Pardon this Hypocrisy
In this column, we highlight the fact that all of us humans live the ephemeral—a fact we all know. We all have this at the back of our minds that it is perhaps answered in the affirmative, Shakespeare’s inquiry:
“As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods;
they kill us for their sport…”
I, for one, suspect this to be particularly true because of my relationship with insects—ants, especially. I see these poor creatures traipsing about my room—on my wall, the floor; I see them rush off in vain as I attempt to press a finger against them—just a finger, that is always enough to do the job. I see them flail their limbs in vain, attempting to whisk themselves back to life perhaps, after receiving the first blow—my failed first attempt. I see them have their final fail as I deliver the second blow—crashing them with this same lone finger. And just like that a family man/woman on his way to work, to bring back home the bacon, is reduced to dust, leaving behind a loving family who shall mourn him endlessly.
So maybe we humans are just like so to the gods—us all, like these tiny insects; our fates predetermined—and short.
Permit me to pick William Butler Yeats’ brain as he famously hypothesised in ‘The Second Coming’
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world...”
Yeats believed that the world as we know it comes in turns; that after every 2000 years there is a renewal—a flush down of one world and a replacement with another. Going by this, I can, in turn, stubbornly hypothesise that perhaps there was a particular set of 2000 years way, way back, centuries and centuries ago when the Black race ruled the world. That us all human races—the diverse human races—must all have our turns at the top and then the bottom.
So then, as proposed by proponents of reincarnation—that a person may be born woman in one world, but in her second coming, may come as a tree, I, here, am proposing same for the diverse human races. The black race may have been rulers in their First Coming, in our rebirth—or Second Coming—we have had it horribly. If you are with me, in this tossing around of ideologies, this totally makes sense—does it not?
Simulating a god
Or as some suspect, maybe we are living in a computer simulation. This ‘Simulation Theory’ is quite the doozy, is it not? This, I’ll argue, could just be the atheist’s version of the conception of God. The belief that all of us human race, existing on this tiny planet we perceive to be indomitable in this wide universe, may just be—and this is the lamest way I can put this—avatars in a computer game being played by some advanced versions of humans whose existence predates us by millions of years, and who have advanced so far in their civilization that they have created perfect avatars of computer games—us. So perfect that you and I, being controlled by remotes, believe ourselves to be real—our thoughts, real; our feelings, families, our existence…real. But it is not.
Just think about that PS5 you want so badly; think about FIFA 21—about those jersey-ed players you want so badly to control, to have run about that field, following that lone football—you and I, we are just like those players. Creations of an advanced human race—not a god.
Yet, these existential ponderings are not enough to whisk us out of our reality, one that is called ‘developing world’; and some would deign say ‘poor countries.’
So, welcome back to reality…
These realities are what I intend attempt tackling in this column:
- The Black race.
In no particular order, I might add.
Why We Write
For someone who writes so much about the reclamation of Black identity; of the annihilation of the culture of White tutorage over Black; of putting to an end the forceful manufacturing of a White Black race—the turning of the Black person into White—or into a fraudulent conception of what White is, I must say I have started off with way too many White quotes. I could have kicked off this column with things us Black folks have said on the various matters, rather than flooding my first three paragraphs with Caucasian quotes. But I am for the most part what my society has made me. And if you would admit to yourself, you will find that we are same on this point.
It is for this reason that I write—to put an end to the further creation of Black people like me—and you, maybe. So for now, do pardon me on Shakespeare, Yeats and—who do I make the poster boy for the ‘simulation theory?’—Nick Bostrom. But I am going to go with Elon Musk, just for the sake of it. [He is African, isn’t he? Let’s hold on to that.]
Purporting a dense god
It would be woefully fatalistic for us to leave these ponderings of our reality at this: that is the order of things, as these ideologies hinted at in my preceding paragraphs seem to be hinting at—that a god created this to be so, as certain fools will have you believe. In so doing what we create is a weak-minded god, a god of one complexion—as the imageries we have grown up seeing will have us believe—a White god. And it does not take an atheist to figure this out: that is stupid.
That is not our perception of God—at least not for you and me. And if by some successful centuries-old brainwashing we find ourselves blatantly or subconsciously thinking these obvious lies to be truth, we ought to shake ourselves free of such mental slavery. If this past Christmas, we found ourselves sharing pictures of a White “Messiah” on our WhatsApp statuses, on our Facebook, Instagram, captioning it, “my saviour is born” or something else as tragic as that; if we find ourselves, in this bid to praise the name of Christ the King, in church, rather bizarrely kneeling before a fraudulent picture of a White man with a beard, we ought to take a minute to ponder on this picture—a Black man/woman, kneeling before a White man, praying to him. Tragic.
The Mundane Explanations
[NOTE: The name of this column is misleading—it has the word ‘Prophecies’ in it. This column is not intended to debate religion, or even philosophy, or science. It only intends to attempt tackling reality—you and I, and our generations to come, our reality. It attempts to expose the covert and sometimes overt fatalistic resignation “que sera sera” in the lives of the Black race. We ought to do something about this resignation.]
I, for one, choose to attempt these ponderings of our realities pragmatically—they ought to find their explanations in the mundane. This economic and socio-economic reality we find ourselves in; in this highly globalised world; this reality of ‘tag-alongs’ the African continent, the Black race seems to find itself in, it ought to have tangible explanations—not feigned pseudo-scientific explanations of an inferior race as history will have us believe, as senile present segments of certain societies will either overtly or covertly have us believe. And it does!
