Cultural Wisdom In The Age Of Individualism: A Tongue-In-Cheek Defense Of Tradition

By Steve Biko Wafula / Published February 17, 2024 | 5:20 pm



Youth opportunities

Ah, the modern era, where the wisdom of ages is reduced to quaint anecdotes, and the idea of marrying within one’s tribe is scoffed at like a superstition from the Dark Ages. “Embrace diversity,” they say, “discard those archaic customs,” they urge as if the ancestors plotted our misery through cultural practices. Yet, here we stand, a testament to the chaos of ignoring ancestral wisdom, navigating through a society where the fabric of stability is as sturdy as a house of cards in a hurricane.

The Folly of Individualism: As we ridicule culture, adopting individualism with the zeal of a convert, we find ourselves ensnared in problems that our ‘enlightened’ minds cannot unravel. “If a man’s heart be impure, all things will appear hostile to him.” So says an ancient Asian proverb, highlighting our current predicament where, in discarding unity for individualism, we’ve invited a host of societal ills we’re ill-equipped to solve.

The Soaring Divorce Rates are higher than ever, because why endure when one can simply escape? The convenience of quitting has replaced the virtue of perseverance. “It is better to bend than to break,” whispers the wisdom of the past, ignored by those who prefer the ease of separation to the effort of resolution.

The Rise of Gender-Based Violence: A symptom of a culture that has lost its bearings, preferring the loud chaos of discord to the quiet strength of harmony. “When the roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind,” but alas, we’ve uprooted ourselves from the steadying soil of our cultures.

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The Epoch of Single Parenthood: Single mothers and fathers proliferate, warriors in a battle where support is scarce, and the village that once raised the child is now just a memory. “It takes a village to raise a child,” but what happens when the village is just a collection of isolated individuals?

The Labyrinth of Step Relations: Stepchildren, stepmothers, stepfathers – a testament to the complexity of modern relationships, where family trees resemble mazes. “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and yet, we persist in dividing ours, celebrating our ‘progress’ with every splintered branch.

The Shadow of Incest: A dark consequence of a society that has blurred lines and boundaries, forgetting that “not all that is gold glitters,” and not all kinship should lead to kinship.

Tribal Marriages: A Forgotten Elixir: Laughed off as outdated, yet, marrying within one’s tribe offered a mosaic of shared stories, beliefs, and practices – a shared narrative that bound individuals stronger than any law could.

The Dismissal of Cultural Marriages: Today, we chase the novel at the cost of nurturing, forgetting that “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.” We forsake the certainty of cultural compatibility for the uncertainty of exotic unions, often finding ourselves lost in translation.

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The Chaos of Modern Matrimony: Where marriages are as stable as a house on quicksand, we’ve discarded the compass of our cultures, navigating the treacherous waters of matrimony with a broken oar.

The Illusion of ‘Advanced’ Cultures: We’ve adopted foreign customs with the eagerness of a child in a candy store, not realizing that “all that glitters is not gold.” In our rush towards wokeness, we’ve slept on the wisdom that once guided us.

The Mirage of Cultural Superiority: Believing ourselves too enlightened for the ‘primitive’ ways of our ancestors, we’ve ended up like the blind leading the blind, in desperate need of the very guidance we scorn.

The Spectre of Cultural Amnesia: We stand on the brink, risking the loss of our identities in the melting pot of modernity, forgetting that “a tree without roots is just a piece of wood.”

The Call to Re-embrace Culture: It is not a call to regress but to remember that “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Our cultures, rich in wisdom and insight, offer the blueprint for a society that values unity, respect, and stability.

The Wisdom of Ancestral Guidance: Our forebears navigated the complexities of life with a fraction of our resources but a wealth of communal wisdom. “We stand on the shoulders of giants,” yet we often choose to crawl instead of soar.

The Urgency of Cultural Revival: As we face the consequences of our cultural amnesia, let us remember that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” May that step be a return to the embrace of our cultures, to the wisdom that once guided our ancestors through storms of change. In the vast garden of humanity, let us not be weeds that drift with the wind, but rather, trees that stand firm, rooted in the rich soil of our cultures.

As the adages of our Asian and Arabian forebears remind us, the true strength of a society lies not in its ability to discard the old in pursuit of the new, but in its capacity to weave the wisdom of the past into the fabric of the present. “Only when we know where we’ve come from can we understand where we are going,” so let us not scorn the past but learn from it, embracing our cultures as the compass that guides us through the tumult of modern life.

In a world where the allure of individualism tempts us towards isolation, let us remember that “the bundle of sticks is unbreakable.” Our cultures, with their rich tapestries of tradition, belief, and practice, offer not chains that bind us but roots that ground us, wings that enable us to fly higher and see farther than we ever could alone.

So, in jest and with love, let this be a call to action: to embrace the beauty of our diverse cultures, to find unity in our shared humanity, and to rebuild the village it takes to raise not just a child, but an entire society. For in the end, “the fragrance of the flower is never borne against the breeze, but the scent of human kindness spreads in all directions.”

And to those who still scoff at the idea of marrying within one’s tribe or culture, remember this: in a world obsessed with the novel, sometimes the most revolutionary act is to honor the old. After all, “in the laughter of the water lies the wisdom of the sea,” and in the echoes of our ancestors’ voices, we find the path to our true north. Let us walk it together, with our cultures as our guide, and perhaps, just perhaps, we’ll find that the future we’ve been searching for was nestled in our past all along.

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About Steve Biko Wafula

Steve Biko is the CEO OF Soko Directory and the founder of Hidalgo Group of Companies. Steve is currently developing his career in law, finance, entrepreneurship and digital consultancy; and has been implementing consultancy assignments for client organizations comprising of trainings besides capacity building in entrepreneurial matters.He can be reached on: +254 20 510 1124 or Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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