"We don't want to change - we just want our circumstances to change for the better. That is why we spend our lives trying to avoid the consequences of our actions; instead of confronting them." - Joseph Osei-Bonsu Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
'Change Agent' is a modern-day, dramatic, silent film about a man who pursues a woman he desires to the point of violating her. Haunted by his grievous crime, he embarks on a quest for personal redemption, only to meet the full consequences of his actions on the way.
Watch 'Change Agent' - a modern-day, dramatic, silent film about a man in search of personal redemption - here: http://apokapicturesinc.weebly.com/apoka-dimiourgiacutea-creation.html
Change is simply anything that upsets the status quo. It is one of the very few things in the Earth that is completely guaranteed and constant. Hence, what we call life is simply a sequence of phases and changes. Life is change. There are somethings we cannot and mustn't change. E.g.s, we cannot change our need for oxygen. We mustn't change our sex - if a human being has a womb, she is a female human; if the human does not have a womb, then he is a male human. Nature does not care what cosmetic surgery says, does or thinks. There are some things, however, that should and must change. And before any of these changes can occur in our world or in our lives, they must begin within ourselves.
Have you ever heard of the saying, "Nobody's perfect."? Well if you have, then you'll probably concur with me when I say that, that saying has become the glorified excuse of all humanity for refusing to change our: bad habits, evil thoughts, selfish motives, disrespect for authority, mistreatment of others, irresponsible living, criminal activities, loss of moral and ethical values, lack of sanitation, abuse of the Earth's resources, and corrupt leadership. Somehow, we've convinced ourselves into thinking that our irresponsible actions and our wrong decisions must be condoned and excused, upon the mere fact that: "Nobody's perfect." If that is the case, then there is no need for the establishment of the government, the economy, the law, human rights, social life etc. If "Nobody's perfect.", then nobody should be given the power or authority to sentence another man to death. Do you see how using this pathetic excuse for our failure to change can become a problem in our lives, societies and nations? Yes, we all have imperfections, and the imperfect state of our world systems such as Democracy, reveals them. However, I believe we are given hours, days, months and years to live, in order for us to confront these innate ills that plague we and our fellow human beings. If life is a series of changes, then life is a gift and a source of hope for humanity that we CAN change - for the best!
If we will change, we must first accept that we HAVE to change. We can only do this by exposing ourselves to the truth about ourselves. Facing the truth about ourselves is difficult for us, because it makes us uncomfortable and demands a lot from us; which in most cases, we're unwilling to do. We would rather busy ourselves with work, facebook, traditions, religious activities, school and television, instead of taking some time off in order to face the 'demons' that irk and destroy us everyday. And so the truth about humanity is that:We don't want to change - we just want our circumstances to change for the better. That is why we spend our lives trying to avoid the consequences of our actions; instead of confronting them. This is the bane of all human beings.
"Love is the inspiration to intentionally choose someone or something, with the unyielding determination to keep that choice; in order to cultivate and care for that choice, and never to keep or use the choice you made for any other purpose other than this." - Joseph Osei-Bonsu
Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
Tomahawks, or better still, hatchets, were normally buried when two native American Indian tribes, who were warring against each other, had suffered very serious or numerous casualties as a result of there warfare against each other. The chiefs of the tribes opposed to each other would meet and bury their axes under an underground river; and the washing away or sinking of the axes symbolized the vanishing of any matters that had formerly been the bones of contention between the two tribes. It was a sign of peace. Sometimes, the axes were just buried under a tree or in a notable field. Always, and I repeat, always, the reason for which these native American Indian tribes did this was because they had suffered great losses, or they deemed the loss they were about to suffer as not worth each other's while.
Hatchets were buried to avoid loss through war, and not to achieve any gain through peaceful productivity.
This why more often than not, the erstwhile feuding tribes would in the future dig up the buried hatchets (if they axes were buried in the ground), and wage war against themselves again. They would 'dig up' or 'raise up' the hatchet: the opposite of burying the hatchet. Obviously, doing that means that now, they both consider the losses that will or can be conceded as worth their while, again. Whatever the case maybe, it always take another tragedy of loss, or the certainty of tragic losses for the two tribes to bury their hatchets, again. We are no different from the native American Indian tribes of the 16th, 17th, 18th 19th and early 20th century. It always takes a great tragedy or loss for us to realize that most of: what we're fighting over, who we are at loggerheads with, and the forgiveness we're refusing to ask or give, will eventually destroy us. Until the losses become unbearable for them, most people never bury the hatchet they have raised against other people or themselves.
