POETRY: The Call of the Wild

Appreciating art.
Appreciating art.

A busy suburb, a well-laid-out mall, crazy traffic, ascending prices and the intrusion of technology. 

All these are easily recognizable as the hallmarks of modern living, the practical re-organization of the plate of humanity to include only those things which are ‘useful’, practical and pleasurable. 

Each year, we widen that plate to include more technology and money-making ventures (side hustles), higher-paying gigs and investment opportunities.

The idea is that if we can earn more, we will love our lives more- that if the grand void of life can’t be filled by money, then it can be filled by more money.

The results of the modern experiment have started filtering in.

What is the place for art in days filled with long, hurried, early morning commutes, alarm bells, deadlines and sticky notes with quips from personal finance gurus? 

When our plates can take more, we then add a sprinkling of health information -eat less, less sugar and exercise more. 

While we do nothing to ease the attack on our psyche, we have become a piece of tech with no mind that needs stretching in nature from where it was hued. And artworks are poems of nature.

We have almost completely forgotten art, except the tech upstart of digital art- the synthetic imitation of the real. 

The soul-extensions of its creators, beauty forms we can touch and caresss are now edged inside the electric dots of bits and circuits, and we expect the effect to be the same.

Art is now seen as a pastime of those who have excess time and money in their hands. We sure talk about it more often but do it less. 

I mean the art found in a serene forest walk, the silent fishing of beauty from the still ocean, the bond we form with the pulsating live stage performance, and attending dance performances. 

These tiny ports of art open for us to re-enter our soul as we spend too long outside searching to make ends meet when we had created the gulf in the first place. 

We get so cold standing so long outside waiting for the snowflakes of dollar bills; we have turned the pursuit of material life into the true essence of life. 

Art, the spa waiting to nurse our battered soul, stands neglected.

Someone said the best things in life are free, like love, like laughter, like air, and, I dare add, like art. 

The things they offer free are free, but the irony of modern life is that we forget that the art of living is old. 

It’s like expressing the same old concept in a new language and thus marking it as new. The fun of playing a realistic 3D game is not a newly-invented fun that was invented with the games- the game is new, but the fun is not. 

The lie of the modern era is that this particular fun is new and only comes from playing a 3D game.

But it was the same fun we have had playing the time-honoured hide-and-seek. 

Just as those who have a deep craving for shawarma did not develop new taste buds for the imported delicacy, they only re-assign the old ones to new roles; they told them to get excited less from local dishes, which had been their best before meeting the new test champions.

The cheapness and wholesomeness of art as we know it in the traditional sense demands that we re-enthrone it as the source of pleasure. 

Common sense screams for proof that all that’s new or imported is better.

The social role played by art needs to be reasserted. The walk towards practicality, as defined by anything that does bring cash, has made a generation go missing.

The rainbow of life has been reduced to just one color called profit. 

The characteristics of living things are no longer five, as Biology told us; it is now one-anything that can earn.

The results of this social experiment have left our children a dangerous and suicidal society to inherit. The damage is in the environment, morals and quality of life.

I believe that the solution lies in a return to art- traditional art. 

To dancing, to storytelling, to the music that connects us to the soil that formed us, to the craftwork of our black hands, and the unspoiled wildness of our forests, the artwork of nature. 

We must turn away from the heat of the city’s asphalt as often as possible to the calm wetness of the damp soil of our rainforests, to refill. 

Our museums and cultural centers must return to being watering holes for the large herds of suit-wearing buffaloes that work-week has made us.

Socially we have evolved a million years in the last few details because of the different ways of interaction made available by technology and moral innovations.

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However, biologically, the heart still wants what it wants, a good laugh, to behold beauty and fall in love, the oneness in dancing, and the feel of rain-washed air on the face. 

Instinctively, we still obey the call of the wild and in the forest of these ancient desires, art is still the tour guide.

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Dr. Samson Abanni is a Nigerian award winning poet, medical doctor, political strategist, Life coach, social activist and Seeker of truth. His contact: samsonabanni@gmail.com


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