Friday 24 February 2017
OF MAN AND THE CHANGING EARTH
History talks about Thonis; a once great city which now lies in the ocean floor of the Mediterranean. The uninformed would wonder, ships sink, but how do cities sink? The fact of the matter is that our planet is changing, rather has been changing. Some areas of land which now are on the Earth surface would in hundreds of years time be the ocean floor, and some parts of the ocean floor will be lands on the Earth surface; maybe new mega cities or farmlands. Let's put it crudely that the Earth rises and falls, old lands fall, new ones rise, and in some years from now the Earth as we now know it will be different, there may be new Islands, lush archipelagos which were once playgrounds for tiger sharks and the great white, and most coastal cities may be lost to the sea.
I present a very immediate example: upon gaining admission into the University I had cause to regularly use the Niger Bridge at Onitsha/Asaba. And in my first year in school I noticed a very small Island a few meters away from the bridge, however, over the years this once small Island has 'grown' so large that residence buildings are now being constructed on it. I imagine that just over a decade ago the Island did not exist but now look what we have.
Now, such, it seems, is the condition of man; we keep changing. Who you are now will be different from who you will be in 5 to 10 years time, no matter how little the difference. As we learn, unlearn and relearn, there is a falling/sinking of old ideas, a rising of new ones and an upgrading/downgrading of others. Other times, the experiences of life: heartbreaks, betrayal, treachery, a show of unusual love here or there and all such things can turn your moderateness into a fanatical disposition towards the ideals you value, or may trigger a total U-turn. As we move ahead in life, things will happen that will change Saul to Paul, Simon to Cephas and Gideon to the mighty man of valour. Also, things will happen that will make an Elijah to wish he were dead and a John the Baptist to ask 'Are you the one or do we expect another?'. There will be a falling and rising of fears and faith, love and hate, values and vices. Some will be moderates, others fanatics and yet others will get into an entirely new line of thought, to the end that the you that you are now will be different (no matter how little) from the you that you will be. You may improve on your ideas, and you may discard them and pick up entirely new ones, same goes for values and perspectives, one thing is sure-you will never remain exactly the same.
So, while our Earth changes, at a much slower pace, we change too. Within this is a silent risk. The builders of Thonis may have planned for an eternal city, but a few thousand years after Thonis is down below-there was a sinking. We commit to vows, to career, to marriage, priesthood, etc without thinking about this changing 'earth'(man). How would you manage when the rising and sinking begin, when you develop a new passion and forget your first love, when in that marriage he suddenly begins to give it all to social activism and has little time for family, when you discover it was never love or when this your now small love for music rises and you have cause to abandon your medical practice just to become Beethoven? But then it is a risk not to take a risk, the citizens of Thonis may not have built a home if they feared about the sinking. So, we have to move on and watch how we change and what the true man will look like at the end of this metamorphosis.