As I mentioned earlier, the native American Indians buried their hatchets in order to avoid loss through war, and not to achieve any gain through peaceful productivity. The same holds true for us. We are ever so quick to put all our differences aside with the people we have rejected or opposed, when we feel uncomfortable, insecure, uncertain of the future or threatened by their presence or power. We want peace so that we will: live and not die, be at peace and not suffer with guilt or sorrow, receive mercy instead of condemnation. We choose to bury the hatchet because our human survival instincts feel threatened by the great loss we have suffered, and then, it forces us to seek for penance, shelter, and relief wherever it can be found; even if those things are with our 'enemies'. Burying the hatchet does not give life, rather it prevents death. It does not bring change, instead, it only stalls crises. This is the reason why peace treaties, truces and cordial agreements between nations, companies and individuals never last longer than their own whims and caprices.
It is a fallacy to believe or think that by signing a peace treaty or agreeing to a cease-fire, the differences of the two feuding parties have been or will be settled!
Yes, burying the hatchet between the parties paves the way for better relations, and possibly, cooperative ventures between them - this is true. However, that is seldom the reason for burying a hatchet of any sort. This is because, again, most people primarily bury the hatchet to prevent loss, death, destruction, crisis, lack of comfort, apprehension and tension - period! If two warring states, families, companies, or individuals will truly bury the hatchet, it must be because of a motive and a reason that far outweighs any personal agenda, profit or interest. It must be because of love. At this juncture, I shall attempt to define 'love' as best as I possibly can:
Love is the inspiration to intentionally choose someone or something, with the unyielding determination to keep that choice; in order to cultivate and care for that choice, and never to keep or use the choice you made for any other purpose other than this.
With this definition of love in mind, we begin to understand that love has very little to do with emotions and passions; but it has everything to do with purpose and motives. To successfully bury a hatchet, at least one of the feuding parties must decide that the reason why he is doing this is because he or she is intentionally choosing peace with the enemy, through an unyielding determination to keep this peace; in order to bring out the best from his 'enemy', cater for his 'enemy' and never to use the peace he now has with his 'enemy' for his own advantage, or any other ulterior motive other than this. This, is tough for most people, because it takes a lot of courage to do love an enemy or a betrayer. And the reason why it takes much courage to do this is because of the fear of rejection. The fear of being hurt again, by making an already broken heart vulnerable to the one (or similar one) who broke it in the first place is what breeds distrust and lack of forgiveness in the broken-hearted. And so it should! For example; will you ever in your right mind trust your daughter with your friend who slept with your spouse? Let's say that after throwing your spouse out of the house and severing all ties with your friend, the tragedy of losing you causes your wife and your friend to seek the burying of this adulterous hatchet. They come to you for a second chance to make things right; you decide not to give them a second chance, because of your present hurt and your fear of being hurt again. Once bitten... However, if you intentionally choose to make and keep peace with your spouse or your friend or both, in order to help them recover from the setback of the relationship - to help them change - then you are burying the hatchet for the right reason: love. Should your wife and friend ever reject your act of love again, it would be on their consciences, not yours. Contrary to your fears, you would rather be TRULY free and vindicated of any hurt, pain, guilt and heartbreak that their actions might have brought. Love buries all things...especially, hatchets.
"The early bird catcheth the worm." - Old English Proverb
Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
"The early bird catcheth the worm."; this proverb means that diligence and preparation elicits success, eventually. In other words, those who prepare themselves well enough by working hard enough, forfeiting immediate pleasure for long term goals, ultimately 'make it' in life. The general idea is that, those who don't or aren't able to strike oil in their lifetime, simply didn't look hard enough. This philosophy is nothing but glorified humanism perpetrated by western thinking. Why is the billionaire CEO who wakes up as early as 4am, working 10 or more hours for 6 or 7 days straight, considered to be more 'prepared' and more 'hardworking' than the Angolan widow who does the same thing at the nearby stone quarry? Should you pose the above question to most motivational speakers, so-called successful people and experts, they will deflect from answering it by making variations of this excuse:
"It is not possible to compare each random person's success or failure to the next random person's success or failure. This is because in dealing with human success or failure, there is either too much information or too little data for one to consider as relevant or irrelevant in a person's life. This exponentially increases the error margin in the research or study. Hence, you could spend a whole lifetime studying an error."
