"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.
"He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward...And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward." - Jesus the Messiah
Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
From the onset of my birth, all the way through my childhood, I was known for my complete inability and incapacity to 'sit still' for very long. This is why it was no surprise to my parents, and to those who knew me from thence to see me taking up roaming as my favourite pastime at the age of 13. And it was during one of my aimless wanderings that I encountered my coin; or better still, coins. For I found a wallet full of money - coins and paper notes - lying in the middle of that dusty road, in the middle of somewhere I don't remember.
Bending down to retrieve the wallet from the unpaved, dirty road, I looked left and right to see whether I was being watched. My teenage mind hadn't been corrupted enough to consider taking money that wasn't mine to be a normal activity in today's world. In between leaning my torso downwards and positioning my knees in a full squat, I had already lined up the itinerary that the money was going to serve. Yoghurt, sweets, video games, football boots, you know name it: I had it all readied to be bought, mentally i.e. I was now in a straight standing position, skimming through the wallet as I counted my newly-found riches. I counted...uhm...bah! What the heck, I doesn't matter how much I counted - I counted a lot of money, and that's what counts! Yet, my teenage mind was acting like a virgin facing the prospect of having sex for the very first time. I was excited, apprehensive, scared and curious all at once. In the end, I came up with a brilliant idea. I would find the owner of the wallet and give them their lost property, with the hope of a reward or tip for my 'righteous' act. As I started asking around, I couldn't help but feel that all I wanted to hear from everybody was, "No, the wallet isn't mine."
It didn't take long before I found the owner of the wallet: a woman. Precisely, a middle-aged woman who was in the white house across the dirty road. I came to this information when the attendant at a nearby corner store told me about how he he had seen a woman getting out of a taxi just where I found the wallet, and going into the white house. This was after he had confirmed that the wallet wasn't his. After a series of 'Agoo' shouts, and respectful bangs on the black, metallic gate, a woman's head appeared over the wall. She wore a big smile on her face as I showed her her wallet and proceeded to handing it over to her through the now-open gate. I lingered a while to see what my reward would be, and there it was: a simple thank you, a warm goodbye wave, and a firmly shut gate. What disappointment, and yet, what sense of vindication I felt. This paradox of emotions needed to be expressed, so I ran home to tell my parents what I had done.
At home, I told my mother first about the wallet I had found. Without even letting me finish my story, she asked me for it; upon which I told her that I searched and gave it back to its owner after having found her. My mother reacted with great anger, sadness and despair, almost like a jilted lover suffering from unrequited love. I was confused. I was expecting a message of congratulations and a hug, maybe. Yet, all I got was a long face. Next, I told my father the story about the wallet and my mother's reaction when she heard what I had done. My father shook his head in disappointment at my mother's reaction. He looked at me, nodded his head and said, "Well done Akwasi! Pay no mind to your mother; you did the right thing." From that day onwards, whenever I find a missing coin or any form of money, it reminds me of these two things:
1. Righteous acts wrought solely in expectation of material blessings or a reward, often leads to disappointment.
2. The unit of measurement for all forms of human separation, classification and distinction is called 'Money'.
"In all, Metushelach lived 969 years; then he died."- Moses, The Book of Genesis
Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
There was once a man who lived in the Earth: his name was Metushelach. The only thing that was said or written about him was that; he was born, he lived for 969 years fathering sons and daughters, and then he died. He was, and is, the oldest man to have ever lived in this planet. Yet, his obviously lengthy life story was abbreviated into no more than 5 short sentences. Metushelach's life was treated like a very, very short summary - a blurb. This is because his death was more important than his living. You see, Metushelach's name means 'His death shall bring...'. Thus, by dying, Metushelach would engender a great event or change: his death death shall bring the Great Flood. And this is exactly what happened. In the year Metushelach died, the whole earth, was engulfed in a 40-day period of flooding, which would only recede after the better part of a year. The 969 years of Metushelach's life was just the prelude to the greatest impact and change the then world would ever experience. His long life was just a backstory for the Great Flood.
Metushelach's story is like most of other people's. They live, work, marry, give birth to 3.5 kids, buy a house, acquire a couple of cars, some properties, and then they die. Or at least, that's what is read in their eulogies or on their tombstones. Their entire life is one big backstory to the most significant thing they ever did: die. Most of these people focus on the things that happen to them, tragedies and joyous occasions alike. They spend their lives reacting to the situations, people and environments around them, in pursuit of self-preservation and significance in their worlds. The irony of all of this is that, they never achieve this elusive dream of permanent self-preservation and significance. This is because life doesn't reward us for reacting to the situations it throws in our paths. Yet, they believe that the ability to build a mansion is the reward they get for simply responding to one of the basic questions of life: 'Where will you live?'. They fail to realize that responding to a Stanford University assignment or examination only rewards you with a degree, with better job prospects. A college degree doesn't guarantee security or significance of any sort. As far as life and the world is concerned, anything that is done for the sake of survival and self-importance, is a mere backstory to the rising action of another great story. In other words, as long as you're reacting to your life's predicaments, you're simply part of a very short backstory. The truly great stories of our lives begin when we engage in a much-needed proactive change, in our own lives.
