Total Man (Part 6) – Failure Nodes

This is Part 6 of Total Man. If you’ve not been following the series, please check previous posts to read Parts 1 – 5.

 At the beginning of this series, in Part 1, we examined the conceptual framework of man. We tried to define this entity called man, looking at his dimensions here. We established that because man was made from a virtual raw material called “image” he has the capacity for imagination; and because he was made from another virtual material called “likeness,” he has analytical ability. And since Adam was given a job to tend the Garden, that raised the issue of responsibility. He was also given dominion. That introduced the concept of governance. Based on the book of Genesis our definition of man from a product design perspective is, “a God-made imaginative and analytical governmental entity with a keen sense of responsibility.”
There are thus five factors to consider. The first relates to God’s proprietary right. Because God made man he has intellectual property rights over his creation. He owns the patents to the design. It’s his concept, it’s his asset. It’s why he has judgmental authority. Beyond that proprietary factor however we see four other dimensions of man – imaginativeness, analytical ability, responsibility and government. What history has shown, whether we look at the wholesale data or retail data is that the failure of man is always along these five dimensions. In other words these five dimensions are the failure nodes of man.
Imagination is critical failure node No. 1. Without the use of imagination a man can’t succeed in life. He can’t exercise faith to create the future. Faith requires the faculty of imagination. Faith only works when you see what you can’t see. It requires you ignore the evidence in front of you. You must switch the picture to the vision you desire. The more fervently you believe in the reality of that new picture the more likely you’ll get your desire. Even in business you need imagination. Or shall we say especially in business. You create products and services with the faculty of imagination. All the products and services we use today are by-products of imagination. To develop your imagination you need to read wider, go extra-disciplinary. The more your exposure the more imageries you acquire for the faculty of imagination. It’s why cultural exposure matters.
Ordinarily there’s no relationship between calligraphy and computer science. One is art, the other is science. But calligraphy influenced the design of Apple computer. Despite dropping out of Reed College in 1973, Steve Jobs continued to hang around campus, attending classes that interested him. One of those was a calligraphy class taught by a Trappist monk, Robert Palladino. Jobs credited Palladino’s class with teaching him about typefaces. It’s why he incorporated “beautiful typography” into the Mac. The Mac was a darling of graphic designers, still is. His multicultural exposure was useful to the development of the Mac. The Mac is at the intersection of several disciplines – art and science. You have to read wide and far, go multidisciplinary, travel if you can, study cultures, design, architecture, art, poetry… Read novels, study philosophy, sociology, economics, theology… The humanities are vital to the development of imagination.
A lack of understanding of this simple fact is what generated the wrong-headed belief countries can only succeed if they focus on science education to the detriment of the arts. Someone has a poor knowledge of history. Some laughingly opine history is a “useless” course of study. Really?! The concept of the atom originated around 440 BC. It was the idea of two philosophers – Leucippus and his student Democritus. They reasoned that all matter is composed of atoms – bits of matter that cannot be seen and cannot be split into further portions. The word they used was “atomos.” In Greek the “a” prefix means “not”; the word “tomos” means “cut.” The word “atomos” therefore means “uncuttable.” That reasoning is still driving fundamental physics.
The second critical failure point for man is the faculty of analytical reasoning. Analytical reasoning follows logical discipline. You need to train yourself to think logically. You won’t succeed with the kind of reasoning sometimes exhibited on social media. A figurative analogy for logical reasoning is a tree. First the roots, then the trunk, then the branches, and then the leaves. Simple logical flow. You can’t jump from the trunk to the leaves. It won’t make sense. And that’s where maths education comes in. Maths is cold logic – 2+2=4. But Maths also teaches us set and subset. All red colour balls go together. All white colour balls go together. But it’s also good to study Logic as a subject. In Logic you learn how to avoid fallacious arguments. Argumentum ad hominem is the fallacy of attacking the person instead of the points being made. This is common on social media. Argumentum ad verecundiam is the fallacy of appealing to authority as the basis of rightness in an argument. This is common in Africa – the belief something is right because an elder said so, or “my pastor said so.” It doesn’t matter what the Bible says. You can see I’m trying to impress you with those Latin phraseologies. Don’t blame me, I studied Law. But you can go on Google and study the other fallacies yourself, learn how not to argue.