From the above explanation, we can deduce that neither generalizing nor specializing, is the best way to analyze human success and failure. And that, a considerable measure of every individual's success or failure can be attributed to sporadic occurrences of good or bad 'fortune' which are beyond that person's complete control. This 'fortune' has been described as many things such as 'luck', 'fate', 'destiny', 'the hand of God' etc. Call it what you want, but this excuse of the so-called success experts, proves that the early bird doth not always catch the worm. Why then are the shelves in our libraries and memories in our iPads filled with books that seek to method-ize success by listing '10', '20', '7', or '100' "keys to success"?
Another school of thought will answer the same question (Why is the billionaire CEO who wakes up as early as 4am, working 10 or more hours for 6 or 7 days straight, considered to be more 'prepared' and more 'hardworking' than the Angolan widow who does the same thing at the nearby stone quarry?), with variations of this response:
"Though hardwork and preparation increases one's chances of 'making it', one's prospects of success in life heavily depends on factors like race, gender, class, birthright, and others.”
The whole idea is that, it is possible to work harder than everybody else, prepare earlier than everybody else, yet:
The colour of your epidermis, the nature of the tongue you speak, the type of sexual organ you carry in your crotch, where you got an education, where you sit at the table of society, who your friends are or are not, what your daddy left you with, the value of the currency in your pocket, the type name you were christened with, could become your own undoing. Even though the interpretation of this as being a good thing or an evil thing is relative to each of us and our situations, the inevitable conclusion about it is simplified in one adjective - tragic! The bird that riseth early knoweth not for sure whether its painstaking endeavours to catch the worm will prove futile or fruitful. What a tragedy!
Last, and certainly the least number of the so-called experts of 'success' and 'successful' people answer the question (Why is the billionaire CEO who wakes up as early as 4am, working 10 or more hours for 6 or 7 days straight, considered to be more 'prepared' and more 'hardworking' than the Angolan widow who does the same thing at the nearby stone quarry?) with a shrug and with four magic words:
"I don't know."
Their response is not a sign defeatism, rather, it is the acknowledgement of the objective conclusion that most of what we call 'success', is not success at all. Think about it: does the early bird who caught the worm become more of a bird than her fellow compatriots who came later? It obviously makes her a well-fed bird but does it classify her as a 'super' bird over the others who were late? It is true that most people are lazy and as a result, deserve to fail. It cannot be disputed that hardworking people deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. But how many times do we see the roles reversed, where the diligent are rewarded with poverty whiles the lazy enjoy the riches of another's labour? This strange vanity warrants an i-don't-know response. In fact, it is the only true response concerning the mysteries of life. We don't know really know what success is. If we cannot know a thing, how can we prove what it is not? What then becomes of failure? I have come to the conclusion and the strongest belief that what the world calls 'success', is literally or metaphorically HAVING A FULL STOMACH. Just like the early bird, having a 'fuller stomach' doesn't make you more of a being than the next person. And likewise, having a hungrier belly doesn't make one less of a human being than the next. Somehow, the modern-day human believes this - even to the point of death. We've misunderstood what success truly is, hence, our vision has become distorted: turning left to right, up to down.
Success is the fulfillment of original intent.
