“Wisdom is bleak; those are the words from the wise”. Yes, am quoting Lil Wayne (Drop the world ft Eminem). I know, the devil done got me. That is what happens when you seek wisdom. You read, you listen to songs of all genres (not soo much of gagnam style or lingala; unless you speak those languages), you read again, you watch the world, you befriend aged folk and listen to them and then you read again. I love aged people, not because they are too wise to make mistakes but because they have made many gaffes in their lives and learned a thing or two.
My trepidation is derived from past mistakes, my wrong turns. Turns I tried to dig my way out blood and fire but I couldn’t. But, we are advised to seek wisdom and insight all our lives; to refuse to arrive when it comes to this treasure hunt. To gain wisdom bit by bit and build on it brick by boring brick.
My tutor smokes a whole lot. He reads even more. He is a humble professor with two doctorates who insists I call him by his first name, Benoit. See that humility? He has all kind of books in his offices, in his home and in his two bags that he carries around everywhere. Books about atomic breakdown of ozone to books about the beauty of an African woman (this one has only nude pictures). But around here, all sculptures are nude and most of the billboards have nude pictures. If he is this au fait with the written, he has to be wise right?
He travels a lot too and just before he left for his last trip we sat in his office discussing a project. After a fat puff from his cigarette, he glanced his watch and cut me short. “My wife is working late today. I have to rush home and cook for my little boys before they get home from school.”
Here is what, I had known him as convivial and scholarly, but had my doubts about his life’s choices after witnessing how fast he downed a packet of puffs. But when he chose to go cook for his two little boys instead of discussing this very well funded project, I had to cock a hat to that. To me, that was wisdom, kosher.
What makes a man wise? Is it the sum-total of his actions? Is it how he picks his battles, how he picks himself when he falls or is it the decisions he makes to change himself for the better? Casing point Bill Clinton. This former president wrote his American symphony, leading the nation to surplus. Until, along came Monica, who I imagine had great legs, knew how to draw a Smokey eye and had a flat stomach. And Clinton almost lost it all at the knees of this woman. I also imagine he listened to his friends speak of their conquests as they sipped whiskey on the rocks like men do and thought why not? Social delusions will have your morals corrupted.
Sometime last year, I found myself somewhere on thika road at birthday party a friend dragged me to. I sat there on the carpet sipping some wine as I watched my friends dance to one of those riddims. Not the one about loving me later, the other one. Hey, I don’t know. We had just cleared campus and I was surprised at how much alcohol was in this one party. The cost could have easily surpassed 63k. It’s just a ball park figure. A few drinks later, an older man, at least 48, wedding band on his third finger, walked in and kissed our 22yr old host right on the lips. It was disgusting in the very least. Worse still, he joined in the dancing trying to fit in and learning whatever new style was in then. He was with it. I was not. I excused myself an hour later and took a cab home. But I remember me in that cab, thinking how stress free this arrangement was for the girl (except having to kiss his aged face). For a split second, I entertained the thought. See how social delusions will corrupt your morals?
Clinton, a man like all of us, flirted with the ideology of how much he could get away with and still protect his image. Should we blame him for adultery or for getting caught?
But see, this world revolves on an even keel and is always lurking with ideas on how to out us. Our motives are usually well to do but pleasure is designed to take over our mind. The duality duel of the external persona (motives) and the internal force (pleasure) trying to co-exist is a mother! Your motives will tell you, ‘you could learn so much from this’. Your pleasure will slink its way to your ear and whisper, ‘you could do much more than learn from this’.
I marvel at the growth of conscience. Overriding age, religion, race and social class, we all know what’s right and wrong. In that silent battle in our hearts, it’s our duty to make sure that our words, our actions are indeed our pride.