Saturday, June 3, 2017



Stes de Necker

Gandhi believed in truth force. He was guided by what could be called ‘relative’ truth since ‘absolute’ truth could not be attained by any human being. The quest for truthful reflection and action was central to his philosophy, unlike the ostrich-syndrome that we are witnessing today, where we bury our head in the sand to avoid seeing the truth.

Nowhere is the ostrich-syndrome more evident in every sphere of government and parastatal organisation than in South Africa where politics it is all about power and corruption.  Instead of focusing attentively on the problems before them, most politicians are ready to rather embrace wealth and distraction.

The ostrich-syndrome leads to an unmotivated directionless society which cannot take responsibility for what is happening around them and who are incapable of becoming responsible engaged citizens. 
This is happening to large numbers of the lower and middle classes who seem largely unconnected with the major problems that their societies are facing.

Of course there is the well meaning minority of political leaders who feel that we have gone too far down the road to perdition, to reverse the trend of corruption and social chaos and then there are others who believe they have to oppose the present form of anarchy by creating an awareness of the issues, even if they have not come up with a sufficient range of workable alternatives.

Yet, it is the latter that matter, for as the crisis deepens the alternatives they are grappling with will come under sympathetic scrutiny and serve as the cornerstones for new directions in our social, political and economic life.

But let us dwell a little more on the ostrich-syndrome and the culture of indifference that it spawns.

Mutation of Human consciousness

In India, for example, most of the middle classes do not even go and vote anymore.

Indifference has deformed human consciousness; some might even argue that a mutation has already taken place. If this is the case the ostrich is not even capable of knowing that it has buried its head in the sand, and that it has a distorted view of reality.

Governance is no longer about fulfilling human needs, but an attempt by unscrupulous individuals to satisfy their personal needs. Individual material satisfaction overtakes social responsibility and political action.

Everything may be going wrong from a social and political perspective, while the majority of South African voters remain cocooned in their own world of indifference.

For the middle and upper classes particularly, getting as rich as possible as soon as possible have become the main objective. This might sound like a cliché, but its underlying truth is being secured day by day.

Not only did incompetence and incapability created the current state of economic chaos and moral decline, it also produced the corrupt and incompetent political leaders we have today.   
Truth and honesty is no longer a requirement for holding a political office. Politicians are free to say what they want, when they want, while the average peace loving South African is not prepared, or they too afraid, to do or say anything which may threaten the ostrich syndrome within which everyone is so comfortable.

One of the results of this lame duck syndrome is the emergence of radical political organisations like the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) who believe they can say and do what they want.

The experience of Community as an anti-dote

Experiencing a sense of community involvement and political responsibility is integral to help the South African Government to break out of this ostrich-syndrome.

It is only through deepening our sense of responsibility and respect for basic human rights that we can open the springs of compassion.

The horizontal dimension of spiritual fulfilment through our inter-relationship with each other is the only way forward. Indigenous societies refer to the inter-connectedness of all things. ‘All the world is one human family’, is an ancient Indian expression that emphasizes the unity of humankind.

Mahatma Gandhi spoke of this inter-connectedness when he said, “I am a part and parcel of the whole, and I cannot find Him apart from the rest of humanity. My countrymen are my nearest neighbours. They have become so helpless, so resourceless, so inert, that I must concentrate on serving them.”

As long as the ostrich-syndrome persists the malling of South Africa will continue with its dreadful social and economic consequences. 

South Africa needs to develop a consciousness and vision that is different from what the ANC government is currently offering the voters.  

Our future can only be meaningfully discovered through an open and honest relationship with each and every one living in South Africa. 

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