Every great story is centred around the climax and the conflict between the protagonist and his opposition. This is the primary focus of both the writer and the reader of the story. None of them spends most of the time developing or reading the backstory. Because the ultimate question about your life story is not, 'How did it begin?'; the ultimate question is always this: 'How does it end?'. Pause. Put down your pen. Think. Pick up your pen, again. Finish the backstory quickly. Now turn a new leaf. Begin the great story of your life.
"Whom you serve, determines the nature of that service." - Tom Bradford
Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
"We gon' work you like a slave today!", this was what one of the Assistant Manager's of a branch of The Home Depot ('The Home Depot' is one of the biggest international retail stores for home improvement based in the U.S) barked at me during brunch time, on the 17th of July, 2012. It was my last but one day working there. Prior to that day, I had been serving as a sales associate for the Plumbing Department for the past 13-and-a-half months. And that was exactly what I was doing - helping customers with their plumbing needs - until Marcus, the Assistant Store Manager, called me to come and offload a palette full of air-conditioners onto the display area of the sales floor. I explained to Marcus that I needed help in order to juggle that cumbersome task with my primary duty of assisting customers in my department. To this, Marcus agreed to help me. He helped move one air-conditioner and then watched me suffer to move two others by myself. Upon inquiring why he had stopped helping me, Marcus snapped at me and commanded me to continue doing 'my job'. To this, I stopped and told that this wasn't a job for one person. And that, as a matter of fact, I was only working on that day because Gene, the main Store Manager, had requested me to fill in for another associate who was supposed to have been working that morning shift. I concluded by also telling Marcus that I was tired, since I had been working by myself all morning in my department, without any breaks! Marcus declared, "I don't care!". And then the famous title of this story was born out of the mouth of the big, pot-bellied man called Marcus: "We gon' work you like a slave today!". Needless to say, I was flabbergasted! Not just because this was coming from an African-American man - a descendant of a slave - but also because he saying this to an African immigrant, me, without any reservations whatsoever. I quickly overcame the shock that had just hit me viva voce, and started my long walk past Marcus, towards the break room. Marcus followed me all the way to the entrance of the break room, bellowing my name repeatedly, as he varied the wordings of his order for me to get back to work. Little did Marcus know that he was playing with fire.
15 minutes, was the allotted break time at my workplace. And so for the next 15 minutes (after taking a seat in the break room), I did everything but rest my mind. As I sat in complete silence, calming myself down, composing my thoughts and premeditating on my imminent actions, I reminded myself that after tomorrow, this would all be over. Almost a fortnight earlier, precisely the 4th of July, 2012, I decided to quit my job as a sales associate in The Home Depot. On that fateful day, I woke up with a great uneasiness in my soul. I figured, "This is going to be one of those long days." I studied a few scriptures in the Bible that discussed the concept of freedom and then boom! As I opened my email inbox, voila! There, written in bold script, was the 3-worded title of an email that would change my day - my life - forever: DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE! I had completely forgotten that, that day, July 4th 2012, commemorated the 236th year in which the United States of America declared itself independent from Great Britain. Was I actually about to resign from my job because of the title of a piece of junk (e)mail? Yes, I was! I had been pondering over leaving my job for many months because of two main reasons:
1. I had founded and started working on my own filmmaking and photography studio.
2. I hated the irresponsible attitude of the leadership team, and the laissez-faire work culture of the staff at the Home Depot branch, where I was working.
So on the 4th of July, I put in my two weeks' resignation notice and prepared to leave the source of my livelihood for good; without any assurance of success in my newly-found venture - filmmaking and photography. I declared myself independent from economic slavery in pursuit of an oasis that was hidden in a vast desert of uncertainty. Gene, the store manager, tried his possible best to persuade me to stay; stating that I was 'a very valuable asset to the store'. To this I replied, "If I am so valuable, why have I been scheduled for only 1 and 2 working days for the past two weeks, this week and the week to come?". Right there and then, Gene changed my schedule, giving me 40 hours a week for the next 2 weeks, in hope that I'd change my mind. I accepted the hours, because I had never received an 80-hour, biweekly paycheck in all my 13-and-a-half months at The Home Depot! However,I refused to rescind my decision to quit. Gene smiled at me and said, "Don't worry! When you come back, I'll take care of you, alright?". I smiled back at him and responded, "I'm not coming back!". Gene turned his smile into a small giggle and said, "Oh, you will! Trust me: you will!". We both laughed out loud for our own reasons.
