Economic Development

Economics is a science that tries to unearth, explain, and influence the conditions responsible for the lifestyles people lead. It’s both an easy and difficult concept to grasp. On one hand we have simple truths that even a child can understand (such as the prices of commodities), and on the other hand we have varying economic facts that have scholars on edge. That’s not to say economics is entirely impossible. An understanding of economics in modern times has been achieved ground up; from individual decisions, to households, to community, and eventually to the state. It’s an accepted fact that people’s lifestyles in developed and underdeveloped countries vary enormously. In this article, I talk about the economics in African countries, factors that play a role, and economic development.

Economists use the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita to measure the economy’s total output. In other terms, GDP and national income go hand in hand. Recent GDP per capita analyses reveal three states of economy: rich, middle, and poor income nations. Most of the African countries fall in the latter category with little to no hopes of ever catching up with the more developed countries. The GDP per capita of rich countries continues to grow day by day whereas the GDP per capita of poor countries, especially Sub Saharan Africa countries, continues to decline.
We can pin point to a number of obvious factors responsible for the poor economies in African countries. Topping the list is lack of efficient equipments to work with; be it electronics or antibiotics. Secondly, people in African countries are largely illiterate or poorly educated and hence unable to make use of the knowledge acquired through schooling. Many economists speculate that the economic growth of a nation is highly fueled by production of novel ideas. Another factor responsible for poor economies is health and population growth. The life expectancy in African countries is bordering on late 50s, and cases such as malnutrition, poor hygiene, susceptibility to infections, draughts, and other natural calamities still reign. Furthermore, the high population growth rate in African countries has only served to add pressure in resource sharing.What is holding back economic development in African countries?

When comparing rich and poor countries, developed countries stand out for having established effective governments and policies that promote development. This is something difficult to achieve in African countries which are riddled with corruption and wastage of resources. African governments tend to be undisciplined, corrupt, ineffective, and disobey the rules; a factor that consequentially leads to low productivity. Common citizens are forced to bribe in order to get services that should otherwise be freely given by the government. In turn, bribery raises the production costs leading to production of fewer products and price elevation. At the end of the day, the common citizen continues to suffer the most.
All in all, economics is a crucial topic because in one way or another we are all natural economists. African countries have poor economies and that is attributed to a number of factors such as poor governance and policies, poor infrastructure, illiteracy, poor living conditions etc. Growth in GDP per capita is the first step in improvement of the quality of life of a country’s people. However there is no standard way of ensuring economic growth: economists agree it’s a combination of accumulated manufactured capital, human capital and the implementation of new ideas.

Leil’s Verbal Tips

Verbal communication is the fabric that holds society. You may have noticed that the people who lead society, those with high paying jobs, partners who seem out of their leagues, and powerful friends may not be better than you, work as hard as you, or even as intelligent. You then wonder why they have it all, and you don’t?

A sobering reality we often underestimate is; how you deal with people will determine how far you ascend the societal ladder. All those other generic qualities play a smaller part. Like every other Kenyan who has passed through the 8-4-4 system, I took a course unit in communication skills: Can’t say I learnt much from it. Recently though, I picked up a useful book by Leil Lowndes, ‘How to Talk to Anyone; 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships’. Ever since, my communication skills have improved, and I no longer have to pull the ‘introvert card’ just to get away from networking. I’m recommending the book to anyone who’d like to improve their skills.

There are two kinds of people in this life: Those who walk into a room and say, “well,here I am!” And those who walk in and say, ” Ahh, there you are,”

So in this blog I’m basically sharing tips I found useful. It’s going to be a lengthy but fun read;

