My Philosophy professor convinced us that what we usually take as truth, when dissected with minute precision, may end up as a mirage.
By Hillary Bainemigisha
My Philosophy professor convinced us that what we usually take as truth, when dissected with minute precision, may end up as a mirage. I remember Prof. J Ocitti because of the example he gave us.
Pointing at one of us, he asked: How old are you? “I am 23 years old,” was the reply.
“False,” the Prof. said. “No one can be 23 years old. Never!”
We got confused. Then he explained.
“First, we have to explain what we mean by ‘I.’ Is it the mouth? The head? The penis? The whole body? Maybe the whole body. But the whole body cannot be 23 years old! Your body cells are always getting renewed. Fat cells are replaced at the rate of about 10% per year in adults. Those are new cells every 10 years,” the wise Prof. enlightened us.
Heart cells are replaced at a reducing rate as we age. If you are 25, that is about 1% being replaced every year. The average red blood cell lives for 120 days.
Even the most visual parts do not add up. Your teeth did not grow till you were five, your beards and pubes came much later and so, all of you cannot be 23 years!
The right answer should be: I was born approximately 23 years ago.This argument can help you impress a date by the way, provided you don’t approach it arrogantly.
But that is not why I let philosophy be my frontline. I desperately want to connect it to relationship tenets that convince us as operational standards, yet when scrutinised, are full of cracks.
When ignored, we get surprised! Take adultery, for instance. I hate adultery. You probably do too. So does Christianity and the Constitution.
Apart from the sense of betrayal and disappointment, adultery can bring diseases, vendetta or even war.
Now if you are starting to think along with me, stop and think again. Aren’t there instances where some adultery is acceptable for a certain cause?
Or, let me say it in other words; is all adultery equally bad or some adultery is worse than another?
African tradition actually preferred male to female adultery.
Nature supported that too because it afforded man enough seed to fund promiscuity and woman the perseverance to accommodate a cheating partner. However, especially today, all adultery is bad and dangerous. But when we put on the philosopher’s lenses, we will realise that the badness varies.
There are ten factors that separate certain cases of adultery from others.
One: the context. A man who beats up his wife, starves her and frequently steals family property makes his particular adultery more hateful. If an adulterer shows more responsibility in other areas of his or her duties, that infidelity becomes forgivable.
Two: the scene of crime. A person who cheats on you in the diaspora is better than one who imports the cheat on your own turf, in the sheets you bought or ironed and use your towels or condoms!
Three is timing. A partner, who sneaks out on you at your biggest time of need (like you are suffering on a hospital bed), or at your most loving gesture (like you are nursing his or her parents), worsens the adultery crime. Here we will include one who disappears to do it on your wedding day.
Four: the partner. I don’t know if adultery is worse if the intruding partner is your sister,brother, mother or father, but what I know is that the person who takes your bread should not be several notches below your status.
If you are a pastor, the partner should not run off with a chapati seller. If you are a minister, it should not be a foot vendor (mutembeyi).
But it can even be worse: bestiality. What if the cheat who has ‘stolen’ your lover walks on four legs, bleats like a goat and actually looks like a goat.
What will the village say about you competing with a goat? Do people find it easy to forgive husbands who sneak off to rape domestic animals? Maybe.
I know all marriages survive on motivation to make it work. If that motivation is spirited, all forms of adultery are forgivable.
But, if you are reading this and you are about to succumb to temptation, make your crime more forgivable by considering the various crime scenes.
The best way is to see this from your partner’s angle. Ask yourself, especially when you are sober: “How would I feel about being cheated on if I were my partner?” To avoid all those debates, stay clear of adultery. You will live longer.
When adultery is forgivable