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Nigeria: The Poison is the Pot

We invented the modern ethics of philanthropy and poverty eradication to escape the need to change a money system that is fueled by the very existence of poverty and scarcity.

We created an industry of ‘waste management’ that tempers our anger and numbs us to the fact that we abide in a cradle-to-grave, use-and-dump global economy – a behemoth that necessarily generates ‘waste’ by silently celebrating planned obsolescence.

We institutionalized illiteracy reduction programs and no-one-left-behind-schemes through our schools – conveniently forgetting that because of the politics of correctness, the dynamics of conformity and standardized assessment, our schools effectively create large populations of people ‘left behind’.

We legitimized ‘environmental protection’ – all the while shielding our ears from the subversive question echoing in the fringes, tugging at our collective imagination: why do we inevitably have to live in a world in which the ‘environment’ needs protection?

The problem of poverty did not ‘exist’ until we introduced a monetary framework that reified scarcity, valorized ownership and celebrated property accumulation; the problem of waste was invented by the system that pretends to address it; ignorance wasn’t certified until schools were invented; and, the health of our ecological systems will always be an issue – so long as we continue to perpetuate a civilization whose very foundation is the idea that ‘nature’ is a resource to be exploited for our fanciful whims.

The poison is not in the pot, ladies and gentlemen – the poison is the pot.

We will not ‘solve’ the ‘problems’ we have with the tools that created them in the first place;

we will not change the world by adding another syllable to a sentence that makes no sense.

More schools will not get rid of ignorance – they created it in the first place, and actually need more of it to thrive (which is the reason why the most prestigious universities are known by how many applicants they reject!).

More money will not get rid of poverty – because the dynamics of finance and the politics of upward mobility demand that money remains scarce – and therefore accessible only to a select few.

Until we change the holding assumptions and hidden narratives that power our systems and ways of being, we will always tinker with the broth, experiment with new ingredients, and stir with contrived spoons in a frantic rush for culinary apotheosis.

Meanwhile the toxic juices in the sooty crevices and shadows of the pot will secrete into our soupy contraptions our poison, our illusion, our unending servitude, and a stealthy charm that will keep us wondering why the chef is broken.

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Falling might very well be flying – without the tyranny of coordinates.