This essay tried to understand the psychology of ancient prophets. It says that those were people who had a dogged inner compulsion to state the truth as they saw it, often to the harm of their physical being.
It says that those people had nothing to gain from stating the truth yet they had a compulsion to state the truth. The average person is pragmatic and does what enables him survive and cannot understand why prophets do what they do and call them fools and
or mad men.
NOW I UNDERSTAND THE PSYCHOLOGY THE PROPHETS OF GOD
(The Psychology of Prophets)
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
Now I understand how the Jewish prophets were able to be dogged in their pursuit of the truth. They would defy threats to their lives and defy so-called powerful persons and state the truth as they saw
it regardless of whose interests were affected.
Many of those Prophets were called mad men and in fact many of them were killed by a people that did not want to listen to the truth, a people that insisted on behaving in egoistic fashion while fancying
The typical normal person is very conscious of the power calculus in his society and says what would not bring him into trouble with the powers that be in his world; the so-called rational person does
not do what would alienate those that could make life difficult for him, or even kill him.
Moreover, the average person is motivated to be accepted by members of his group and fears rejection by them; he is scared shitless by the prospects of being rejected by his people. He would do anything
to get his people to accept him, including telling lies on their behalf, or going to war for them and kill and get killed. People are afraid of existential aloneness for that generates anxiety in them; they find solace in the womb of society.
On the other hand, certain people, from whom prophets of God spring up, feel the urge to state the truth as they see it so compulsively that they risk everything in the process. These people go for
broke; it is as if they cannot help themselves but must obsessively state the truth to a world that insists on untruth, a world that insists on living in darkness rather than living in the light (to live in the light is to love all people).
I did not understand this phenomenon until it played out in my own life. I am Igbo. I completely understand Igbos case against Nigerians. I was a kid at Lagos when Nigerians began killing Igbos. My
parents ran to Port Harcourt, where I began secondary school. I was a precocious kid and was extremely aware of the suffering that Nigerians put Igbos through. Indeed, my own senior brother, a lad that just out of secondary school (Hussey College, Warri) was
killed by Nigerians. My mother was hurt by an air raid in our village in 1969. Simply put, I am fully informed on Igbo angst against Nigerians. I could share it.
Instead of sharing their complaint I came out full throttle and talked about what is wrong with Igbos. Many of them were shocked that an Igbo could take what to them seemed a hostile attitude towards
Igbos. They wondered if I am Igbo, if I was not a Hausa or Yoruba masquerading as Igbo. They threw everything at me (in Hillary Clinton’s language, they threw the kitchen sink at me).
Nothing they did stopped me. Some took to talking about me as failure in life. Really? In secondary school leaving examinations I had only one B, the rest As. Just about all the prestigious universities
in Nigeria admitted me but I opted to go to the USA and attended the then prestigious University of California (which at that point was ranked higher than Harvard...I was admitted by the Ivy leagues for graduate education but opted for the teaching fellowship
offered by my Alma Mata).
So I am a failure with PhD in my twenties, eh? So I was a failure a university professor before age thirty, eh? Your idea of success must come from out of space!
Even obvious Igbo dunces who could not write in complete sentences called me a failure! These folks cannot be given the types of jobs (and high positions) that I have done in America.
These folks could not discredit me by calling me a failure. If the idea is to look into my family background no Igbo person came from a better family than mine. My kindred, the Umuamadioha, are the high
priests of Amadioha. Indeed, at age 8 I was made the current “Onye Ishi Amadioha”. I am therefore from the best of the best of Igbos and no Igbo can claim to come from a better class than I am.
Trying to get at me, since the prefix to my surname has the term osu in it, these folks took to calling me Osu. Igbos have a dreaded social class called Osus (literally slaves). Unfortunately for them the term osu in my name means the servant of God. We are
the servants of God, the priests of God. Indeed, it was my ancestors and their priestly class that had the osus, the slaves they called me. Those folks were used to do our farm; they worked for us so that we had the time to concentrate on our priestly duties.
