Where Are the Thinkers of this Generation? By Ogunjimi James Taiwo
“I believe that our very survival depends upon us becoming better systems thinkers.” – Margaret J. Wheatley
“We need more people speaking out. This country is not overrun with rebels and free thinkers. It’s overrun with sheep and conformists.” – Bill Maher
Today, we read books, copy quotes and listen to speeches that were written or said a long, long time ago. We chant heroic songs in honour of heroes dead and gone, write eulogies yearly of their heroic acts. We celebrate their years of birth and death. We remember them for what they did when they were alive. We remember their takes on economic policies, systems of governance, and governmental policies. We stand at a crossroad in this generation; a crossroad where we have to ask: Where are our own thinkers? We are at an ideological juncture; a juncture where must ask ourselves what this generation will be remembered for.
Ours is a generation of people who have adapted to the horrible way of life that has been foisted on us by the leaders we’ve had. Ours is a generation that wants to maintain the status quo, we want to just come to the world, live a quiet, uncontroversial life, make babies and die; we don’t want to be part of anything complex, we don’t want to venture outside our comfort zones, we don’t want to be part of societal changes or help in challenging evil regimes. We don’t want to be part of thinkers; we want to be thought for.
If the kinds of youths that characterise this generation are the types they had in early times, what kind of world will we have? If nobody had thought of making clothes, perhaps we’ll still be stuck wearing leaves. If no one had thought of inventing a different form of money, perhaps we’ll still be using the trade by batter or even be using cowries. The point is, they thought their way into civilisation, and until we begin to think, we won’t move forward.
Until we wake up and begin to think differently from what we were thought to think, until we begin to think differently from how we were brought up to think, until we train our minds to revolt naturally to a set-in-stone way of thinking; we won’t make much progress.
We are at a juncture in the life of our nation when we have realised that brawls and wars won’t solve our problems. We need thinkers. We need people who will dare to challenge established ideas. We need people who will seek to overturn foundational policies that have failed over time to favour us. We need people who will defy insults and attacks to challenge religious deceit and extremist ideas. We need people who will chart ways out of the economic mess that bad rulership in conjunction with the IMF has put us in. We need people that will think different, and act different. We have more than enough people who want to blend in; we need people who want to stand out.
We have reached that juncture in the life of our nation; we either think our way out or watch our nation degenerate further into an abyss of irrelevance. We must awake and change our line of thought from conforming to established ideas to thinking of new ideas relevant to this generation to replace the old ones. This is an era of ideas; only a generation of thinkers can survive this era and make progress. We must be those thinkers, we must effect the change.
God bless Nigerians!
Ogunjimi James Taiwo
Ogun State, Nigeria
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