  • A big warm smile is an asset only when it comes a little slower as it shows credibility and genuineness. Powerful women like Madeleine Albright, Indira Gandhi, Sahle-Work Zewde, and Margaret Thatcher can all bear witness!
  • Eye contact during conversations gives the impression of intelligence and abstract thinking. However, this tip doesn’t apply to all cultures; in some, eye contact is a sign of disrespect and threat.
  • Your confidence and posture when you step into a room is everything!
  • Learn to respond to their inner child with a warm smile, total body turn, and undivided attention during a conversation.
  • The secret to making people like you is to show them how much you like them. When meeting someone new pretend they are an old friend who you just met: Love begets love, positive vibes beget positive vibes…
  • When a conversation really counts… let’s say an interview, limit the fidgets, twitches, squirms, scratches, wiggles, stutters etc.
  • Watch people, see how they react, and then act accordingly.
  • Small talk is about putting people at ease. Mood match when small talking.
  • It’s not about what you say, but how you say it.
  • Wear or carry something unusual to give people an excuse to approach you. Simply ask for an introduction or facts that can be used to approach the other party.
  • Do your research, know your listener and the topics that might interest them; different bait for different fish.
  • Be a word detective who listens to the conversation for clues to preferred topics.
  • Keep the spotlight on them; you grow more by listening than talking.
  • When you’re speechless simply repeat the last few words your conversation partner says. That will put the ball right back on their court.
  • When first meeting someone, lock the closet door and save the skeletons for later.
  • Don’t leave home without the latest news. That will save you the trouble of wondering what everyone else is talking about, and you can actually join in on the conversation.
  • Avoid asking people ‘what do you do?’, instead ask, ‘how do you spend your time?’ Ask yourself what possible interest they could have before answering the ‘what do you do’ question.
  • Before you submit your CV or job application, consider what possible interest the asker could have in you or your work.
  • Your vocabulary could make all the difference. Look up some common words you or everyone uses, and practice replacing them with new ones. Avoid clichés when talking to people.
  • CommYOUnicate: start your sentences with ‘you’. It pushes the pride button and gets a better response. Example; instead of saying ‘will you join me for dinner?’ try, ‘you will enjoy dinner with me,’
  • Trash the teasing.
  • Just once a month, do something you’d never dream of doing to enrich your lifestyle, and expose you to different settings.
  • No matter how urgent you think your call is, always begin by asking the other party whether it’s a good time to talk. Bad timing equals bad results. Also, record your important conversations over phone and listen to them a second or third time to pick up on cues you might have missed the first time; it will also help you to avoid the annoying ‘I can’t hear you’ statement.
  • When invited to an important social event, question who is going to be there and how they could possibly interest you. Look under the rugs for the main reasons why they are throwing the party.
  • In gatherings don’t sit around waiting for the moment you’d be chosen, instead be the approacher.
  • Be a human magnet and not repellant by minding your body language.
  • Remember the tiniest details of your conversation with someone and refer to them later. It creates a powerful sense of intimacy.
  • Big winners never gape at others’ embarrassing errors in public.
  • Empathize with emotions. Its often the only way to calm their emotional storm.
  • Lead the crowd by reacting first without waiting to see how others will react.
  • Whenever you make a mistake, make sure your victim benefits in your amends to an extent that they are delighted you made the mistake.
  • Don’t hide behind euphemism while communicating.
  • A little knowledge goes along way when buying something. Before purchasing, find several vendors; learn from them and then decide on who to buy from.
  • Find out the values of a person you’re interested in; as humans we feel more comfortable giving out friendships or businesses to people we feel share our values. Listen to their choice of words, and echo them back.
  • Learn what your listeners’ most inclined sense is and and use it to make it appear like you’re on the same page; we all see the world, hear the world, smell the world, feel the world and taste the world. I personally smell the world.
  • Levels of intimacy during a conversation are; clichés, facts, feelings, personal questions and finally the ‘we’ statements. Create an illusion of intimacy by skipping the clichés, facts and feelings, and go straight to the premature ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’.
  • With anyone you’d like to make apart of your personal or professional future, look for special moments together and make them a refrain.
  • Complements one gets are never as exciting as the ones they overhear. Compliment people through their close friends and watch how it changes their perspectives of you. another way to compliment is to throw in a few comments in your conversation to hint something positive about your listener; sneak praise into parts of your sentence.
  • Learn what people in your life admire most about themselves then feed it back to them in form of a compliment.
  • Practice little strokes of appreciation such as, “Good Job!”, “I’m impressed!”
  • Whenever you are calling someone’s home or office, always identify, greet and make friends with the person who answers. They can sway the very important person’s opinion on you.

The Same Old Story

I have been putting off writing this piece for a long time; partly because it’s an experience I’d like to pretend never happened, and I can’t seem to find words to match. Needless to say, my thoughts have been nagging for an outlet again and again. Also, this topic has been trending, and you know what they say:

One woman steps forward, then another and another…until you have a movement.

