What did we learn from the fake news and hacking stories? One thing is certain, all news outlets are agenda driven. Whether CNN, Facebook, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC NPR, BBC, Al Jazeera and so on, serve one purpose, to make their listeners and readers embrace their own perspectives. This is the reality of life and we must accept it. Even this little writeup of mine is agenda-driven. I want you my readers to appreciate my perspective. Even when you disagree with it, I have made your thoughts to go on a certain path that i intended it to go. I make my students realize this on the first day of class. There is nothing like objective views. Every view is perspectival. Thank God I took Friedrich Nietzsche seriously during my undergraduate years.
Another lesson learned from the current discussions is that while our world currently has the most access to information, this is the first time in the world's history that a few can systematically shape the mindset of the majority of the world's population. In the past, mindsets were shaped mostly by wars of conquest. The Romans did it very well. The Greeks did it as well. The British did it as did the French and so on. But today, rather than use war to force others to think in a certain way, one can sit in one's office and spew out information intended to solicit a certain reaction from those targeted.
What can we do with what we have going for our world today? It is simple; we can either use this new medium to destroy the world by spreading hateful news globally. I am against this option because our world does not need anymore hate. Or we can systematically use this medium to shape the minds of the future generations in a way that a sense of global consciousness is appreciated. We can begin to systematically spread the best news and stories of our cultures, families, societies, towns, and so on to others so that sufficient life-affirming narratives take root in the minds of the future generations. Over the years, I have been researching into the lives of people and societies plagued by religious and cultural violence and I have found out one fact, these persons and communities have a deficiency in life-affirming stories. When societies cannot create life-affirming stories that they pass on to the future generations, life-negating ones take control of their imaginations. As you read this, ask yourselves the following, how many life-affirming stories do you have in your head or have you heard of recently? If you have few stories know that you have some urgent work to do.
Who has to do this? Everyone of us. We do not need the CIA or Trump to do this for us. We can share with the world the beauty of living with a Muslim neighbor, a Jewish worker, a Christian friend, a Hindu boss, a black classmate, a Latino executive, and so on. The power to transform our world is now in our hands.
There is no other time in human history for each person to make the greatest impact on our world than now. As the Romans say, carpe diem.
Thanks for reading my dear friends.
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SimonMary Asese A. Aihiokhai, PhD
SimonMary Asese Aihiokhai is currently Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at University of Portland, Portland, Oregon and an Adjunct Professor of Theology at Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, Florida. His research and publications engage Religion and Identity in Islam, Christianity, and African Religions; African approaches to Virtue Ethics; Philosophy, Culture, and Theology; Theology and Economics; Religion and Violence; theological, cultural, philosophical, and sociological issues facing Catholicism in Africa; Comparative Theology dealing with Christianity, Islam, and African Religions; and Interreligious Dialogue in the Global South. Dr. Aihiokhai continues to be an active interlocutor in the ongoing Christian – Muslim dialogue in Nigeria and the Catholic – African Religions dialogue. He worked as a missionary among many cultures in Nigeria for ten years and continues to reflect on the rich experience he attained from his encounters with people of the Muslim and African Religious faiths.
Dr. Aihiokhai comes from a very religiously pluralistic community in Nigeria and professed the Islamic Faith until his conversion as a youth to the Catholic – Christian faith. He joyfully professes a Catholic-Christian faith that is shaped, nourished, and affirmed by Islam and African Religions.