We live in clusters so the bulk of our decisions as it affects civilization will be measured in ‘yard’ rules. The development of society can not easily alienated from decisions attributed to have emanated from societal pressure, need to survive, siege and fear of extinction, innovation or largely conquest. Man, in quantifiable ways, has sufficiently demystified the existential need to change forms; we can easily understand this from the simple biology of butterflies, changing from one form of existence to another with a greater hold on beauty, flight and simplicity.
Human societies have changed considerably in the way problems are solved. We have also constructed treatises we use in justifying every notable change and advancement. In the explanation of this instinctive move by societies a particular human attribute has been identified as rudimental to success. I recently completed a book written by one of the leading names in the discussion of globalization, Lester Thurow, ‘Fortune favours the Bold’’ (2003). Vital in the phrase is ‘Fortune’ as nations and societies alike have one goal: to make fortune and be the envy of all, and this goal is embedded in their foreign policy statements and constitutional expressions of statehood. But the part that makes the whole phrase a worthy statement is BOLDNESS.
States actions must come with boldness, in the expression of her internal craft on development, relational response to comity of state, sales of her ideology and soft power and the will to walk a new path that may be an efficient system and possibly the new trajectory to follow globally. Setting the premise for this piece right will require that we x-ray some of the attitudes of select civilizations in History.
Beginning with ancient Egypt, we make bold to ask, what were the defining attitudes that raised her civilization into one whose imprint is still obvious and referential? In my early years as a student, I learned and read extensively about the seven wonder of the world; the great pyramids of Giza, hanging gardens of Babylon, colossus of Rhode, statue of Zeus in Olympia, mausoleum of Halicarnassus, temple of Artemis in Ephesus and the lighthouse in Alexandria. Outstanding to me also is the Great Wall of China. The Egyptian pyramids stand first on the list. What can we establish as the fulcrum of this landmark structure?
Egypt as a civilization saw the need for towers: high rising architectural pieces that will for centuries remain as a vocal point and pointer to her existence as a nation. The amount and work and effort directed into this venture further explain the pathway. Strong work ethics in this age would be a strong and determining force to accomplish such feat. Work hours, and mechanical and technical intelligence contributed to raise these monumental pieces in numbers. We also notice the path that brought Egypt, under her Pharaonic reigns, to the top spot on the list of civilizations. Congruent attitudes, social organisation and culture made Egypt’s success possible while the rest of the world at the time were hunter-gatherers.
Boldness in the context of this piece therefore implies the ability to see into the future and take steps that can define in astute terms the validity of it national attitudes, social organisations and cultures towards gaining what was seen. Boldness in the case of the Egyptians was their deep thinking coupled with a strong belief in the afterlife that resulted in building large and sustainable structures to last for countless centuries. These monuments were high enough for societal identification and deep enough for the safe-keeping of one man after his reign and demise. This in itself is boldness, doing things evidently disruptive, yet undone in any space or time.
The Greeks have a similar yet peculiar hold on civilization for they exert influence in bold terms through the development of city-states. Amazingly, the Greeks and Romans shaped architectural expressions as well building coliseums, fortresses, and impregnable castles that spell its culture and development. The Coliseums hosted gladiatorial matches for the pleasures of the citizens and for royalty. The development and rise of the Olympic Games which is by measured the largest sporting competition in the world today is a product of Greco-roman boldness and influence. The Greek influence is incomplete in my judgement without the mention of what today is the most accepted form of political administration: Democracy.
Boldness may be seen in the British Empire through its effort in the industrial revolution. It grew steadily to become ‘an empire where the risen sun never sets’. Her attitudes and beliefs built her a strong naval base that shaped the global perception of her great strength. Germans have done likewise in relation to the world, by increasing power after suffering the lover’s burden of two world wars. But then she went on to raise the bar in her industrial circle via automotive development, arms and power generation.
Ideas of egalitarian societies in the world are distinctly traceable to the French revolution of 1789 and that revolution was fuelled by the continuous political philosophies of men like JJ.Rosseau. The same unflinching practice of boldness has stirred development in China, Japan, UAE and Singapore in decades. Altogether, we have a global picture that bold actions indeed bring fortunes in quality measure especially with rise in knowledge, science and technology; states can take quantum leaps to become globally competitive through the development of her social organisations, national attitudes and culture driven by boldness.
Let’s bring Nigeria into the picture. As a nation what do we boldly assert on the global stage? The continuous development that we envisage and hope to come out of our nation by the indices of a large population, landmass, increasing human capital and untapped resources will only find fruition as we engage the process of solving problems with an aim to influence global trends over time. In recent times, the air has been saturated with news on the legality of same sex marriage. What every conservative society seem to be doing to saying no, instead of reinforcing their social organisations to resist such gruesome thoughts. The proponent of this thought is making it thick because it takes visibility to enhance sales. The sure response is not to find out how logical or otherwise some thoughts are but to reinforce social organisation, cultures and attitude with a boldness that makes it stand. China came out of the Iron curtain bold and a nation ready to compete with the rest of the world.
Nigeria’s possibilities to win the world over can only come through a concerted effort at doing things right. In subtle terms we have boldly sold corruption in our political and economic space. Surely we have better values to offer our people and the world at large. If the world indeed is a market space, mechanism for sales are fast improving, and we need to to make bold, and make hay while the sun is scorching hot.