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Henry Anumudu: Life & Its Complexities

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Life is strange. Some might argue it is deceptive; but, I choose to stick with strange – without eroding the possibility of its deception. However, the unique element that distinguishes humanity from animality is rationality – the power of thought. My most favourite part about this power is the ability to introspect. To place our life itself on a balance and weigh it, measure it, evaluate it and record our findings.

What do we get upon making these evaluations? I am not asking nor seeking for a superficial test of life’s foundations. I am asking you to think hard about life’s basic building blocks.

What do you get when you reflect about this? What are your results? I will tell you what I always get: Absurdity.

Life is absurd; and that is strange because it seems to promise us a lot more but it always runs short. We are made for much more than life can offer. In all men, is a yearning for the eternal, a longing for the infinite. The eyes of men are raised towards the mountains, yet, we only can annex the plains. What can this life, even in its best, ever give to sate the insatiable human desire and its craving for transcendence? This is the conflict: we cannot get what we want – so, we settle for what there is.

Evidently, if I pronounce a pregnant woman a virgin; I will be scoffed at, seen as unbalanced – a person in need of ‘special care’. Why? Because the scoffers perceive my pronunciation as a contradiction, an impossibility, a ridiculous declaration: They will say, “your proposition is absurd” “what you pronounce is in obvious opposition to what is” and “you are strange man for saying that”. And truly, it is. There is a continual tear between our hopes in life and what life can ever give. Compound contradictions between our aims and our true strength.

So, we dream, but we dream with restrictions. We know no other way. What choice do we have? We possess minds that can imagine a whole city of pure gold, with thoughts that swim to the hidden battlements of eternity and back, minds that imagine a musical piece as complex as the “Opus Clavicembalisticum” or as profound as Mozart’s “Requiem”; the ecstasy of the painting “Mona Lisa” or the majesty of the “Sistine Chapel”. You see, man is a microcosm. He contains the cosmos within himself. No matter how big and mighty the universe is, you can contain it, and have room for more.

It is this power to contain within his mind the infinitely great atom, the infinitely great cosmos, and the infinite variety between the two, and to think of them all in one thought that makes man first in the order of the universe.

After all said and thought, we are consigned to rocks and sand, dust and smoke, wanting more and getting little. Wishing all the more, like another Alexander the Great, that there were more worlds to conquer. But we remain restless – our souls remain restless. We pursue happiness, but once we grasp it, we discover it is tainted with patches of sadness, loneliness, disappointments. We seek not for light that is mingled with darkness. We seek perfect happiness.

So, when we come face to face with our lives, we see, clearly, that it makes no sense. We see the ridiculous in it all. But, we live our lives as if we do not see. We continue our lives as if we know not that life is absurd. I read a study once that draws a correlation between high intelligence and a high suicide rate and prime examples regarding. Were they rejecting the absurdity? Does knowing, and living life still, fan the embers of absurdism? Is dying the only answer? Will faith in God provide meaning amidst meaninglessness? Does recourse to a promise of eternity to our eternal minds grant us purpose amid purposelessness? Will it free us from the absurdity of life?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime 

Henry Anumudu is a graduate of philosophy and an avid literature enthusiast. His work has been featured on platforms such as: the Kalahari Review, YNaija Blog, TNC, amongst others. He is currently the Communication and media relations officer for a media firm in Abuja. You can meet up with him on Instagram @henryanumudu

9 Comments

  1. Omoncherry

    January 16, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Excellent and thought provocative piece…. you just virtually wrote my thoughts.. I have thought about this just today … how life is strange and absurd… thus making it somewhat meaningless…
    Glad to see I’m quite sane to have these thoughts????.

    Now back to reading ‘ purpose driven life by Rick warren’ to help me with my deep tonight’s .

    • Omoncherry

      January 16, 2017 at 10:45 pm

      *thoughts

  2. lover of phiosophy

    January 17, 2017 at 12:53 am

    I am a Biochemistry major but I’ve always loved philosophy because I am naturally introspective and curious. Unfortunately, I cannot express my thoughts as eloquently as this but I’m always excited during my philosophy classes because I can decipher the logic of others and untangle mine too.

    • Henry A.

      January 18, 2017 at 1:38 am

      The study of philosophy is a great advantage in shaping how one thinks and perceive reality; however, I firmly believe that anyone can think clearly and distinctly without the aid of a philosophy class. Books and a consciousness of the world around you provide ample material for that purpose.

  3. Tosin

    January 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

    :*
    more?

  4. funmilola

    January 17, 2017 at 11:57 am

    good read and yes, faith in God does provide meaning amidst meaninglessness….life itself is absurd and one can easily lose direction but one’s belief in God can actually guide one through life and give it a meaning too.

    • Henry A.

      January 18, 2017 at 1:40 am

      I believe so too Funmi – “God is the meaning we seek”. Perhaps, I should have gone further; but, I think BN has a caveat on religion.

  5. Diana Ubimago

    January 22, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Nice piece.

  6. Chika A

    January 23, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Wonderfully written.. We need more brilliant people like you in Nigeria.. More grease

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