I do not feel proud that we had osus; the relevant point is that my family is the first in the class of Dialas, free born. Thus, to call me osu by ignorant folk who do
not even understand Igbo culture is at best amusing.
I took on all Igbo comers and kept saying what seemed to me to be the truth about them. Every which way Igbos turned I came at them with my sword of truth. I could not leave any of them room to be foolish.
I just kept at them until the most they could say is that I hate myself, that I hate Africans, that I hate black folks.
I hate me, really? Do you know what self-hatred is or are you just mouthing rubbish? As a college student I was lucky for every summer I had a few thousand dollars spending money and generally travelled.
I have been to all Western European countries. I remember when I was twenty two in Rome and visiting the Vatican. I was violently angry at the Catholic Church for my mind was flooded by all the injustices the Church did to folks, especially the inquisition,
what they did to my heroes such as Giordano Bruno and Galileo. I actually spit in Saint Paul’s cathedral and walked out in anger. In London I visited Buckingham palace thinking to me: so here the oppressors live while screwing the poor, eh? In Paris and Versailles
I marveled at how the Kings of France lived in luxury while the poor ate grass and if I had the opportunity I would be the one pulling the guillotine that chopped off the beautiful neck of Marie Antoinette so that she ate her cake. In Washington DC, I visited
the White House (then Ronald Reagan lived there) and I was hoping for an opportunity to see him (he was then engaged in what he called constructive engagement with South Africa) and tell him what an ape he was for supporting apartheid.
I have just completed an eight part series on African Americans, a fifty five page material, all done in a week, in the mornings before I left for work, a feat that the most talented blacks would take
months if not years to accomplish.
I have written enough on what is wrong with the white man, agreeing with the black psychologist, Bobby Wright that he seems a sociopath, that the average black man, often a bloody coward, cannot understand
how I have remained alive and unhurt by the criminals in white governments.
Self-hatred? I do not hate myself. I do not pay attention to skin color. I would not say that I love black color and hate white color. Body and its color mean nothing to me; what matters to me is the
spirit in people.
However, if self-love means loving everything in one’s culture then I gladly accept the epithet of self hate.
I have examined must cultures that I am aware of (I did my dissertation on Japan’s management psychology and had to study Japanese history and culture to do that) and decided that they evolved over the
years and have good and bad aspects of them. I am not obligated to accept any of them just because they belong to my people. I choose and pick what is good in any culture and accept what I want.
I accept only what I call SCIENTIFIC CULTURE, a culture based on pure reason and empiricism; a culture based on the scientific method (plus the unknown aspects of being).
I am not interested in what folks call Igbo culture, Nigerian culture, and African culture and black American culture except in so far that they square with pure reason and science. I do not belong to
any culture just to make me feel like I belong to a group.
Unfortunately, science is currently mostly the preserve of Europeans and those who choose it would seem to choose the European way of life. So be it.
I am at home in European philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, Epictetus, Seneca, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius’, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Erasmus, Anselm, Francis Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Berkeley,
Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, Pascal, Leibnitz, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bergson, William James).
I am at home in science (Copernicus, Galileo, Huygens, Tyco Brahe, Kepler, Newton, Boyle, Dalton, Michael Faraday, Thomas Young, James Clark Maxwell, Boltzmann, J.J. Thomson, Pierre and Marie Curie,
Max Planck, Einstein, Rutherford, Bohr, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Pauli, Dirac, Meitner, Otto Han, Strassman, Fermi, Oppenheimer, Friedman, Lemaitre, Hubble, Gamow, Hoyle, Wheeler, Murray Gel-Mann, Lavoisier, Laplace, Mendel, Flaming, Pauline, Francis Crick,
James Watson and others).
This is who I am and am not going to change to conform to some irrational world view just to please some folks taking pride in their peoples unscientific view of phenomena.
The salient point in all these is that my dogged insistence on saying what is wrong with Igbos when they would want me to say only what is good with them has finally led me to understand the psychology
of ancient prophets.
