You are here: HomeWallSayIt Loud2003 03 01GHANA IS CULTURALLY BANKRUPT A Challenge to Our N (Ify)

Say It Loud


2003-03-01 06:39:41

When a man, a business corporation or an entire society is approaching bankruptcy, there are two courses that those involved can follow:

(1) they can evade the reality of their situation and act on a frantic, blind, range-of-the-moment expediency, not daring to look ahead, wishing no one would name the truth, yet desperately hoping that something will save them somehow........or

(2) they can identify the situation, check their premises, discover their hidden assets and start rebuilding.

Ghana, at present, is following the first course. The gray-ness, the stale cynicism, the noncommittal cautiousness, the guilty evasiveness of our public voices suggest the attitude of the courtiers in the story ?The Emperor?s New Clothes? who professed admiration for the Emperor?s non-existent garments, having accepted the assertion that anyone who failed to perceive them was morally depraved at heart.Let me be the child in the story and declare that the Emperor is naked,or that Ghana is culturally bankrupt.

In any given period of history, a culture is to be judged by its dominant philosophy, by the prevalent trend of its intellectual life as expressed in morality, in politics, in economics, in art. Professional intellectuals are the voice of a culture and are, therefore, its leaders, its integrators and its bodyguards. Ghana's intellectual leadership has collapsed. Her virtues, her values, her enormous power are scattered in a silent underground and will remain private, subjective, historically impotent if left without intellectual expression. Ghana is a country without voice or defense,a country sold out and abandoned by her intellectual bodyguards.

Everybody seems to agree that Ghana is facing a crisis, but nobody cares to define its nature, to discover its cause and to assume the responsibility of formulating a solution. In times of danger, a morally healthy culture rallies its values, its self-esteem and its crusading spirit to fight for its moral ideals with full, righteous confidence. But this is not what we see today. If we ask our intellectual leaders what are the ideals we should fight for, their answer is such a sticky puddle of apologetic generalities about brother love,global progress and universal prosperity at donor?s expense.

What we need most urgently is to recognize the enormous power and the crucial importance of the intellectual professions. A culture cannot exist without a constant stream of ideas and the alert, independent minds who originate them; it cannot exist without a philosophy of life, without those who formulate it and express it. A country without intellectuals is like a body without a head. And that is precisely the position of Ghana today. Our present state of cultural disintegration is not maintained and prolonged by intellectuals as such, but by the fact that we haven?t any. The majority of those who posture as intellectuals today are frightened zombies, posturing in a vacuum of their own making, who admit their abdication from the realm of the intellect by embracing such doctrines as Existentialism and Non-Conformism.

I am off to Vienna, Austria and will back on Wednesday. Have a wonderful weekend.

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