By this attitude alone, we coil our souls around the pillars of unwarranted faith and superstition and thereby constrict the very analytical thinking that can properly explain our fate and offer us a solution to our misfortunes.
Another obstruction to our reasoning powers is our belief in magic and miracles. For example, in this day and age, many believe that somebody sitting somewhere in the jungle is capable of conjuring huge sums of money for us if we could offer the person some human sacrifices.
So we are daily looking for a few heads to cut in order to become rich instead of reflecting on more creative and honest means to straddle our monetary ambitions. Indeed, I was trying to explain to a friend here in Austin that the notion of juju money is simply stupid and originates from our simplistic explanation of some individual’s sudden rise to riches when he retorted that he had seen the phenomenon with his very eyes!
He explained to me that his uncle who is now mad and roaming the streets of Akwatia once spiritually caused the deaths of four family members in his attempt to procure juju money. The failure to accomplish the ritual led to his madness; hence as he prances the streets, all he says is, “Number four, number four, number four!” In this sordid context, a simple psychiatric ailment has been construed as the consequence of one’s evil deeds, and the victim is now a convenient fodder for the fantastical explanation of juju money gone awry.
If there is anything like juju money, our country and citizens should be foolish not to go for it. Here we are gallivanting the globe for loans to balance our budget! If it is possible to secure billions by simply sacrificing some citizens, then I suggest our soldiers are game, since they have sworn a solemn oath to protect the country with their very blood.
Let’s take them up on their oath and get rid of a bunch of them in a ritual pogrom for the fiscal salvation of our nation! But all facetiousness aside, there is nothing like juju money, and if we stick stubbornly to that belief, we are opening ourselves up to the tricks and deceptions of those who want to make a fool of us and take a lot of money from us.
The belief in miracles is another obstruction to reason and rationality. Our churches and mosques and shrines are teeming with lazy devotees whose sole purpose is to secure an unfair advantage in life by means of one miracle or another. These devotees, instead of throwing a search-light upon their own lives to identify the causes of their problems, rather throng the churches, mosques and shrines in search of magical solutions to problems created by their own bad behaviors.
Thus, lazy students are praying for magical handkerchiefs to help them pass their examinations. Politicians are in the churches donating hefty amounts of their dirty money to screw minds into voting for them. Alcoholics are praying for the removal of the barrels placed in their stomachs by their spiritual adversaries. Ambitious young men are seeking miracles to enable them to travel abroad. Shifty-eyed young ladies are looking for rich men to give them undeserved comfort in life.
At a more palpable level, self-made cripples and seeing blind men are conniving with so-called spiritual masters to put up a show of their fake healing, all in an effort to convince an unquestioning flock that the masters hold sway over some divine powers that can make things right. Thus the deeper-level thinking that should go into the solution of ordinary problems has been mortgaged for fake miracles to satiate the craving appetites of the simple-minded folks and even the more educated elite.
That is why the nation is in intellectual stasis, because the leadership and the masses are conjoined as victims of the aficionados of sheer fakery who daily feed fat on their ignorance. And all have abandoned reasoning and logic as valid tools for the solution of any problem.
This belief in miracles is at the cornerstone of our intrinsic vulnerabilities that make us more prone to be gullible as a people. Remember that since independence, we have been duped several times by so-called political messiahs who descended on the stage promising milk and honey when the records of their own lives have nothing in them by way of experience or achievements. We were granted a so-called independence which nobody has as yet defined. And the whole bunch of our trained intellectuals and scholars and masses have congregated behind political adventurers, ardent ingrates and vintage traitors in the ill-founded notion that they will somehow solve our national problems when there is no evidence in their own lives that they have ever solved any of their personal problems.
So we are in a situation where the nation is ruled by a posse of arrant fraudsters whose only reason for being in politics is that it is their only pathway to fame and riches. Without politics, these do not have any wherewithal to succeed in life! But somehow, we have grown used to the unfounded faith that these deadbeats will perform some miracles to save our nation when they cannot save themselves without politics. We refuse to see that we have planted the wrong people in leadership positions and hence our problems as a nation. In this situation, no miracle will ever happen, and we are doomed to wait another thousand years for the solution of our national problems if we refuse to remove the malevolent malefactors that hold our nation in perpetual bondage.
For several millennia, humankind lived in the darkness of superstition, magic and miracles. And the recent surge in scientific and technological inventions this last century has been possible due to humankind’s abandonment of simplistic and superstitious explanations to problems for a more scientific reasoning and analyses of causes and effects. Since the time of the enlightenment, concepts of witchcraft, magic and miracles have given way to complex scientific thinking as the preferred tool in resolving problems. Unfortunately, our society stubbornly holds on to the old discredited methods of witchcraft, magic and miracles.
That is why we have so far failed to resolve our problems. The time has therefore come for us to jettison the antiquated and simplistic ways of thinking and to grow the habit of reason and logic as the true ways of dealing with the multifarious problems that daily bedevil us. This is the only way in which to remain intellectually relevant in a world that is moving too fast around us.
Samuel Adjei Sarfo is a general legal practitioner in Austin, Texas, USA. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org