Take a pause today and ask yourself why do you do what you do. Why do you share some values you share. You don’t eat pork because your religion or tradition prohibits the eating of pork, you don’t eat fish because it’s a taboo according to your tradition to eat fish or your religious beliefs frown against it.
It’s high time we question the rationale behind those religious and traditional beliefs, we dwell on the circle of ‘we are told that that’s how it’s done or on the circle of we were born to see it being done that way, or we met our elders doing it so we joined, and we are going to pass it on to our children.
When we question the rationality behind some certain things; religious, traditional or societal values we share, you will be amazed that most of them started as a joke and some are out rightly stupid. I’m not here to criticize your religious beliefs or traditional values but I’m here to throw a question at you of why do you do it.
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There is a stream in one certain village, the stream is the only source of water for the villagers. One certain day, a lady who happened to be on her menstrual flow went to the stream and her blood flew into the stream and messed up the stream. That day’s occurrence made the village heads to pronounce that any lady on her menstruation who visits the stream will not conceive again. That pronouncement was passed on generations and generations later, women of the village don’t go to the stream on the fear that they will not conceive again, if they do go without knowing why, and when that pronouncement was made.
Some of these values, laws, ethics and whatnot we share were made to carter for the societal needs and solve the societal problems at that particular time, and becomes obsolete once that need that has been solved. If you dig dip and ask why its is a taboo not to eat in your village you would be amazed that the pronouncement was made some generations ago so to preserve the fishes in your village stream from fishermen, in order for the fish to not go extinct. And you grew up not eating fish because your parents taught you it’s a taboo to eat fish according to your tradition and you don’t border to ask why.
Think about it, most of the things you do in the name of tradition or religious beliefs appear stupid both to common sense and to every sense of reason, but you just have to do it in order not to incur the wrath of your god(s) or commit sacrilege, so you think.
An old and mind bugging story goes; ten monkeys were kept in a room, and a bunch of bananas was tied at the stage of the room, all the monkeys started struggling for the banana, whenever any monkey reaches the banana, water was sprinkled on all the monkeys. When the monkeys discovered that the reason water is being sprinkled on them was for them to stay away from the banana. In order to avoid water been sprinkled on them, they all decided to avoid the banana. One of the monkeys wanted to give it a last try and reached for the Banana and water was sprinkled on all the monkeys again; all the monkeys got angry and pounced on the monkey that went for the banana and made water to be sprinkled on them this time and beat the hell out of the monkey.
One monkey was taken out of the room and replaced with a new monkey that have not been to the room, when the new monkey saw the banana he wondered why the rest monkey decided not to get it, so the new monkey decided to go get the banana, all the other monkeys pounced on him and beat the hell out of him. This time water wasn’t sprinkled on the monkeys, the new monkey was confused and doesn’t know why he got beaten and he decided to stay calm.
Another monkey was brought and replaced with an old monkey in the room, immediately he got into the room, he went for the banana and all the monkeys jumped on him and beat the hell out of him including the other monkey that was beaten. The previous monkey joined in beating this new monkey without knowing the reason why he was beaten and why other monkeys are beating the new one but he joined the bandwagon.
All the old monkeys were gradually replaced with new monkeys and whenever any of the new monkeys reached for the banana they all jumped on that monkey and beat the hell out of him. None of the new monkeys in the room now could explain the reason of beating any monkey that goes for the banana.
The justification of the new monkeys will be ‘that’s the tradition that any monkey that goes for the banana gets beaten’ without knowing the reason behind the beating.
That’s what traditions and religious ethics has done to so many of us. We do irrational things without knowing why we do them, all the reason we have is that ‘that’s how I see them doing it, that’s what I’m told by those before me, that’s how I met them doing it’.
Traditions have made us all monkeys ready to beat any new monkey that goes for the banana without asking ourselves why?
Think about it; ask yourself the reason you do what you do.