Justifying Guilt

By Amarachi Obi. Amarachi lives in Lagos, Nigeria. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Society. Logic. Reflex. Perspectives. Obliviousness. Self-defense. These are the replies to Covey’s quote. Replies that were brewed upon in-depth understanding of this quote. In understanding anything, an inevitable process is postulating the ‘wh-question’ which in this case is ‘why?’. It is more than certain, logical and almost predictable that better of the population would harmonize with this quote, however, a quick reminder; there are always two sides to a coin and both tell different stories. Just because it has a spark of truth in it, which there is no denying the fact, doesn’t tell us if it implies positivity or negativity. The turnout, whether positive or negative, is contingent on how the cite is perceived, interpreted and understood.

To illuminate the logic behind concurring with this quote is a simple process. Listen, understand and reply, when necessary. This is logic, it makes perfect sense. When a step of this process is skipped, as in the understanding step, there is a break in logic which doesn’t sit well with any man with an average IQ, hence the concord with Covey.

The fundamental construct of this simple statement has won over morality to its corner and it’s no news that society accepts good moral conduct. Many times, we give reply not because we understand the topic of discussion or because we have an opinion, idea or view, rather, we reply because of society’s expectation. Who doesn’t want to be accepted by society? Everyone has the common desire to be perceived as intelligent, educated, good and sometimes even religious and what better way to achieve all that than enunciating what wants to be heard.

It should be brought to general knowledge that it is futile to expect correction from someone oblivious. Understanding of mere words that constitute a sentence, phrase or as in this instance, cite, doesn’t equal understanding of the construct itself. People often believe listening has done the job of understanding, they are not totally in the wrong, since the purpose of listening is to understand. It is not uncommon for people to assume that listening and understanding function as one, whereas, they are two different entities in themselves. In short, an offence cannot be rectified if the offender isn’t even in the know of his offence. Most of the lot would claim that ‘listening to understand’ or ‘listening to reply’ is indicative of the incapability of humans to welcome new perspectives but try looking at the positive of a negative, as ‘listening to reply’ promotes mutuality of opinions. If we all are ‘understanding’, there is not a smidgen of doubt that incredible and astounding perspectives and opinions would be lost in a school of ‘understanding’. Understanding in quote because understanding isn’t what is actually desired rather conciliation is sought for. It’s about time we properly distinguished between understanding and reconciliation, it is not improbable to understand and yet disagree.

If we were to reconcile every view, there would be no ground to reply, nor disagree, nor agree to disagree. No freedom to express or air different opinions. There would be no uniqueness of thoughts and although everyone desires to be heard, understood and concurred with, it would only be those with influence, authority and audience that would be fortunate to have the opportunity. The much heard of testimonies; understanding other’s views and values doesn’t mean losing grip on or wavering yours yet it is what many expect. While advocating rigidity is a negative, bending to every wind of change would make the world more or less choreographed.

The basis of arguments rides solely on our differences in perception, values, intellect and social background. ‘Listening to reply’ is the only platform that allows for these differences to ever see the light. Agreeing to disagree, is still the surest way to acknowledge each other’s view while holding on to ours. After all vain efforts to correct this negative (quote), we best take the positive of this negative and build on that instead.


17 comments on “Justifying Guilt

  1. Emmanuel A. Ojoma on

    A good analogy of justifying guilt especially trying to “look at the positive of a negative”, that hit the nail.
    Quiet contradictory and ambiguous but in the state of confusion is the sense of the matter.
    Nice write up Amara, O.

  2. Grace's brother on

    It’s obvious we listen to reply than listen to understand.
    Devoid of the fact that there’s more to listening than just to reply.
    A nice write up ma’am. But the grammar is more of ambiguous than elucidating. Not everybody would understand this.
    But all same communication took place and your words were understood.
    More grease to thy elbow.


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