“The fear of failure is often worse than failure itself.” -- Shiv Khera
This is not an isolated case in history when fear has motivated people to perform great feats. There are several others. Take the case of the ancient Benin Empire. Although there are Benin folk-tales that give credit to the legendary giant “Aidenomon” as the man who single-handedly dug the Benin moat, logical reasoning discredits these tales. Till date, the tales are still being told to children as we were told when we too were little children. We learnt that this giant “was so big that no house was large enough to contain him” hence he lived in Oba market in today’s King’s Square, Benin City. We learnt that the giant “used one hand to uproot palm trees and used whole palm trees as brooms and chewing sticks.” The folktales said, that when he slept, “the breath from his nostrils was so powerful that it uprooted trees in its wake.” And that “he used one hoe held in one hand, standing on one spot and with one stroke, dug the entire moat.” As we grew older, it started dawning on us that these tales were exactly what they were folk tales. They could not possibly have presented the whole truth if you take into account the size and enormity of the Benin moat.
However, a close study of Benin history will reveal to you that the moat was dug through massive communal effort. The moat is simply a marvel if you take into account that it was dug manually without the benefit of giant earth-moving equipment as you find these days. The moat provided complete security for the ancient Binis. It shielded them from attacks by slave-raiders and other warriors. The Benin moat is another clear evidence of the near super-human effort that fear can motivate people to put up when they choose to. The Great Wall of China is also another typical example of how far people can go to insure themselves from fear. Tourists marvel today while on this wall how the ancient Chinese managed to build it through direct application of human labor and efforts. The ancient Chinese simply allowed the fear of conquest and domination to motivate them to achieve the great feat. The wall provided them security and freedom from conquest. They therefore spared no efforts at building it. Human achievement has no limits when it comes to survival because “self-preservation is a cardinal rule of nature.”
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