Some compliments are sincere

in honour of nature.jpg

This is one of many comments about “Black Man’s Sorrow and Other Poetry.” Though it is my wish that my works will inspire everyone. I normally forget about them once they are published and move on to other ideas. If you are interested in my latest poetry book, you can buy it here or here. All proceeds go to CWC Children’s Orphanage in Ghana in service of humanity.

Black Man’s Sorrow and other Poetry

Let me intoduce my second poetry book dealing with the search for the meaning of life to you. It was originally written in 2014 but was constantly being edited to make sure it comes out tasty and well baked. It covers many themes from the ‘African situation’ to politics to religion to morality to love etc. If you are interested in what I have to say and want to buy it please click here. All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the CWC Childrens Home, an orphanage in Accra, Ghana, in service of humanity. Have a nice day my dear. You know yourself.

What is the purpose of science if it doesn’t serve humanity?

With president Donald Trump reportedly cutting funds to the arts and humanities, I wonder what consequences it will have on the development of a national culture for a country as diverse and racially heterogenous as the United States. Without education in the arts and the humanities civil unrests will be more frequent because people wouldn’t know or understand how to live with one another and even with the state. All knowledge of the arts and the humanities helps us to know who we are, why we are the way we are and what we ought to do to improve ourselves, our communities and the larger society. Law, Politics and Business are all traditionally categorized as arts and humanities.

In the past half century or so there has been intense focus globally on science education, which is good but not good enough to create a more humane civilization and make humans a better and conscientious people. Science has given us many beautiful inventions but their purpose will depend on the purpose we as humans envision for those inventions. What good is a powerful weapon, machinery, tool, vaccine etc if one is not trained to use it humanely.

Science has told us in clear terms that it cannot help us as far as the purpose or meaning of life is concerned. We can only turn to the arts and the humanities for truly meaningful answers. There are tens of thousands of literary and cultural organisations across the U.S. often offering voices to the voiceless and the under-represented. This no doubt is important in uniting such a racially divided country. If funding to the arts and humanities is cut, the government is simply postponing a problem not solving it. Unless peace, coexistence, civil rights, and national unity is not a priority for the government at the moment. As someone who is passionate about literature and the arts, I can only ponder the consequences if literature and art is further underpromoted.

Intellectualism and Pseudo-Intellectualism

I looked up the definition of ‘intellectual’ after I was labelled by some co-bloggers as indulging in ‘false intellectualism.’ I didn’t know what that phrase meant, neither did I think anyone could successfully pretended to be intelligent or clever without ultimately making a fool out of himself. Intelligence is inborn – arising from the genes, so it’s either one knows something based one’s experience or one simply does not know. Moreover, I don’t blog to prove anything to anyone, truth is self evident. I just blog because I love to share my thoughts and ideas.

The dictionary came up with the following definitions:

Intellectual: Of or associated with or requiring the use of the mind. 

Intellectual: Possessing or showing intellect or mental capacity, especially to a high degree.

Intellectual: Appealing to or using the intellect or a person who uses the mind creatively.

Intellectualism (philosophy): The doctrine that knowledge is acquired by reason alone without resort to experience

Of the last definition which could easily pass for truth, I nonetheless disagree with that philosophical doctrine. I believe all knowledge is derived from sensory perception and therefore from experience. But it is the intellect that discloses the true meaning of an experience and sends the message to the individual. Without the experience or stimuli, there will be no message. Even with much experience, the message could be weak.

If someone writes a good essay or a poem or an article, is he not using his or her  mind creatively? Is that not an intellectual activity. So what at all do they mean by pseudo-intellectualism? Do we need to acquire PhDs in order to confer intellectualism on ourselves, because I know people who have acquired doctorates but apart from their dissertation, they have not written even a pamphlet. They simply sit in lousy offices and enforce unexplainable rules. Being an intellectual is not something that is inherited through degrees. One is born with it and it’s exhibited from childhood and probably only validated through high academic qualifications. Even then the biggest problems of this world were solved and are continuously being solved by people who did not even have any definitive education. That’s probably why the Academia is now, more than ever, admittable of people who can demonstrate practical knowledge of a field but without necessary certification. Misdirected education is a waste of time but it also doesn’t mean dropping out of college and putting the cart before the horse. That is regrettable.

Maybe my critics will label me differently once I complete my masters degree and inform them to that effect. But…wait a minute! maybe it’s not about my education. People who call me pseud-intellectual may actually be doing so because I am a black African living in the jungles of Africa – I am not supposed to discern much or speak with an intellectual or rational voice. Is that right? Well, here is the good thing: I am quite impervious to criticisms – in fact I welcome them.

All The World Is But A Playground

All the world is but a playground,

Like the play of a young man and a maiden,

Like the play of a child and a balloon,

Like the play of kittens and puppies,

Like the play of a serpent and a mongoose.

All the world is but a playground,

Only to awake at the sight of our grave.

The Essence of Discovery

wole

“The essence of discovery is that it is the antithesis of boundary imposition. Power loves boundaries. Power manifests itself within boundaries, is exercised within some form of delimitations of territory…creativity itself is an affront, since it appears dedicated to the constant opening up of territory.”