A car is a success if it can perform the original intent for which it was invented: transportation. A pencil is a success if it can perform the original intent for which it was made: making marks on a suitable material. Humanity is a success if it can perform the original intent for which it was created: assuming responsibility over the Earth's resources. This is the original intent of the creation of all men. Everything else outside of this is another man-made pursuit for self-preservation and private ambition. The pursuit of self-preservation and private ambition has replaced mankind's original intent. We can see its full operation in our religions (including atheism and agnosticsm), politics, education, justice/legal systems, social lives, economies and our day-to-day interactions with the Earth. A man or a woman's priority for diligence and preparation should not be to satisfy her needs, cravings or desires, but to understand what role he or she is to play in the responsible management of the earth and its inhabitants. This is a difficult concept for people to assimilate, especially, a person who has been rejected, oppressed, abused and mistreated owing to gender, race, social class, family inheritance etc. The early bird rarely saves any part of the worm it manages to find for those who were late. On the contrary, she gulps down the creeping creature before any other bird arrives to contest with her. By filling her belly, she starves the rest. Even though she doesn't become more of a bird than the others, the later birds follow her in hope of finding the 'success' she has found. This pursuit of a full stomach becomes their driving force each day. Until, the later birds realize that worms aren't the only delicacies in the earth, and that by breaking away from the leadership of the early bird, they will find their own catch; they will continually enslave themselves to the early bird. Not all birds like worms, and those that don't eat them are never found where the early bird caught its worm. Overtaking the early bird requires that one of the birds breaks free from the flock in order find his own catch, at the place of his own choosing. To achieve your own, true success in life, there must be a point in your life where you decide to break free from what you were taught or what you thought was success. Then you must strive to re-discover the original intent for your presence here on Earth, and give it all you've got!
"A thousand saints cannot stop one imp from wreaking havoc: they can only hope and pray that it doesn't. After all the 'amens' have been said, the imp wreaks havoc anyway." - Joseph Osei-Bonsu
Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
"For twenty years I served your father and this bank very well. In all that time, your bank never lost a lawsuit. In all those years I never asked for a single thing, other than the hours I billed the bank. If any of your customers, employees or competitors tried to bribe me into undermining you, I never betrayed you. Nor did I ever ask you to meet or beat their offer. No, I remained loyal! You made me put in extra hours that I never billed you for. I worked for you through the scorching heat of the day and through cold and sleepless nights. Yes, for twenty years I slaved for this bank! I worked for fourteen years for your father: six years for you. And you barely gave me a raise on my salaries! In fact, if it wasn't for the company's policies, you would probably be sending me away empty-handed!", complained the bitter lawyer.
The owner of the bank in question nonchalantly looked at the lawyer and said, "I'm not sending you away. Only you can do that. I just gave you an ultimatum. Either you find a way to make those taxes go away, or, I find myself another lawyer. It's as simple as that."
The lawyer replied, "I have told you time and again: I don't do tax-evasion! I'm not a crook; neither was your father, nor are you!"
The bank owner said, "I guess your perceptions about me were wrong." At this, the bank owner exited the lawyer's office; leaving the lawyer to ponder his fate.
It is a universally accepted fact that the original purpose of all pain is protection: protection against one's volatile self, harmful environment, dangerous circumstances or people. Pain prevents the eventual, complete loss or destruction of something valuable to us. It is the natural way of crying out for help and healing in places which, to the person in pain, had, until recently, been fine. Since pain prevents total loss, it's de facto function is to engender wholesome gain. Hence, the coining of the old adage, "No pain, no gain.". If pain only results from the ab(normal)use or the presence of danger, induced by doing wrong things or being in a wrong state; why then do we still feel pain, even when we are doing the right things or living in a right state? From my experiences, it seems as if the more right you are or the more right you do, the more life rewards you with unfavourable upshots. This contradicting statement is the crux of the paradox which human life is. E.g. an honest, tax-paying employee gets laid off from his or her job, while the cunning, tax-evading C.O.O. of his or her erstwhile company is promoted to the position of C. E. O. It seems as if Righteousness rewards its disciples with, "Mo' pain, and, no gain." Why is this so? Because the only way to eliminate pain in one's world is not by doing a lot of 'good' things, nor is it in being more of a 'good' person; pain can only be expelled from your world when you, and ALL of the people around you, do ALL the right things and live the right way, ALL the time. As long as there is one criminal hiding amongst a 100, law-abiding citizens, everybody, including the criminal himself, will never be immune to pain. As long as you are able to only do 99 out of a 100 things right, you, the people around you and your environment will suffer the pain from your failure to do that one, last thing right.
It is important to remind ourselves that pain only exists because something or someone is in the wrong. Absence of right is not wrong: the absence of right is pain. The hope of a pain-free world is predicated on the creation of a wholly right-living world. Since you and I know that this is completely impossible in our present world(except in a utopian fantasy), we can only conclude that pain has come to make its abode with humanity - permanently; or so we think. This staggering truth has rendered the pursuit of a life 'lived by the rules' to be a complete waste of time. My perception was this:
"A thousand saints cannot stop one imp from wreaking havoc: they can only hope and pray that it doesn't. After all the 'amens' have been said, the imp wreaks havoc anyway."
