Man and Society are as old as the world in which the two occupy some space. From ancient societies through millennia of evolution, man and society have continued to subject themselves to series of transformations. In this part of the world, man’s society is influenced and dominated by the capitalist economic production relations.
At this juncture, the notion that man is the product of his society or man creates the society he lives becomes a conflict to be resolved through logical deconstruction. Karl Mark asserts that; “man consciousness is shaped by the social realities of his society” as against the idealist notion; that man’s ideas and consciousness shape realities.
Today, the dominant socioeconomic force is the capitalist production relations that promote profits above social welfare. Therefore, the world today lives witness to alarming chasm in the income distribution between the very rich 1percenters, the poor and very poor 99percenters. The growing inequalities across social barriers brings to the fore the inherent weakness of man exhibited through greed in every human society.
I will begin to discuss addictions in all ramifications and its negative consequences on man and his society. There are three types of addictions revolving around man as the centerpiece of attentions and castigation, Substance addiction, behavioral or process addiction and position addiction.
While substance addiction involves drug abuse, alcoholism etc, behavioral or process addiction is mood altering behavior such as gambling, sexual activity, eating disorders, spending spree and over indulgence in entertainment. Without forgetting the most intoxicating of them all, position addictions. This is a kind of addiction associated with power, influence and affluence. It is the type Nigerian politicians cultivate do or die mentality to acquire through the ballot and the military through the barrel of the gun.
Just like every other type of addiction, the position addict enjoins his power, influence or affluence at the expense of the less privileged poor masses. In Nigeria today, the society is in the throes of all of these types of addictions. The youths in the face of disillusionment are hook to one brand of substance or the other for escapism. Across the broad spectrum of gender, age and social status, behavioral or process addiction has eaten deep into the people’s way of life.
Why is the African continent especially Nigeria the largest market for imported products from industrial countries of the world? We can locate the answer at the doorstep of “Addiction” to foreign products. Today, medical tourism has entered the lexicon of our gluttonous addiction. Political elites, top public and civil servants and religious leaders are culpable of addiction to foreign exotic taste. They caused capital flight by their globetrotting in search of safe haven for their stolen and looted funds.
Where is the African intelligentsia today? Unlike in the days of yore when those confronted with conflict and contradictions generated by western values reacted. They were the educated people imprisoned by the external events in their own indigenous society. They have no alternative than to react violently and relentlessly to the restless moving world in which they are captivated. Such captivated intelligentsia were the communal elites that often fight to liberate their communities from the clutches of imperialism or otherwise become the nationalists who fought the colonialists to attain independence for their countries.
Today, across the continent of Africa, cultural and religious imperialism through media imperialism have inundated the young African youths that they can no longer think and reason straight out of the box. They are imbued with numb sensibility to the social realities of their time. Why? Because they are drowning in myriad of addictions.
Finally, across the spheres of social religious and political divide, the elites are caught in rabid position addiction. Their ultimate goals are power, influence and affluence to the detriment of the poor masses. Central to the fundamental focus of my proffered solutions are; immediate and systematic shift from religious doctrines to emphasis on State ideology stringent State promotion of moral and ethical conducts, promotion of diversity in our heterogeneous culture and national citizenship. Furthermore, enforcement of patriotism, manifesting in respect for national symbols, public properties and strengthening social institutions.
Here lies the war within that had been ravaging the existence of our society, Nigeria.
Comrade Ogbu A. Ameh is National Convener Generation for Revolutionary Change from Below; writes in from Abuja