Feature Article of Thursday, 20 September 2012
Columnist: Mensah, Dominic
Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.
English engraver, illustrator, & poet (1757 - 1827)
In 1979, Octavio Paz- the deceased Mexican writer, poet, diplomat, and the winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature- asserted in a Newsweek interview that: "...love is becoming an abstraction...the soul has become a department of sex, and sex has become a department of politics. If our society is going to recover, we must recover this idea of love. But we can't go back to the early platonic and Christian ideals of love, because biology and modern science have changed things. Poets, artists, musicians, men of imagination have to find a new image of love, and that is the most important thing. If we don't find this, life is going to be a desert..." What did he mean? Please read on.
Now, in modern Ghana (Africa), in addition to the difficulty in defining love/relationship as noted above, there is another enemy perhaps more dangerous than the "brutishness" women accuse the men of, and that is the deception and display of economic success. I know things are not that different all over the world, but I can only comment on the scale of the situation in Ghana. In Ghana, some of our young women behave as if creating wealth from scratch with a worthy man is simply beneath their dignity. Instead they dream of and/or prefer Western utopia and comfort in the heat of Africa. They are ensnared by Western goods, turning themselves into greeds and sexual instruments in a mad indiscriminate scramble to acquire symbols of Western wealth. This group of women, thus, operate on the theme: There's no romance without finance. They live for the moment and regrettably, rely on unsteady and dynamic financial status instead of working towards a stable future and peaceful home by building on their own talents and the potential of worthy and well-meaning partners. And this coupled with poverty in Ghana, means piggish men with well-paid jobs and access to cars and flat/house are bound to take advantage of many women by using their status symbols as bait to attract “low” women in search of unearned material comfort. Of course, many men are guilty of this approach as well but the trouble with our men will be dealt in a subsequent article.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to be greeted daily with Facebook status updates of men announcing Ghanaian women are up to no good, gold diggers and non-marriageable. The wise among the ignorants and hypocrites in Ghana, however, can rest assured that Ghana doesn't lack virtuous women who are worthy of life-time dedication. I believe the wise, though the task of finding a worthy wife may be long and difficult, always finds that one noble lady, even if most of our ladies lived in whorehouses.
I maybe too optimistic- hardly my attitude- but I can assure our men that Ghana still has enough ladies with noble characters who out of CONVICTION have learned- and are still learning- long before they even considered dating and marriage the need for self-discipline, the values and and ability to postpone immediate gratification with the goal of sacrificing for their prospective family. God bless the guy who finds the lady who years before she even meets her soul-mate, takes the troubles and effort to cultivate a character of blissful elements: contentment, modesty, loyalty, compassion, industrious, steadfastness and self-sacrificing.
Hopefully, the guy who learns the values of goodness and wisdom, without being ignorant of his own vulnerability to passion and superficiality, would not find it impossible locating such a woman when it comes to this enterprise. Usually, a woman or man may be love/married for four reasons: property, status, beauty, and personality. Not all of these four are equally important. As far as marriage is concerned, what one ranks highest depends on what one considers important in life. The big question that remains is how does a man recognize and appreciate a good and marriageable lady, if he had not prior to meeting her taken the time and energy to be good himself?
Ghana, as I have already mentioned, has enough good women. One must, nevertheless, be good himself to recognize and appreciate a good woman. We are generally attracted to similar minded people and what we value in ourselves determine our choice of partners. The potential husband then has to learn to re-access his priorities and make choices along those lines. We need a value system that will guide us in living and making important choices in life. A lady who seeks to rest solely in material comfort as the basis of relationship is obviously not worthy of any man's love or attention; for as Bertrand Russell correctly observed decades ago, if love is to be able to mature to the goodness that it is capable of, it must be free, generous, unrestrained and wholehearted. If your relationship doesn't nurture your own or partner's spiritual growth, then it certainly is not worth your time and energy. Besides, no human relationship stands a chance of survival when cemented on ignorance of love and dynamic material comfort. A man graced with goodness, intelligence and wisdom needn't have difficulties locating one of the many virtuous women in Ghana. If these qualities are not important to you, you are more than welcome to amuse yourself with “low” women of which also, we also have enough in Ghana. Learn to find a a new image of love and/or relationship, how it develops, how it works, and why, on occasion, it doesn't work and you would avoid a whole class of promiscuous women.
Three centuries ago, Jean-Jacques Rousseau justifiably asserted that men always love what is good or what they find good. Unfortunately, he noted that it is in judging what is good that men go wrong. Here's the answer: "Do not show your poem to a non-poet." The simple truth is that you cannot see goodness in others if you are not good yourself. To recognize and appreciate a good woman, the man desiring a virtuous woman will remain blind to this group of women until he develops the insight and intelligence needed to recognize and appreciate the honorable woman of whom one could sing:
love of my life, I had been waiting all my life
to anoint and baptize myself into your love.
I live in the hope of making your happiness my ambition.
I desire nothing in life but the absolute aspiration to love you;
you are that significant one in my life.
your body and soul kept so pure
drive away deception out of my conscious;
your breath and kiss so fragrant and refined sweeten my being.
Like a flower, my love, you have taken over
the sanctuary of my heart. Am I not blessed to have you?