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The flawed nature of humans

“Judgment of our friends ought to be suspected when they are in favour of ourselves” – Rene Descartes (1659 – 1650)

We are as humans, endowed with the abundance of prejudice; and which like reason is by nature equally distributed among all of us; it however manifest in varying degrees. None of us can with all conviction claim to possess no such quality which is consistent in the psychological make-up of man. Our history in South Africa is a history where race was and has always been the factor that inspired overt display and practice of prejudices. Perhaps it would be doing disservice to this subject if I was to omit the truth about what in all probability gave confidence to the architects of apartheid to see themselves as being superior to the native sons and daughters of the soil. The holy scriptures are not without account of the gross subjugation of the rights of those who were, and even in modern day, still are considered lesser human by those who saw and continue to see themselves as the superior race. None of the holy scriptures condemn, in whatever form, the repulsive practice of enslaving others and ruling over them as inhuman subjects and offending their dignity. Christianity, as was common among Dutch settlers, became the religion out of which the repression of others gained traction.

It is predictable that those who desire validation of delusions of grandeur about themselves will seek unwise counsel of those most close to them; those possessing favourable prejudices. History is littered with men of dictatorial tendencies; who instead of surrounding themselves with men of robust constitution and independent thought, yielded to the temptation of having those who hold them in highest esteem in all matters, including those matters requiring critical examination; validating even the absurd without reservation. It is these weak men who nourish the narcissistic disposition of those who by nature or debt to their unfortunate circumstances lack self-esteem.

South Africans, particularly those against whose ancestral history is unfavourable, are adept in claiming no possession of any form of prejudice, while the reality is that we are all sprinkled with an equal measure of bigotry. It is disingenuous for anyone to claim to be beyond the psychological make-up of humans in general. We elect unconsciously not by our own accord to harbour such prejudices; these are almost always born of the unfavourable life experience of the past. How often have we judged others based on assumptions we have about them?


  • Sentletse Diakanyo

    Sentletse Diakanyo's blogs may contain views on any subject which may upset sensitive readers. Parental guidance is strongly advised.