"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.
"To love others more than yourself is foolish altruism. To love others less than yourself is suicidal. Both are the great faux pas in life." - Joseph Osei-Bonsu
Sketch by Prince Boakye-Yiadom
Rhonda Saunders' mother worked almost everyday of her life, cleaning the homes of Britain's elite, in central London. Rhonda spent Friday evenings, the whole of Saturday and Sunday, helping her mother to bear the burdens of this tedious profession, at the Gibsons'. This aristocratic British family had hired the Jamaican-born, British immigrant (Rhonda's mother) as their weekend housekeeper. After their work was done at the Gibsons', Rhonda would watch as her mother walked into the Gibsons' living room to courtesy Gibsons, and thank them for hosting her. And for all the 522 weekends Rhonda's mother did this, Rhonda never saw or heard any member of the Gibson family thanking her mother for her service to them.
They'd simply respond, "Your cheque will be in the mail." Or, they'd simply nod in acknowledgement and say, "See you next week!". One day, Rhonda decided to inquire of her mother why the Gibsons' never showed any appreciation for their hardwork. To this her mother responded, "Child, courtesy is the duty of subjects, not of kings and queens." Even though it was still 1989, 15-year old Rhonda couldn't accept this confession from her mother.
In the wee hours of the morning of 5th May, 2003, Rhonda was awakened to a loud knock on her front door. There stood an old and wrinkly-looking Mrs. Gibson, her deceased mother's employer, at her door. After the kettle had finishing boiling, Mrs. Gibson revealed to Rhonda that her son, Kyle Gibson, had been falsely accused of defiling their present, housekeeper's 15-year-old, daughter. Simply put, if Rhonda would testify in favour of Kyle before the court, the Gibsons' opponent would lose the case. Rhonda knew that Kyle was innocent, however, she was not going to testify for free. She asked Mrs. Gibson, "And what will you pay me for this service, should I choose to do it?". Mrs. Gibson replied, "You'll have our family's eternal gratitude, coupled with God's blessings!" Rhonda scoffed loudly: she couldn't believe her ears! After failing to show any appreciation of any sort to her late mother for ten years, this old woman had the impudence to request a favour, for free from the dead mother's daughter. Rhonda calmly responded to Mrs. Gibson's offer in this manner, "With all due respect ma'am, I have to decline your offer. For 522 weekends, my mother and I cleaned, washed and ironed for you, Mr. Gibson, and especially, for your son, Kyle. 522 times, she walked into your living room, courtesied, and thanked you for underpaying her. Never did you or any of your family members see it fit to even thank her, let alone, walk her to the door. This is my offer: for every weekend my mother changed your ingrate family's beddings or cleaned your rooms, I want £100. Take it, or leave it!". Mrs. Gibson stared into Rhonda's eyes long and hard, after Rhonda had finished speaking. Mrs. Gibson pulled out her cheque book, depressed her pen, looked up at Rhonda and asked with an annoyed tone, "What's a 100 times 522?".
In a world where commonplace courtesies are gradually turning into sarcastic remarks, clichés or caustic objections; it is almost impossible to notice when a person is really being polite, or being appreciative of others. "How are you?" has no true intention to find out the well being of the person being asked. "Thank you" is optional - the waiter is being PAID to serve us; so why bother? "Excuse me!" is now the main introductory line in a cat fight. A "Good morning!" greeting can be switched on or off (depending on one's pay-cheque). We use "Please..." as we please. And, "I'm sorry" lost its sentimental value the very day the first wrong-doer decided that, it could be rationalized. The neglect of common courtesies is no longer considered such a 'big deal' any more, yet, flatulating in public is still considered rude. As the moral degeneration of the world quickens its pace, one sex-tape at a time; who knows? Maybe, flatulating in public won't be a such big deal tomorrow!