My 15 minutes were up! Slowly, I walked out of the break room onto the sales floor again. Walking past Marcus towards my department, I overhead him asking me, "You back? You gon' do some work, now?". I completely ignored him and attended to the seemingly neglected customers, bereft of assistance, in the aisles. Marcus kept calling at me to no avail. And then finally, he walked up behind me, placed his hand on my shoulder, and attempted to turn me towards him. I quickly slapped his hand off from my shoulder and ordered him never to touch me again! Yelling as loud as I could, I told all the customers in the aisle of what Marcus had said to me earlier on. Marcus tried to shut me up by threatening to fire me, or write me up, or both, I'm not sure. I couldn't hear him properly over my loud voice. The more he tried to keep me quiet, the more I yelled. The customers in the aisles all turned their attention towards Marcus and I, as we exchanged words; mine, being the more audible of course. I saw many of the customers and the other workers who had gathered around shaking their heads in disgust at Marcus, and in empathy of my cause, as I repeated these words, " 'You gon' work me like a slave?'! How dare you say that to me?! Who the bloody heck do you think you are?!"! Marcus, sensing that he (the manager on duty for the morning shift) was actively involved in a scene that could cost him his job or his Home Depot career, tried to calm me down. He suggested that we 'talk about this in the break room'. I completely ignored him again and started putting back some returned merchandise that were in a cart, onto the shelves. Marcus grabbed the cart from my hand and told me to 'go to the back'. To which I responded very loudly, "You go to the back!". Marcus became fearful again, and quickly dashed down the aisle, taking the cart mindlessly with him as he tried to escape my vents and the stares of the crowd. I never saw him again throughout the day. The next day, my last day, I worked in complete peace by myself, again, even though Marcus was the manager on duty for the day. As I said my final goodbyes to my fellow workers who were around, I walked past Marcus and looked sternly at his face. He looked on straight ahead of him, pretending as though he had just lost his sense of peripheral vision. I laughed and shook my head, as I took off my Home Depot apron for the last time. In that moment, I realized that I had forsaken the source and certainty of food, shelter, water and the basic amenities of life by quitting my job; in order to embrace the harsh reality and possibility of failure, starvation, homelessness, poverty and lack, for the sake of a dream! Yet, I knew that for the first time in my short life, I was truly free; and that this freedom couldn't have come any other way.
This story conveys three truths:
1. Whom you serve, determines the nature of your service.
2. Even though a piece of paper may declare you to be independent, it is the source and strength of your economy that will prove whether you're really independent or not.
3. As long as you take the easy road of comfort and safety, you will never be fruitful, nor truly free.
"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.
"People who don't know their history, just move about like chaff..." - Ashanti saying Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
"Knowing the end from the beginning", this is the truest definition of 'revelation'. Revelation, or, to reveal, implies going back to the start or the occurrence of an event, in order to understand, appreciate and possibly, solve the mysteries that surround the present effects of that occurrence or event. Every problem that humanity has faced, is facing and will face can be diagnosed and maybe solved, via revelation. Revelation is the only way to know the unknown, see the invisible, believe or do the impossible, reach the unreachable, understand the mysterious, explain the inexplicable and to answer some of the difficult questions of life. Technological, medical, and scientific breakthroughs that have occurred over the past few centuries, only did so because someone discovered the cause, the source and the purpose for which a particular person, place or thing behaved in the manner that it does or did. And then, he or she proceeded to use or redirect that person, place, or thing towards the achievement of a predetermined goal. For instance; Gravity was discovered by Sir Isaac Newton as the source, the cause and the reason for which matter stays on the earth instead of floating in the atmosphere. His discovery has helped the discipline of aeronautical engineering to invent space ships which use or redirect Gravity, towards the predetermined goal of space travel. Hence, it was REVEALED to Sir Newton knew that, the end effect of landing onto the earth again after one has jumped from it, began with the occurrence of a pull, caused by an invisible force - (which he called)Gravity. The principle of revelation is widely accepted in almost all the disciplines in life, except one: Spirituality, or the Unseen Realm.
All throughout the ephemeral history of humanity, we have been challenged with difficult questions pertinent to human survival. Can we turn harmful water into safe drinking water? Can we cure malaria? Are we able to build 2000-plus feet, high up, into the sky? Can a human survive a jump onto the Earth from space? How can we fly? Time after time, we have answered these very challenging questions by the principle of revelation. Yet, when it comes to very simple questions like, 'Who are we?', 'Where did we come from?', 'Why are we here?', 'What can or must we do?', and 'Where are we going?'; all of a sudden, we want to do away with the principle of revelation and substitute it with humanistic or religious speculations. As far as the world is concerned, there is no absolute truth or answer for the age old questions of whether God exists or not, whether there is life after death, or whose religious assertions are right, and whose religious assertions are wrong. Spirituality is the least understood discipline of humanity, yet, it is the most vital for human existence and prosperity. Yes, many have attempted to explain this seemingly inexplicable subject of the existence, or the fallacy of the existence of the human spirit, and how it relates to the possibility of an Intelligent Designer - God. However, the results remain the same: inconclusive speculations.
