The Loss of Character ...!

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

There are three things that are very prominent in our life and they struggle for our attention and recognition. They are namely, wealth, health and character. They are very essential in our life and they exert enormous influence in the way we live. Different people for diverse reasons prefer one of these values to the other.

For instance, for some people wealth is the essence of life without which life has no meaning. For people of this category, authentic life consists of acquisition and use of wealth. The loss of wealth is as tragic as the loss of life. For others it is health. For them health is wealth. Of course we can do nothing in the absence of good health.

Yet for a good number of people, it is character; the sole determinant of the personality of a man. Hence the saying, 'when wealth is lost, nothing is lost, when health is lost, something is lost, but when character is lost, all is lost.' Ordinarily character deals with the qualities and features that make a person, groups or people and places different from others.

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary tries to define character from the point of view of opinions that people have of you, particularly of whether you can be trusted or relied upon. However, character in our context is not essentially about the opinions of others as to the deeper content of a personality upon which public opinions are built.

Though public opinions of person's character are important but they are not the sole determinant of the quality of a character. Our point of departure in this reflection is nevertheless on the loss of character as the tragedy of our time.

The loss of character deals with the loss of that inner content of a personality that places the whole integrity of a person in an irreversible gear of total destruction. Such that no one, not even the person himself or herself can give a character witness of his or her personality. In such a situation all is said to be lost in and with such a personality.

One is said to be dead, in this context, when one is said to be characterless. When a person or a group of persons cannot be relied upon or trusted even with that most tainted of all things, then the destruction of the personality is total. And this is the situation among most Nigerian politicians and the government in general.

People have come to associate politics and governance with a characterless gang up of men and women with the aim to defraud and pile up wealth at the ruin of the greater majority. Hence the loss of public confidence in government is taken for granted.

Unfortunately, it is not just the politicians and those at the kitchens of state powers that have lost the inner content of their personality; a good number of us are involved. Of course the loss of character has become the order of the day in all the rank and file of our society.

Character- building virtues like integrity, courage in the face of great difficulties and uprightness of life are no longer worth pursuing. People have lost the inner motivation to live and die for the truth. Truth itself has become for them so relative that nothing outside Of their conveniences binds.

The desire to come -on -wealth does not know any restrictions of ethics and morals. Ethics and morality are taken to be old fashioned religious concepts of the past that have left people wretched. People think it is no longer useful to submit to the restrictions of morals occasioned by good character.

It is in this context that the foundation of our entire society is precariously heading towards its doom. In fact, all is lost, when the character of a person or a nation is lost. Let us rise to resist this tragedy!

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