On ‘EYE LEVEL VS MENTAL LEVEL’ By Mwangi Ndegwa

Otis was a simple man who thought simple thoughts, did everything in...


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Otis was a simple man who thought simple thoughts, did everything in a simple way and lived a simple life.

He was born and brought up in Kisumu a town on the shores of Lake Victoria in the western part of Kenya. He never asked questions or sought clarification on any issue. He took everything on face value and to him, digging beyond what one could see was a waste of time.

He was born and brought up in Kisumu a town on the shores of Lake Victoria in the western part of Kenya. He never asked questions or sought clarification on any issue. He took everything on face value and to him, digging beyond what one could see was a waste of time.

When Otis went shopping, he picked what he saw first, not caring about the quality or even the sell by dates. He lived by this famous quote”what you see is what you get”. He could have appeared to be living okay only that this kind of life would become detrimental later on, in his life.

One day Otis went looking for a job in the industrial area of Kisumu, his home town. Lady luck smiled at him and he got a job in a bakery. This particular outfit used modern baking machines and you had to get all instructions right, if you wanted to get perfect finished products. He was put in charge of the oven which is the most critical area of the baking process. There were some buttons which needed to be pressed at certain intervals and for a certain duration. All the instructions were written clearly above each button. Otis reported to his work station all set and raring to go.

In the first button he were supposed to press, it was clearly marked “press for three minutes, release and then after a duration of two minutes, press again and check the readings on the panel above, then follow the prompts.

Otis in his usual manner of doing things in a simple way, just read the first part of the instructions, pressed the button, then sat on a chair nearby and in no time, he was day dreaming. He was jolted back into reality by a smell of burning and when he woke up from his reverie, the whole room was full of smoke from the baking compartment. The smoke triggered the fire alert and all the sirens went off. The emergency team rushed to check what the issue was and you can imagine the shock on the face of his supervisor when he walked into the oven section. Otis was chocking in smoke and he had to be rushed to hospital to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning and with that, his job was gone. 

We may laugh at Otis but many of us in our daily lives, are doing things like him. How many times do we do things without asking why. We see this happening in our education institutions or even at our work places? It even happens in our social lives and most important, when it comes to making political decisions in our local and national elections? We vote along party, tribal, religious or social lines not caring to do some background checks on the characters seeking these offices. We all know a person or persons who are drug addicts and this all started from that first “trial” from a friend. They took that first sip of alcohol, that first puff of a cigarette, that first shot of hard drugs, without asking any questions because it was from their close friend.

If our lives are to change, then we need to shift our view from eye level (what we see with our physical eyes), to mental level, also known as perception. We need to see more with our mental eyes as opposed to physical eyes. The physical eyes are important but sight without vision is like a nice high end car with no fuel. Eye level versus Mental level, the choice is up to each one of us. To read more posts by Mwangi, click HERE

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