I gave a livid cough trying to transmute the silence that was hovering over us as if each expected doom to appear dressed like a persecuted angel. “Hogwash,” I thought to myself, “Not worth my time.” I squared my eyes on the speaker determined to prove him wrong. “What kind of profane mind would ever come up with such an unbelievable story?” I huffed. “I definitely should have stayed in bed!” This was a story I almost laughed at out loud and found it very foolish that someone would even think it, boy was I wrong.
As the story goes, three people fell sick. One was African, one Asian and one a European. Seemingly, they had the same symptoms: a running stomach, headache, vomiting and diarrhoea.
“Where can I find proof of what you are actually plundering on about?” I wanted to shout, my arrogant self pleased with herself that I actually knew it all and was way better than the blubbering fool in front of me. My pride, I must say, was not something to contend with at the moment.
“The world is an illusion. What you believe is what appears to be yet that is not really it in reality, though it becomes your reality ultimately if that is what you believe,” our presenter went on and the comment struck a chord inside me, though at that time it seemed like a harsh slap across my ego’s arrogant face.
“Hey! Just maybe the so-called blubbering fool did actually have brains!” That punch was one I did not take very kindly.
“The African went to a witch doctor to seek relief, the Asian went to a praying herbalist and the European went to a hospital,” the presenter went on.
You should have seen my reaction as my nose swell like a Siberian tiger about to attack her victim. “Now wait a minute…” The tip of my tongue wanted to form those words but seemed to have been under temporary paralysis and the words stuck in my throat as all the accusing pairs of eyes went swoosh in my direction, only to realize that I had growled out loud. Oops!
In my mind, I was thinking, “what racist nincompoop dares share such a story in a public gathering and what kind of buffoon would ever believe it?” I was an African for Pete’s sake, born and bred in Africa but I had to correct this illiterate fool and school him concerning the African culture which he knew nothing about. This was written all over my face.
“To each his own belief!” The presenter commented smiling, almost as if he had been reading my mind. “Don’t Africans believe in magic called witchcraft?” My mind shot at me. “This medicine you seem to proudly speak of, was it not introduced to you by the foreigners?” That rude mind-voice shut me up for a few moments.
“I’m sorry. Please proceed” I gave the presenter a ‘know-it-all-smile’.
“The African believed that he had been cursed. The Asian sought prayer from the gods and was given traditional herbs while the European believed he had Cholera and sought help from a hospital. To each his own belief! Each of the three recovered though they sought help differently.”
“Sort of like the placebo effect” my egotistical mind (prideful in every essence) reminded me.
“Thy faith shall heal thee. It is not the object of the faith that heals one but the faith itself,” the presenter finally declared.
I was shaking my ghastly shaking my head like a make-up seizure on show-screen, my brow creased with wonder and each line spelling doubt and pessimism. Did Europeans not believe in magicians? Why did it have to be Africans who sought out witchcraft and not prayer? This was unforgivable.
The host could see the question written all over my face. “Mercy you seem to be in deep thought. Is there anything you wish to share with us?
“Placebo effect sir, that is what is going through my mind,” Oh my! Liar! “Oh I see!” though I could see the shadow of doubt quickly sweep across his face and for a second I thought I had imagined it.
Who was I kidding though? It was one thing to think about something and another to totally rubbish a renowned speaker when his story seemed to make a valid point. So I swallowed my pride and let in the voice of reason. At that point though, my thoughts took a different path.
Millions of books have been written concerning thousands of topics across time and even two books that address the same topics do so by presenting different arguments and ideas. As different as we all are, similar in many ways yet individually unique, united in being yet separate in body and mind we are bound to see things differently and only believe in those things that work for us. How presumptuous of me, then to assume that others should only see the world as I did. We each see the world through different lenses.
Who was I to judge? Who was I to speak of prejudice? Who was I to say I was open-minded and educated when I reacted like a blinded person who felt attacked and vulnerable then let pride take over her emotions?
At that moment I realized my stupidity and knew why the speaker had given me a knowing smile. When I chose to see and with an open mind listen with an open mind and put down my defences, it was not that bad. In fact, it was an insight that I found very genius indeed. Who was the hogwash now?
Creative Writer. Psychologist. Inspired Blogger.