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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Necessary Adversary

Written by: Muoka Chibuzor

"Adversity introduces a man to himself" – Albert Einstein
Life is beautiful, and yet it isn't a bed of roses. It's been said by famous philosophers that whoever desires to make life a bed of roses should be ready to water the thorns for the sake of the rose. From this pragmatic statement, one can draw a lucid conclusion that the beautiful things of life are cladded with challenges, and only the determined survive. But then did the determined fall from the heavens? A question we must ponder about in sobriety.
Most times, life appears mostly lukewarm, neither extremely hot nor cold, and one is subconsciously forced to believe that dwelling in perpetual comfort, without any atom of change is an attribute of a life well-lived. Life persists on earth today because nature operates thermostatically, fine-tuning the affairs of the living. Thus, the law of moderation applies so that both the great and small would survive. But then, when something extraordinary wants to happen, the law of moderation (thermostatics) must be broken.
At this point, complaints arise as life situations have moved to extreme positions and life has become unbearable. But in a nutshell, what just occurred was "Change," which is an indispensable attribute of life. During the 2015 Nigerian general election, the Nigerians were obsessed with the idea of "Change," they needed it so badly that they succeeded in voting out the incumbent president; the change was indeed a historical one, and its winds are still blowing heavily on Nigerians till this day.
The constancy of change and the role of change in spicing–up life has been the mantra sang in all spheres of human endeavour, but how the change could occur is an unpredictable nightmare dreaded by all. Just like a man with cancer desires chemotherapy, the adverse effect of chemotherapy e.g., hair loss, is an undesired change he would never wish his enemy. Thus, he must learn to accept the undesired limitations of change, because it must occur if a positive result is to be anticipated. In the same vein, Nigerians must learn to be patient with the change they clamoured for. They should not be too surprised, because a new king means a new law.
A better understanding would save us from the shackles of confusion, and expose us to the land of freedom if we can draw meaning from the essence of the seasonal changes within a year. At some point within the tropical world, the climatic condition becomes strictly rainy or dry. In the western world we observe the interplay of the four seasons – winter, spring, summer, and autumn; and the varying changes they bring into the environment. As the weather changes, the plants change, and the animals change their behaviour to suit the weather. All these changes help indirectly to enhance the longevity of the living.
Briefly allow self to dwell in a state of calmness, and then imagine a situation whereby it rains throughout the year without stopping. Such extreme climatic conditions would bring about the accelerated extermination of mankind and other living creatures by a flood. The biblical story of Noah and the ark would testify the insidious implications of such extreme life conditions. However, if such an ugly catastrophe is to unleash its might in the world today, you would be surprised to discover the unprecedented ingenuity of man as he alights with the speed of a thunderbolt, seeking extreme solutions, for such extreme conditions.
Laughable as it may sound, but humans may even decide to move over to another planet, possibly Mars. A thought that appears impossible in the eyes of Noah now sounds very possible in the ears of our generation. This supports the fact that man has evolved beyond expectation by embracing and questioning the challenges of life, and finally accepting change as a true component of life.
The sense in the ability of man to have evolved under stringent and unbearable situations was observed by Charles Darwin, and thus he was inspired to present "Darwinism" – the biological theory of evolution. The crux of this theory focuses on the elimination of inferior species gradually over time, through a process called natural selection. However, the bone of contention in this context is not actually dancing around the quest to eliminate the weak by the action of forces, but it seeks to analyze the beneficial results of a sudden undesired change created by both the natural forces (E.g., gravitational, nuclear, electromagnetism) and the unnatural forces (this has to deal with the result of the attitude of one to another as every action begets a reaction. (E.g., dishonesty results in mistrust.).
However, apart from environmental changes as implicated above in the quest to clarify a point. A close inspection of the ecosystem would be the yeast to raise the flour that would energize our mentality for greater understanding. The ecosystem portrays the interconnectedness of several organisms (amongst themselves) and with the environment. The ecosystem operates to support the perpetual existence of life and if disrupted by extreme forces, an unexpected change arises.
