By Ndidi Uwechue
Most people want to be commended, or valued, after they have done a good deed. We like being RECOGNISED after we have done something helpful. This is perfectly normal, and it is being human.
Other people though, live at a higher level than that. One of them was Kaspar Nützel. Very few have heard of him, but millions know about his champion the monk Professor Martin Luther who officially started off the Protestant Reformation in Europe when in 1517 he nailed his Ninety-five Theses, a theological argument to the door of Wittenburg Church.
Kaspar Nützel was a nobleman from Nuremberg in Germany. Luther’s Ninety-five Theses had been written in Latin, a language that only scholars, not the ordinary citizen could understand. Without being asked, but with the belief that the Ninety-five Theses was good information that should be publicised widely, Nützel translated the document into German, the people’s language, then, since the printing press had been invented nearly sixty years before, he also had copies of it made. If not for what Nützel QUIETLY did without bringing attention upon himself, it is unlikely that Luther’s Ninety-five Theses would have had the reach and influence that it did.
Had it been today, and in Nigeria, that Martin Luther wrote his Latin Ninety-five Theses, the general response would have been a scornful, “Mtchew…. What is all this big grammar!” or “What does it concern me?”, and that would have been the end of it for information that has the potential to transform millions of peoples’ lives for good.
Furthermore, someone who has the ability to translate the Latin document would not do so saying, “Why should I help Prof Luther? What’s in it for me? He just wants to make a name for himself, so I won’t help him! Let him help himself!” Such responses are at the lower level of being. But it need not be like that. Nützel’s example can also become the norm for many of us.
Nützel chose to contribute to society’s welfare by applying his language skills and resources to improve the chances for the COMMUNITY to benefit from what not he, but another, had started. This type of reasoning is living life at a higher level. Rather than the primitive “What’s in it for ME?” attitude. He saw something then asked, “What’s in it for the COMMUNITY?” and “How can my community benefit from my skills?” (I would benefit too since I am part of the community).
Reader, if you do some research you will find that no great person anywhere was able to achieve good in the world without a number of OTHERS who played their assisting role along the way. Some of these others we may know, but many remain nameless. Choosing the Alternative Culture attitude would include either actively searching for good causes, or when they do come your way, having the ready mindset of GETTING INVOLVED. Not for personal gain. Not for recognition or fame. But getting involved because it is a GOOD cause, and assisting in a good cause is the right thing to do. You become a link in a chain that brings good to the community, and perhaps even to the world.
There are many good causes out there: local, national and global. Some may be about humans, others about animals, plants or the environment. There is no limit at all to the number of good causes that any one person can get involved with. This way of viewing life through a COMMUNITY focus, wanting to use some of your time and resources in the service of others is living that Alternative Culture.
Whether we are witnessing it in Nigeria ourselves, or are elsewhere, clearly there is something terribly wrong with the most populous Black country in the world. It has genocide, dangers, poverty and decay. If you are living the Alternative Culture you would do research to locate who has a genuine SOLUTION, and not one that benefits just Self, but one for the good of the entire COMMUNITY.
Providentially, a straightforward, evidenced, and potent solution to fix Nigeria is available, and was started by others. It is the NINAS Movement which identified that the source of all the dysfunction and violence is the 1999 Nigeria Constitution, a forgery imposed on the people (the link to their website: http://www.ninasvoice.org). Fixing Nigeria therefore boils down to switching off the tap from which the country’s miseries flow. So all people of goodwill should be on hand to turn off that tap, which means Taking Down that make-believe 1999 Constitution.
Existing for self, destroys the soul, and under-develops the community. In contrast, being community-minded satisfies the soul and those who live by it do not seek personal recognition for the good deeds that they do. If it comes fine. If it does not come, that is alright too. Furthermore, in helping to bring about a good outcome for the community they do not become bitter if they do not make money from their involvement, because their FOCUS is on getting that good thing done for the COMMUNITY’s benefit. Their focus is not on SELF. Not on FAME. Not on FORTUNE.
To end, first century (A.D.) Rabbi Hillel the Elder said, “If not now, when? If not YOU, who?” By being involved in a good cause such as in rescuing Nigerians via the NINAS Movement, your name and deeds may never be known to anyone (except to your Creator), but you yourself will know that you contributed to the success of that Movement, so you can smile having assisted an honourable and non-violent cause.
Ndidi Uwechue is a British citizen with Igbo heritage from the Lower Niger Bloc. She is a retired Metropolitan (London) Police Officer, she is a signatory to the Constitutional Force Majeure, and she writes from Abuja.