So here I am with a slight headache, dry eyes, and hoping to finally organize something that would resonate with anybody who cares enough to read this. Who needs to read this?…I don’t know, but this is my way of saying: I don’t want to be silent anymore.Let me bring you, my reader, up to speed with what I’m trying to communicate. According to statistics, only 1 out of 20 rape victims report the cases. ONLY 1!!! The remaining 19 choose to remain silent about the encounter. This could be due to a number of reasons best known to the victim. Choosing to remain silent of course solves nothing, but in my country, speaking up does very little as well: 80% of the time the rapist slithers scot free.

Speaking up isn’t just the better option because of justice matters, but because staying silent only leads to louder…

I’m not going to put my experience to detail, or any other person’s for that matter; the internet has archived enough of those and it still hasn’t helped deal with the elephant.Most girls can relate to sitting down with a girlfriend, listening to her cry about an awful experience, sympathizing with her, but not really empathizing. You often leave the room sad or angry, but thinking;

‘that can never happen to me, I can’t imagine, I’m somewhat immune, I’m careful, I’m modest, yada yada…’

Until the day, God forbid, you find yourself on the weeping end. You now understand why her world appeared to crumple that day while everyone else thought she was a dramatic-attention seeker, why she couldn’t forget, why she changed, why she couldn’t move on despite your motivational quotes, solidarity in hate and good listening skills…

People fail to understand that an experience like that changes you in more ways than one. Infact, only someone who has gone through the same can really empathize. You are constantly beating yourself up on how powerless you were (you couldn’t even keep an intruder from invading your OWN body) ,how hopeless and helpless a fellow human made you feel (can we really refer to them as humans?), and how your choice to such an intimate act was taken away. When the rapist is not brought to justice, then fear gets in line with shame, guilt, and hatred. The only thing left to do is grasp at straws for any semblance of normalcy.I came to an understanding that the society we live in is a diseased one, and is not about to change any time soon: I’m saving this for another blog though.Women often choose to play the victimhood game, complain about society, protest on social media, and demonize men and the police force. That, however, won’t stop the next sex preditor from abusing someone, or the police from dutifully looking the other way. It’s about time we took responsibility for ourselves, empower each other, equip, and fight back because no one out there is coming to the rescue.

We are under the illusion that people actually care when in real sense: nobody does.

This blog is a collaboration between me and my good friend Melissa Siya (IG handle @melissa_siya). We will do a second part which we hope will take you from the victim’s role to someone who takes action.

Man’s immortality.

We would all be like gods someday. Living forever and owning the universe. It is in human nature to stretch beyond limitations of time, space, distance, and dimensions that are yet to be experienced. Human resilience in the face of uncertainty and death, raging against the dying of the light, slowly and surely turned humans into gods.
Conscious man at nascent evolutionary stages had to run away from predators and live in high places where they could not reach him. However, he got tired of flight and instead formed groupings and cutting tools. The certainty and the bravery that comes with numbers made him hunt his prey and soon predators. Man was soon to be in a state of war, like Hobbes thought, and the largest fiercest of predators stumbled at his glance.
Winning the game of evolution was never enough for the Sapien. His desire was limitless, and insatiable. He built empires and pyramids, made gods, fought against them in Troy, and when he did not like them, he made new ones and killed the old ones. He endured catastrophes, and when gods could not help, he turned evolution on itself by creating vaccines and antibiotics.
For a moment, the gods were silent in shock forever. Man had discovered a trick that could save him plague after plague…
Two apocalyptic world wars came. The second one ending with an explosion that made man fear himself for the intensity of destruction and the heartless rage. However, with forgiving hearts and iron-wills, man did not try to escape his glaring nature and reality. He faced the demons he made.
Scientific and technologic renaissances were ignited. Soon, rockets were launching into space, moreover, the first man landed on the moon. Silicon Valley, in the face of collapsing worlds, cut their teeth and years later, the first personal computers were designed and built. Personal computers opened a whole scope to humanity. People all over the world were overjoyed with the start of a new age.
Scientists did not gentle into the undiscovered field. Medical and particle research was boosted, and new technologies arose. Microsurgery was possible, and soon artificial intelligence found its way to the minds of developers. Alongside it, man started asking himself the biggest question, “Can I overcome the chains of death and live forever?”
Civilised man has battled out with mortality. The myths surrounding death made it man’s ultimate villain. Death is that which makes him scared, that which he cannot beat, however much he tries to. The sapien pited himself against death by creating the afterlife and immortal gods. In his mind, he hoped physical death was not his end. Through technology and increased research, man’s fear has translated into a spirited fight to live on after death.
When sapien man encountered a physical force he could not beat, he formed a god and gave him dominion over it. Aphrodite was the goddess of fertility, sexuality, and romance. Hades controlled the underworld, while Thor summoned thunder with his hammer. Man’s victories over nature could not let him settle on the ability of the gods, real or not. Like a baby taking it’s first steps, he wanted to walk on and on. Soon he flew, and this was an incentive, that if he pursued his curiosity, some day he will gain eternity.
Eternity can be broken down to consciousness. How long can you be self-aware? Philosophers and scientists have discussed what constitutes consciousness. Awareness of existence forms mortality, while being aware of existence forever forms immortality. If we could store consciousness, or digitally decode it, and make it transferable, then that could qualify as immortality.
Neura-Link, developed by Elon Musk, opened up a scope of capabilities. It came at a time when humanity needed more than ever to understand the neural brain. The technology, when fully developed could enable one to record and store memories, emptions, moods and all bio-chemical impulses. It could be used to treat mental disorders, and communicate with digital devices. Anti-depressants, made man able to control and alter his mental condition, with Neura-Link and fungible technologies, man can control mortality.
Believers dread at the thought of human immortality. To them it is ultimate blasphemy and the successful attempt of man making himself god. They are right in their fear, man’s goal has always been to make himself god, and after all, he made the gods. Man will take his seat among gods, rule with them, and soon over them. Our civilisation is a progressive society, it values progress and improvement above all others. It will be another evolutionary landmark, to live forever. What if we never died, there sure would be no limit to our progress.

