Cameroon: Philosophy and humanism

We live in a world and particularly a country where the value of true wisdom is a wasteful exercise.

A society where some leaders have sold their souls and consciences to fame in exchange for position, acclamation and remuneration. Hence, the society is trapped in a state of jeopardy as philosophical blindness has put so many in a situation where they look but they do not see, they listen but they do not hear, they touch but they do not feel, and they think but they do not reason. All reasoning is thinking but not all thinking is reasoning. Caught in the web of our own hypothesis, the highlight of philosophy and the role it plays in human development cannot be overemphasised.
The World Philosophy Day was established by UNESCO in 2001, and is celebrated annually on the third Thursday of November. The theme for this year’s
philosophy day is; “PHILOSOPHY AND HUMANISM”.

Philosophy comes from two Greek words; philia (love) and Sophia (wisdom).
Etymologically, philosophy is the love for wisdom. According to the Oxford Concised Dictionary 11 th edition, humanism is a noun which refers to “a rationalistic outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters”. Put simply, humanism as the art of attaching human feelings to solve human problems. The ever-exciting existing extremely exceedingly excellent encouraging exigencies of philosophy has been the first aid box that can solve the problems we face in our society to ensure peace and sustainable development.
Philosophy is not just a subject taught in schools, it is the love for wisdom, a guide to live a good and happy life, enlightenment to the common mistakes that render life unbearable; it is the most appropriate means through which mankind can achieve peace and maintain it. A philosopher is therefore one who has a rational approach to life, based on sound and reasoned principles.

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Despite the multiplicity of schools and higher institutions of learning, the general output has been the misuse of the place of education. Suffice it to mention, that education is not intelligence. An educated man is not necessarily an intelligent man. The ability to transform the knowledge we receive in the learning process (education) into a useful tool for self and societal development is intelligence; the very definition of wisdom. We aim to incorporate moral values into the children we train;
else they become intelligent giants but moral dwarfs.The value of this day is therefore seen in the various write-ups, lectures and discussions vis-à-vis students’ activities that will go a long way to improve our reasoning and raise our morals. The philosopher is the mind-opener in the society, the voice of the voiceless, the tree of wisdom and the sigh of the oppressed masses. We have made the difference and now we’re the reference. In the midst of unwelcoming circumstances that have led to untold suffering to the citizenry of our time, especially the Northern and Southern parts of Cameroon, one cannot pretend to be blind to the fact that the philosopher’s voice is audibly silent and senselessly zipped with an iron bolt. I say it authoritatively, that until reasoned discourse, critical reflection, rationality and humanity is embraced, the glorious destiny and emergence that awaits us remains solitude in icy cold.

In the light of the above, we should be recalled to the very essence of philosophy and the role it plays in the life of humans. Without causing any brain injury to this curious reader, I will further my submissions by stating that the children we raise as philosophers should not forget the wordings of St. Thomas Aquinas, that “there can be no faith without reason and no reason without faith”. In essence, critical reflection must intercourse with the acknowledgement of an Almighty God; in which case, we must follow the golden rule of the Holy Book which states “do unto others what you expect them to do to you” There is a difference between choosing and deciding. A man chooses where there are alternatives to pick from, and decides when his mind is at will to react to alternatives. But we must choose to decide, else we exist, we do not live. As we celebrate this day, may we not fall short of the glory of philosophy and leave our humanity in perpetual nakedness. It is time for us to stand as one and stamp out traces of discrimination and regional differences. The time to think and grow is now! The Philosophy Day has come to offer us a scarce opportunity, a day totally dependent on critical thinking and analysis that will help improve our lives, our society and the world at last. God bless this day, God bless humanity.

Mba Philip W.J, H.O.D Philosophy/Logic Djiokou Bilingual Foundation Yassa, Douala.

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