You see, I have been thinking and as many have said before me; the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. All over the world, conferences are convoked to address issues presumed by world leaders to be the bane of the human society. They talk about opening up of borders, gun control, racial tensions, violent attacks, xenophobia, political ideology, corruption, religious extremism and a whole lot of other stuff. They are trying, I think, to dig deep enough into the problem of the human society, in order to come up with a viable solution.
But then, at any and every corner of personal and social life, the primary threats to human flourishing are not these externals the world seems to be addressing, rather, the crux of the human crisis is the disordering of the human soul and social relations into self-centered, individualistic, indulgent, narcissistic, idealistic, prideful, tribal, or sentimental factions. Chaos is a cancer that manifests itself within the soul of the individual and social relations when order disintegrates. Our desires become our masters, and with desires as numerous as the hairs on our heads we are pulled in a thousand different directions. St Augustine, better than anyone else in Western history and philosophy, provides the essential account of the human person as an uncontrollable bundle of desires that cannot be properly realigned outside of the grace of God.
Hobbes’ basic intuition about the terrible state of the “war of all against all” seems essentially right: that evil lies within the human heart that must never be depersonalized. Evil is always personal because it’s always a person who is evil. Not a truck, not a plane, not a gun, not a bomb. All of these externals are the means used by evil people to perpetrate evil deeds, just like all the motivations for attack, whether they be racial or religious or political, are internals that co-opt the congenital evil of the human heart to further their cause.
Hence this is what I think: Blow up Boko Haram, smoke up ISIS into dust or smithereens, and other groups will crawl out of their ashes. Ban all guns and someone will create a new weapon. This is the reality: you cannot legislate evil out of the heart of man. People are the problem. We always have been the problem and only a rebirth and redemption of the human heart in God can salvage our fallen race. God help the human family.
Benneth Joseph Obinna is a graduate of the University of Ibadan and a Post Graduate Diploma student in Broadcast Journalism with the Nigerian Institute of Journalism. He is an Administrative Assistant with the MBA department at the Pan-Atlantic University (Lagos Business School)Benneth Joseph Obinna is an Administrative Assistant with the Top of Form