A Way to Cleanse Our Minds

August 31 , 2019
By Habtamu Girma Demiessie ( Habtamu Girma Demiessie, an assistant professor of economic policy analysis at JigJiga University’s College of Business and Economics. )

Dreaming of an Ethiopia free of social, economic, political and environmental woes is not a mere wish, but something that can be achieved by pursuing natural justice and following its adage that “extremes are bad”, writes Habtamu Girma Demiessie , an assistant professor of economic policy analysis at JigJiga University’s College of Business and Economics.

This piece was first developed six years ago, but its essence and content seemed untimely for publication. Perhaps, the reason was that in those days, the rule of the game in the Ethiopian system of governance was less human-centered. At this time, when the pillar of governance has reverted somewhat to humanistic values, such topics are attracting attention to the state of politics. It was inspired following the recent symposium hosted by the Prime Minister at his office in the National Palace on how to cleanse Ethiopia from a tide of negative energy upsetting dialogue on the national agenda. It can be considered a personal contribution on why and how upholding natural law is a way to cleanse minds and spirits to make for civilized dialogue on public affairs.

When I listen to the calls of nature, I hear the screams from all creatures. Maybe we feel and lend our ears to the human grief only. However, unable to speak out their suffering in words does not mean the fauna and flora are passive. A deeper look into the world entails they rather are showing their suffering in action, calling for a fair world where no life flourishes at the expense of the other, a world which is just not only for humankind, but also for all of life. They call for the fair allocation of resources in a way that may not affect the health of other living things. We can realise such a world, at least in Ethiopia. We can make Ethiopia a fair land where all creatues can find universal happiness and prosperity.

Dreaming of an Ethiopia free of social, economic, political and environmental woes is not a mere wish. To realise a country where joy, hope and prosperity are in abundance requires every Ethiopian to understand nature - its rules and working principles. I consider this a necessary condition. Ethiopians ought to get ready to sense life to the fullest. And I dubbed this a sufficient condition. This requires passion and determination to practice the dictates of nature and applying its rules, which should be considered as an essential virtue of human beings.

What is nature all about? The simple answer is that nature is reality. Nature is a supreme force meant to maintain the healthy workings of the world, where all life fetches its fair share from natural peace. Through its interrelated and sophisticated rules and principles, nature defines and governs all aspects of the lives of all creatures. The most important governing rules of nature are: extremes are bad; self-interest is inherent in human nature; believe in natural justice; and existence of every creature is for a purpose.

Disrespect for the rules of nature is the mother of all woes in all areas of life. We can cleanse ourselves from all these evils once we get nature right by showing the will and courage to live by natural laws.

The social chaos that filled our country would get a cure by understanding that extremes are bad and following natural justice. The former calls every one to be moderate in their social transactions, while the latter connotes that everyone is rewarded based on their effort only. It refers to the Golden Rule: "do unto others what you would like others to do unto you." This belief is a force behind shaping human conduct, as it helps develop moral and ethical values that are paramount in curbing social problems like jealousy, corruption, theft and other social maladies.

A pursuit for a fairer economic order also requires formulating a proper rule of the game in economic transactions, in other words, mapping for a proper economic system. In molding the behaviors of people in their economic transactions, it is important to realise that people enjoy their material wellbeing better if they cater to the principles of rational selfishness (individualism proper) and business simplicity.

Individualism is just people maximizing happiness. According to individualism proper, the way to achieve happiness is through a material-spiritual calculus instead of a pleasure-pain calculus. Contrary to the conventional definition of individualism, which focuses only on material assets, individualism proper connotes both material and spiritual assets. Therefore, the motive behind individualism lies not in the realm of material gain only, but also in spiritual elements too.

In the process of realising a happy society, business simplicity is another important philosophical line that people ought to adopt to achieve material and emotional wellbeing. That is how people embrace the teachings of spiritual virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude, justice and humility in their economic life.

Business simplicity means a new kind of economy that is growing in the world with healthy and sustainable products and services of all kinds (home building materials, energy systems, food production and transportation).

A system of economic governance that appreciates the very nature of humankind, and takes into consideration the changing realities and unique features of communities, is one that will deliver a better wellbeing.

PUBLISHED ON Aug 31,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1009]

Habtamu Girma Demiessie, an assistant professor of economic policy analysis at JigJiga University’s College of Business and Economics.

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