The manner in which the post-modern society courts faux pas is simply a reflection of how low our standards of propriety have fallen. Of course the kids are rude! What did we expect, after we erroneously planted false ideas of a 'free-thinking' society in their sheepish minds? General societal decorum was established as a way to re-introduce, re-teach and reinforce the nature of love; which considers and treats all others as one's own self, because we've simply forgotten how to love! This is, or better still, love was the unwritten law - the boundary - that provided order and peace in our daily lives. Now, since we're all supposedly 'free' to do whatever we want, this ancient stone has been removed from our hearts. The inevitable consequence, as evidenced in the level of crime, corruption, violence and apathetic behaviour in our communities, is the collapse of the social system.
We are not free to do whatever we want; we are only free to take proper responsibility over lives and our worlds.
So, maybe, just maybe, if you say, "Thank you!", to that waiter who just served you with a genuine tip, he might not be driven to steal from his job, because he feels unappreciated. Again, maybe if you bothered to really ask your classmate, "How are you?", your secretly-depressed classmate might decide against killing herself. Who knows if the person standing in your way to this interview you're late for, is your interviewer? A polite, "Excuse me.", could change your unemployment status instantly. Maybe, if you decide to greet your so-called lazy employees with a cheerful, "Good morning!", everyday, they might actually go the extra mile for you, in this recession. "Please..." might please daddy to please you with a trip to Disney World. And clearly, the excuses you're making for what you did wrong isn't saving your marriage. Maybe it's time for a different approach. Maybe it's time to truly say, "I'm sorry." EXCUSE ME, dear reader. I'M SORRY if you feel offended for what I'm about to say: PLEASE, don't be a faux pas. THANK YOU and GOOD DAY!
"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!
"I thought about the days i had handed over to a bottle..the nights i can't remember..the mornings i slept thru..all the time spent running from myself.”
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day
Courtesy of Prince Boakye-Yiadom
I called her upon receiving the tragic news. It turns out I didn't even need to call at all: Fosua was fine and dandy. How could a teenage girl who had just lost her brother, her father and her home in one night, be so sober and so calm? Yes, both men died from different causes; however, the conundrum lied in the timings of their deaths - both at the eleventh hour. Fosua's father was a heavy drinker who had lost his driver's licence due to the numerous, drunk-driving violations he had accumulated over the past 7 years. No, he was not abusive of any sorts: he was just plain annoying. Fosua and her now-deceased brother, Mikki, along with their mother, took turns to clean the vomit of their father's inebriating, on a weekly basis. Mikki had to become the supporting driver of the family at the age of 17. And like every 17-year old, his father's car became his medium for mischief. This attitude of abusing his privileges to his father's car turned Mikki's relationship with his parents very sour. On the night of their deaths, Mikki and his once again intoxicated father engaged in a verbal and physical fight which triggered a heart attack in the latter. Fosua and her mother rushed the dying man to the hospital after Mikki had driven away in heated anger. At 11 o'clock on the dot, in the hospital, Fosua watched her mother cry inconsolably as the paramedics broke the news of her father's time of death. She watched again, as her mother fainted from shock when she received a phone call from the police that their house had been completely burnt to the ground - with Mikki asleep in it. Apparently, his notorious speeding caused the heated tyres of his father's car to catch fire from some pieces of foam lying aimlessly in the garage. I asked Fosua why she seemed so calm; her response was, "Who are you?". Fosua had immediately contracted dissociative amnesia owing to the trauma of the recent events. And suddenly, I knew that my words of comfort and condolences were fallen on deaf ears. I was speaking to someone who had forgotten to remember who she was.
So, what's the moral of the story?
As a human, you're naturally born with dissociative amnesia in your soul. You are born into the world to forget. To forget who you are, where you came from, why you are where you are, what you can, must and shouldn't do and where you are going. Unfortunately, the world does nothing to help alleviate this condition that is stealthily stealing your life; but rather, it aggravates your dire situation. The world proposes all manner of 'advancement' and 'progress' as the solutions to your soulic-al plight. The world says, "You'll find healing in the future we give you." But the truth is that, the only way to heal dissociative amnesia is to trigger the lost memories of the patient by repeatedly exposing him or her to the truth about their past. There is no alternative to this. As a result, it is imperative for all humanity to seek absolute Truth. For it is in it that we remember the true source of our pains and problems: it is in remembering the absolute, that we find healing for the amnesia of the soul.