What is the Life in Your Life?

*Alan Shadowrine*

Life…

What is life? A span? A journey? A perception? A feeling? A complicated series of events programmed by the unseen deities and meant not to be altered? What is the story in your life? Or better asked, what is the life in your story?

The beardless light-skinned me was busy watching the ongoing riots following the murder of the late George Floyd.

Do you think being beardless makes a person resemble some fresh Kitui mango or the surface of a new aluminum sufuria? Let me know at the comment section down below, I promise to take heart.

It was an extremely heartbreaking video that captured how he died. It evokes a storm of anger, mixed with pangs of fiery flames, a stern kind of fierceness that makes you feel like diffusing through the phone and saving his life from the hands of racial bigotry.

But then that is not possible. His life sadly came to an end. Life… it got me thinking, what is life?

I recently read an intriguing Silicon Editorial The Secret to LifeWhen I was done, I still could not figure out the exact secret to life. I thought it was high time I understood what life is, after all, my teacher (that once made me sunbathe on my mattress at the parade grounds as a punishment for sleeping on a certain sleepy morning) told me that you cannot know where you are going if you do not know where you are coming from.

So, I started wondering how Silicon, in his Editorial, could explain the secret to life if he never had a definition of what life is. However, just as we sometimes remember the meanings of some words yet we can’t recall the specific words, it is possible to tell the meaning of life even when there is no definite definition of life. Plus, I am sure; depending on how events and situations have swayed your sanity, you can also come up with a viable explanation of your life, right? But is there something we don’t know about life? Do all lives matter? Is there a form of life we don’t know yet? Is what we have a real life? Well, what is life in the first place? Does it end when the heart stops pumping blood? Or does it continue to infinity but in different phases?

In a bid to answer that, imagine the following scenarios for instance:

My little sister is so afraid of chameleons that she would choose to spend a week with the darkest witch than have a chameleon snake itself on her hand. Leave alone having the harmless chameleon walk on her arm, she would rather stay in a house full of the black and hairy caterpillars than have her eyes see a chameleon. I know that is a kind of phobia because I would opt to eat the same meal for breakfast all my life to sleeping in a room with a black and hairy caterpillar sleeping at a corner. I also know that you don’t know the name given to the phobia of chameleons. Why don’t you tell me its name down below if you do? 

Unfortunately, my little sister had an encounter with a chameleon and this is how it happened. 

After listening to a three-hour Reggae music mix by Dj Patiz (she is only 7, you can imagine the boredom), the tunes lifted her soul so much that she woke up, left the room, and started climbing up an avocado tree within the compound. Perhaps trying to connect with Jah.

Like the enthusiast she is, she was on the peak of the green male avocado tree in a blink of an eye. (It never bears fruits, so I guess it is male) It was all good until a dead-awakening scream split across the silent moments of a home undergoing extreme quarantining. I rushed to look up at her like the omnipotent life-saving big bro she thinks I am. She was at the edge of falling had the male avocado tree not decided to spare her life with its feeble infertile branch stretched at an obtuse angle. When I asked her what was happening, she just pointed at a harmless green chameleon. Did the branch feel some pain? Did the chameleon feel sad about its appearance when a human being cried while pointing at it?

I am going to politely ask you to look at things from several perspectives. Empathy. Walk out of your human form and imagine yourself as something different. At some point, you have probably tried to imagine how someone felt when a machete ripped off a human neck, or how that explosive device blew up a human body, or how the gazelle felt when the sharp incisors ripped off the flesh of its neck. Or simply, consider the following;

Case 1.

What if the stone, the timber, the cement, I mean, the nails making the room where you soundly sleep have a life? What if we go overboard and abuse them for our selfish gains just because they cannot speak for themselves? Well, what if a stone can speak? Can it tell of how humans are mean? That it doesn’t want to be used for building, that it is sick of being ripped off its part so it can suit a mason’s needs? Do those stones have relatives? That a quarry is a colony of stones that would have wished to stay together should it not have been that humans are the enemies of unity? Maybe that is why stones mercilessly fall on people when a building collapses, and crash them apart for the mean forms of life they have been?

