The first excerpt post in a series of posts from my on-going and upcoming free book project of the same title. Other discourses, essays, articles and writings will also be posted at interludes. Enjoy 🙂
It was a beautiful crispy early Monday morning, the kind of morning that fills you with gusto and makes you truly feel alive, the air was fresh, the wind was gentle and there was not a single speck of cloud in the heavenly deep blue skies. It wasn’t so much as the magnificent spotless clarity of the sky or the rhythmic breathing in and out of the fresh and dewy mountainous air, nor even the playful chirping and endless tweeting of the birds that gave one the feeling of being at one or at a restful calm with nature, not at all. It was the unexplainable euphoria that came along with it, the calm mysterious bliss that seemed to radiate from the core and centre of one’s being, and the complete mental satisfaction that came from this musical symphony, grandfully and masterfully orchestrated by nature in combining and weaving all these individual elements together, that was playing out before me, from me, within me, playing deep in my soul, in a series of endless perfection.
This was the ultimate musical composition, a seeming rarity of some sorts, but it wasn’t the sudden outburst of this grand beauty and melody of nature that seemed to capture my mind, for nature had always been grand and beautifully majestic, no, it was the bursting forth of my mind to capture nature in all her endless beauty and perfection. I’d sort of risen to the occasion and matched her, beauty for beauty, peace for peace, bliss for bliss, though momentarily fleeting in time, the feeling was everlasting in its impression. Saying the sky was splendidly spotless, with a deep rich blue intensity, like I had never witnessed before, would indeed be an understatement of the highest calibre. The sun, so gentle, but so vigorous, burning ever so radiantly, with an orange warmish glow, you could almost hear it burndancing, burning, vibrating, and pulsating as it rose in the horizon with an unmatchable cosmical clockwork accuracy. It couldn’t have looked any more beautiful. Yes, eagerly but patiently, the sun rose peacefully, effortlessly and blissfully across the Eastern horizon, fully embracing us with it’s warm, tenderly and motherly love, in all it’s majestic glory. Yes, it was indeed the dawn of a new age, the dawn of a new day in the sands of time and in the unending cyclical perpetuity of eternity.
Gathered in the open fields along with my fellow school mates, we, or moreover, shall I say, I, just couldn’t wait to hear what new words of wisdom or nuggets of truths, our newly appointed secondary school principal would tell us during our daily one hour morning assembly, as we gathered in the open fields in the hilly country sides of Uromi, Edo State, southern Nigeria. For in the dying embers of the previous academic year of his new appointment, he always had something inspiring to tell us on such mornings, something fascinating, something historically mind boggling and something informative to share with us. Something that really intrigued and made a curious and inquisitive thirteen year old boy like myself, leap for joy with an unmatched excitement as no other thirteen year old had done before, as I continuously thought, pondered and wondered about this glorious and interesting civilization of mine, called humanity. Such were the beginnings of each school day back in secondary school.
If I may be so humble, or rather, so unworthy, yet so daring, as to approach the literary throne of grace of my good friend, and literary camaraderie and author, the great Charles Dickens, so as to borrow his grand and immortal words, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we [or shall I say, I] had everything before us [me], we [I] had nothing before us [me]’ … and if I may humbly add, it was the most ponderous of times for me. Reading these introductory lines of the opening chapter of ‘A tale of two cities’ by the great and only Charles Dickens, as a seven year old, left me dazzled, dumbfounded and in awe. Back then, I didn’t or hadn’t yet fully understood just how profound, meaningful and impactful those introductory words were, words, which continue to echo, ring out and reverberate throughout the course of humanity. Only getting louder and louder with each passing moment, from generation to generation, from century to century, gathering momentum, like a steam train locomotive whistling down the rails, like a snowball tumbling down the mountain, gathering more force, more speed, more power, without losing its essence and inner vitality. The words of Mr. Dickens have been preserved and embalmed forever in the unfailing and uncompromising fabric of Truth. This was no ordinary phrase, and this clearly, was no ordinary man. He knew that Something. The depth of such phrase had left me even more confused as a seven year old, as I had yet to fully enter into the spirit or deeper understanding in which Mr Dickens carefully set down those immortal words. Words, which to a seven year old, seemed so paradoxical in nature, so self-contradictory, so literally and lexically ambiguous and fleeting of understanding. Oh how far off I was in Spirit to Mr. Dickens, how naïve I was, how blind and ignorant to the Truth and Law of my Being back then. How could words be so contradictory, but yet so straightforward? So complicated, but yet so simple? So seemingly confusing and illusionary, but yet, attaining the utmost pinnacle of literary and transcendental clarity?
