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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Another dollop of false consciousness
You may recall – or didn’t need me to tell you in the first place – that when people, mistakenly, believe something to be true when it isn’t and the evidence suggests it isn’t, they are suffering under an illusion we call ‘false consciousness’.  Once it is ingrained it is hard to shift. Like creationism. Like the place of patriarchy in current world religions. Like the world ending on the 21stDecember 2012. (Although, for several thousand people it must have been their death knell!).
When you come up against it personally it certainly raises a sense of the surreal, sometimes the tragically absurd. Like you are Alice and this is a bleak Wonderland
Talking with a man who has a very good and expanding brain the other day, someone who in four or so years has left his village to become literate, bilingual, an ace photographer, adept at IT and a senior manager in a clothing factory, I came away disconcerted. Despite my protestations and careful arguments based on concrete evidence and even biblical or moral evidence (he is an avid Christian) I could not shake his belief in female circumcision, in women not being the equal of men and that God is behind every act in a person’s life from the great to the small. My suggestions that the world should be – and often is – otherwise, was greeted with cackling laughter, as though I was the greatest stand up comic of all time. There was no way in to unseat his moral universe.
Openness to evidence and a critical consciousness are all we have to counter such resolute beliefs in the indefensible. And they have to be taught from birth whether it is to the young of Ghana’s many tribes, or Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus or the communists of North Korea and China. Once such consciousness is properly released and matured, it cannot be put back in the locked box of social conditioning.
But the powerful know this, from the corrupt democracies of the west to the corrupt dictatorships of the East.  Heavily proscribed education that imposes the authority of the state and the inviolability of the curriculum is always the prize tool of social engineering, whether in faith or secular schools.
For a riveting and mind-expanding read on the moral mess we call life, read:
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