Our issues and confusion with Spirituality cannot be settled by trying to be politically correct with all faiths, ideologies, speculations, religions and beliefs, based on some foolish and ignorant idea that, "We can all live in acceptance, in peace and in tolerance of everybody's belief or faith." This is completely absurd because there is no middle ground when it comes to faith and spirituality! The Atheist's belief stands against what his neighbour, the Muslim, believes; and this will always be the source of war between them - not peace!
If human and universal spirituality will be revealed to mankind, then mankind must destroy all of its calculated secular and religious guesses, and begin to accept the importance and existence of absolute truth. That, the Truth about the Unseen realm - the afterlife, death, God, right and evil, judgement, faith - is not as good as a guess, but rather, it can be known and accessed through the principle of revelation. Birth is the beginning of human life on Earth, and death is the end of human life on Earth. Hence, birth and death is the ultimate reality of humanity. Since revelation is the knowledge of the end from the beginning, then the only way in which the Unseen Realm or Spirituality can be revealed or proven requires that a human moves past reality - past birth and death -, into what lies or doesn't lie there. The human must then come back into reality in order testify of what he or she witnessed in the Unseen Realm of pre-birth and post-death. In other words, a human being must have first-hand experiences in both life before birth, as well as life after death. And then, the human being must come into human life(reality) to prove it to the world. No human being has ever claimed to know of his own existence before his birth, except Jesus of Nazareth. And no human being has ever physically existed past being pronounced dead after the stipulated 3 days, except Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus' proven miraculous birth, death and resurrection from the dead is all the revelation the world needs to acknowledge, accept and believe in the existence of the Unseen Realm or Spirituality. Because of this, only Jesus' testimony about himself, God, the afterlife, creation, Heaven, the human spirit, right and wrong, death, birth and any other pertinent issue concerning human and universal Spirituality, can and must be considered as the absolute truth. He provided two testaments of the absolute truth (the Old Testament and the New Testament), in a document called the Bible, through the penmanship of men who he believed in him and were inspired by him to write them. The Bible speaks of the end from the very beginning. It is the origin of the end - the complete Revelation of all things. You either believe it, or you don't. Whatever your choice maybe, your end is already known from its beginning. It is all written in the Testimonies of Jesus, the Messiah - King of the universe.
“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” - Margaret Thatcher
Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
What marks the death of an era? Simple: the death of a leader. In this world, there are invisible thrones in every system: be it the system of culture, religion, social life, economy, politics, arts, sports and entertainment, etc. These invisible thrones can be categorized into two main classes:
1. Thrones built by followers
2. Thrones built by leaders
1. THRONES BUILT BY FOLLOWERS
These are thrones that are erected by the followers of certain people or leaders whose thoughts, ideas, philosophies and abilities, dominate their followers. The followers willingly or unwillingly submit their authorities to their hero; consequently building an invisible throne for the hero in question. E.g., The late Michael Jackson was heralded as the prince of pop music through the continuous and popular declaration of his fans, the world over! Michael Jackson's fans willingly or unwillingly submitted themselves under the influence and authority of his singing, dancing abilities, poetry, and ideas. Whether Mr. Jackson saw himself as the prince of pop or not, was a decision left entirely up to him to make. Whatever the case may be, if Michael didn't have the throngs of followers that sang along his tunes or danced to his rhythms, there would be no 'Prince of Pop' throne for him to even ponder about. The powers and privileges of this type of throne are ultimately determined by those who created them - the followers. As long as the masses are happy with their chosen hero or leader, then the occupant of the throne gets to enjoy the powers and privileges afforded him, by the followers.
2. THRONES BUILT BY LEADERS
These are thrones that are erected by men who create and stamp their own authority, ideas, philosophies and abilities over people, a place or an area of gifting; especially, without the approval and acceptance of the masses. The powers and privileges of this type of throne are completely determined by the one who created it - the leader. The leader strategically builds for himself a reputation for being able to do (or be) something unique and exceptional. He or she does this by specializing and perfecting his or her own way, style, ideas, art and technique of doing a particular thing. E.g. Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of U.K., was noted for her staunch and unyielding political style of leadership, motivated by her strong convictions. Being the first woman to hold such a post, the U.K. citizens expected her to be a that kind of mother who doted on her 'children', but she was far from that. Her strict financial policies left her bereft of most of Britain's approval. The women expected her to spearhead the causes of women, however, the late Mrs. Thatcher did nothing of that sort. Her disinterest in feminine matters, evidenced by her poor relations with the Queen and her lack of female friends or female advisors, did nothing to endear her to her own kind. Finally, in her own political party and cabinet, she did very well to oust anyone who didn't accept her convictions and proposals: even those who helped her secure office. Margaret Hilda Thatcher built her own political throne called, Thatcherism. She did this often without the approval of the masses, friends, colleagues and even her boss.
