I have been in New York for two days. Just before arriving here, I got back from a seven weeks road trip from Nigeria to Gabon. I was still fresh from the journey, barely 24 hours in between my return and take off to New York. I am in this buzzing city now; everyday waking up to the liveliness of a city that never sleeps. Sometimes I wonder, who are these people? Everyone to his or her own, paths and streets are packed with people, using the same space, living the same moment, yet one could be millions of worlds apart from the other. Running to something, shopping for something, buying pleasure. Nothing is for free – even giving is not a given.
Someone said to me, “I think we have run through ourselves”, meaning I guess, “I think we have ran out of ideas”. Ran out of ideas. But that’s not the worse part. We have ran out of reasons for which we are running. Evolution is cool, innovation encouraged, but when at the detriment of human relationships, when everyday we get lonelier, yes we get used to loneliness. When everyday we get more afraid, we get used to fear. And as we pursue happiness with our heels touching the back of our heads, happiness is just one step ahead.
Who are these people? What do they want? Do they want something, or are they fueling the hell they set-up for themselves? Well all this can be justified by the fact that humans should always be in constant activity. Yes, constant activity. But activity or de-activity? I think they are the same but of alternate end. Are we in activity or de-activity? Yes, we are here to undo ourselves. But the final result ought to be happiness, and if you are sad, miserable, depressed, afraid, anxious, bitter, jealous, greedy, gluttonous, war-mongering, malicious while you are at it then something is just not right. There must be something to show for all of these toiling – something much more than the self-exertion to keep up with appearances, something more than a 15 minutes of fame, something sublime and noble, the prize after the race. Something worth running for, something we should be running to. So you see, the running is not the problem. It is not the worse of it all.
And everyday, my tongue loses a taste bud. My nerves become more taut, tending towards lifelessness – death by the dose. I know I should be glad, some say I am privileged, last night someone called me lucky. Yes, I am all of that and more, but I am not luckier than those who are not writing from the 16th floor of a plush apartment in Manhattan. I don’t feel that kind of luck. I guess I am lucky to be here and with all I see, and all I feel, and with all the sheer helplessness against mass inclinations, I still have a part of me that could ask this question: Where are we running to? And who is on our heels? To be alive is to ask questions. Yes, we are question-generating entities, an embodiment of questions of which the answers fulfills the purpose of our existence. Is it not by this that we evolve, dissolve and the world revolves? In this journey, those who ask questions will never lose their way. And if they do, it is to find it.
These are my reflections on the morning of the October 15th 2012, while in New York.