(By Nelson Okwonna)
For most development endeavours, intense faith is necessary. Faith is the belief, often without sufficient logical proof, that something could be and should be in a certain way.
In the article, “The Discipline of Innovation”, founder of modern management, Peter F. Drucker, noted that innovation is the practice of knowing. This practice of knowing, of identifying what ought to be, is born not just of the mere flash of genius (inspiration), but often of a cold-eyed commitment to analyzing sources of innovation.
There are various sources of innovation, which include: natural phenomena (creatures), relationships (among creatures, and between them and the Creator) andthe well-known flash of genius.
I have used the term “creatures” to refer to all that is of nature as I am convinced that there are more proofs for Intelligent Design than for Evolution as a rational basis for the origin of species. For example, science, as described by the Microsoft Encarta Dictionary,is the study of the physical world and phenomena, especially by using systematic observation and experiments.
Note the expression, “the study of the physical world and phenomena”. Thus, from an Intelligent Design point of view, science could be defined as the systematic study of creature.
Since this Intelligent Designer is not obvious and cannot be studied in our laboratories though His handiwork abound in us and in our world, considerations taken with Him in mind in a quest for development usually constitute some elements of faith.
The genius scientist in his laboratory who is “haunted” by the voice of this Designer, labouring and striving like one possessed, to bring about definite results of which he is only dimly knowledgeable could be said to be interacting with faith. The scientist who studies physical phenomena which was birthed by this Voice to harness truths and principles of realities may not know it but he is interacting with faith. His efforts are born of a singular but often denied belief – that there are principles in creature, that there is order, a systematic flow to things (call it intelligence if you like); and that this systematic nature of things would continue.
A noted scholar once said, “We would have to answer the question of God’s existence once and for all because for either alternative, there are serious consequences.” Indeed there are.If He doesn’t exist, then we are on this random sphere of a matter, rotating at a speed of about 1675 km per hour around an axis and revolving around a very hot sun and no one is in control!
Well, if He does exist, then the knowledge brings a whole lot of meaning to our science.
Hence, for science to exist, we have to believe that there is a systematic order to things and though the source of this order is not known and not verifiable in our laboratory, it is very much real.
Faith is a posture of the heart that is led by an understanding of such invisible dealings. It is the mannerisms and convictions of individuals who can see the invisible and hear the inaudible.It is a commitment to that which has not yet appeared but has been fully settled in the heart of the individual.
We arrive at faith when we make room for the invisible, when we attend to spiritual realities and draw inferences from them. This commitment is voluntary and very deliberate.
The place for understanding and depth
It is impossible to understand something to which attention has not been given though it is within the realms of our consciousness. This attention is born of a deep respect for the Invisible.
For example, there are men to which reverential fear abides in the study of microbes. The microscope, to them, is the visa to another realm entirely and we should be grateful for their awe. There are other men to whom it is rocks; to some, it is music; and to others, the nature of chemical structures.
To these individuals, the respect for that invisible thing in them which makes them love what they do is one of the most critical steps in the path of innovation. As someone said, “those that must engage in development endeavour must first believe in themselves.”
After attention, comes meditation. The first look often will not do it; concerted effort is needed and, many times, a great deal of exertion should follow.
Depth is essentially a focused attention to meaning. This focus has a price: consecration – foregoing alternatives. Depth changes the realities of the individual involved. It gives a new prism from which every other thing is seen; and this new prism helps produce a positive feedback mechanism such that, with little time, an attentive individual who has paid the price of consecration would find that he or she has gained mastery.
The wilderness of faith
It is not always that we have the means to pursue the demands of unseen realities.It is often the observed that the greatest hindrance to the researcher is funding.
In our world, everyone needs funding – universities, businesses, governments. One begins to wonder what is really missing.Itappears the rewards of our productivities are often below current demands, and this should say a lot about our tastes and pursuits.
Yet, it not always money that really stops the genius. More often, it is the prototype that the society demands of him. With time, he finds that to realise his most important goals, he must become a stranger to the world. He must decide to find for himself a new paradigm. Thus, he sits down within his wilderness and writes himself a new charter.He says, “This is who I am under God, and this is why I live. These are my commandments and my goal posts. I do not care what anyone thinks of me.So help me God.”
After this, he finds that he is different being – Aman never to be moved by the vicissitudes of life.Whatever betides, he has found a bearing away from here.
The nobility of patience
In the much quoted Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his son’s teacher are these words:”Let him have the courage to be impatient, let him have the patience to be brave. Teach him to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind, in God.”
There is courage for impatience. This is the type we need to remove obstacles and to engage the bottlenecks. The patience of bravery is that which insists that we never give up, never.
“Continuous effort” says Winston Churchill, “not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” Of course, there are times when one needs to rest, get refreshed before continuing at perspiration.
This courage to persevere is born of redeeming love – a righteous goodwill towards the subject(s) under consideration. It is something that we must encourage in people, a fire to be fed and a faith very much to be appreciated.
The purpose called compassion
It takes desire to seek, to search out things other than our own interests. Compassion creates for us unique fields of interests within which we could make our contributions and drive innovation. It lays out clear subject matters that inspire and stimulate our curiosities.
Faith demands that we attend to the subjects of this compassion, the things we really care about. By compassion, I refer to a reasoning compassion – not one that complains about scenarios but one that is able to feel without being overwhelmed by feelings; one that can find pragmatic solutions in challenging times.
It is difficult for us to find solutions that will affect humanity if we’ve not harboured compassion on issues that affect humanity. Our compassion helps create our opportunities. Most times, the “breakthrough” we’ve been praying for comes when we reach out to lend a helping hand, to help another achieve their vision, to help with a project, to do that thing that we love even when it doesn’t pay much and to value affection over compensation.
The faith walk on the path of innovation is one that is engaged in when we can attend to the invisible, value it and allow compassion lead us to noble paths. It will lead along the path called “wilderness” and will make new men of all that would overcome. It is such that will bring greater understanding of the meaning of persistence and redefine our understanding of realities. At the end, it assures a fuller life and, ultimately, a more rewarding life here and hereafter.