“There is much difference between imitating a good man and counterfeiting him —– Benjamin Franklin ”
Of the most difficult tasks , jobs and activities to embark upon , The study and determination of the true identity , real behaviour and character of man comes atop. The aforementioned conclusion was reached after thorough research , study of the philosophy of Man and most vibrantly , personal life experiences and interaction with people of different colours , nationalities , identities and sizes .
Human beings generally are complex , multifaceted , diverse and very distinct in nature . These traits make us the proudly acclaimed higher animals against even the most dangerous animal , Lion the king of the jungle, the biggest and the Lord of the ocean, the blue whale , the fastest land animal , the cheetah , the tallest of them , the Giraffe , the most cunning Tortoise as described in African fairy tales , the peaceful and calm dove and the best friend and pet of man , the Dog .
As a matter of curiosity , one wonders how do we measure or evaluate the character of a Man in a society that places premium on luxurious accomplishments against moral accomplishment, gold and silver against good name , riches against good character and the list goes on.
The study of the true nature of man is as old as Man itself . 25 centuries ago , the Greek Philosopher Empedocles in his invaluable research used the Zodiac signs and grouped Men into 4 elements of Fire , Earth , Air and Water .
In his classification, Taurus , Virgo and Capricorn make the Earth element , Gemini Libra and Aquarius make the Air , Aries Leo and Sagittarius make the Fire while Cancer Scorpio and pieces make the water element. He went further to state that the entire universe is an interaction between the two opposite principles called Love and strife which manipulates the 4 elements .
In the Greek Antiquity , the 4 astrological elements were considered equivalents to Hippocrates personality types viz ; Cholerics , Sanguines, Melancholics and Phlegmatic . Anyone that falls within the Fire element tends to be restless , impulsive egocentric and extroverted . Seriousness, introverted and unstable are associated with the Earth element, Air element are bound to be sociable, talkative and imaginative while the water element are classified to be calm , patient and caring.
Fixing each birth month into each of the 4 element would be a topic for another day as the goal of this write up isn’t to bore us with the earlier theories but to buttress the saying that sometimes , we have to cast a glance backward in dealing with the present situation .
In my humble opinion, the researches done earlier are not final as regards true behaviour of man as they could only give predictive traits or features of an individual . I feel very strongly that it is not a sum total of the character of an individual.
Behaviour of human to me is simply a function of time . His needs , wants , love , strife , greed , cravings , vanities and excesses dictate how each and everyone of us behaves from time to time .
Hence the man you meet and interact with a moment ago on a decent ground can come with an untoward and questionable behaviour afterwards . Examples are limìted of the few people in the society that have stood their ground , withstood their core values and maintained their identities in the face of adversity, temptation, jealousy and intimidation in our world.
The world of hypocracy and hypocrites , pretence and scammers , double facetedness , chameleonicness and wanton betrayal . Such people are termed men of integrity , Men of true character and of valour . Others are driven solely by their ego , greed , selfishness, vanities and inanities and as such, lose their colour and identities in the murky terrain of life
Such people are sooner or later dumped in the dark side of history and in the deepest pit of hell . In our dealings, we should remember the golden words of Michael Josephson ;
“We judge our own character by our best intentions and most noble acts, but we will be judged by our last worst act. ”
Deji Abimbola , a member, Qatar Council of healthcare practitioners writes from Doha.