The third and fourth failure nodes for men are responsibility and governance. Together they constitute the political dimension of man. A man will fail as a man if he is irresponsible. You can’t divulge responsibility from the concept of manhood. A “man” as biblically defined must be responsible to God, responsible to himself, responsible to his family, responsible to his community. Irresponsibility is costly. It costs the family, costs the corporation, costs the community, costs the individual, costs the nation. And sometimes the cost is generational. Irresponsible parenting produces generational challenges. An irresponsible father can create hatred in his children. A man must take care of his family. No matter the economic structure of a family a man should at least take MORAL RESPONSIBILITY for upkeep if not fiscal responsibility. You can’t gamble school fees away for example and expect your children to adulate you. You can’t fritter the rent away, have your family thrown out on the street and expect your wife to respect you. You can’t be a public drunk, constantly embarrassing your family and expect your kids to be proud of you. They can’t identify with you. You can’t buy a new car leaving your children’s school fees unpaid; or go on vacation without caring about how the family will feed while you’re gone. It’s irresponsible.
Parents sacrifice for their kids. Love is meaningless without sacrifice. Children may not know much but they appreciate sacrifice. They always appreciate the sacrificial parent. And so they take care of the parent who wore rags so they can go to school. It’s from sacrificial parents that children learn responsibility. Children primarily learn from parents. The violent husband is many times the product of “proper” home training who learnt very well from his father.
The fourth critical failure node for men is governance – the ability to control oneself, to subordinate one’s passions. Men are full of testosterone. It’s a steroid. Women also have testosterone but in much smaller amounts. During puberty, rising levels of testosterone encourage growth of testicles, pubic hair and the penis. The voice deepens, muscles mass up, body hair grows. Along with all these changes comes growing sexual desire. Sperm production as well. If you don’t control that primal instinct you’re going to land into a lot of trouble. When people say men are crazy about sex but women are more concerned about romance they’re not so far off the mark. It’s that testosterone thing. In a study of 200 students at Ohio State University the young men in the study reported an average of 19 thoughts about sex per day – almost double that of women. The figure for women was 10. Men are more prone to being aroused by imagery than women. Researchers at Emory University found that viewing sexually arousing images increased activity in the limbic system of men’s brains than it did for women.
The reason men are aroused in the morning and seem to have automatic hard-ons is because testosterone levels tend to be higher in the morning and lower at night. So now you have it – why men are aroused by Page 3 girls, want to have sex in the morning and are very prone to arousal by porn. It’s the wiring and all the chemical stuff slushing around. You need to control the beast! What Paul said is that the body naturally wants to go crazy. Because of that it needs regimented discipline – the type an athlete applies. “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should,” he said. 1 Corinthians 9:27 NLT. You have to control your exposure to certain imageries. That will give you a fighting chance. You have to control your thoughts too. There’s biological explanation for that but let’s keep it simple… Something about signals originating in the cerebral cortex. This is the Bible recommended thinking list: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 NLT.
But perhaps the most critical failure point for men however is the connectivity node with God. When there’s failure at that nodal juncture there can be massive consequences. God made man the Bible says. He is still making men. He made Peter fisher of men. He was a fisher of marine creatures. “Fisher of men” is a variable. Which means God can make you anything – doctor, lawyer, music star, technologist… But the fact of God being the maker demands humility from us. The successful man is a product of grace despite seeming contrary evidence. The man who declares himself “self-made” is a man without understanding of the dynamics of mercy and grace. “A man who is held in honour, yet who lacks spiritual understanding and a teachable heart, is like the beasts that perish.” Psalms 49:20 AMP.
The other point about failure at the point of connection with God relates to break in fellowship with God due to sin. When we sin our natural instinct tells us to run away from God. Like Adam we run and hide, covering our nakedness with a fig leaf. A fig leaf can be a new car, a busy work schedule, or anything that prevents us from serving God. Our disposition to run from God however raises the question of the feasibility of hiding from Omnipresence. Ubiquitous distribution is an attribute of God. This is what the Psalmist wrote about such quest: “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there… If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me… I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.” Psalms 139:7‭-‬12 NLT‬‬‬. ‬‬‬
It is futile to run away from God when we sin. Not going to church will not solve the problem. The Bible says that if we sin we should simply ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive: “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9 NLT. Believe those words.
But the ultimate severance of connectivity with God is when our spirit is cut away from his spirit. There’s a simple remedy for that. Just say the following words: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”
Theology Trivia: Of the 5 failure nodes of man which are you failing in? Where is your strength?
The e-version of my new book, The Genesis Project is now available for purchase and download at
© Leke Alder |