READING

Naked Light & Glimpses | Sanni Omodolapo

Naked Light & Glimpses | Sanni Omodolapo

Naked Light & Glimpses | Sanni Omodolapo Sanni Omodolapo Agbowo Art African Literary Art

——

The mind is a bad place to be trapped in. To that there can be no further argument, or question. It is a dark place to be in. A darker place to live in. The darkest to recognize that one is bound, as long as one is to live the life of a creative, to get lost in. So lost that one cannot tell what is real and what is not. The mind is like the insides of a human: it is full of things, pleasant and unpleasant, desired and undesired, and so forth. It is a nasty place to be in, but is, equally, the best, the most pleasant. 

——

In a sense, talking about the mind, one imagines it to be a part of a whole. A screw in a giant machinery. In an entirely different sense, if one is to be honest and logical, one talks about the mind as an entirely different thing (permit me to use this word)—a completely new entity. One talks about it away from the human body, because one cannot say, exactly, where it is—unlike the penis, the legs, eyes, testicles, one cannot point to where the mind is. It just is. It just will always be. Like God. Indeed, isn’t the mind a kind of god? 

——

As I sat to type this essay into my phone not minding the difficulties the screen might pose, I looked up the word Mind in the dictionary. Oxford dictionary had a lot to say: the ability for rational thought; the ability to be aware of things; the ability to remember things; the ability to focus the thoughts; judgment, opinion, or view; desire, inclination, or intention; (philosophy) the non-material substance or set of processes in which consciousness, perception, affectivity, judgement, thinking, and will are based. The final definition is fascinating. It mentions Non-material, supports the perception of the mind presented in the final sentences of paragraph two (2): the mind as a separate, distinct entity. The mind as a god.

During sex, or even before it, when two souls come together to become one—an act of communion that, forever, will remain beyond words—some parts of the body react. In fact, the whole body reacts: a rising here and there, a hardening (if it may described so). Those parts that rise, those secret parts that, like the eyes of a fish, become hard are aware: they are like a blind old man in the rain who can, despite the expanse of darkness he has been thrown in, feel the rain drop on his skin, hear the soft patting on leaves, smell the emptiness in the sky, taste the aftermath of thunder with his tongue. They know, these parts. They can sense the external force, and they react in their own ways. Can it be said of them, therefore, that they have minds of their own? 

——

I have strayed from the sole concern of this piece. Completely strayed. Like Satan from God— I find biblical allusions comfortable and certain. What I mean by those words, certain and comfortable, I will not divulge. 

——

The life of the mind is a dangerous game one voluntarily steps into. For example, chess. I don’t know how to play chess, but I go to a store, buy one, and call a friend over to play with me. I start the game, even though I do not know what the King or Queen or Accountant looks like. (Are there accountants in chess?). This is the way the life of the mind is. One is never prepared. One will never be prepared. One just keeps going, with no foreknowledge (unlike God in the creation of man) of a destination, an end. But, still, it can only end in two ways: to conquer or be conquered. 

——

To conquer, as a manner of talking, would be to emerge—although injured and scarred—with something from the realm of the mind. Say a profound thought, for instance. Or a piece of art: a painting, a sculpture, a poem. To come out with something: a testament to the fact that one has diligently, through rain and shine, sought after that light flickering in the distance—the naked light of knowledge, of experiences beyond words, the elusive light of reality. For one to capture this light, even if for a split moment, would be to conquer. 

The world has had her fair share of conquerors. Father Abraham, for instance, metaphorically speaking (I preach not). He sought after the promised land, and in the process, begat, begat, begat, and begat, till he was, says the Bible, exceedingly rich. Rich in livestock. Rich in silver and gold. No doubt, rich in progenies, too. The light, in his case, would be the promised land, the land that God will give him. Till he drew his last breath, he followed this light carefully, and even passed the torch to his own children. So, Father Abraham caught the glimpse of the light, the same with his children. Just the glimpse. The true conquerors, as a way to put it so as not to undermine the patriarchs, are the children of God now. The believers. That is by the way. 

Williams Shakespeare, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, J.M Coetzee, Rumi, Leonardo DaVinci, Mary Oliver, Sylvia Plath, amongst several others were/are conquerors. In a sense. They live/lived the life of the mind—the life of a creative—and emerged, temporarily, from time to time, with fragments of this light, in form of plays, fascinating paintings, delicious poems, philosophies, and so on. To put it clearly—

——

To set further grounds, to avoid confusion, the life of the mind is a life one lives for as long as one breathes. For as long as a person still carries life, this life must continue. The only way to avoid it is to not start at all. To not start it at all is to be either dead, dumb, or be a vegetable. One way or the other, all humans live the life of the mind. Some more than the others, however. 

Seeing (or even catching a whiff of) this nude light is not a full stop. It is an ellipsis… It must continue for as long as the seer lives. 

——

—these people from time to time caught glimpses of this light, put it into words, painted it with ink, carved it into still figures, shaped it into philosophies, and so forth. Absurdism, One Thousand Years of Solitude, Julius Caesar, Mona Lisa, to mention but a few, are the bits of this light. The tiny, little pieces. 

——

And, there are the conquered too. The likes of Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemmingway, Vincent van Gough, were defeated by that which they chased voluntarily: knowledge, pure knowledge: to know and be certain that you know, to have answers to questions. This desire is what conquered them. 

To be conquered would be to get stuck, unable to move, progress. To be conquered would be, largely speaking, without mincing words, to take one’s life, or to run mad, due to one’s inability to capture the light. 

——

One may argue, correctly, that being mad is not really being conquered. Being mad—mentally unstable— could be a new path through which a person goes after the light. There are writers, and painters, and scholars, who have, even in their unstable state, produced the best of the world’s arts and ideas. Madness in a way might be a better alternative to suicide. Ask Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. 

This, too, is by the way. 

——

Suicide is the path of the conquered. Nothing more, or less. It is the way they checkmate in this game of chess. A definitive end. A complete closure. A resolve. A man is found in his room, surrounded by all the paintings he ever made, during winter, with a bullet lodged in his brain, like newlyweds in a hotel for honeymoon. A woman is found sprawled in front of her cottage, a map of her own blood across her left cheek, with a manuscript that contains all of her poems beside the cup that contained the poison she drank. There is nothing there. Not even the mind. Not even the light of the mind. Just silence. 

 

A man takes his life like a lover takes his lover’s breath away

&  does not want to accept that he is too human to be God.

 

——

What they fail to understand, what they choose not to admit is that: no one will ever truly see the light— that there will be questions left unanswered, puzzles unsolved, places unexplored. That, because they are humans, they can never be God. That, finally, because the light is, by nature, as slippery as an eel, it will be caught— if it can be caught at all—when it is willing to be caught. 

——

The closest man will ever get to capturing this light spoken of is during orgasm. I shall not expound on this, for reasons best known to me. 

 


Sanni Omodolapo Agbowo Art African Literary Art

Sanni Omodolapo

Sanni Omodolapo currently studies English at Obafemi Awolowo University, from where he writes.

 


Leave a Reply

INSTAGRAM
KNOW US BETTER
Please Add Widget from here