Charles Nyankieya.

Parents and children.

For someone who is terrified of kids, I find myself awfully drawn to this topic than I’d like. Now there are so many books and parenting manuals out there that’s it’s becoming a cliché. I’m not looking to add to the congestion, in fact this blog isn’t dedicated to parents out there because God knows I have no experience with children whatsoever. It’s something I’m writing for me, should I decide to have kids in the future and so happen to forget how it felt to be one. A good friend told me that my current thoughts are bound to change and the truth is, I’m really counting on that. When I read this some day in the future I want to realize how misguided I was, or maybe discover how insightful this was.

In my country there has been so much rebellion from children dedicated to parents and guardians. My stomach still coils everytime I think of a recent incident where a 22 years old boy butchered his parents, a sibling and worker in cold blood. I asked my mother what her thoughts were on the matter and she said, “He was possessed by an evil spirit,” She couldn’t imagine the boy was in his proper mind when doing that to his parents and that was where we differed.

Parents everywhere are trying to raise their children in their own image. Sounds familiar? Yes, because our very religion encourages that; God created man in his own image and the worst sin man committed that guaranteed his alienation from the father was disobedience. Just because a parent followed a certain path in life, they expect the children to do so. They project their fears, aspirations, opinions, ideals, assumptions etc. to the child and expect the child to adopt them. When a child yields the parent’s ego is stroked but in turn the child’s ego is hurt.

Deep down we all have a primal need to be unique individuals: No one wants to be a carbon copy of somebody else. When a child is forced to conform to their parents’ image, they will feel hopeless and trapped because at the end of the day they depend on their parents for survival and going against them will be very unwise. So instead of breaking away, the child lives in silent obedience which in turn breeds resentment. We all know emotions are powerful because they feed on energy, therefore the more you repress them the more power you give them. At one point the energy is going to need to be expressed and in our cases by rebellion: children killing parents, teachers and burning schools down.

I came by a quote: when a child comes into your life, it’s time for you to relearn life through their eyes and not try to teach them your ways…or something like that. After birth, your name, nationality, religion, society etc. are all decided by everyone but yourself. The only freedom you are allowed is how your life plays out, and when that is also taken away then the  powerful anger, bitterness and resentment will make home.

Untitled.

Doesn’t everyone lose everyone?

Hope that one day you’ll have the experience of doing something you don’t understand for someone you love.

Keep the doors open, as well as being ready to let go.

It takes a life to learn how to live.

The life of man is one hell of a circus revolving around the inescapable trap to do wrong and to suffer the consequences.

Words of a silent mind.

