Observing these people I remember the age long argument whether man as an entity is fundamentally evil. I wonder how much of that is as a result of the kind of environment a man finds himself in.
I am at this place, the shopping mall popularly called Shoprite in Ikeja, Lagos. I am at the KFC outlet waiting for a friend. People walking past, minding their business, just as I am minding mine. I start to observe a pattern. I take out my blackberry device and start to type. I can sit here and write a book about this city and its people. The city of excellence and people of dreams.
Cars parked, neatly arranged, everything seems to obey order here; a typical example of how environment conditions man. This particular environment demands decorum from these people. They pay wholly, not because they are willing, but because this environment has subdued them.
It’s an open city. Hierarchy is by how much money you have at the moment, potential is meaningless. They come here to reduce their accumulations. This place doesn’t care; it sucks as much as it can from you, regardless of your earning power, regardless of your willingness to spend. Some are brought here to be spent on; some come here to spend, sometimes until they are spent. I like this place.
There’s a certain consciousness that befalls anyone as soon as you step in through the gate. No, it’s not a desire to stand out, rather it’s a desire not to fall, not fall as in hit the ground, but not to fall one’s hand. I think I am infected too, may be not consumed, but I feel it slightly. I can still stare at people boldly, hold their gaze and cause their eyes to drop. It’s intentional.
A certain philosopher was of the opinion that man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains. Another believed that as humans we find ourselves living a savage impossible life; a life where we are not educated nor protected by the state. That human nature is bad: we’ll prey on one another in the most vicious ways.
Observing these people I remember the age long argument whether man as an entity is fundamentally evil. I wonder how much of that is as a result of the kind of environment a man finds himself in. I am pushed further to wonder if man shapes the environment or it is the other way round. If I consider this place to be a microcosm of the larger community, then it at first appears to be that the environment shapes man, but understanding that this place is an actual creation of man himself, then it is safe to say that the environment is shaped by man to shape man.
The world we live in is a huge network and interplay of expressions of various sorts and forms informed by orientation and character. So I propose that the state and disposition of an environment at any point in time is actually a reflection of the prevailing or dominant orientation and character of the people therein. And if we wish to affect the state of any environment, there has to be an adjustment of orientation and character, I think.
About the author: Iweka Kingsley is a Freelance Writer and PR & Media Consultant. He has worked as Assistant Editor of Lowladee.com, is on the Editorial team for naijastories.com, is the Digital Scribe for iamsodigital.me.
He blogs at www.iamscopeman.wordpress.com and you can follow him on Twitter @IwekaKingsley.
* Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.