Birds eat the worms and insects, the faeces of the birds serve as manure to enhance plants growth. Later, the flowers and leaves of the plants still serve as the breeding niche for the worms and insects, and also as the foundation for the nests of birds. If one looks closely, one would appreciate the cyclicity of life within the ecosystem of which man is a great participant, although exempted from this example. In the same vein, one may also be forced to name the birds as the enemy of the worms and insects. But then are the birds truly an enemy? Or were they indirectly working for the man who still enjoys the fruits of the plants that thrives on the manure gotten from the bird's faeces?
At this juncture, the jungle is wild enough for us to engage in an inquisitive hunting spree, to understand the true meaning and implications of the "Necessary Adversary" ideology. According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, an Adversary is that one who contends with you. The adversary contends with you because they feel you are defeatable, fatigable and helpless. Just like the birds attack the helpless worms. But the necessity or benefit of an adversary is a hard nut that most men find impossible to crack because they do not desire challenges that break the law of moderation (thermostatics). Thus nothing extraordinary happens because the processes required for something extraordinary to occur is not a desirable one, as it appears tedious and impossible. Thus, men give up and say in slangs "I can't come and kill myself."
But rules are meant to be broken, and a champion is that one who defies all odds. The champion is the fittest, but he (she) didn't fall from the heavens. Rather he was the man who understood the role of the adversary. During his days of training as a novice, while he was climbing the perilous mountains, his adversaries stood grounds and swore to bring him down. The adversary appeared like a bird, hovering around him, questioning his actions and laughing at his slightest mistakes, they sought to eat him like a worm. They presented gifts of distraction to him and even gave him tempting advice, but he rejected their dangerous gifts and placed his eyes on the rewards of his dreams. From the depth of the valleys, he could feel the exhilaration of victory. Thus, he was very confident.
As he was sweating profusely and advancing to the peak of the mountain, the adversaries came to him forcefully, and subjected him to pain; the adversaries were initially acting from a distance but when time was running out, they became very aggressive and decided that it was time they took his destiny by force or risk letting him become what he was destined to be. They denied him his rights and threw a web of frustration and confusion around him; he was attacked directly by his enemies and was backstabbed by his friends. At this moment, he was gasping for courage because his lungs were weak and infected with fears. But still, the depth of his convictions was as deep as the oceans.
But something already was happened when everyone thought his chapter was closed. This man was already stretched to limits, and this meant that he had seen the good, bad, and ugly. He has had a fair share of evil, and nothing of evil moves him again, he has metamorphosed and was no longer the novice of mockery, and now he has a lion's heart. The footsteps of the enemy no longer sounded terrific as he was already accustomed to it. Thus, he kept struggling, hoping and believing that someday; the end of evil shall come. But then, just like a dirty gem seeking to be polished, the results of the frictions and trials in his life were only pushing him towards perfection. Thus, if he did eventually defeat his adversaries, he would remain a changed man for the rest of his life.
Finally, the adversaries were defeated when they failed in stopping the man of courage. And just like Albert Einstein said; "adversity introduces a man to himself." He was now fully aware of the powers bestowed on him. He discovered that what distinguishes a man are not just his beliefs, but also his actions in adversity. And thus he never remained the same as before, because he had arrived at the peak and the basket of his blessings was before him. And in the presence of his adversaries, he carried his basket and lifted it to the sky, and immediately, his adversaries left in shame.
After a long time, he sat to reflect about his life in the past and all that happened to him; and then he came to appreciate why the adversary was necessary. He then called his children when they came of age and said to them;
"I don't run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run towards it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your foot. Adversity causes some men to breakdown, while others break records."

"Be strong my children for no situation has been orchestrated to be permanent, always look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel. And always seek beauty in every ugliness."

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