Archaeology for mumus

Wilson Orhiunu

First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu

Email: Twitter: @Babawilly

Everyone is born with a silver shovel and a gold plated axe. This is the equipment required for a life time of excavations into the terrain of the mind to unearth artefacts of historical value which have long been forgotten. Introducing the cycle of life; events happen, you bury the event in the sands of time, the memories rot away leaving a skeleton and you construct a kind of tombstone over the cerebral grave and move on. It is normal for people once in a while to return to the grave to lay flowers or spit, depending on the kind of memory but very few go the full nail yards and do a CSI- Brain type exhumation.

Say you lost a job a few years ago just before Christmas and it was an awful experience since you had not bothered to save for a ‘harmattan day’, your brain does you a big favour by burying the pain deep in your cortex without the dignity of a tombstone.  It is now up to you whether or not you erect it. Going to exhume the memory will meet you with a few problems. Most of the facts would have rotted away and all you are left with are bits of skeletons and artefacts. With imagination you can reconstruct a whole new inaccurate scenario as you might forget to factor in your poor performance on the job, your failure to be polite to customers and colleagues and your silly habit of parking in the slot allocated to your director. Bias leads to the wrong re-writing of history and next thing you know, you are transformed into an arsonist out to burn the company headquarters to the ground due to your amateurish venture into archaeology.

Memories fade for good reason.  Pain should be forgotten once lessons are learnt.  There are many who carry pain for years and still have not picked out any lessons.  These are the ones who just keep on digging unpleasant memories from deep within their minds and then show case them in the museum of their faces.  One look and you know that the past is a problem for these curators.  All the museum pieces get in the way of the appreciation of the present and the visualisation of the future.  If anyone attempts to remove any museum piece away, all hell breaks loose for there is no security like the security given to a ‘treasured and mounted’ incident.  You could just hear them introduce the pottery of despair. ‘I call this piece – My useless ex-boyfriend’. It is usually a piece so large it fills half the museum.

There is no one without a nasty past. Why analyse this past daily? Why re-explore the pain, how it made you feel, the tears, the despair and agony?

In the song, ‘Exodus’, Bob Marley sings – we know where we’re going, we know where we’re from.  We’re living in Babylon, we’re going to our fatherland.

Everyone with a nasty past needs to constantly plot an exodus.  Not a transient flight into the skies with the aid of recreational drugs for you always have to land sooner or later and the arrival airport tends to be the one from which you took off.  Nay, a permanent exodus is called for.  A professional archaeologist seeks to learn from history lessons that can enrich the present generation. A personal study of one’s genealogy can be helpful at times in boosting confidence. You might find out that you hail from six generations of successful civil leaders and suddenly find you have a reputation to live up to.

Unfortunately, you might find that you are the offspring of a long line of village thieves and vagabonds.  Hardly information worth sharing, isn’t it?  We are who we are and we know our personal history well.  If one must study the past, why not dig into other people’s histories through books that chronicle the struggles people have had with rising to the top despite all kinds of baggage.

Some mind archaeologists are really forensic investigators.  They look not to understand their histories and adopt changes but rather to fish for someone in the past they can blame for an unhappy past, a miserable present and a totally ‘nothing to look forward to’ future.  Is anybody that powerful to influence a life permanently?  Of course such people exist.  While working in a prison a few years ago I met a few dangerous guys who convinced me that the world has an ample supply of psychopaths in circulation.  However, these are in the minority.  These are people who will scar anyone they come into contact with permanently.  However, we should remember that our skin abounds with scars.  The last thing you need to do each morning is going through all your scars.

For every atrocity under the heavens there is a survivor who has written a book.  These books help co-sufferers to see the light at the end of the dark hellish tunnel.  Those who have lived through wars and oppressive regimes have a really hard time but surprisingly there are many heroic survivors who make it through to the other side and get on with life.

Bad things happen but good things also happen.

It would be nice for people to use their silver shovels and gold platted axes to seek the pleasant things in the past; those priceless moments, birthdays, weddings and academic achievements.  The storyline could be embellished a bit and the joy would fit nicely on the museum of our faces which is then viewed by the public.  That is how our past can make the world a better place.  The good times and the lessons from the bad times are good for all.