PANACEA TO NIGERIAN PREDICAMENTS IN THE LIGHT OF SOREN KIERKEGAARD’S AUTHENTIC EXISTENCE

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Product Code: 00001357

No of Pages: 69

No of Chapters: 5

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE      …………….…..ii

CERTIFICATION    ………………..iii

DEDICATION     ………….……..iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT  …………….…..v

TABLE OF CONTENT           ………………..vii

INTRODUCTION    …………………x

 

 

CHAPTER ONE 

PROBLEM AND BACKGROUND

1.1     Purpose of the study   …………………..1

1.2     Statement of the problem      …………………..3

1.3     Scope of the study        ………………….6

1.4     Methodology         ………………….6

 

CHAPTER TWO 

2.0  General Review on Existentialism and its emergence   ………….………8

2.1   Historical Development    ………………….10

2.2   Human Condition      …………………13

2.3 Freedom and Responsibility     …………………15

2.4 Everyday Existence, Anxiety and Guilt  …………18

2.5   Authencity             …………………20

2.6   The Individual Subject   …………….……24

 

CHAPTER THREE

3.0 AUTHENTIC EXISTENCE IN KIERKEGAARD…………27

3.1     The Aesthetic Stage   …………………28

3.2     The Ethical Stage  …………………29

3.3     Religious Stage        …………………30

 

CHAPTER FOUR 

4.0     NIGERIA PARADOX    ………..…………33        

4.1     Politics   …………………36

4.2     Economy      ………………...39

4.3     Education     …………………41

4.4     Religion        ………….……..43

4.5     Corruption    ………………..46

 

CHAPTER FIVE 

5.0     CHALLENGES OF AUTHENTIC LIVING  ………47

5.1     Restoration of Nigerian Politics   ……………..52

5.2 Cultivation of honesty and self-reliance.   …..55      

5.3     Existential Approach   ………………..58

5.4     Evaluation and Conclusion    …………….…..60   

BIBLIOGRAPHY          …………….…..63        

 
 
 
INTRODUCTION

It is an apparent danger in the existence of modern man that abstraction is substituted for reality. The truth of uniqueness of each man and the various situations of life where one cannot but make a personal choice and decision, compel on man the need to authenticate his being.


It is then pertinent at this time, when there is not only a loss of personal identity but morestill a total flaw of existence in our country, to pin-point what authentic life should be. Hence, a Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard has done a mastery work of authenticating one’s existence, becoming an individual instead of being swallowed up in appraisal of untrue crowd.

It is only in the conviction and actual practice of this, that a better Nigeria free from political instability, economic malaise, and religious conflicts will give way to a genuine life for the people and then to Nigeria as a nation.

Thus in the five chapters of this project, we are going to see how an individual can be in the public yet remain himself. Chapter one comprises a general introduction to the work. It starts with displaying the problems of inauthentic living in our country which instigated the choice of this project. Chapter two delves into different facets of one of the philosophical movements, viz existentialism, through which I intend to proffer some solutions to our predicaments. The next chapter is a presentation of existentialism in the work of the founder, Soren Kierkegaard. Chapter four dwells more on our Nigerian situation, exposing the evils seem in her different systems. The last chapter is blending and analytic in nature. It is a synthesis of authentic existence juxtaposed with our Nigerian predicament. In doing that, it suggests that authentic living which is the desire of every country would be realized in the light of existentialism when we embrace its tenets.








                                                        CHAPTER ONE

1.0 PROBLEM AND BACKGROUND

1.1 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

        It was Martin Heidegger in his Being and Time, who changed the course of study laid down by his predecessors who were more interested in autonomous sciences. He set out to revive philosophy, not only of the problem of man but also that of ‘Being’. It is also the view of anthropologists that the study of man be given a central place in existence. They hold that all that exist is directed towards the explanation, understanding and well-being of man.

       However, man is far from realizing the plans made for him, when he demotes himself as one of the ‘thrown objects’ of Spinoza. Thus, the conscious realization of man as regards his place in the world will qualify him as not just ‘being-there’ as posited by Heidegger but more of an independent being capable of making choices as well as being responsible for them. It then behooves on man, the need to assert his existence in an authentic form. Having realized his being as one placed in charge of all other things according to Genesis account of creation, he must seek a way of giving meaning to his personal life. This constitutes the main purpose of this work.

Furthermore, man’s existential struggle and facts of life (grenz-situationen) daily unveil to him the more need to be personally responsible for his life. It is this background acting as the anti-thesis that provides for him the thesis of transcending the ‘crowd mentality’ to the awareness that he is but an individual. As a result, he sought to explain the world from his own person instead of the crowd. Here rests the importance of self-formation, not just for the sake of others but also for one’s personal life.

