"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
PicturePhotography 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 na
ïve 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
PicturePhotography 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?