As I was hurrying down the ground floor after learning a new Concept something caught my attention. I had seen it before, or if not in exactity, then it was a familiar concept. However this time round I had a meeting, being the chair, the Scribe and the member present. I don’t know if I’m the only one being disturbed by such a phenomenon, or others are caught in the 21st century microwave generation of skimming through everything, for we have turned selected messages into neglected messages.
Well, it’s not a big deal. Don’t overthink. It’s just a notice in the library. And many many more places that we’ve seen such notices. For instance, Polite notice: Usikojoe hapa! (swahili for ‘don’t pee here‘). Have you seen such notices? Here’s the one I saw:
I have no problem with the instructions being conveyed in such notices. We cannot do whatever we want to do. We cannot pee everywhere like non-human mammals. There must be direction.
In fact, am a believer in the fact that morality is absolute and not relative, if not, then anarchy is knocking. Order and direction is of immense significance in any non-excludable and nonrival good, For instance, public roads. We cannot do whatever we want with a public good. We need to follow traffic rules and regulations, we need to observe social distancing and probably put on face masks whenever needful.
My concern is with the statement ‘Don’t‘ after ‘Polite Notice‘. You don’t need to have graduated magna cum laude, or be a graduate of an ivy league school to realize that an instruction beginning with ‘DON’T’ is impolite. How can you convince me that ‘Don’t step on the grass’ is polite? Or ‘Don’t pack here’?
It seems we are riding on assumptions that words can give character to bad habits, or uncourteous acts. Because I have entitled it polite notice, it is polite even if the rest of the words are curses or dictatorial. It’s like an abusive spouse, whose words are so romantic, but whose actions are a total betrayal. It’s like assuming that it’s Holy because it’s done in Church! Don’t you remember that in the recesses of the temple, the Jewish Sanhedrin planned Christ’s funeral?
I need to be convinced that ‘Don’t pack here,’ is synonymous with ‘Please don’t park here’.
In this simple notice, the concept of saying and doing is clearly embodied. People often speak of things they don’t do. While talking they can say how beautiful it is to have an established body clock, but their actions betray them. In the talks, we hear the big men appeal for National unity, but in their closets they discuss how to perpetuate the deep states and the systems. Motivational speakers talk of working smart, while deep down it could be a euphemism for shortcuts.
Character is not in the good and moving speeches we deliver or hear from the podium, but in the action kept secret and clouded by our noisy manifestations. Character is miserly hoarded, more often hidden from the public. Character gives life to our words, stamping them with glory or trailing them with ignominy. All that you know, all the counsel you can eloquently give, are often rubbished by your leaking character. The greatest sermons ever preached, have been killed by inconsistencies preached on the pulpit of lifestyle.
Character is too loud, it drowns our loudest utterances and speeches.