GRADUATION: The Crucifixion of Opinion
Toli, is a word in the Ga language (primarily spoken by those along the coast of Accra — the present capital region of Ghana) which means anything from falsehood, fiction, deception to myth. The above photograph of me grabbing my chin is the popular gesture for ToLi. It signifies a dismissal of an opinion, idea, or statement as questionable, deceitful or untrue.
In my case, this signifies my dismissal of my inherited programming. It is an alarm to myself to take creative charge over the architecture of my mind and circumstances.
My mother has been central to my evolution as a thinker. She made me understand that Man was a creature of habit and consciousness more than one of circumstance. That the relationship we have with our consciousness over time is heavily rooted in the rituals we practice.
As an African born in America, there were practiced beliefs that endangered my sense of self. My masculinity was distorted, my self-image was smeared, my creativity was tamed and my capability was restricted.
I was raised and baptized in the Roman Catholic faith. There are aspects of Catholicism that I revere based on the institution more than biblical doctrine — the sacred art, Gothic architecture, Cathedral acoustic reverb, choral music, sacremental rituals, aroma of incense, neatly-ironed garments, graceful clergy, mahogany benches, structured service, the staged symmetry of the altar, etc. My gravity toward Catholicism might explain my twin affinity for our traditional African religions especially the syncretic versions like Candomble & Santeria.
My views against organized religion are not extremist. I do not believe the Religious Order is one of bloodhounding vampires that are in a deliberate conspiracy to mind-control the Universe to unleash a New World Order headed by a Reagan-looking three headed beast. However I also do not believe in the cleverly-subtle damaging supremacist views of most Abrahamic faiths that eventually whitewash indigenous cultures.
There are things we as African people in particular must unlearn. Unlearn because, we have been baited, compromised and programmed for economic exploitation (No, I will not use this post to support this claim). We must understand that as creatures of habit, though unlearning might be hard; it is necessary. We must begin from the basic premise that: our beliefs are merely synaptic connections and therefore any inherited beliefs that we ourselves, cannot subject to examination and observation are most likely dangerous ideas. They are dangerous in the sense that, they threaten our humanity, divinity, evolution and freedom.
“The most disastrous aspect of colonization which you are the most relunctant to release from your mind is their colonization of the image of God.” — Dr Frances Cress-Welsing
We have inherited beliefs that do not accomodate our instinctive nature and have disconnected us from the evolutionary process. The conundrum has desensitized us from self-awareness and ironically from our real Holy Spirit. Our uninformed, fear-driven and pressurized inclination to surrender to “The Holy Spirit” is a disturbing idea that merits another post in the least. The momentum of this extensive disconnection is evident in the quandary we are experiencing as citizens of “Independent” nations drowning in abject poverty and corruption.
But there is hope.
As the grandchildren of African Independence and the Civil Rights Movement, we are the bridge into the second millennium. We are the ones that the captured set free. This cyberspatial age must be extolled for empowering this new generation with an exodus to learn, connect and create.
Sustaining this vitality however, is the new challenge. As the gatekeepers of our society we must boldly live and flood our truths. We must drown the systemic ToLi that says “we cannot, we are not and we should not”. Bob Marley’s “half of the story has never been told” is ours. This is our story. This is our time. This is our graduation.