The death of the person sitting on any of these two, distinct thrones, marks the death of an era. For the Throne built by followers, the followers choose a new hero to idolize, replacing the former occupant of the throne with a new one, and the tradition continues. But for the Throne built by leaders, the throne dies with the leader as well. Although a similar throne to the dead leader's throne may be erected later on, it'll never be repeated in the same manner. In both cases, a power and influence shift, engendered by a crisis (of normally, death) occurs. For instance, until Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein died, the people of both Libya and Iraq respectively, live under dictatorship. The aftermath of their deaths saw the possibility of a new form of government: democracy. In other words, until the people sitting on the invisible thrones of the systems of the world die, there can be no change. How can there be change; if the stakeholders of the world are directly or indirectly reinforcing certain thought patterns, teachings, lifestyles, tastes, business practices, religious activities, films, political games, and even, clothes, that need changing? The death of an era, requires the death of the leader. The world is in crisis, because the old kings are dying. And so we herald the birth of a new era. Long live the (new) kings!
"Favour has never been about fairness. Favour is always about original intent." - Joseph Osei-Bonsu
Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
Once upon a time, there lived a company of 5 friends down in the jungle: Elephant, Koala, Bull, Cat and Starfish. Elephant had a very big house near the Great Forest River, and there, he hosted his friends daily. Starfish would swim out of the river to join Elephant, Koala, Bull and Cat at Elephant's house everyday, to eat and play. Little did Elephant know that his so-called friends envied him for all the things he had. Koala envied Elephants huge and strong legs that could clear through almost any forest rubble. Bull envied Elephant because Elephant had huge ivory tusks. You see, at that time, Bull didn't have any horns and so he could barely defend himself against his enemies. Cat wanted Elephant's trunk so bad that he began to hate him secretly. Cat figured that a bigger longer nose could help him hunt for food more easily. Everyday Starfish would swim out of the river into Elephant's house, he always wondered what it would be like to have Elephant's durable skin. This became an obsession for Starfish. During one of Starfish's visits to the house, he told his friends that he had discovered a new and better forest on the other side of the river, the night before. If the 5 friends could cross the river, they could all move into a better place on the other side of the river. The only problem was that the river was too deep for Koala, Cat and Bull, and none of them could swim either. Elephant then suggested that he carry his friends across the river, since the river wasn't too deep for him to walk through. Cat, blinded by his secret hate for Elephant, interpreted Elephant's kind proposal as an insult. Cat thought that Elephant was trying to make fun of their incompetence so he said, "Who do you think you are to think we'll let you carry us across the Great Forest River? Everyday, you flaunt your trunk, your size and your house in front of us, just because we let you. Now, you want to carry us on your back as if we're little children." Elephant was shocked by the accusations of his friend so he tried to defend himself. He said, "Oh no! Cat my friend, I am not trying to insult either you, Koala, Bull or Starfish. I was only offering to help you. Who knows? Maybe everything I have was given to me for this purpose." "We don't need your help!", yelled Bull. And at this, Elephant's 4 friends ganged up on him and beat him to death. Afterwards, they divided his body amongst themselves. Cat took Elephant's trunk and affixed it to his nose. Koala took Elephant's legs and began to wear them. Bull took Elephant's tusks and added them to his teeth. And finally, Starfish peeled of Elephant's skin and hid it under his own skin. The four friends, thinking the pieces they had gotten from Elephant would help them cross the river, proceeded to crossing the Great Forest River. As soon as they all got into the water, Starfish sunk into the bottom of the river - the skin he had peeled from Elephant was too heavy for him to float or swim with. Cat didn't know how to use Elephant's trunk. As a result, he almost drowned from the weight of the trunk. Bull couldn't close his mouth because of the tusks in his teeth, and so he found himself gulping down gallons of the river water, inadvertently. Koala also, nearly drowned due to the weight of the elephant legs he was wearing. Starfish couldn't remove Elephant's skin from himself, that is why the starfish is still sunken and lying at the bottom of the ocean. Koala scampered out of the weighty legs and climbed to the top of the nearest tree. This is why the koala is afraid of water and lives in trees. Cat pulled off Elephant's trunk from his nose and rushed quickly onto the shore. By pulling the Elephant's trunk from his nose, Cat lost almost all of the fur that was once on his nose. This is why cats hate water and have single strands of hair near their noses called, whiskers. Bull swiftly paddled onto shore, pulled out the tusks from his mouth and started vomiting and coughing out the water he had drunk in the river. While his head was bowed down, Elephant's tusks got stuck into his head but Bull never realized it. This is why the bull doesn't like water and keeps roaming about all the time: it is still looking for Elephant's tusks.
