I like people who do things their own way. People who are not afraid to be themselves or air their opinion regardless of what others think. I like them because I know that one of the hardest things to do, especially in these parts is go against popular opinion. Everyone wants to belong, everyone sees the need to jump on the next pop culture bandwagon. It’s safer to do so. You don’t stand out, you don’t stand the risk of being insulted, mocked, subjected to snide remarks, and sometimes, public criticism. You blend in nicely, and all is well with you and world around you.
As much as it remains an attractive proposition to align with conventional views because it guarantees acceptance by the general populace, it’s also certain that one who swallows popular opinion hook, line and sinker is no thinker (did I just rhyme there?).
The most advanced countries and societies in the world are where they are today because someone or a group of people chose to think like there’s no box. The cutting-edge technologies that continue to push frontiers and break barriers in various fields of endeavour and advancements in Information technology we are constant beneficiaries of are not a result of a herd mentality.
However, from beliefs to patterns of behaviour to quotes, it’s obvious many people still nurse a fear of being different. Think about this: Someone woke up one day to declare that “The voice of the people is the voice of God” and we all began to repeat the same thing without taking a step back to actually analyse the veracity of the statement. I must have come across the saying decades ago, but even as young as I was then, I knew there was something off about it.
I cannot make categorical assertions about other faiths, but I know that the Bible, which represents the Christian’s manual is unequivocal when it says God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways are not our ways. And that negates the aforementioned quote in its entirety. Nowadays, when people repeat the “mantra”, I know to discountenance it mentally.
That’s how we should receive information, that’s how we should sieve any quote or common saying no matter how long it has been adopted. Too often, the need to be liked and accepted as a tiny part of a dysfunctional whole trumps the willingness to engage in any in-depth thinking.
And so a man decides to question the payment the tithes. He not only argues that no one should be compelled, hoodwinked or cajoled into paying tithe but goes ahead to back his claim up with passages from the Holy Book. And what does he get in return? Insults, threats and curses.
It’s puzzling that months after he embarked on his self-imposed campaign, not one individual who claims the On-air personality is misleading Christians has come out to counter his notion with a superior argument backed by scriptures. Many are just angry that someone has dared to challenge a long-standing “Christian tradition”.
The subject of rape has been at the forefront of many discussions in recent times. The reason is simple; rape is rife. More and more women, and in many cases minors have been victims of sexual assault, and it’s unsurprising that mainstream discourse has drifted towards the issue.
The positive from this is that victims are beginning to speak up about their rape experience, while in some cases, they have conquered their fear of their tormentor and call them out for their heinous act. It’s a good development, but like every matter that provides a leeway for self-expression, it’s subject to abuse.
It was against this background that Nigerian-American writer, Nnedi Okoroafor broached the subject of the possibility of some “sexual assault victims” lying about what they claim to have happened to them. She made a post asking how we were certain every girl who came forward with a rape claim was telling the truth. Many women had accused prominent figures in the American entertainment industry of sexual harassment, and everyone seemed to be convinced the accused were guilty.
Nnedi was only trying to make people see things from a different perspective, but she was criticised for daring to even think anyone would lie about something as dehumanising as rape. I could see her point, however. A female who has scores to settle with a member of the opposite sex could find the prospects of accusing him of rape the perfect way to ruin his reputation. It’s not just a possibility, it has happened before!
The people who are not quickly sold out to popular beliefs are mavericks who often represent the lone voice in the wilderness. They say the things many of us think about all the time but are too nervous or afraid to challenge publicly.
The Martin Luther Kings and Malcolm X’s that we love to quote every now and then, and whom some of us wish to emulate did not become great by nodding to everything that was said to them. They forged their own path by standing for what they believed. They weren’t bothered about people’s perception of them.
Nonconformists are the ones who force us to see things differently. They are not afraid to toe a different path in spite of how the majority would perceive them. They understand that society is burdened by too many people who think alike and are a fresh breath in a world of boring similarities. We should be thankful for them.
It’s more fulfilling to be different. You may be unpopular for daring to say the things many are afraid to voice, but that you will be respected is not in doubt.
There’s no glory that comes with being just another person in the crowd. Geniuses were not born that way. The Greats were not made that way.