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« NOWEFU Condemns Tikari-Chamba Fons Forum | Main | Brief »

Monday, 22 August 2005


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Dr A A Agbormbai

Development is a state of mind. The development of a nation is like the development of a child, a student, or an adult. It involves learning, and learning is the lifelong process of appropriately educating and training the mind so that it is able to do more wonderful things.

Look at all the creations of the world and ask yourself how it all came about. It is the indelible product of the mind - the product of thought.

And what are the characteristics of the people who bring these products about? They are great thinkers, people who subscribe to the adage that we should 'think before we act'. These people spend a considerable amount of time thinking, but why?

Because if you want a project to succeed you must spend the necessary time to find out the proper ways of doing things before you contemplate acting. You must do your research, test your ideas, reflect on findings, reformulate your thoughts, apply your creativity, discuss with others, until you end up with a coherent set of steps for guiding your application. This is your mental or conceptual solution to, or framework for, your problem. Then you can start acting by implementing your solution. This is the procedure of systematic problem solving that has enabled man to invent the computer as well as go to the moon.

But then why is it that problems can turn up later even after applying our minds with such brilliance (e.g. our computers can crash, the Space Shuttle can blow up)? It is because our thought processes are hardly completely rigorous. We make faux pas in reasoning (logical gaffes) that ultimately find us out. They tend to show up during periods of complacency, when we become overconfident of our success (so that we stop monitoring our activities - i.e. we become loose).

By consequence underdevelopment is the failure to recognise the overwhelming importance of the mind in making things work. We are action-oriented and impatient, as a result of which we act before we think. We cannot see a simple project through and when we do the product, sooner or later, collapses in our face and kills us.

Underdeveloped people have the following characteristics:

1) They are unstable, irrational, and thoughtless. They argue just for the sake of argument, and never find good in anything. They are cynical and persistently negative. They have destructive attitudes and pass these on to others readily. Their fundamental aim is to destroy or to maintain the status quo by frustrating progress.

2) Being generally impatient they do not take the time to think clearly before acting, but would rather act now and think later.

3) They hate learning and see learning as a short-term process, a means to an end rather than the end itself. And when they learn they aim low, seeking passes and third-class honours degrees, rather than aiming high to seek first-class honours degrees.

4) They are poor teachers, being generally selfish with their knowledge and never taking the time to explain anything clearly. Because they never took the time to learn well, they have poor mastery of their subjects and try to hide this by taking it out on their students.

5) They have a degrading low mentality, and believe in such statements as 'Only the whiteman can do this' or 'A blackman or African cannot do this', etc. As such they don't see themselves as human beings, who should work and sacrifice in order to better their society.

6) They are highly jealous, being very selfish. They wish good only to themselves and wish everyone else bad.

Defeating underdevelopment means defeating the mental blocks and small thinking that prevent us from making progress. Success is an attitude of mind. To engender success we must transform our minds from their current destructive states into constructive powerhouses of creativity and invention. To do so we must:

1) Adopt a serious, intellectual approach to life in which we place the highest values on the mind and its development. We must engage in lifelong learning, as opposed to just short-term learning (that lasts only as long as we get our degrees or certificates). We must see learning as an end in itself, not as a means to an end.

2) Put a high value on creativity, especially on technological creativity. It is not just enough to learn, we must create our own ideas that fits the types of problems that we are solving. The thoughtless application of textbook ideas to problems is unacceptable. We must use the materials available to us (from textbooks, the media, libraries, the Internet, etc.) only as raw materials to feed our own creativity. Like the computers that our brains are we must manipulate these ideas into more productive forms that better fits the needs of the problems that we are solving. These ideas will be our own contribution to society and will feed the thought processes of our sons and daughters. In the end we will have an endless cycle of creativity that will fuel the development of our people and socitey to eternity.

3) Understand the conditions under which technological creativity thrives. Technology is essentially the transformation of education or classroom knowledge and training into the technological products of society. Technology is the means by which education benefits mankind. There is a considerable gap between acquiring classroom education and transforming that education into technological products for the benefit of mankind. This transformation process often involves detailed and deep thinking, and is why the processes involved are always clouded in secrecy - these secrets are responsible for one country succeeding over another in the world markets. It must be remembered that the technological transformation of educational knowledge must take into account the competitive nature of world markets. The products that emerge must be efficient and effective, and must compete well with other products in terms of pricing and quality. For these to be achieved the nation must acquire the best thinkers, insofar as clear, precise, and correct thinking is the antidote to wastage, inefficiency, and downright loss that pervades underdeveloped nations. Good thinkers see things before they happen (i.e. are visionary) while poor thinks don't see things until they happen. Thus, a decision that would lead to failure will be seen immediately by a good thinker while a poor thinker will not notice. To promote the technological transformation of educational knowledge into products a supportive environment must be created to promote the detailed and deep thinking that is necessary, and the best brains of the country must be called to action.


This is the Most Brilliant contribution I have ever read on this forum.And I may add Dr A A Agbormbai.that some of our best brains may not come from the prestigious ranks of the Educated class especially in the Technological world.I learn from my Applied Mechanics Proffesor in Uni-Oldenburg that in some cases the work by the lay engineer have Technological implications that fly off the face of some of the best of written Theories.
In this respect We should never underestimate the work of the human brain.Be it the highest qualified diplomed or the most uneducated or illitrate, they are the all important for mankind push to developement.

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