If all men were created equal, why does it seem as though some men are favoured more than others? This is a flawed question. It does not 'seem as though some men are 'favoured' more than others; rather, it is a truth that some men are favoured more than others, per time, per time.
This absolute truth does not seek to incriminate God of bias or prejudice, and neither does it give men the licence to boast over others.
For favour has never been about fairness. Favour is always about original intent.
The purpose of a king determines whom he calls to his service and what necessary accoutrements or privileges will come with that call. E.g. In times of war, a king never employs his cobbler for tactics and strategy. Instead, he calls on the Commander of the Royal army, supplies the Commander with everything the Commander needs, and puts the Commander to work, in order to fulfill the king's intent of winning the war. When the war is over, the fame, wealth, authority, prominence, power and name that the Commander may have gotten from the people or the king at that time, becomes less important in comparison to, let's say, the Chief Architect of the realm: who has now been called by the king to rebuild the ruins of war. After the Chief Architect has finished fulfilling his duty to the king, he too will become less important to a newly called servant of the king, so on and so forth. Such is life. Depending on the purpose or activity of the respective time or season, some men are favoured above others; but never forever. If your time or season has not come yet, what is there to profit by: comparing yourself with, hating, challenging, fighting against and trying to undermine others?
Jealousy, envy, squabbles, quarrels and fights over property, prominence and power are the most useless activities on Earth; after worrying. What is the point of desiring to be like someone or to have something that someone has, when you have been given everything you need in order to be you, and you only? Why pride yourself in wearing other people's designs when you can choose or create your own style? Most people say they're happy with who they are. And when you ask them, "Why?", they begin to list their achievements, the things they've acquired, the people they're with, their standard of living, and who they think they are. Very seldom will you hear a human being say that he is content with who he or she is because, he or she has discovered and fulfilled the original intent for his or her existence. Again, you - just like most people - rationalize that what you did, or what you are currently doing, or what you're about to do is your purpose in life.
However, if you are your own standard of purpose, why can't you determine your own times and seasons? If life bestows favour upon those whose purpose and activity matches the uncontrollable times and seasons, what makes you think that you are the source of your own reason for living?
As far as you and all humanity is concerned, nothing is certain. It is wisdom to realize that you have a duty to fulfill, and that nothing else matters except that, sooner or later, you'll be called to fulfill that duty. It is better to use your time to discover and prepare for that time, than to quarrel with yourself and with others about who you are, and who else you could be.
"...Am I my brother's keeper?" - Cain, Genesis 4:9b KJV
There's nothing more comforting than having the presence of someone who is stronger, more mature, experienced and compassionate to your cause during times of danger or of crisis. This is who a big brother is.
A 'Big brother' is not necessarily an older, male sibling, a 'Big brother' is anyone who has travelled a similar path you're travelling, and is willing to show you how to get there; without any other ulterior motive.
This could be anyone from parents, to politicians, to siblings, to mentors, to supervisors, to religious leaders, to school prefects, etc. The greatest example of a 'Big brother' is the older generation. Charged with the mentoring, guidance, protection, teaching and nurturing of the younger generation, the older generation is the ultimate 'Big brother'. The Big brother(older generation) is there to serve as a prototype for the younger generation. The socialization of the younger generation into becoming responsible members of the society, largely depends on their relationship with the 'Big brother'. In effect, a great proportion of the success or failure of the younger generation depends on the 'Big brother'. This is so, because, the younger generations(though they may disagree) do not have enough experience, understanding, knowledge and wisdom to deal with the tests that life throws their way. This is where the older generation must step in and say, "Alright son, this is how you do it...!". However, what happens when the 'Big brother' refuses to respond to the threats of 'Little brother's bully? What happens when the 'Big brother' becomes the 'Little brother's bully, instead? What are the consequences of the failures of the 'Big brother'? These are the effects caused by the failures of the older generation, in the younger generation:
Recurrence of generational failure.
Before we tackle these three offshoots of the 'Big brother's irresponsibility, let's try to understand how the Big brother becomes or has become a failure - one word: selfishness. It is the pursuit of selfish desires, private ambition and personal dreams that causes the older generation to become negligent or antagonistic in their responsibilities towards the younger generation. E.g. Men enjoy the pleasure of having unprotected sex with women whom they have no intention of settling down with; but they don't want to be responsible for any pregnancy that may arise as result. Selfishness is not just the pursuit of self-interests without regard for others, it is also the manipulation and coercion of others to fulfill one's self-interests. E.g. A so-called, loving mother may spoil her daughter by giving her daughter everything she never had, without considering the fact that she is actually making her daughter materialistic. The only reason why the mother does this is because she wants to make herself happy. She believes that by doting on her daughter, she could somehow fulfill her long-suffered or denied desires in her daughter. It is completely selfish for any parent to try and re-live their youth or their lives in their children. The 'Big brother's selfishness engenders rebellion, recurrence of generational failure and estrangement.
