Soyinka: Art without Conclusion – by Seun Sobola - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Sunday, March 31, 2024

Soyinka: Art without Conclusion – by Seun Sobola

Do not take the rarity of my write-up as a yardstick of my affection for Arts or my model, Wole Soyinka. Instead put it down merely to the trials of life, to the fated being that I am, and the series of literary works I am at present engaged. Now that I am descended on by the Muse, let me first talk about the man of the piece – Soyinka, then of his conclusion. 

You may ask how does Soyinka cure himself of the nervous delusions which he once suffered? In two ways: (1) by examining them scientifically, that is, by trying to understand them — and (2) by force of will. There is another thing, or rather the habit, which Soyinka seemed to have, I mean his love for contemplation. Just like a whirl of ideas and images in our poor mind, Soyinka took life, the passion and himself as subject for intellectual exercise, that we worry less when we found he chose to live in a serene environment in Abeokuta. Soyinka is still a revolt against the injustice of the world, against its baseness, its tyranny and all the vileness and corruption of life. But did he thoroughly understand them? Did he fully study them? How can we, with our limited senses and our circumscribed intelligence, to attain absolute knowledge of the truth and goodness? How can we grasp the absolute?

Let me tell you; no great genius has come to final conclusion; no great book ever does because humanity is forever on the march and can never arrive at a goal. They all cease living subjectively! Soyinka never comes to a conclusion, Homer never does, nor does Shakespeare, nor Marlowe, nor even the Keats. Those who waited for their purpoted Messiah in _Waiting for Godot_ waited for fifty years but their saviour never came. The day on which an answer is found may be the planet’s end. 

Life is an eternal problem, so is religion, history and everything else. Fresh figures are always added to the sum. The tines of life is like the story of my friend who we carried to the headquarters of a popular church in Oranya. The highest pastor used to perform all kinds of exorcism and showmanship but my friend was not healed at all as he kept having bad dreams. The pastor later told us to buy bottles of the holy water he was selling. We bought thirty of the ailment-cure-small-spray bottles of water for twenty-five thousand naira each and headed home. He dished out this holy water to every corner of his apartment, used it to bath and drank it but my friend remained the same. My friend got his healing when we went diabolical.

Reader, humanity is not a question of changing it but knowing it. The answer about life resides in God’s heart. To survive in this world, we must give up all our clear-cut opinions about anything at all. Life is a hideous business that the only method of bearing it is to avoid it!

Art can be used to inspire hope in the world. Art is the ceaseless quest for Truth presented in Beauty. When I lost my brother in 2009, I truly felt it, and sometimes, I feel his warmth and his caring within me. In such situation, I knew my brother was just a kind and happy man. It is the truth about him. So, as I am reminiscing about him, I am talking about his life, his past in order to carry on with my present and future. That is the power of Art! Our hope is in understanding more about our life through dialogues and themes as in poetry, drama and prose fiction.

Arts prepared writers to respond to three quintessential questions of Plato which include: ‘Who am I? From where do I originate? Where am I heading? Writers, therefore, are able to draw a map, give readers an image of a place, let them explore their imagination and offer a variety of spiritual reference points so that readers can become familiar with and comprehend their own lives in light of the reference points.

Soyinka read the great writers, tried to grasp their methods, drew near to the heart of them and rose from his studies, dazzled with joy. Soyinka drew up a plan of study; made it strenuous and consistent. Read history, especially ancient history and adapted _The Bacchae_ by Euripides to mirror the civil unrest in Nigeria. Then he became like Moses who descended Sinai with the light shining from his face because he had seen God. He dig into the Utopians and the dry-as-dust dreamers for many decades in Nigeria, thereby studying a new science. That must be the reason why all his advanced ideas still look relevant when people come to look back on them!

Seun Sobola is a first class graduate of English

No comments:

Post a Comment