Thursday, June 20, 2024

OWEYEGHA-AFUNADUULA: Power Without Wisdom is Dangerous

By Oweyegha-Afunaduula

“God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, to those who please him, but he makes sinners work , earning and saving , so that what they get can be given to those who please him” (Ecclesiastes, 2: 26).

Prof Oweyegha-Afunaduula

God urges us to get knowledge, wisdom, understanding and insight. He in particular says that getting wisdom is the most important thing one can do (Proverbs, 4:7). He adds that if one gets wisdom one becomes great, full of honor and crowned with glory. (Proverbs, 4:8).

Therefore, however educated, however knowledgeable, however high up in the leadership hierarchy, however honorable society makes us, if we lack wisdom and insight, we are just deceiving ourselves that we are something, especially in the eyes of God.

Of course, it is God himself who gives us wisdom and insight; none else. One may ask: was it wise for Hitler to attack Poland? Equally , one may ask: was it wise for Putin to attack Ukraine? Both men boasted of absolute power, which they thought was enough. And they both plunged humanity in untold suffering – one in the 20th Century, one in the 21st Century.

In Africa, power for power’s sake in many countries, which stresses power retention rather than Leadership renewal, has plunged our people back in slavery. Besides, poverty has been proliferated to generate adequate numbers of slaves, internally and externally, simultaneously with cultivating mind poverty and ignorance of both the educated and uneducated.

This explains the wholesale cutting of trees on a lake Island – Kalangala – in Uganda to plant a false tree (a grass) called oil palm, ostensibly to make the country self-sufficient in oi; taxing internet when learning to acquire knowledge and wisdom is increasingly internet-based; and failure of Uganda government to shield Ugandans, especially the lower and middle classes of people, from the deleterious effects of Covid 19 on humanity and human enterprise, but go on taxing collapsing businesses.

Power without wisdom can be dangerous. It deceives one to believe there is nothing one cannot do under the Sun; and even to think that one can be God. It makes one do some foolish things too as one deceives oneself that one is immortal. And of course the vulnerable minds begin to worship such person and pronounce him their god.

Yet God says, “Do not join join in the schemes of the people, and do not be afraid of the things they fear. Remember that I, the LORD Almighty, am Holy; I am the one you should fear”(Isaiah, 8: 13-14) He adds, “Put no more confidence in mortals. What are they worth?” (Isaiah, 2:22).

We definitely need people of power in the 21st Century – a Century of new and different knowledge, information and communication – that value knowledge, wisdom, understanding and insight, and also God – the one who give these virtues; people who will be quick to use their brains, rather than their muscles, in resolving human problems and issues.

People with power but without wisdom, and armed with weapons of mass destruction, can evoke such weapons to the detriment of humanity and the world. And when they do that, they reveal themselves as sub-humans; not superhumans. A superhuman does not destroy himself and everything around him. He relies more on brain power than power of nerves.

It is, therefore, true. Wisdom distinguishes great leaders from the rest. If knowledge is information, wisdom is acting on that knowledge. We can gain lifelong knowledge, and yet never extract any wisdom out of it. You don’t have to be a philosopher to think like one; you need to be a lover of wisdom.

We have many men and women of knowledge who would disappoint you greatly if you sought wisdom from them. Yet because of the nature of our education, we have been conditioned to believe that the only people of wisdom are those full of the White Man’s education. This falsehood is being played out in the Parliament of Uganda, which manifests more like an aberration of the 21st Century, despite having so many people of knowledge.

No one, however, should think he or she has a monopoly over wisdom. Wisdom is a virtue that is not innate, but can only be acquired through experience. Anyone who is interested in trying new things and reflecting on the process has the ability to gain wisdom. By learning as much as you can, analyzing your experiences, and putting your knowledge to the test, you become a wiser person.

That is why, instead of allocating so much time on looking for money, I keep on learning whatever I can across the board, analyzing my experiences and writing almost passionately, and listening to what others say to perfect my thinking well into old age.

As a long time knowledge work, I seek to extract wisdom and pass the wisdom to others; even those who do not want it. At least I will have done my duty. It is wisdom which is power; not just knowledge. It is the wisdom contained in knowledge and applied.

For God and My Country.

The Writer Is a Ugandan Scientist And Environmentalist

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