Igbos have called me every god awful name they could muster but I was not dissuaded. They even called me mad even as I make my living diagnosing the mad and providing them with what treatment there is
given our current limited understanding of the human brain.
I guess that all those who speak the truth must at some point be called mad by egotists who want to be left alone to behave like evil egos while imagining themselves good persons. The devil (hate) calls
Christ (love) Satan! I am in good company: the company of truth Sayers called mad.
There are people who are motivated to articulate the truth as they see it and must do so regardless of what others say or do to them.
I now know that I belong to this class of people, as our people deemed me to belong to when at age eight they selected me as their high priest. I have played the role as I am supposed to play it.
And the funny part of it all is that on the whole I could care less for Igbo or African issues; what motivates me is pure science, not talk about African issues.
Yet, I had to do the bit I was destined to do to help liberate Igbos from their uncalled for arrogance and tendency to insult their fellow Nigerians hence invite their attack and when attacked pretend
to be innocent persons.
I am the most Igbo patriot but these people do not know it! A person out to prevent further massacre of Igbos is seen as a hater of Igbos; how amazing are human dumbness. Igbos put other Nigerians down
and other Nigerians hate them for doing so; all I did was ask them not to put other Nigerians down and tried to explain to them why they have a need to put folks down. If they stop insulting Nigerians, Nigerians would stop hating them and stop killing them.
My lesson for Igbos and all people is that we must all learn to respect and love each other. That is always the clarion call of the prophets of God: they tell us that we are all children of one God, one
family and ask us to love and respect each other.
Love makes our world a beautiful and peaceful place; hate makes our world a conflicted place, a world at war with itself.
I have done what the prophets of God do, ask folks to love and respect one another and point out unloving behaviors in people’s part.
Like they did to ancient prophets, folks hated me for telling them what is wrong with their behaviors, for as egos they are motivated to see themselves as angels, while behaving like Satan.
They would rather I closed my eyes to their egoistic behaviors and instead tell them how great they are (they want to see themselves as important and great, as all egos want to do).
Any unloving behavior, regardless of what the person you hate did to you, is evil behavior. Evil is any behavior that does not love all children of God.
Yes, Nigerians did hurt Igbos; indeed, they hurt my own family, but we must forgive them and love them regardless of what they did to us.
Forgiveness of the past and love in the present is all that God asks all of us to do. Hatred is never allowed for the children of God.
If you choose to hate and rationalize your hatred with the hate given to you in the past you have taken yourself out of the house of God and must now be brought right back in by being told to repent
of your hatred (your sin) and learn to love (sinlessness); you must forgive the past and correct present anti-social human behaviors (love does not condone evil).
Some folks ask me: why did you refuse to talk about what Nigerians did to harm Igbos; why did you choose to dwell on what Igbos did wrong, not what they did right; why did you ignore the part played
by other Nigerians in the Igbo dilemma. That is a good question.
For a starter, many Igbos are already telling us about what Nigerians have done to harm them so I would not be adding anything to their earful of complaints. Moreover, dwelling on what other folks did
to hurt you does not make them stop hurting you.
Other people’s behaviors are not within your control. What is within your control, what you can change is your own behavior.
One is best served to concentrate on one’s own behavior and leave what one cannot control, other folks behaviors to them. Sure, Nigerians have issues that they have to work on. If they do not know
that then they are fools. Just look at their house, has it not fallen down? Is there a more corrupt country on planet earth than Nigeria? So, why are they so corrupt? They have a lot to study about their issues and work to improve them. I concentrate on my
behavior, on what I can control and talk about those.
I am Igbo and I can understand Igbo behaviors and work on improving negative aspects of them. I leave it to other folks to delineate their folk’s negative behaviors and show them how to improve them.
If Igbos remove their neurotic compulsion to seem superior to other people, do not degrade other people in their quest for false superiority (all people are the same and equal) and simply worked hard
for the good of all people around them and loved all people they would become the superstars they want to become, and do so without alienating their neighbors.
My goal is to enable Igbos attain their goal of great achievements and do so in a healthy manner; that is, without insulting other folks.
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
May 4, 2012