Estrangement occurs when the affection the 'Little brother' has for the 'Big brother' ceases to exist. It is normally a passive reaction. Nobody decides whether they will come into this earth or not. And nobody decides, or better still, nobody should decide, who gets to come into the earth or not. We all come into the earth as complete strangers to ourselves and to everybody. Since this is the case, whatever bond the younger generation has with the older generation, is solely built through years of continuous interaction. When that bond is severed, all the hardwork of building that relationship comes to naught. Everything goes back into reset, and they become strangers again. Estrangement is normally viewed as an anticlimax: a sad ending to a wonderful tale. And it usually is. However, estrangement from an irresponsible 'Big brother' can be the best thing that ever happened to the 'Little brother', if the younger generation can benefit properly from the experience. E.g. A young girl whose father is imprisoned for defiling her, has a better chance of recovering from her traumatic experience, than one who is still living with her father: enduring his torture.
Rebellion, unlike estrangement, is a more aggressive reaction to the failures of the 'Big brother'. Rebellion is, and has always been, an attempt to gain back lost control or power (over one's life or property), from the hands of a perceived enemy. Although sometimes rebellion from the younger generation is wrong and uncalled for, most of it are simply reactions to failure of the older generation to perform its duties. The major significance about the failure of the 'Big brother' here is that, the 'Big brother' has failed in his responsibilities to the point of becoming an enemy to the 'Little brother'. A classic case would be a big brother who bullies his little brother. When the older generation fails to nurture, protect, guide, teach and mentor the younger generation, the younger generation may just become estranged. But when the older generation corrupts, abandons, misleads, dumbs-down and mentors the younger generation into strife and bitterness, the younger generation moves from passive estrangement, to aggressive rebellion. The rebellion, like estrangement, may be positive or negative. Positive rebellion, in this case, is when the 'Little brother' retaliates by respectfully refusing to obey the destructive traditions or instructions of the 'Big brother'; but instead, he does the right thing. Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment, how many younger brothers react positively to the bullying of their older brothers? Negative rebellion - aggressive retaliation - to leadership or mentorship of the older generation always feels like the 'natural' response for the younger generation. This is because the 'Little brother' doesn't even see the 'Big brother' as just an irresponsible person or a pathetic failure anymore. Rather, the 'Little brother' considers his 'Big brother' a threat, and an enemy to his well being.
If the older generation fails to consider and perform its duty of mentoring the younger generation justly and rightly, the inevitable result is what I call the Recurrence of Generational Failure. Since 'Big brother' never showed 'Little brother' how to tie his shoe laces, the chances of the latter being able to teach himself or another how to do so, are very slim. The younger generation strives hard to NOT BECOME a failure like the older generation, and by doing so, completely loses sight as to how TO BECOME better than the older generation. Humanity is wired TO BECOME, and not, NOT TO BECOME. Hence, the failures of the older generation cannot be bettered or overcome by avoidance. As a matter of fact, the more the 'Little brother' tries to avoid his 'Big brother's pitfalls, the more he finds himself stumbling into those very same pitfalls. And thus, the failures of the older generation reoccurs in the younger generation, causing a diabolic, cyclical pattern of generational irresponsibility.
Breaking the cycle of bad 'Big brothers' requires death. The death of the older of the irresponsible older generation. I am using death as a metaphor for any permanent separation between the older generation and the younger generation. But sometimes death in its literal sense is what is required to ensure this permanent separation. Death is necessary because when it comes to irresponsible leadership, there is no way of modifying or adjusting it to become right again. The only solution for irresponsibility is complete eradication. Either the older generation 'dies' to its old irresponsible ways, or it will have to suffer the permanent separation from the younger generation through 'death'. A school of thought may argue and say that,
"Even though the older generation may have failed continuously in its obligations towards the younger generation, a complete separation between the two of them is not ideal. The 'Little brother' must continue to make do with the (irresponsible) leadership of 'Big brother', in hope that 'Little brother' can negotiate some gradual change in 'Big brother'; or, Little brother could become the change he wants himself. Death or permanent separation is too drastic, rash, dangerous and could cost the 'Little brother'."