Keep your smile wide, nobody needs to know you’re having a hard time; because they probably have their own…

Let’s sit down for a minute and then talk for hours: Turn the coffee date into a bathroom and talk about our thoughts in the shower…

Relax though, I’m not one to want to take you to the bedroom: take a deep breath, I just want us to feel like this world is ours…
Which is an ambitious thought to have!, Because we all know who this world belongs to…

It’s a strange world we are living in. Too busy trying to find ways to exist in dead planets, while blindly destroying the living earth…

We justify our cruelties with, ‘we are human’, maybe that’s all there is to it. If you accept me, maybe I’ll accept myself. Maybe then, the guilt will float away…

some music interlude for all my music lovers. Follow, like and share to support this hardworking talent.

https://instagram.com/xbeat9?igshid=eaufninkgbj7.

Guest blog.

The people bow and pray to the neon god they make’. Those words in Paul Simon’s song Sound of silence, leave me questioning, ‘Did we, hopeless people, create god?’


In the midst of our pain, uncertainty, and fear, we made the all-powerful father up in the skies to watch over us. Why then, one may ask, did man create god? Camille Paglia opines that human life started in flight and fear. When man became conscious of himself, he found himself exposed to nature, not
in the form of flowers or beautiful waterfalls, but in the form of diseases, predators, earthquakes, hurricanes and landslides. All these filled man with fear. Since fear is reciprocal, man ended up in societies, in search of security and certainty. However, still in the communities, they
experienced natural calamities that partially devastated them. Religion therefore arose to lull this punishing elements. The partiality of the punishment birthed the idea that maybe there is a god above that controls chaos. Had he not been there, we would all be destroyed. It also became necessary for man to keep liberty from turning into licentiousness. Jean Jacques
Rousseau writes that man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains. Camille Paglia supplements that when man found the taste of freedom to be intolerable, he looked for things to
chain himself with including government, laws, religion, and gods. Like other social constructs, god serves to ensure social order. Colonisers always carried their religion with them. In most cases, religion superseded colonisation. This is because the religious tenets carried the sway and interests of the colonisers. It is arguable that Christianity made Africans susceptible to slavery and servitude. This is because the social order it actuated made the European conquest easier. Most religious leaders still exploit their believers to their own benefit, and politicians use it to gain
political mileage.
God and religion have a singular affinity for the poor and afflicted. Indeed, there are more churches in the slums than in the rich estates. Karl Marx affirmed that religion is the sign of the oppressed creature. Man, with nothing material to hold onto, holds unto the gods they make.The gods in these sense offer hope and solace. Karl Marx construed this to mean that as long as the oppressed have a god, they will never fight for the comfort that comes from the material possession. The hopeless will always hold onto their gods, instead of working to change their situation. They will sleep in mud houses, while their heavenly father sleeps in mansions of gold and pearls.

We are all alone, and we have known this for quite some time. That is the reason we went to the moon, which was once revered and worshipped, to find it deserted. Perhaps God is dead like Friedrich Nietzsche wrote. In those old days he could rain down food on thousands of starving Israelites, in the Second World War, he could not even save them from Hitler. Millions of Jews died in the
concentration camps, and only the allied powers saved them. God could not even rain down food on the starving Ethiopians in the 80s. Maybe they were black and he is white, and black is the allegory of evil.

Given the postmodern era we live in, sentiments in the Bible skew hate than the Third Reich regime. History is full of singular events that genocide and slavery were committed in the name of a superior and noble being. Revered texts in the Bible explicitly advocate for hate and violence against a person of divergent views. It is prudent to treat the bible as it deserves, after all those are writings of a civilisation: it should not even be superior to the Norse and greek Mythologies.

Black people bow to an alien god, Allah and the Christian god. They are yet to realise that their world was stolen for centuries while they closed their eyes and prayed to the Christian god for decades. Muslims on the other hand have not yet realised that they are committing acts of terror in the name of a god given to them. The social order however profits those who created it, at the expense of the ignorant.

We could all be gods.
Owning the universe and living for an eternity. We cannot achieve this, if mythical creatures took our endgame. The death of god will be the rise of humanity. We could make our own heaven, save ourselves, take responsibility for ourselves and make real progress. If only we believed in humanity. Believed in a religious consciencness where each and everyone showed compassion, honesty, love, kindness, no greed, no jealousy, oneness: doing good not because of the rewards or fear, but because that’s what it means to be human.

Charles. charlesnyankieyao@students.uonbi.ac.ke

Mindfulness.

