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Time. Call me a preacher of beautiful lies. Call me a demagogue of fantasies; call me a deceptician of hope. Call me all your sweet liars, your trusted conmen and all the innocent masters of deception. Tell them we are about to honor them and to enrich them generously for their works of satire and satin. Gather the famous, the ambitious and the innocent at the gallery of wonders. Tell them we are about to deliver the august narratives of the greatest causes of progress and of prosperity. Are we ready? Blinds down. Dim the lights. Scent the air with freshest fruitiest perfumes. Music? Papa DJ give us some of that deeply moving heavenly melodies that make you go “oh ah, wow”! Now hear this.
Possibilities. When the good God made the worlds, He blessed the earth and bestowed different gifts upon each of his different children. To some he gave forests, diamonds and will. To some He gave deserts, oil and will. To others, He gave potatoes, ice and will. To others, He gave health, rice-fields and will. Hehehe!
Script. The original plan was for each of God’s children to know and to develop the inherited fortunes at their own pace, in accordance with their own sentiments and visions and to use their unique circumstances to know and to master their worlds in unique and beautifying ways so as to acquire incomparable cultures, skills, accomplishments and worldviews that would have enabled each to create empires of wonder upon the earth. According to the plan, every nation was expected to develop unique practices and perspectives that would have made her contribute different instruments, different sounds and different plays to the great symphonies of nature. The beautiful music of the world was expected to play out of the spontaneous, original and continuous rhythms and sounds of unique pursuits upon the earth.
Mischief. History has it that the original plan was amended by the arrival of greed, the exchange, and wine. The exchange opened up the worlds and brought people together. Those at the exchange could easily see what others had and what was missing in their lives. Greed created dissatisfaction with native fortunes and an unspeakable yearning for foreign fortunes. The wine made people silly, sleepy, sloppy and gullible at the exchange. Quickly, some took over the exchange. They set up the routes, the tools and the rules of the trade. They became the rulers. Some developed the craft and the art of wines and became the suppliers of same. They became the rulers. Others specialized in the business of greed and of the art of controlling the hearts and minds of people at the exchange. They became the rulers. Some became experts of subversion at the fringes of reality and set up semi-victimization zones for the naïve and the gullible. They were close to the rulers.
Fall. The story is that differences and uniqueness of human pursuits are fading and fast becoming a part of museums; of antiquity and of the so-called old school. Homogeneity of: thoughts, of feeling and of wishes is preferred. It is the trend and the law. All citizens and persons are encouraged and often coerced to see the world through the rulers’ lens and to yearn for similar or the same things. This, they say, makes predictions, supplying, controlling and grip over power easier.
As a consequence of the never ending films and broadcasts of the rulers, almost everybody has been dreaming of what the other has. From sunup to sundown, men are inhaling utopia and swallowing delicious hallucinogens of the “lie-to-me-and I’ll believe it” brands. All these things have made the exchange the reality and praiseworthy. Like yoyos to strings, those with diamonds are trading potatoes and those with rice are trading oils. The symphonies of nature have been replaced by one hit-wonders at unstoppable replays. The summary is more and more of the sensual.
Lost. At the high tables of rulers what they say is that adherence to nature is regressive and bad for democracy and for business. Why? They say that nature is herbs, beasts, diseases, savagery and dirt. The point of man is the conquest and domination of nature. Rising above nature and engaging in unnatural things is the true success and measure of the civilized man. Man, they say, is but a brief moment of pleasurable consciousness in painfull eternity. Nobody should deceive himself that human beings matter. We don’t matter. Because of this, it is cruel to limit men to nature which according to them is raw, undifferentiating, imprisoning and nasty. They say that the point of the ruler is to provide opportunities for maximum decadent experience so that man living in a brief moment of time, could escape the tyranny of life’s prisons. Let people eat, drink and sex. Let them play. Let them be drunken and be happy even if it is all deceit, lies and madness. So insignificant is life, they say, that it is a waste of time to postulate and to pontificate on so-called good and bad. Nothing is bad in so far as it does not hurt the ruler and the chosen majority. Let’s stop distinctions based on morals and instead base every criterion on law, with the law being what opportunities offer the ruler and the preferred majority. Elastic and indulging criteria rather than rigid prejudice of truths, are the foundations of freedoms and of human happiness.
Zoo. Where the law is made-up by the ruler as we go, impurities can be purities. Desirables can be untouchables. The unjust can be just. It will all depend on your refinery or on the type of glasses you are wearing. What the ethical types call wrongs are nothing but animal pursuits in the theatres of desires. The zoo justifies the beastly behavior. Enlarge the zoo. Beautify it. Praise it. Let the primates indulge. Let their aspirations be simple: to fall in love with whatever the ruler invents and produces in large quantities. Let the highest aspiration be to consume, to enjoy abundantly and to find new ways of consuming and enjoying. Be nobody for being somebody is tiresome and pointless. But if you insist that you must be somebody then be what the ruler prefers: drinkbody, eatbody, smokebody, sexbody, believebody; followbody or foolbody.
Theatre. To ensure continuing patronage and consent of the people, many rulers have created constitutions and enshrined the foregoing as entrenched clauses in them. Many of these so-called rule of law, are rule of the ruler: whose positions are permanent and not subject to amendments. The rights of the people to stronger and more powerful toxins and sweet intoxicants is also not subject to amendment. Furthermore, whether at school, on screens or at the temple, the ruler’s limited logic is preached as truths, as science, as revelations, as necessary by teachers and broadcasters who know no other system but this theater of gums. Here, the secular is sacred and the fictional is factual. Any perceived distinction between opposites, is only a matter of rites and proclamations. As we speak, more excellent ways are being invented at the exchange to deepen the rights of the people to be silly, to be beastly and to go wild in the zoo. No real opposition is tolerated. You must either be left, right or centre of this narrative. Everything else is fringe, radical or ignorant. They say the people are happy; very happy. “Wof, wof, hurrrrrr”. Ah they call this democracy, freedom: evolution. Wow! Applause!!! This is wonderful, don’t you think? Ah, peace unto the worlds!
Source: Nana Oppong
The writer is the President of the Distinguished Scholars of Africa (DistinSA)