These tangible explanations are things I have found myself delighting in. It is therapeutic, I guess, to ponder over these explanations, for it helps erase all forms of self-derogation, damning self-deprecation, self-doubt, and lack of self-worth this world has systematically plagued the Black race with. Because building a nation, building a continent, these are tasks not for the faint of heart—not for ‘second-rate’ humans, not for ‘second-class’ citizenries. It can only take first-class citizens to build a first-class nation. Nations cannot win in this globalised age of ours if within them are citizenries losing the battle of existence each and every day. A nation cannot win for itself a place and an identity in this highly globalised, highly competitive age if it has within it a populace who have been beaten down to believing themselves second-rate—second to the White man.
Deny this all you want—you and I can deny this all we want, but the reality presented, with our own actions, our thoughts, our remarks, all point to this fact: the existence in us all remnants of a degenerative mental slavery. Each time we sneer at Ghanaian or African made goods and services; every time we favour those proceeding from USA, UK, from the OECD nations, from all nations bearing a complexion lighter than our own; each time we hide behind foreign investments (a necessary economic tool for all nations) to foster centuries old narrative of the White saviour, we do so not based on facts or experience as we always claim, but based, first, on a social order we have inherited—one that was created by the Caucasian, that which said it is only they who are the repository of all that is good.
And wouldn’t I be a failed human being—failed human, I said!—if I did not do my part to draw our attention to such fatal flaws.
So…drawing attention to these flaws—that is the reason I attempt to write. Although, admittedly I find myself meandering a lot, forgoing full stops, favouring semi-colons; avoiding short sentences, as my ‘English For Law’ lecturer some time back pointed out; and sounding to my own dismay, anti-White—sometimes. But I am not. I, like you, only yearn for equality; I, like you, yearn for self-worth and respect on the global scale; I, like you, yearn to form part of a successful nation, continent, and race. Most importantly, I, just like you, believe in this unchanging fact that the problem does not vanish when I close my eyes to it. Shutting my eyes to reality only makes me foolisher, the problem wiser. And the world continues in its skewness—skewed against you and me.
You, having built for yourself—or on your way to build for yourself—a successful life; you, in all your glory locally, in your African home, are still disadvantaged on the global scale. And that bothers me.
The African/Ghanaian leader, teacher, the writer, lawyer, the artist, scientist, fashion designer, musician, politician, etc., us all are disadvantage globally. Our contributions on the global scale, pretty much non-existent. I repeat, that bothers me. I am very bothered by the fact that we are forced into spectatorship—us all on this ancient continent. ‘They’ are the top writers, we are their dedicated readers; they are the teachers, we, their students. They rule the fashion world, we deem ourselves sharing a piece of their world by being consumers of their designer shoes, clothes, and sometimes brutishly attaching our sense of self-worth on those. We tune in and follow passionately their politics, they couldn’t care less who is President in our country—not in a well-intending sense, at least. They dictate what ‘civilisation’ is, what societies are, what forms of governance is fitting, what societal, political, ideological order is fit. They steer the advancement of science and technology; we are audience in their theatre, marvelling at their demonstrations of mental prowess, and we sing the ever-constant ode, “Kwesi Broni” every time we are met with such technological advancements. Need I repeat this?—that BOTHERS me!
And that is why I attempt to write.
Writing is my humble attempt to bother you to bother too. To draw your attention—constantly draw your attention to our fatalism to this abhorrent reality. To call to ‘mind’, and hopefully, to ‘formation’ our individual efforts to consciously reverse these remnants of mental slavery. Because in my opinion that is the worst of all slaveries. That which captures the mind, that is the worst of all bondages.
Because you see, the body, it is quicker to feel, to tire, and to rise in mutiny. But the mind, it is a disembodied human part; it feels differently, it tires differently—much more slowly, I argue. The mind it is a genius at convincing itself. It is quick to convince itself that hell is heaven, that the deplorable situations it finds itself in are in fact alright—‘normal’, that is the word.
And that is why I fear not to write. Because of my fear of the power of the mind—to reduce its own self to powerlessness. I fear that if we do not caution one another, re-conscientise, inform, and forewarn one another, this world we have inherited, we shall ‘will out’ to our generations to come. And the word ‘Black’ shall have an everlasting taint.
In the weeks to come, I will attempt these issues. But in advance—do pardon the meanderings. I am only human. Let he/she whose minds do not meander throw the first stone. As Yeats said, “the falcon does not hear the falconer”—don’t your mind get a mind of its own? And when making a point, don’t you find yourselves, like Jesus, citing parables; like our elders, quoting ancient proverbs? In the end I am just like you—sometimes endlessly beating around the bush to make a point.
Also, do not come for me when my supposed prophecies sometimes do not check out. After all, didn’t I write somewhere, some few months ago, something in the line of:
“Trump says he is ‘very confident’ that we will have a vaccine by the end of 2020. We know by now that Donald does not speak out of facts or even faith, but mostly out of turn.”?
Silly me, I thought I was being all snazzy with that—“not out of facts or even faith, but out of turn.” You should see me with my tail in between my legs, as the vaccine made it in 2020, and Trump’s ‘cha cha’—gambler’s tongue, his poker bluffs, earned him, by luck of the draw, the chance to say, “I told you so.”
Chances of wrong prophecies/intuitions every now and then, or not, we must ‘prophesy’. We must forewarn. Because the African/Black destiny cannot be left to chance. It must be strategically studied—the past studied so as to inform present decisions, which will, in turn, help change the Black destiny for the future. I, for one, am bent on witnessing the Black race having it good in this world, for if it is to be believed what proponents of reincarnation assert, in our individual reincarnated forms, who knows, we might come out as ants. And that would be tragic—because you and I, we have done our fair share of ant murders.
See you next week—that is, if the gods have not killed us for sport yet.
[Published in Business & Financial Times (B&FT - 10 February, 2021)