“Omo ò jìyà, ó lóun gbón” has outlived its trueness (as a proverb insinuating that wisdom can only be borne by suffering). Wisdom is the end product of a man’s intercourse with information; not with adversity. You need a green paint while you only have blue and yellow. Now someone comes around, takes a cupful from each of the colours and mix them, and then you have green. Suffering didn’t teach him that, information did. Reported knowledge is information, and the ability to use information properly (or apply knowledge correctly) is wisdom, not number of years spent carrying bags of cement from one construction site to another as a labourer.
I have this rich friend I visit once in a while. We became friends after he read one of my books online. So, earlier this year when I was in his house, pressing phone and pretending to not be waiting for the food being prepared for me, his son of about nine years crawled up to me from behind the couch and said, “Uncle, dad said you’re a teacher. Please, what happens if there’s too much carbon in the air?”
I looked at him with furrowed brows. What’s the business of a nine-year-old with carbon in the air o? At his age, I was busy rolling tyres from Obabori to Atingisi with practically nothing in my head. I told him it’ll result in green house effect. He said he doesn’t know what that means. I began to explain retention of heat in the atmosphere, citing the polar ice caps melting, how global embrace of renewable energy could salvage the planet, and before I knew it, I was talking about climate change all guns blazing. His dad with a DSTV control in his hand made occasional contributions too, referencing the Australian forest fires and stuff. If they hadn’t brought food early that day, that boy would’ve continued to drill my ass. He already knew Greta Thunberg for God’s sake! All these expensive schools do teach these children well, I assure you. Meanwhile, a twenty-year-old Taye in Sidioke Community in an evil forest somewhere after Ondo State – weeding 2 hectares of farmland per day with a hoe – would think he is wiser than that boy on the basis that he has suffered more.
All the lessons you’ve learnt from your so called suffering, some people who had endured even worse had put them together as books, so that others won’t have to go through those moments before they understand the agony and lessons they can teach, plus how to avoid them entirely. So, where’s the edge you have?
When you sit among poor people, you’ll be surprised of how high they think of themselves in matters of being wise. They think rich people (and especially their children) are just fortunate and not as intelligent as they are. They also think they’re not as strong as they are. Well, about strength, that might be true. However, we should always remember that Anthony Joshua wasn’t raised by poor parents. Think about that.
Because Davido has come from a rich home, it’s difficult for some people to agree his success is an offspring of his smartness, they rather want us to accept that he’s only made it this far because of his father’s money. Okay, let’s assume you’ve also inherited similar wealth, do you think you can engage it creatively if you don’t have sense? If you were raised in the same atmosphere as Davido, does that automatically give you the ability to make hit songs? Money makes hustles easier, true. But because someone came from a rich family doesn’t have to mean he cannot be smart, or shouldn’t be, c’mon, stop fingering yourself.
Suffering is not the bringer of wisdom. Most of the stupid people I’ve met in my life have been ‘suffer-head’ people. When you suffer long enough, you become detached from reality as a sort of impulsive psychological defense mechanism to placate your soul. You see the world through the lens of your hardship and wrongly conclude you see things more clearly. Alas, on those plants where you see only thorns, flowers are also there. That’s what suffering does, you see? It kills the ability to see colours aside from that of fire, an incomplete way to see life. You don’t have resources to access knowledge like rich people yet somehow, you believe they cannot possibly be as wise as you are. Well, I’m going home.
– Lord eBay (and his random ruminations, 2020)