The Death of Life

2015-04-20 02:02

Die? How can dying save us from death? Something really, really dangerous has happened in South Africa. It is the downgrading of human life to the level of an ant. It is not about to happen; it has happened already. The Sunday Times front page story brought to us something that we know. That a human being could be killed just like that feels me with shattering disbelief: the boldness of death unnatural?

The murders most foul are rising from the ashes of our collapsed culture of humanity. Violent death from the work of people who you have never had a quarrel with seems to define daily life. It is as if, every waking day, there is a promise of senseless death coming the way. Whatever may be the general national perception about why this orgy of violence and mayhem is upon us the reality is that death is dancing on our graves and we are deeply traumatized.

As the killing fields broaden and the very abnormal seemingly turn to norm what can the committed do to pull us back from this brink?

How can we prevent this continual dancing naked in the global market place? One cannot hold back how embarrassed one is feeling, not for anybody just embarrassed as a South African. The world is not only sorry for us but is also shocked that we could be the way we seemed to be.

If we are to get to the bottom of why all of this is norm we ought to talk about the fundamental problematic of the South African Condition.

As the violence emerged and engulfed the country targeted at African foreigners concepts were used to capture the violent events such as xenophobia and recently Afrophobia. It cannot be Afrophobia because there are a lot of African South Africans who are living well and better interacting with fellow Africans from other African countries and in those interpersonal relations there is no Afrophobia. In fact they celebrate each other as fellow Africans. Recently President Mugabe was here and was the toast of Soweto by virtue of being an uncompromising African in outlook.

The right concept to use is poverty phobia. As long as people don’t have a sense of dignity as humans they will resort to mayhem and violence. Fear/phobia of poverty is crippling.

Poverty phobia is not as simple as being afraid of snakes or of being hijacked. It is a complex package of feelings around tumultuous turbulent  emotionally arousing issues of survival, identity, self-worth and meaning. Turbulent emotional arousal has a well-known effect on humans, it drives people to the verge of irrationality. The concern is that even the very little piece of dry bread I have is going to be taken by these poor foreigners. The high emotional arousal attacks one's ability to think clearly and the person is thrown into a whirlwind of madness: this is the state where violence and murders are committed.

To those who have a heart oriented toward good, let our urgent order of business be to recreate our people into dignified humans – making their lives and conditions better. Let our top priority be about pulling together our fractured society around a common cause. My belief is that to be healthy a person, one must work for what Alfred Adler called social interest, that is, for the common good of the human community and not be self-centered in the extreme.


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