The aspiration or ambition of reaching out beyond safe limits may be attributed to the culture or spirit of adventure, but it can also be an indicator of a peculiar human propensity having to do with vanity. There is a great difference between undertaking an activity or venture because of a biting need, expediency or urgency which can include a life-threatening situation; and doing things to impress or create an impact which may be borne of vanity. The fact that 99 aspirants or contestants cannot become presidents of a country at the same time, may be viewed as a valid democratic option of fielding a large number of contestants for the electorate to choose from.Over-reaching safe limits would include a very brilliant lawyer or lecturer with less than N250,000 balance in his bank account, vying for the office of a president in Nigeria. In the United States of America, a Barack Obama may undertake such a venture and receive mass support from those who believe in his ability and mission, but that would hardly be the case in Nigeria. Therefore, the issue of over-reaching safe limits has to do with matching personal ability or mission with the situations of an environment as well as the prospect of such intended venture making a relevant social impact.Peculiarities of politics, as practised in Nigeria, would make it a fool-hardy project for a capable but independent candidate, with little money for campaign purposes, to vie to become president. Even if such capable candidate joins one of the existing political parties, there would rarely be any prospect that the party machinery would field him as a viable contestant. Thus money politics is for no one else but money-bags or those that money-bags can sponsor. The same goes for power politics.It would be difficult for Nigeria to rise above money and power politics, whose peculiarities include acts of gangsterism and exclusiveness. Under such peculiar circumstances, political parties become deep waters where any rash adventure can be a costly venture. It cannot be said that Nigeria cannot produce one individual who can turn around the current position of the country for the better. The challenge is how to identify, reach out to and allow such capable person to preside over the affairs of the country. Safe limits, within the Nigerian context, would include staying away from the booby-traps and artificially constructed constraints which money and power politics entail. Decent people stay away from it.It is obvious that the state of maturity, development and consciousness among human beings differ widely; neither is there an evenness, equality or uniformity at any given time. The pity is that finer qualities, like the mind’s constructions, are not written on faces of individuals. What we find more common is a situation where money and power become instruments of blusters, making it impossible to identify or pick out the cream of the human stock. Particularly in politics, it can be said that the beautiful ones are not yet born.No nation, like a chain, can be stronger than its weakest link. In this sense, the status and standing of the masses constitute what is known as mean average in statistics. Above and below the mean average, there are several citizens moving about without anyone knowing the status of their consciousness. The earth, like a farmland, is a vast field of developmental activities and exertions where widely different participants carry out various ventures. Thus, we have the good, the bad and ugly mixed up on earth.Over-reaching safe limits is a situation where an individual, out of vaulting ambition and vanity, seeks to undertake a venture or task beyond his capacity. This is so because people move and function within the limits set by their own sate of maturity. Unfortunately, many people over-rate their ability or capacity, and in undertaking tasks beyond the limits of their maturity, plunge themselves and the society into jeopardy. This unfortunate situation is more so in politics, where the ambition for power and wealth predominate and with obstinacy and narrow-mindedness, making power hustlers to lead unsuspecting masses astray. Politics of brigandage!It is in human nature that when an individual finds out that he is missing out on the real purpose of life, he resorts to various cosmetic measures to compensate for the loss. Such cosmetic measures include the pursuit of wealth and power, or some other ego-dominated ventures, largely for the purpose of getting public attention. In that process, the temptation of over-reaching safe limits often comes as an ego-booster, whereby caution can be thrown to the wind. Results of ventures undertaken under the impulse of ego are usually sad.It is hardly true that the issues of drug and mental aberrations are peculiar to young persons alone, because the youths who get addicted to drugs today, become adult soon, with such addiction remaining with them. Neither is it true that hard economic conditions are responsible for wide-spread abuse of hard drugs and mental abnormality. Without going into the history of drug abuse in Nigeria, it would suffice to say that fighting against hard-drug culture would be like fighting against other social ills-continuous engagement. Neither can there be a society without ills and challenges.One inescapable issue that must be explored by anyone who wants to understand why people over-reach safe limits, is the importance of Meaning in life. Like purpose, meaning clarifies what life is all about, whereby personal experiences assume different meanings. One Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist, while in Nazi detention camp, developed Logotherapy as a philosophy whose emphasis is that the search for meaning is the driving force in Man. To find core meaning makes for a stable, satisfying life, but those who miss out in this task over-reach themselves to create impressions. What is known as self-actualisation has to do with finding the core meaning or purpose of life. Politics is not the route to it!A nation where a politician or lawmaker would boast publicly of having 28 children and which ranks 154 out of 180 in corruption index, is a nation that must learn to cruise within safe limits, and cut down on flamboyant lifestyle. Natural immune system works effectively where individuals recognise their safe limits which differ from one person to another. Thus, anyone reaching out beyond individual safe limits, as determined by his state of personal maturity and consciousness, would be exposed to avoidable dangers. Use of hard drugs and extraneous aids to enhance personal capacity are some of the means of over-reaching safe limits. No one can give what he does not have personally. Why fake it?
By: Bright Amirize
Dr Amirize is a retired lecturer from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.