“But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." — Genesis 3:4-5 [RSV]
A dressed up monkey is still a monkey. Clothe a goat with all the fine suits in the world. It is still a goat because it will still feed on grass.
A pig in pearls will still return to the mud. A repackaged goat is not a sheep. No matter how well a monkey is branded, it never becomes a human being.
In the world of marketing, when a product or service wants to bounce back after a recess, it has to undergo repackaging. Its name could be modified. Everything about it has to be rebranded to give its audience a new, refreshing perspective of it. No matter how much that product or service may be repackaged, however, it still serves the same purpose. If the content is not changed, it is still the same product.
Just as old products can be repackaged for the same audience to look like new, many wrongs around us have undergone repackaging to look as though they are right. Some ills we were afraid to even conceive on our minds have been rebranded to look good in our eyes. Wrong can, however, never be right regardless of how well it is repackaged.
Wrong is wrong
What is wrong is wrong even if majority are involved and what is right is right even if it is being done by only the minority. What is right or wrong is not defined by how attractive they are; neither is it defined by how many people are doing it.
When we repackage wrong, the content doesn’t change. That notwithstanding, effects are still grave. When greed is repackaged as a business, for instance, its effects don’t change. People are exploited at the expense of others. New packaging doesn’t necessarily mean new content.
Evil does not become good because people gave it a new name. Wrong doesn’t become right just because it was rebranded. Stealing from government coffers, for instance, doesn’t become right because it was given a new name.
In the biblical story of Adam, Eve and the serpent, God had cautioned the man and the woman about a forbidden fruit in the middle of the garden. He had warned that they were going to die if they ate of it. The serpent, however, walked in and repackaged the caution to make it look like it was no big deal eating of it after all. And… they ate it.
The fruit looked forbidden until it was repackaged. It was all untouchable until the serpent demystified it by repackaging what it could do and what it couldn’t. The content was same but the perception about it had changed. This is how death crept into the world.
In today’s world, a lot of wrongs have been rebranded to look like they are not wrong at all. Many have been deceived to admit that some wrongs are ‘not so wrong’ anyway. Adultery, for instance, has been written off as cheating. Fornication has been massaged as dating. Stealing is only misappropriation of funds.
The wrongs that were a ‘no-go-area’ for most of us when we were younger have now become our playing field as adults. In our adulthood, we seem to be grappling with the morals we so strongly held on to in the days of our youth. What we ought to remember, however, is that time doesn’t make what is false to become true. From childhood to adulthood, right and wrong remain what they are.
Wrong doesn’t become right with time. If cheating others to be rich was wrong in times past, it doesn’t become right today because times are hard. What we perceived as wrong when we were teens is still wrong when we become adults.
It is quite a difficult task standing for what is right in this era because almost nothing looks wrong anymore. Wrong, just like right, has become subjective. Courtesy our selfish pleasures, many wrongs are right in our sight today because they have been repackaged to look so.
The serpent repackaged God’s caution and convinced Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, glossing over how it could lead to death. It explained to her that eating the fruit was the only way their eyes could open and “be like God”. The reptile was right but was wrong. Adam and Eve became like God by knowing right from wrong but they died, contrary to what the serpent promised.
When wrong is rebranded, we are fed with half-truths. They tell us the benefits only and hide from us the side effects. When people are badly campaigning for cheating, no one mentions the STDs that are included in the package. No one talks about the untold poverty it may bring on us. It is always the other half of the truth that no one talks about that leads to our death.
Take heed. Just because the masses call a wrong something else doesn’t lessen its weight. A new name only makes us feel comfortable. It makes that wrong act feel less judgemental. It, however, doesn’t make it right. No matter how beautiful and comfortable we may make wrong look like, it can never be as beautiful and comfortable as doing the right thing.
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, an Accra-based writing company (www.scribecommltd.com). Watch his play, THE BOY CALLED A GIRL, on Scribe Productions’ YouTube channel.