-Wole Soyinka, keynote speech at the 78th PEN International Congress, September 2012

PS: This statement was made years back and someone misunderstood and asked on social media if creativity cannot take place behind the walls in Gaza (Israel?), apparently in reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The statement itself has nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza. It is a political, analytical statement. Look at Africa and see how many countries have been carved out of a single continent. Even Togo calls itself a country. This is because “power loves boundaries.” The European colonialists divided the continent of Africa (politically, economically, socially and culturally) among themselves and the black African presidents have not removed those boundaries because they are also enjoying the autonomy. The “wall” or territory that is being spoken of here is not a physical wall but a psychological wall. The first thing one does in order to consolidate one’s power whether in government, business, academia or elsewhere is to close psychological boundaries through propaganda – to make it look like something is only possible with his/their authority. Whereas creativity (in all forms) is self expression and is dedicated to truth, to psychologically breaking down those barriers and offering relief to the people and showing the way forward. It is only when we aim at transcending barriers that a significant discovery can be made. So the essence of discovery is the direct opposite of boundary imposition. You cannot censor people and expect them to make a discovery.

 

The theme of the conference was: “Literature, Media and Human Rights.”

Learn To Love That Which You Hate

 

 

Artwork by hiriell

 

Out of weakness, comes strength.
Out of ignorance, comes wisdom.
Out of evil, comes good.
Out of pain and sorrow, comes joy.
Out of darkness, comes light.
Out of penury, comes wealth.
Out of servitude, comes utmost freedom.
Out of hostility, comes friendship.
Out of the old, comes the new.
Learn to love that which you hate.

 

 

Beyond The Physical

There lived a mad woman in my home village by name Beatrice but we all called her “Bee.” She was young, probably in her late twenties back then. No one knew how she became mad. When I was a kid, the other kids and I will mock at her and go into hiding and she will chase some of us with a big cane. I am speaking of a time when I was about seven or eight and “Bee” was very fat then. Now she has grown a little lean.

Sometimes she got her senses back when the gods were on holiday or when they let the locks lose. During those brief moments, she will be calm, even if you teased her and yelled her name. I was told she even responded to greetings nicely.

It has been a long time, about twenty years now, since I went back to the village and I was shocked to know that “Bee” was still alive. In fact I saw but didn’t recognize her. We were watching a traditional dance one late evening when someone came and stood right in front of us thus not only blocking our view but polluting the atmosphere with a pungent smell – as a result of not bathing for almost two decades.

“Hey Bee, move away!” one of my cousins shouted and I asked him if that was the same Bee I knew as child to which he responded in the affirmative. It got me thinking. This is someone who eats from the trash can and drinks from the gutter and is still alive. She has no sense of hygiene at all and probably houses thousands of bacteria in body. Yet she is still far from death. Over these years many people have died of warfare, diseases, drugs and simple recklessness.

Let us take a look at the war in Syria and Iraq, where almost daily, hundreds are lined up and massacred. Or let’s come down to West Africa, Boko Haram, which has killed more than 2000 people during the first half of 2014. Could these things have happened by chance? Certainly not. Are there higher malevolent invisible forces involved? Maybe.

Human behavior is very intriguing. The seeds of evil are sown by humans but the larger invisible evil forces help water them daily and nurture them until they grow into unimaginable dimensions. Think of this as pouring gasoline on a piece of burning flame. There is a force behind all evil. Many people call this force “the devil.” But I am not sure if this is an accurate description because the forces that I have sensed are also dynamic – metamorphosing into other forms every now and then. So that something that initially appears good suddenly transforms into evil and vice-versa. How then can evil come out of good? How can hate come out of love? And how can death replace life if there are no malignant demonic forces involved?

hearder image

Where ever there is conflict, for once, we know that there are at least two opposing forces – usually good and evil or sometimes all evil. The only medium for these forces is the human psyche. Here, let me try to, in psychological terms, define spirituality. It is at that precise point where emotions is joined with intellect or reason. It is like the confluence of two rivers, so you cannot know where one ends and the other begins or which direction each river is going. This is the arena of all mental struggles and this is where invisible evil forces perch in wait, like sea eagles, to dig their talons into innocent souls. Surely you will need an anchor. This anchor is called morality. And immortality is considered the ultimate reward  for being moral.

In another sense, evil forces are like malicious computer software, they cannot destroy physical things on their own. They need hardware (humans) as a medium, so brothers and sisters let us guard against our emotions and reasoning. The point of this post is to draw your attention to the metaphysical aspect of the world in which we find ourselves. The physical material world is just one side of the coin. Science does not and cannot teach everything.

Bee, the lunatic, is still alive because the evil forces do not need her. She is a damaged piece of “hardware” so why would they want her. But those of us in our prime let us be on guard. I am just saying be careful. In the spiritual world there are no remedies, it’s a predator-prey kingdom, and it doesn’t matter whether you are on the side of this god or that god. A little mistake and you are gone and who is to tell whether there is another world beyond? If you ask me the answer is simple, I don’t know.

But I, personally, will never chose oblivion over immortality though the former is more obvious and the latter, simply speculative. This is because a belief in immortality makes one happy in the here and now. The ultimate purpose of cultivating faith (in anything)  is to make one happy.

Arrows

Years ago,

When his soul was still young

Arrows were shot at him.

 

Wherefore he fell

And lay on the ground helpless.

Many more arrows flew in like rain drops.

 

And he lay face downwards.

Wounded.

They thought he was going to die

 

And they said, “let us bury him

For he will never live again.”

But there emerged a second soul

 

Out of the first – littler but stronger (a split)

And this little one dragged him into a lair.

Where he stayed until he became a man.

 

Now, every day he sees those who shot at him.

And he tells them: “Hey you owe me an apology.

You wounded me many years ago with your arrows.”

 

But each time they answer, saying:

“Who are you? We do not know you. We never shot at you.

Even if we did we were trying to protect you.”

 

hearder image