Case 2.

Are you a vegan? It’s okay if you are not but, I have a friend who is a vegan and she thinks that killing animals for food is impunity and a merciless act from humans. Do you think in her line too? But what if I told you that vegans are wrong too? No, what if I told you too, whether a vegan or not, you are a murderer? That you have always killed? Are you wondering how?

Okay, take it this way. Plants, including the one we take as food, for instance, cabbages, have a life. Their life commences when that seed germinates from whatever biological concept. And its life apparently ends when the leaves wither and the roots dry. But what if they want to live happily until they die of age? What if they don’t want to be burned with cow dung and with fertilizers? What if cabbages just want to grow, flourish under the sun, have green leafy leaves in summer, and then wilt to death when their lifespan is over? What if they have a god that was too weak to protect them, because mean humans came, ripped them, cooked them in extreme temperatures, and ate them because they think they are super powerful forms of life in the hierarchy of beings?

Case 3. What if all creation has life? That is why we say, this tree is 3 years old, or this building is 2 decades. This phone is three weeks old. Is not two weeks a measure of the building’s age? Don’t you think so?

To begin with, let us say the answer to that is Yes. If all creation has life, then it has something to say about human beings. What if the knife doesn’t want to be sharpened, the house doesn’t want to be built, the class doesn’t want to be attended, the eyes don’t want to see? Well, what if the laptop doesn’t want to be used? Have you ever thought, maybe we humans are really mean? Maybe we have been too ignorant to assume what creation was meant for. That is why we remove batteries from our laptops and leave them on power for hours and hours? That is why we load our donkeys with tones of luggage because we have the conviction that carrying loads is their sole purpose for creation.

That being human beings has made us think we have dominion over all forms of life and that we can go ahead and maim them for our benefits.

What if I told you that being mean is part of the human genetic constitution?

On the other hand, we can shout no to our question. And have reasons for that.

If you say it is survival for the fittest, then why do we sue the government when elephants destroy the crops we plant? Why do we have an urge to kill them back if they kill our animals or even our families? Are not the elephants doing what we do to lower forms of life, to wild hares, to old chicken in our homes, to rice from the soils, to all creation? What if the elephants have a lot to accuse us of only that they do not speak our language? That is crazy. Oh, maybe we should also campaign for all forms of life? Start defending the tables if too much is placed on them?   

Mr. Floyd died with a knee of a police officer who is supposed to save lives forcefully bolted on his neck. Barely able to breathe, and even after trying to ask the officer to lift off his leg from the neck under severe pressure, life slipped out of George’s healthy body, slowly but painfully. His was a normal day, the kind that you wake up to with no idea that you will be driving your car for the last time. He had just come from a convenience store and he had no idea that his life would end there and then. Despite the call for justice for George, his daughter will never again have his dad’s hand pat her back after school. Nor will his family hear his laughter slip through their ears. And the world, even in its weirdest magic, will never have a taste of George Floyd’s special niche. Because he has left this world, forever and for always.

When all is done and said, it is evident to me that all forms of life matter. That is why you need to feed your horse with some fancy feed on some weekend (If you don’t have a horse, I’m sorry, maybe a dog will do, or a cat). Stop misusing your phone, give its chip some time to breathe! Wipe off dirty remains from the surface of your table, maybe that way, the table will feel better. Stop abusing alcohol, give your liver some long life. Stop reusing that clothe the third day, maybe it will feel pretty cool if you just dipped it in water with some succulent detergent.

You don’t know when death will show up its ugly face on your life. But before then, live happily in harmony and peace with all forms of life in creation.

What name do you give to people who have a phobia for chameleons?  

Stay at home and stay safe.

@fiadehu.org

Leave your comments at the bottom of this page. Read more articles written by Alan Shadowrine:

  1. Before you catch the virus.
  2. How far can humanity go?
  3. Best Graduation Ever.
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