About three hundred and fifty years ago, John Fletcher in his poem, ‘Upon an Honest Man’s Fortune’ said: “You that can look through the heaven, and tell the stars…find out my star, if each one, as you say , have this particular angel…your conjectures are all drunken things…man is his own star.”
It amazes me to know that John Fletcher, who lived in the 16th/17th century, had an intelligence quotient that greatly surpasses that of some of our so called 21st century beings. A 21st century man should know more, one would think, based on the plethora of information readily available to him. Maybe Fletcher was an exceptional erudite scholar of his time. Fletcher lived in the Jacobean era, infamous for its believe in sorcery and astronomy, yet he did not go on with the rave of the moment, he had a very distinct thought pattern.
Before I begin to bore you with my admiration for John Fletcher, I would like you to know that I am writing not to mock or deride some people’s ignorance, but to correct a wrong thought pattern that has incarcerated most people, Africans especially. We need a paradigm shift.
A few weeks ago, I was on my way home from work. After a very demanding day, all I sought was the succor accompanied with laying one’s stressed-out body on a comfy mattress. I got off the bus admiring the changes that had crept upon Ikorodu road. “Ikorodu is fast becoming a metropolis” I said to myself. As I turned searching eyes from left to right, admiring the new look of the road, suddenly I sighted a crowd of both men and women.
Standing in the middle of this crowd was a diminutive man, probably in his late 50s, holding to his mouth a device that looked like a strange wooden microphone. This man seemed to have totally dumbfounded his audience as they all gathered around him in awe. Although it’s common site to see people congregated for no-good reason in Ikorodu, there was something different about this crowd. They all looked as sedated as scolded toddlers.
Driven by curiosity I took a few steps closer. What was going on then became lucid. The queer man in the middle of the crowd was a fortuneteller otherwise called, Awo irawo in Yoruba. The people who gathered around him were ignorant humans who knew not that it’s no one’s job to tell one’s fortunes. In gullible submission they began to drop their sweat earned money, so a hungry dupe could tell them what their future holds. Carefully steering into their palms like a scientist would do to a microscope, he began to dash out lies to each and every one of them. I could see smiles on the faces of some, while others were at the verge of tears. The conceited man began to revel in his popularity and fame in places like Abeokuta, Ibadan and Oshogbo.
I shook my head feeling completely sorry for the masses in whom the country has ingrained insecurity. They do not know what tomorrow holds for them, they are curious to know their future, they are insecure. I do not blame them, rather I blame our society, it has placed so much value on materialism, hence the need to know their fate. I would like to end by reiterating Fletcher “Man is his own star, and that soul that can be honest is the only perfect man.”