The mind is thought of as a complex system, but even the most complex of systems is made up of simple building blocks which can be understood. Here are a few facts on the mind with brief explanations to back them up.The mind is a prediction machine. This is basically how worrying comes about: your mind trying to prepare, protect or warn you by coming up with scenarios on how it could possibly go. Let’s say I have an interview tomorrow, my mind will come up with predictions on how the experience could go and my thought process will be something like: what if I wake up late? What if my outfit isn’t professional enough? What if I say all the wrong things? What if I’m not qualified enough? Is my CV good? I’m I confident enough? What if I don’t impress them? What if I’m nervous and anxious then?…it could go on and on. But at the end of the day, as important as those warnings are, it’s best to remember they are your mind’s doing, and have nothing to do with how the situation will play out. So instead of missing out on that interview because you think you won’t get in, or failing to ask that girl out because you think you’ll be rejected, or turning down everybody who shows interest because you’ve predicted future heartbreaks, or putting off publishing that book because you already think no one will read it… It’s best to find out how the situation will play by forgetting what you think will happen and actually giving it a chance to happen.Your mind is your reality. I found some quote on Insta that said: you become what you constantly think about, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s easier to notice mistakes when you are always thinking of mistakes, it’s easy to find opportunities when you are always thinking of opportunities, it’s easy to be happy when you are always thinking positive… Belief is a very powerful thing, and it’s been proven that what you believe in often than not manifests in your own reality. A story I read somewhere: A man and his family lived in their home for years without anything extraordinary happening, until one distant relative visited. Now, the relative being a man who loved to prank, came up with ghost stories about one particular room in the house. He claimed the room he’d been given was haunted by the ghost of a woman who moved by tapping on the floor, going further to describe the ghost’s physical appearance. It may have been a made up story, but the next morning, the little girl who had slept in the room confirmed she’d heard the ghost tap. Soon, everyone in the family was convinced there was a ghost in the room. So they told their neighbor, and asked him to spend a night in the room and prove them otherwise, but the next day, the neighbor was also certain he’d seen the ghost. What they didn’t realize was that there was no ghost at all, but only a projection of what their minds wanted to see and hear.

When you don’t understand, you depend on reality. But when you understand, reality depends on you.

The mind lives in the past and the future and rarely in the present.The mind is a master at dwelling in the past or dreaming of the future. This may not seem bad at all on the surface, right? Especially when the present isn’t what we want it to be. But the problem with this is that you end up missing out on the present which is what we really have ( the past is gone and it’s only a memory while the future isn’t certain so it’s just an imagination: they both only exist in our minds). So instead of worrying/ planning for the future or reliving/suffering for the past, take time to exist in the present, enjoy it, give yourself permission to be happy and get things done. When you do that, you won’t have to worry about the future, because everything will kinda fall into place.The mind is a system. It is. Which is why we have habits, some deeply rooted in our unconscious selves that they become part of our identity. A story adapted from Atomic habits by James Clear: a woman, once a preschool teacher, got a new job as a corporate lady. But even then, she still found herself asking her fellow adults whether they’d washed their hands after using the washroom. Habits are therefore a big deal because at the end of the day we become what we do (habits are things we do repeatedly) and what we do often goes back to who we believe we are (see, the mind!). So if you want to change who you are, start by getting habits that align to the person you want to be, which means you start by doing things like the person you want to be. For example, if you want to be fit and healthy, start by acting like a fit and healthy person…working out, eating healthy etc. And don’t forget to watch yourself inorder to learn about those deeply-rooted, automatic, unconscious habits. I had to watch myself to learn that I often cover my mouth when I yawn, chew on my nails or anything I can get when I’m bored, apologize for literally anything, adjust my glasses when I’m nervous and so many other things which I used to do so unconsciously.The mind is a processing machine.The mind is a problem solving machine and because of that it’s always processing information, analysing and trying to ‘make sense’ or figure out what’s being fed to it. When things don’t add up, the mind is notorious for filling in the blanks inorder to make sense out of it all. Which is why we are often advised to trust memories less. The mind is always picking, choosing and altering information: so what comes out in memories is likely to be fabricated than what went in. Our brain often tends to make sense of what happened in the past by relating to the present. A true story by author Meredith Maran in her book My lie:A true story of false memory; Meredith was divorced, seeing a therapist, having a strained relationship with her father and dating a woman who’d survived sexual abuse. After a few repressed-memory therapies, Meredith discovered her father had raped her in childhood. She accused him of that in front of all her family members, he denied it, and the family was split into two: those who believed and those who didn’t. After a few months though, Meredith discovered her father had never raped her, the memory had been made up. Her brain had only been trying to make sense of her present: why she had the strained relationship with her father, her failed relationships with men, her toxic abused girlfriend, her feminist ideologies and the fact that she’d been studying the topic of child molestation . We can all prove this to be true. I mean, have you ever realized when you are dating someone, your memories with them are always so positive, but when you break up with them, you start to view the memories differently? What was once sweet and thoughtful becomes selfish and immature.

