Silver Bullets

In the classic Werewolf lore, it is believed that werewolves can be defeated by silver and as such, werewolf hunters sought and/or fashioned silver bullets that would be the simple solution to all their werewolf problems. Unfortunately, it turns out that, as we can best determine, silver bullet solutions to problems are as mythical as the werewolves they were fashioned to overcome.

Though these silver bullets are known to be non-existent we, as humans still continue to seek them as solutions to our most complex and difficult problems. A classic example of this phenomenon can be found in the rhetoric surrounding the recent electoral victory of General Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria’s recently concluded presidential elections. Many, if not most, Nigerians seem to be under the impression that buhari and his incoming administration are going to be the magical solution to every concern and problem they encounter in their lives. This belief is expressed in the constant refrain of “wait for May 29th” in response to every complaint about the state of Nigerian life. The problem with this is that even in the best case scenario where Buhari  is the reformer and change agent he and his horde of supporters claim, the range and depth of Nigeria’s problmes are simply too great for a single individual or group of individuals to overcome within the time frame he has available to him. This challenge is further compounded by the fact that he is dealing with a group of people who are both extremely apathetic and maintain a strongly external locus of control in their lives. Nigerians love nothing more than to sit back, blame someone else for their problems and wait for some sort of messiah to solve said problems. This why the average Nigerian will tell you that the cause of an given problem in the country is ‘corrupt leaders’. How one can reasonably demand good leadership when s/he cannot be a good follower is one of the questions that keeps me up at night but perhaps I’ll go into a rant about that in a later post.

The truth is that complex problems tend to have complex solutions. In fact, the effort required to fix a problem is often at least an order of magnitude greater than what it took to create it. As a result, we as people need to be more patient and steadfast in our search for, and implementation of solutions to life’s various challenges. After all, even a silver bullet needs to be designed, cast, cooled, filed and then loaded into the weapon before it can be fired at a werewolf. And then you just might miss.


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