For in all my years of reading and the thousands of hours spent coursing, flipping and shall I say, literary carousing through the pages of hundreds (if not thousands by now) of literary works, books, essays, discourses, meditations, axioms, aphorisms, that span from the Mundane to the Arcane, from the Fictional to the Allegorical Pseudo-Fictional, from the seeming Great to the seeming Small, from the Cryptic to the Plain, from the Spiritual to the Carnal. No set of words, nay, no remark or phrase have so masterfully and perfectly captured the dichotomous and perilous inner and outer state of humanity and our seeming unending quest from bondage towards perfect liberty and freedom, than these opening lines of this classic. The inner unquenchable flame, fire and urge of Liberty and Freedom urging mankind to continuously rise to the occasion and masterfully take his rightful place in the Universe, couldn’t have been reflected any better by my good friend, Charles Dickens. He would have written only those lines and one page, left the remaining pages blank and his book would still be an instant classic. Verbosity and very many words are not necessary, as such is usually the power of Truth. Though may take on a lesser meaning or interpretation from its idealistic intent, and as a result, it’s true latent meaning may elude or be hidden from the masses. However, such phrases and statements, usually and clearly stands out and speaks volumes to the True Seeker.
But these recollections and memoirs are no tale of two “cities” or class sects, no, this is not a tale of a country and it’s demoralized citizens or peasants, who have clearly had enough from constantly being worked to the breaking point, ridden like camels and donkeys, and have had their backs whipped for far too long in the trenches of life by their oligarchic and aristocratic masters. Aristocrats who are delusionarily and temporarily drunk with power feeding their citizens crumbs from their high towers, while they drink wine and crushed berries from their golden chalice on one hand and holding an ornamental and decorated sceptre on the other, all the while dressed in long fancy royal robes and with a crown on their head. The pages of history are already far too filled with instances of such, as the history of man is sadly, the history of master-slave, oppressor-oppressed, prisoner-captor kind of relationship. Spanning a wide spectrum of all kinds, some obvious, some sinister and not so obvious, which lead to uprisings and revolutions, as history continues to repeat itself. The history of man, as it is commonly said, is a history of violence and opposition.
However, and in a manner of speaking, and now being in the same Spirit of my better brethren Mr Dickens, these recollections are of a more sublime and subtle form of uprising, towards an even more subtle form of oppression, the oppression of ignorance. Invisible as it is, subtle and sinister like a snake crawling in the grass and harmless as it may appear on the surface, it is very much a constant, clear and present danger with innumerable and devastating consequences.This was a more sinister revolution [or shall I say an evolution], the revolution of my mind. It was the age of innocence, the age of a sort of “wise ignorance”, for lack of a better phrase. It was the age of error and naiveté pushed to it’s ultimate limits, it was undoubtedly, the age of Reason.
Now, I’m not quite sure if this coming of age was as a result of the natural evolutionary expansion of my mind/consciousness, which led me to ponder very many things or if my pondering of these many things led to the expanse of my mind/consciousness. But ponder much, I certainly did, and expand much, my mind/consciousness correspondingly and certainly obeyed and followed. It’s the classic chicken and egg scenario. If the mind’s tendency is to expand on it’s own, then there should be a fuelling or driving force for said expansion. The philosophers of bygone eras, the deep thinkers of every age and time have called this fuelling force, the Primal Cause, the First Cause [still under the plane of matter, etherealized matter, so to speak]But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and get philosophical or even try to get transcendental. After all, I had just turned thirteen and the concept of transcendental idealism, was nowhere near the fringes of my nurturing teenage mind. However, in the same manner that my other good friend [I have many friends, you’ll soon come to realize], the great and the only Ralph Waldo Emerson once said in his classic essay Compensation; ‘Ever since I was a boy, I have wished to write a discourse on Compensation’. The keyword here, being ‘boy’. He was a philosopher long before he was [known as] a philosopher. My nickname back in secondary school was ‘philosopher’, ‘the wisest’, ‘Methuselah’, as a few of my colleagues now and former high school mates reading this can clearly testify.
But I never even considered myself wise by any stretch of the imagination or even be worthy to be called a philosopher for that matter. The truly wise, are those who have attained full enlightenment and have crossed or peered through the veil and threshold of “illusion”, of which, I haven’t even come close. But I guess for my age back then, and still till today, I have always been told “I sound older/wiser than my age”. Wisdom really is justified in her children. My peers and mates had seen something in me, far far far long before I had even realized it in myself later on down the years. So these discourses and recollections, however many chapters and volumes and pages and posts they may span, have been, in a manner of speaking, 17 years in the making. So follow me on a journey, as I recount the thoughts, events, ponderings and occurrences that have shaped my life over the last 17 years. (to be cont.)
Cover art: The Circus Diver-Calgary Stampede 2011- by Napoleon O. Irianan