Freedom.

The idea of freedom is an alluring one but the sad reality is that most of us aren’t free, and none of us really wants freedom because with freedom comes great responsibility. Now you’ll say humanity has progressed over the years and freedom has been achieved along the way, but the truth it that we have simply replaced the old cruel forms of slavery with new fabricated ones. It’s hard to believe there were times when man was sold at market places just like any other commodity. It’s also hard to imagine the kind of life women led in the past centuries; being considered far lesser than men, denied their rights and viewed as property to extreme lengths. Africa and a few other continents have had a taste of slavery by being colonized for many years, and when the colonizers left, they thought they had attained freedom and democracy, which has turned out to be a pure joke as the white colonizers have been replaced by their very own.

Today, physical slavery has been done away with and replaced by mental/psychological/spiritual/mind slavery which is more dangerous because we cannot see it. Every society has a recipe on how one should live and behave: we are all dictated by societal ideologies, customs and beliefs which are borrowed and followed without really questioning or doubting. Our whole system of raising children is one of slavery; just because a child is born into a particular family they have to adopt the religious, societal, and political ideologies of that family and are highly discouraged from thinking, questioning and doing something outside what’s recommended. The child’s elders can’t be blamed though, because their own parents did the same to them and it’s something that has been going on for generations: after all, how can enslaved minds teach freedom? Children are conditioned to seek approval and validation from the society, to follow the pattern because that is the safest and easiest route whose outcomes are known, to follow ideals whose roots they don’t know, to repress their true nature which goes against what is required of them and to strive to be at the top/special/unique/extraordinary…and for what? So they could matter in the society, get attention for it or prove something?

The idea of freedom…

Freedom means being able to think for yourself and refusing to go by what you are told or what everyone else is doing until you find the why behind it. Society doesn’t want you to think, it wants machines who do what they are told and never question ‘why’ because once you start questioning you will see the lies and absurdities you have been feeding on. To question means you are willing to step out of the crowd mentality and stand alone; Socrates questioned and it got him poisoned, Jesus questioned and it got him crucified…and at the end of the day, those were the people who brought about change by dismantling the lies people lived in. So before you do anything or adopt some way of life, it’s really important to question why you are doing it, whether you are doing it out of your own accord or simply following the masses because everyone else is doing it.

Freedom means contentment with your own approval, validation, along with self acceptance.When your actions depend on outside approval and evaluation , then your life isn’t your own and it’s society pulling your strings. Once you stop caring about outside validation, then you will find the courage to truly live your life to the fullest and can be yourself without repressing anything. Letting go of societal validations, expectations and ideas will enable you to find your own individuality. You are not your beliefs, or your occupation, or your money, or your looks, or what you can do for others, or your religion etc…all those are just society-acquired personalities, your true individuality is what you are when all that is shed away. The word personality is of latin origins meaning a ‘mask that produces sound’, so everyone in the society is wearing a mask and they think it’s who they are, but the moment you take off the mask you will find your true individuality. It’s better to let go of what you think you are, the labels, the ideals and beliefs: that will be the first step towards psychological freedom and awareness of self.

Freedom means learning to not impose your ideas on other people, not taking offense when people don’t agree with your opinions, not trying to convert people to your ideals at any given chance, and the ability to look at new situations without any judgement. You may think your opinion is a fact, but so will the next person. And the fact is, everyone has their own idea of what is good/bad, right/wrong, beautiful/ugly…which all vary depending on their environment, upbringing, society, conditioning, and education system. So whatever you think is a fact might not be a fact at all, even in the world of science; what scientists thought was a fact yesterday can be disapproved tomorrow by new findings. By judging, you are simply projecting the very ideas you have accumulated from your society to the other person and that only makes you close minded and nothing else. Society advises it’s people not to judge, but the very same society goes on telling people what’s good or bad, right or wrong, what to consider beautiful or ugly etc.