By Zulumathabo Zulu © 2015
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Dimakatso Discourse – Part 1
Enter Dimakatso discourse with the creator. She comes from a rural town. She finds herself in the dazzling street lights of the Gauteng metropolis. She is trying to cut her teeth in the military sector as a soldier. The military organization is a highly stratified society and in many ways sexist and racist. This is a military organization during the pre-1994 political dispensation. As a Black woman, her challenge is to overcome the systemic barriers of gender and race in order to make her mark. Dimakatso decides that in order to make her mark, she needs some design improvements from her creator. This conversation with the creator is already in progress:
The Creator: What exactly is the problem?
Dimakatso: Your Holiness! I hereby bow before you to motivate my request. Thank you for granting me this opportunity to address you. I am a woman in a patriarchal society. As if that is not bad enough, I am also a Black woman in a society that is fixated with racial ethnicity.
The Creator: Are you suggesting that as a creator I made a mistake by giving you a Black skin colour and somehow you are disadvantaged as a result of my design decisions?
Dimakatso: The Black skin colour is beautiful and as a matter of fact I am proud of my Blackness. I wouldn’t trade this for another colour. Nonetheless, even though I have an equal opportunity like other humans to architect my own destiny, there are these systemic variables that are outside my control. I am constrained by social constructs that are designed by man to frustrate my ability as a human to be the master of my own destiny. I want to change that and for that I need the ability to transcend these variables.
The Creator: What are these systemic variables that are preventing you from getting ahead?
Dimakatso: The social construct of gender is one variable that I have no control over. It is the chauvinist society that constrains me as a woman through the mechanisms that stream my role in society. Race is another variable that I have no control over. Another variable is the lack of economic access to the opportunity to become the architect of my own fortune. The objective existence of these constructs of race, gender and lack of access is disempowering to say the least.
The Creator: How can I help?
Dimakatso: I need some transcendental powers to overcome the triangular challenge of these social constructs.
The Creator: Others are struggling with the same challenges and many have managed to make a breakthrough on their own efforts which means that given enough effort, time and the right mindset you can also overcome your constraints. Why do you want to be treated differently?
Dimakatso: I don’t want to be treated any better than others. It would be unfair to receive a preferential treatment while others have overcome the same barriers on their own efforts without assistance from the creator. I respect that and salute those exceptional individuals.
The Creator (interjecting): Moreover, if others are able to do it on their own and you are not then by assisting you I would be promoting mediocrity. I can’t promote mediocre performance. You have to demonstrate through your exceptional performance that you have what it takes to defeat those barriers you are talking about and it’s only when you demonstrate a flawless execution with respect to your efforts that I can perhaps consider intervention in the exceptional case where the problem might be a design shortcoming. You have to demonstrate a design flaw.
Dimakatso: When the great mongoose approached you, you gave her a molecular ability to transcend a snake bite. Definitely these are design improvements that imparted transcendental powers and gave the mongoose a survival advantage. I could use some of those transcendental powers.
The Creator: You are not facing a risk of a venomous bite as a result of your gender, race and lack of access, are you? Why should I treat your case as an urgent matter?
Dimakatso: I am not in an immediate danger of that. However, I need a change in my brain chemistry. I need to enhance my serotonin levels so that I can command mood stabilization when tested beyond measure. I think I have a good mindset in terms of not allowing adversity to cloud my judgement but my lower levels of serotonin pose a real danger with respect to my ability to transcend and think correctly about adversity.
The Creator: You are a very wise woman. I agree that no matter how good is your mindset, if the serotonin levels are low then you are at risk of being degraded by adversity which can inhibit a survival maximizing behaviour. From now on, I will enhance your raphe nuclei neurons so that the flow of 5-HT is increased. Despite the intensity of adversity that befalls you, you will always maintain a level headed mindset with an ability to recover from setback.
After her conversation with the creator, Dimakatso entered the military academy with a more robust mindset. Her sleep patterns improved tremendously since the pineal gland which manufactures melatonin for inducing sleep also functioned in a more robust fashion. Melatonin levels require high levels of serotonin as a precondition. If the individual gets enough sunlight which induces more serotonin then it means that they will have better sleep patterns.
It does not end here. The individual must also have good recovery from setback. When befallen by adverse conditions, they can’t be brooding over that. They must shake off negative mood states because failure to do so will trigger another neurotransmitter known as epinephrine which blocks the molecular action of serotonin. This is where mindset is critical to a positive mood state.
Boosted by these new improvements in her brain chemistry, Dimakatso was ready to face the world like a victor and not a victim.
To be continued…