The Levels of Thinking: Dependent, Independent & Interdependent Thinking-Episode 1

Hi friend and colleague, how has been life? Let’s not forget our practices against COVID-19. We are more powerful than COVID-19 and we have won already. As I come your way this time, it’s to continue the issues raised in my last conversation titled, “The Evil in our Culture—-Our Limitation” Do you remember I talked about the African societies that have not learned how to ask the question of “Why”. This lack of ability and curiosity to ask the question of “why” as discussed is the secret to understanding. As a learning specialist, the question of why in our African community has not been promoted by our culture to a great extent that it can generate understanding towards solving Africa peculiar problems and challenges. Alluding to that assertion is not to deny the fact that we do not have a thinking capacity at all, we do, but the kind of our thinking is not helping us to ask constructive questions. Asking the question of why in the right direction will launch our minds/brains into the realm of critical thinking, and if it’s possible to think anything in any possible way, it’s possible to experience the result of our thinking, so, our bane and limitation has always been tied to the inability to think creatively and proactively, and the key to that is the question of “WHY”

Now, it’s not that we do not think at all, but the kind of thinking that’s prevalent in African societies is the kind that’s powerless, non-creative, non-active, and non-proactive, which I have decided to tag as “Dependent Thinking” There are three levels of thinking that can be attained which are “Dependent, Independent, and Interdependent thinking” I will briefly discuss each of the thinking levels and their effect on African societies, especially with learning and development.

When an individual is said to be “Dependent” in thinking, it means the individual collects and absorbs his/her thoughts, ideas, instructions, knowledge from other’s ideas, views, thoughts, and knowledge. Such individuals do not possess the minds of their own. He/she thinks of an idea because someone has thought about the same idea with no form of modifications, nothing in the idea is traceable to such an individual. A dependent thinker is likened to a child whose livelihood is dependent on another person’s livelihood. A child depends totally on his parents, nurses, caregivers, custodians, etc. Though the man can think also, because he’s still acting like a child in his thinking, he would have to depend on another for survival. A typical example is seeing a 30-year old man in Africa, who is still largely dependent on someone to care for him especially among the educated (People who have attended one higher institution on the other), I do not mean to slight anyone, but the reality in African societies have been influenced by the same pattern of thinking-dependent. A nation that is dependent ‘in’ thinking will produce dependent-thinking citizens who are dependent ‘in’ thinking, equally. Most Africans are dependent thinkers, we depend on the health-care system of another nation, we copy the system of governance of another nation, even though it’s not working, we copy the successful educational system of another nation, the military system is also copied from another nation, etc like a friend of mine rightly noted that, in Africa, we copy everything, how long shall we continue to copy till will become what we have been copying?

Let’s become what we have been copying

How do we measure the level of dependent thinking in Africa? It’s in the number of imported goods and services from other nations. Drugs, Foods, Pencil, Pens, all kinds of services are imported, after several years of independence. Foreign contractors and companies are still the ones executing our projects for us in our land. A large percentage of e-learning courses and websites/applications are contracted to foreign nations. Of course, I understand our arguments or reasons for the decision, but regardless of any justified and tenable reasons, it’s still the reflection of our thinking pattern, which is dependent.

The occurrence of dependent thinking is worst among the elite. The high-class people, the educated, and the wealthy people are usually at the front seats in this scenario. A dependent thinking nation depends or copies successful ideas from other nations. A typical sachet water seller will copy his friend’s idea of selling sachet water with no form modification. If African nations are dependent in thinking, we will only be servants of the originators.

A dependent thinking nation is never an originator

I stand to be corrected, Singaporean model or American model or British model of development may not work for us in Africa, we got to think ingeniously to establish a workable model, of course, we can learn from the models, but not to the point of copying the entire model. Their models cannot work with us, the models were created decays ago, how could a model created 50 years ago or more work for us in the 21st century? Our systems and environments are different, and most of the existing models are already being modified by the same countries because their systems had outgrown the models. It’s the same old models that have become trash with the originators that we are now picking up and window dressing for African nations.

Africa needs brand new models

For instance, used cars, computers, drugs, clothes, and all kinds of Used goods and services are our best choices. What other nations have considered not good for their citizens based on the created and set standards have become our best models. All these happen because we do not have any standards, and largely it’s because our thinking is dependent.

In Nigeria, we have cars made or assembled in Nigeria yet our political leaders will not patronize it, instead, they prefer to buy cars from other foreign nations. If they want to set an example, all our political office holders leaders such as the governors, legislators, president, Local government chairpersons should buy and use the cars. We need to wake up and look into our communities for indigenous ideas, knowledge, and thoughts that are capable of liberating us. It’s not only physical independence we need, we need independence in thinking. In all, a dependent thinker is a colonized thinker that’s largely influenced by colonial master’s ideas, thoughts, and knowledge.

Africa needs mind-freedom as much as physical-freedom.

To be continued next time.

Hope it helps.

Learn once and Remember always!


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