It has been said that cultivation of citizens is the fertile ground for that of a nation. A glance at the occasional situations of unrest in our country cannot but reveal the extent of our existential doldrums. The polity, economy, religion, etc are nothing without the existence and activity of man.

Bearing this in mind, it then means that our problems lie primarily in cultivation of people because as Plato had it, a non-philosopher leader is not worthy of being the leader; a non cultivated leader is nothing but canker-worm to any society.

Primarily one should be good in himself in other to radiate goodness unto others, for nobody gives what he has not. The same applies to those in the helm of affairs, be that religion, economy, education, etc, they should be cultivated to live as authentic being before they can lead others well. (With this, we Nigerians shall come to the realization of our potentials, extricate ourselves from European colonialization, modernized in form of trade union where they dictate the stand of our products.) Hence, if the ruler and the ruled in Nigeria live genuine and existential life, malaise of any sort will give way to a more responsible life. Then is the aim of this work realized.

1.2  STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

It is over-laboring the obvious if one should ask what the problem is. It is experienced right under everybody’s nose. In politics, our leaders do not heed to the basic unwritten law that their private interest should not come in conflict with that of the public. We have experienced series of political crisis, economic malaise, social instability, and even religious upheaval.

 ‘The fact that every where in the world, Nigerians are generally feared like mad dogs, dreaded like criminals, cautiously approached like dangerous snakes and watchfully avoided like lepers’[1] is a glaring prove of the extent of our problem.

It was John Stuart Mill who said that ‘it is a crime, punishable by law to bring a child into the world without giving him a necessary education’[2]. If education is left only in the hands of the few, what then becomes the fate of the future generation? Definitely, we shall not meet up with knowledge which Francis Bacon said is power. The widespread ‘okada’ syndrome, conductor and driving profession, increasing number of hawkers, etc, that are mainly taken up by youths who should be in the school and under the guidance of the state, undoubtedly unmask deadly canker worm in the bones of our society.

Professor C.B. Okolo underlined ‘squandermania mentality’[3] as the central problem of our country. This he defined as a situation whereby every Tom, Dick and Harry develops a passive consumerism rather than productive attitude to issues. Our leaders, just like their citizens, are mostly preoccupied with the here and now that they fail to see beyond the immediate satisfaction and interest of the moment. As a result, there is no provision for the future and its generation.  An immersion into the world of ‘now’ shows some kind of resistance to pain and discipline needed today for a better tomorrow.

 

Another problem that is associated with this is alienation and marginalization of oneself. Authentic life has to do with being oneself and having freedom either to choose or reject something. Because of the absence of this awareness, people do not even recognize what is their right and position in the society. We tend to project our problems as caused by the westerners or others. We alienate ourselves from our resources and the revenue that accrue from them.

 

Unemployment has even affected the enlightened class. What then is the stand of uneducated? It is not uncommon to find grown-ups with negative orientation that is dangerous for our society. As a result of the hard situation, one makes up his mind to take the risk of life, which will either see him out of his pitiable situation or face the wrath of infringing the law of the state. The fact that criminals, drug barons, prostitutes, etc, are on the increase is not unconnected with this.

1.3 METHOD AND SCOPE OF STUDY

My task in this project is not to review or reinterpret the work of existentialists or Soren Kierkegaard precisely, but more of a synthesis, sieving, abstraction, mediation on the hinge points of existentialism, with that of Kierkegaard and then juxtaposing it with our country’s predicament. It is in this synthetic work that I will arrive at a more practical ways of curbing these problems.

 Precisely, I am to make use of Soren Kierkegaard’s individual authentic existence in which he not only takes cognizance of the individual but also his genuine relationship with the crowd, search for ultimate good and meaning of life. Morestill, I do not intend going theocentric, rather a search to fill the deep chasm in man by personalizing the objective truth in every individual person.

 

It is the thought of Paul Ricoeur and Hans Gadamer that before a background, there must be a foreground, for no one speaks from nowhere. Similarly, this project is set up because of some problems. It begins with the background and the problems that led to the emergence of existentialism. The various thoughts of existentialists are not left out, and then follow Kierkegaard’s works and contributions. A review of Nigerian situation is followed by some restorative measures. Finally comes, the evaluation and conclusion.

 



[1] John Okwoeze Odey, The Paradox Of A Nation (Enugu, Snaap Press, 2003) p. 10

[2] Ekwutosi C.M, Freedom and determinism (unpublished lecture), 2006

[3] B.C Okolo. Squandermania Mentality: A reflection of Nigerian Situation ( Nsukka: University Press 1990)

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