Re-imagining Today

By Witoubou Newmai


If the understanding of people of their common aspiration is not uniformed, then it is also likely that they will find themselves in several sequestered realms. The inconvenient truth in such a scenario is that the people may find it hard to ignore the interests which suit the realms they are in. In this one society, several realms will be in conflicts, and it will be very difficult to figure out which is the true one, similar to how W. Somerset Maugham’s description of himself.


The English writer, W. Somerset Maugham has once reportedly commented something like this; “There are times when I look over the various parts of my character with perplexity, I recognize that I am made up of several persons and that the person at the moment has the upper hand will inevitably give place to another. But which is the real one? All of them or none?” Reflecting on Maugham’s description of himself, the difficult position of our society is to figure out the “which-is-thereal- one”. To ameliorate this daunting circumstance, we need to build ‘our collectiveness.’


This is a clichéd argument but we brought it up again today, that each realm, every individual, every group or party of our society is all ready to be in a parroting platform, and not an audience. This is because we feel that “we are all-knowing.”


But sadly, what can one expect when the “all-knowing” only tells of his story, and his interests? This is also nothing but we are “talking at others rather than talking to each other”. Because of such a culture, our society cannot “live as good as we know how already.”


In this, something reminds us of the author Thomas Anthony Harris who, in his book “I’m Ok–You’re Ok” narrates the story of a farmer. “Once, an old farmer, tinkering with a rusty harrow on a country road, was approached by an earnest young man from the University Extension Service who was making farm-to-farm calls for the purpose of selling a new manual on soil conservation and new farming techniques.


After a polite and polished speech the young man asked the farmer if he would like to buy this new book, to which the old man replied, ‘Son, I don’t farm half as good as I know how already’”. According to Thomas Anthony Harris, his book is also giving “an answer to the question of why people do not live as good as they know how already”. However, the contexts of the book and this editorial are two different things.


In our case, as vested interests are inhibiting us from living “as good as we know how already,” we need to practice the culture of re-imagining today. Such a practice will make us understand well what our common aspiration is, and accordingly we build ‘our collectiveness’. When such a new trend overwhelms us the sequestered realms will disappear for good.