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benjamin abegunde

Founder, YIESMAN

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How does one not acquiesce to suffering?

After I finished watching Natalie's talk , I showed my roommates and of course we all were inspired. Then I asked a question that, "why is it that the citizens of western nations seem to be so eager to help but while we here in the east seem to accept and in a way acquiesce to the hardship around us?"

The only conclusion I came up with is that when you see suffering 24/7 especially in Nigeria, you are tempted to just see it as the norm. Even after relocating to Nigeria I have been tempted to do this.

So the question is how do we prevent this?

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    Nov 30 2011: Good question/comment. I don't know why but my last comment was not recorded but it 'boils' down to this. People often adjust to the horrible conditions of their life because they happen gradually. It's like the story of the frog and the cooking pot. If a frog is put into a pot of boiling water then it immediately jumps out but if the frog is put into a pot with cool water that gradually heats up to boiling then it just sits there, not realizing that the temperature in the water has turned up to boiling.

    Also, just so you know, we in the West adjust to horrible conditions, or grow accustomed to the plight of other people around us, too. We have a big homeless population problem that most people don't even acknowledge having. But we just dismiss it, or judge people to be in that position of their own choosing, but never consider the circumstances that brought them there in the first place. I attribute this to misguided judgment on the human condition.

    We as humans judge and assess our world around us-that is a human behavior that seems normal, to some extent. It is one way we learn about our surroundings. But when we judge people to 'deserve' the life they live, or to deserve the condition that they are in because, in our view, they "don't try hard enough", or because somehow "these" people somehow chose to be victims of their own circumstances--that is wrong.

    We cannot judge someone to live in strife and squalor because we think they are okay with it. Remember the frogs--frogs and us--we may not be so far apart.
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      Nov 30 2011: Wow, I like that frog story, in fact in a way you gave me a piece to this puzzle and that is simply "knowledge". It is not until another frog tells the frog in the boiling water that, "Hey Mr. Frog, if you don't get out your finished!" Or the frog in the pot comes to the realization that there is something better out there. So maybe one piece that we and other countries need is enlightenment in a contemporary fashion. Thanks!
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        Nov 30 2011: You are welcome, Benjamin, and I agree. Until the frogs see something better-they may be complacent sitting in that hot water that will ultimately kill them!

        I hope they listen when we tell them they are in the water and I hope we do what we can to get them out. It is truly our human duty to try, at the very least.

        *Oh, and I made a correction to 'population' in my original post--I meant to say "homeless population".

        Yeah, I know it seems silly to live in one of the richest countries in the world and yet still have homeless people but it's true.

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