This argument is completely rubbish. What the statement above implies is that, if a child is being abused continuously at home, it is better for the child to just deal with the abuse until things are worked out, rather than seeking refuge or shelter away from his or her abuser(s). Again, I reiterate, there is no alternative method in dealing with irresponsible living, except death. Not just the death of the older generation, but also, the death of the younger generation. 'Little brother' must put to death his innate proclivity to indiscipline through a conscious exercise of mental and physical discipline. Little brother must decide to kill his ignorance and naivete through the pursuit of truth, understanding and wisdom. And finally, 'Little brother' will have to destroy every distraction that comes his way through a steadfast focus on purpose, priorities and principles. Should he falter in doing any of these things, he must not take that as a cue for surrender. Because if 'Big brother' doesn't come to the rescue, 'Little brother' must learn how to become his own big brother; for the sake of his unborn brothers.
“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking” - Albert Einstein
Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu
One of the most inexplicable, yet, exciting things in life is to see a dream come true, right before your very eyes. I'm not referring to dreams as they relate to aspirations, desires or ambitions; although the same holds true for them too. I'm referring to the visions of the night we receive when our eyes are firmly shut, and our consciousnesses are relieved from us.
A dream is like an enigmatic, avant-garde film: it is made by the filmmaker not for the masses, but for a particular audience, in order to send a specific message to that audience in a way in which only that particular audience can comprehend, or empathize with.
Most of the time, we are our own avant-garde filmmakers: we are the ones behind most of these films and scenes we see in our slumber. Most dreams are the reflections of our subconscious minds; but once in a while, we all have that 'troubling' or 'unforgettable' dream that our subconscious had nothing or very little to do with. This type of unknown, unsolicited, and unwarranted dream will press on our minds for years to come. And usually, they are forgotten. Until, lo and behold, they turn into reality - a reality only the dreamer of it can empathize with. I call this type of dream, Epiphanic dream. Every single person on this earth has had this experience before. What each person does with his or her Epiphanic dream is what makes their experience unique from others. Some refuse to acknowledge its significance to their lives, a few rationalize it as just one of those dreams of the subconscious, others respond emotionally to it and stop there, a handful of people may try to figure it out and fail, or reach a wrong conclusion about it. However, very rarely does one seek to understand the meaning of one's Epiphanic dreams.
How do we know whether a dream is actually an epiphany or a product of our subconscious? Distinguishing between a Subconscious dream and an Epiphanic dream is no mean feat; yet, it is very simple. Epiphanic dreams impress on our minds, and sometimes on our bodies, in inexplicable and incomprehensible ways that cannot be completely forgotten, even though we may bury them under the distractions of life. Subconscious dreams - nightmares or sweet dreams - are usually, easily forgettable and don't have that unique effect of Epiphanic dreams. Also, an Epiphanic dream teases the dreamer to seek its meaning. Granted that in this busy and hectic world, most people don't seek dream interpretation any more. However, for as long as the dreamer lives, his Epiphanic dream will remain as a dark secret between him and his 'God'. Speaking of God, it is important to ask this question: Is it God who gives us these Epiphanic dreams or is there another source for these dreams? The answer to this is a definite, "Yes!".
Since the origin of humanity, religious reasons and perspectives were used to explain the unknown. With the advent of science and technology, these mythical explanations that religion provided as a solution to some of the puzzles in life, were dispelled. Now, we are able to explain the different types of seizure, instead of dismissing all of them as demonic possession. The Scientific Method of logical reasoning through empirical observation has done a great deal to rid the us of most of our ignorant conclusions. However, Science or Logical Reasoning is not a replacement for God. The reason why I state this emphatically is because, Science can only explain the seen, not the unseen. All the laws of physics, biology, chemistry and even metaphysics were, and are culled from observation and experimentation. Anything that cannot be observed, documented and experimented upon, does not fall into the purported omniscience of human logic. This is why science and technology excels so much in explaining the Earth's environment; but it struggles to understand the human soul. We are able to land men on the moon, but we cannot scientifically explain what the conscience is.
God is not a safe pawn used by religious people to explain the unknown. God is the creator of the unknown, from which the known is revealed.
God is the One who uses Epiphanic dreams to reach out to the only creation on Earth, that is trying everything possible to replace Him with religion, logical reasoning, science, pleasure, money and private ambitions - human beings. Since the true, avant-garde Filmmaker behind our Epiphanic dreams is God, there is no man-made formula for interpreting dreams. Because, to have an epiphany about anything in life requires that one be exposed to the absolute truth concerning that thing. You've seen a movie before, right? Unless it has a sequel, it always possesses a beginning, a middle and an end. Well, this is nothing like what you see in the movies. An Epiphanic dream tells the dreamer only part of the story: the end, or the middle, or the beginning, or a combination of one to any of the other two.
The purpose of an Epiphanic dream is to expose the dreamer to his or her past, in order to influence the dreamer's present decisions, in preparation for future events.
Living life is like watching a dream come true: the dream is either a subconscious reflection of our innate desires , or, a God-inspired epiphany. The choice is always yours.