They Would Say Faster Horses

By Isaiah Ndipmong-uwem. Isaiah is a student of English at the University of Uyo in Uyo, Nigeria. Please read his article and leave thoughts and comments below.

A horse is a hoofed mammal of the genus Equus, often used throughout history for riding and draft work. Horses were used in times past for wars, melees, games, leisure and journeys. Horses are extant and are still used today for sports, games and other functions. They are often used in because of their strong hoofs and their spritely movement. The concept of “faster horses” is a metaphor for change in the status quo of a situation. It also suggests hastiness. However, the concept of change in a society is inevitable.

W.B. Yeats once wrote “turning and turning in the widening gyre/the falcon cannot hear the falconer….” The world is a cosmic chain that revolves endlessly and times are advancing from bad to worse. People would ask for faster horses to move them from the phases that they are in, into an abysmal paradise of endless struggles; but then again, one would ask, are faster horses true panaceas to mankind’s greatest problems? The philosopher, Heraclitus emphasized the necessity of change when he said that “change is always there. Impermanence is a constant denominator. The only thing that does not change is change itself”. Hence, change is the numerator of every society.

Studies and researches conducted have shown that times are advancing from bad to worse and we are living in critical times that are growing harder to deal with. Also, major world events ranging from nuclear wars, economic recession, undeveloped economies of weak countries and other ecological issues such as environmental pollution, the corruption of politicking, the greenhouse effect have made people wish for “faster horses”. Man has dominated man to his harm and this has been inimical to man, his relationship with his fellow man, the environment and the organisms. There are many situations that have made people wish for faster horses. These situations are holed in cul-de-sacs and they range from governance and class structure, foreign policies and decisions, nuclear Armageddon, gun raids, violence, slavery and racism, among others.

Mankind has been self-governed since the beginning of time but no government has succeeded in eliminating all of mankind’s problems. Mankind has practiced various systems of government such as monarchy, communism, communalism, totalitarianism, military rule. When a system of government is not favorable, it is changed and this change keeps on evolving in society. For instance, when Nigeria practiced the military system of government, laws were absolute and as a result, there were coups that led to bloodshed and lives were lost. Also, every capitalist society has the underlying motif of Marxism in its class structure. In every society, there are two classes of people, the haves and the have nots. The have nots are the working class of the society. They are the ones that make the profits for the haves but instead of getting richer, they are getting poorer because they are paid peanuts. The haves exploit the masses of their skill and wealth. An instance is seen in East Africa where the masses were exploited by the upper class. The have nots reacted to the situation of exploitation in East Africa and this was evident in the existence of revolutionary organizations such as Mau Mau groups. So, revolution was a “fast horse” the masses needed for a new dawn.

John Edgar Wideman says that race is antithetical to freedom. In the history of Africans and African Americans, slavery was a phenomenon. Slavery was seen as an act of salvation brought by the sons of God to teach humanity to the sons of men. Slaves were taken from Africa through the middle passage to the new world and this passage subjected slaves to the rigours of inhumanity. Sanctions were promulgated and this encouraged trade in slaves. Slaves in plantations found solace in spirituality, and blues, and this brought solace to their broken souls. Slavery was a phenomenon for about 300 years. However, after the slavery, came the problem of racism. Even after the emancipation proclamation, Africans were and are still in slavery because of the problem of race and this is seen in the promulgation of laws that segregated races in the American society.

The nuclear Armageddon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in the year 1945, during World War II, to destroy millions of life and property has brought inimical conditions to man, environment and living organisms. One would wonder if the warring nations in the world today have learnt any lesson from the past at all concerning the insistence of nuclear and biological weapons on each other.

Joseph Frankel describes foreign policy as decisions and actions which involve to some appreciable extent, relations between one state and the other. One of the foreign policies that had domestic and international implications was the apartheid policy of South Africa. Apartheid was a policy of racial separation used by South Africa from 1948 to 1990. This policy affected the economic, social, religious situations of blacks in South Africa. Although, it was described as a domestic situation, it had vast implications. In terms of reciprocity in international relations, nations were affected in terms of trade and vice versa. So, blacks were at the bottom of the societal ladder in South Africa. Also, the 2019 xenophobic attack of South Africans on Nigerians sparked off racial and tribal sentiments. The terrorist group Boko Haram threatened to revolt and this would have sparked off a nuclear war. If Nigerians in South Africa were asked what they wanted, they would have said “faster horses” to get away from the impending danger that awaited them.

Man has dominated man to his harm. Inhumanity is the bane of humanity. Aristotle said that the good life of man is the life of happiness. In a world, where foreseen and unforeseen circumstances governs the life of man, one would wish for faster horses.

70 comments on “They Would Say Faster Horses

  1. Emmanuel Udoma on

    This is expository and informative. A detailed essay that explores history and the present. Well paragraphed and punctuated! This is beautiful, not just for its artistic value, but in its all roundness.

    • Jahdiong Asanga on

      Wonderful write up. Especially that part where man has dominated man to his harm. Faster horses.
      ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘

  2. Charles udo on

    An awesome release of peotic genius, truly the quest of man for a better life in some aspects has preceded a level of unhealthy change to humanity. The concept of the “faster horses” is quite intriguing ๐Ÿ’ฏโค๏ธ kudos to you ๐Ÿ”ฅ

  3. Sam Dankof on

    Well researched piece of great scholarship with the characteristic Ndipuwem signature. The lines and messages are deep. An inspiring addition to knowledge indeed. Kudos Prof

    • China Chris Ikenna on

      A brilliant and scintillating read indeed. This piece vividly depicts the toxicity of man to his fellow man while metaphorically using faster horses to advocate for exigent change; a swiftness needed to annihilate inhumanity, heal our world and truly make it a better place for everybody; irrespective of their race, class or gender. I’m really impressed. Kudos to you Isaiah.

  4. Eyoh Etim on

    A vintage writeup that reinforces the New Historicists’ idea that history is neither linear nor teleological. Well done!

  5. Miriam Blaise on

    You think deeply, beyond the common imagination. This is perfectly scripted and its beauty is seen in its all roundedness.


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