Hence, most people in the world have concluded that: since a right, just and perfect society is nothing but a naïve superstition, there is no point in living life by the rules all the time. And for the sake of temperance, one must make or choose some rules to follow, otherwise, one would self-destruct. However, the truth of the matter is that, the adherence of rules has never been for self-appeasement or for self-pleasure. Living right has very little to do with self but it has everything to do with others. When a criminal breaks the law, automatically, at least one person becomes victimized by the criminal's action, and that person suffers pain at the expense of the criminal's personal pleasure. When a law-abiding citizen obeys the law, automatically, at least one person becomes secure by the law-abiding citizen's action, and that person enjoys gain at the cost of the law-abiding citizen's personal pleasure. The outcomes of both scenarios are clear and vivid: the former scenario worsens our already degenerated world, the latter scenario alleviates the world of some of its degeneracy. This is an absolute truth! Having said this, I then put it to you:
Must we be laissez-faire in our approach to the laws of right living because we can't see our 'wrong' world becoming completely right? Or, must we strive to learn, understand and adhere to the laws of right living because there is a chance we can make our world better?
Yes, bad things happen to 'good' people, while the scum of God's green Earth are having an orgy. However, if 'good' people choose to stop being 'good' or doing 'good' things, even worse things will happen to their 'good' posterity. Dare to live right; because if you don't, there'll be mo' pain and no gain - at all.
"Whenever we are balancing on our limited human conditions, that's where our life starts. That's where we start living." - Philippe Petit
Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
Faith is actually an acronym, which stands for the:
F - Fight
A - Against
I - Interim
T - Tests and
H - Hardships
caused by a decision.
Faith is a fight. A fight elicited by a decision. Faith is not a religious experience, but an everyday experience, because decisions are made everyday. E.g. You have decided to go to Manhattan today for the first time in your life. You don't have a car but you still want to do so. Then, you have to 'fight' the obstacles of your vehicle-less-ness, the uncertainty of weather, the distance of travelling, the constraints of time, the financial demands of the trip, your lack of direction to your destination and the possibility of getting lost. Even though all of these obstacles eliminate the guarantee that Manhattan will be accessible to you, you still follow through on your decision. You:
1. Wear appropriate clothing to meet the demands of the current weather and time.
2. Find the information on how to get there through a map or other resourceful means.
3. Prepare to pay the price or cost of the trip, no matter how much.
4. Go to the bus, train or taxi station, hoping and believing that you'll find one.
5. Wait for, and trust your means of transportation to cover the required distance in between you and your destination
6. Recover from any detour you might have taken on the way there.
7. Ask for additional assistance and information from those who have already been there or are en route there.
After all this, you're still not guaranteed that when you get to Manhattan, it'll still be there. As a matter of fact, you trust Gravity(something you have never seen), more than you trust Manhattan to be where and as it is. Yet, you still embark on the journey of your decision. Why? Because you are ready to FIGHT ANY INTERIM TESTS and HARDSHIP that may arise on your way, so that you can JUSTIFY your decision! Faith transcends beyond just the disciplines of religion and science. And it is not a subject of religious or scientific debate. For faith is one of the fundamental laws upon which all things were created, made, or discovered. Though it cannot be seen, it is more real than what we call reality. Because the raw material of the 'Unseen', or what we call 'supernatural', 'spiritual', 'intangible', 'eternal', is laws or principles. Everything that can be sensed physically is the direct result of the adherence to, and/or, the breaking of a law or a principle. Faith is one of these laws. 'The Law of Faith' states that:
"An idea can only be proven as true or false, real or apparent, right or wrong through violent opposition that is automatically created to destroy that idea. Hence, the quality and magnitude of the idea determines the quality and magnitude of its opposition."
This means that all humanity is indirectly responsible for each other's obstacles in life through the decisions we have made, make, or about to make. Since we aren't privy to everybody's every single decision, we don't have the knowledge to come to a conclusion about every obstacle that we have faced, are facing or will face. We can only explain what we know, not what we don't know. Because of this reason, there is no true stability in the world.
So, what is your F. A. I. T. H. today?