Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Staged Discoveries

SHARE THIS

There is only one God, and it is the god called Secret, who lies in wait at every corner of time and world, pointing us to the next corner where the truth of our existence lies buried in silence. Sometimes, this God speaks from within the deep gloom of our inner world, administering the mining process through which we seek the truth of our reason and unreason. Other times, it simply transforms us into confessing automatons.

It’s really all monkey business when we go about the world with creases of expectations on our faces, looking for things that we placed in hiding ourselves. Frantically gutting our bodies. Pulling out entrails, dissecting heart tissues, examining bones, inspecting fluids, and, the most excruciating of all, waiting for them to speak to us, to tell us the truth we already know because we whispered it to them in the first place. If we chose to take Foucault seriously, then the body is the greatest casualty of our endless craving for staged discoveries, for it is the one thing that we have succeeded in making silent just so that when we get it to speak, we can pretend to hear the cackle of a liberated voice.

We are at a point where we have long since forgotten whether the things we discover and confess in our search for whatever we are searching for are genuinely there waiting for us or whether they were planted there just so we could find them. Daily rituals of life in which we mask things so that we can unmask them. Silence things so that we can make them speak. Bury things in the earth so that it can inexhaustibly give us the pleasures of finding treasures. Evade the truth, so that we can turn around, re-encounter it and act surprised like we did not know it was there all along.

How can we escape this entangling web of the world, self, and secret? The point is that we can’t. But if somehow we can see that the secret is not in the secret itself, waiting there, stolid as a virgin, destined to be found and taken, we can come to terms with the knowledge that in this gnomish obsession for finding things, the quest, the seeker, and the discovery all create each other as they go.

Photo Credit: Brian Talbolt

Website: brian-talbot.com

Tags: , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Down River Road, a New Print & Online Magazine Exploring the Alternative in Literature, Music, & Visual Art, Calls for Submissions to Second Issue

down river road journal

A new Nairobi-based print and online magazine, down river road, is exploring the margins, the shifting centers, and the new […]

Dr Stella Nyanzi Wins Appeal at Ugandan Court, Regains Freedom, But Is Possibly Re-arrested

stella nyanzi - graph - kampala dispatch

Dr Stella Nyanzi is free. The academic, feminist and queer rights advocate has been in prison for criticising Uganda’s long-serving […]

Apply for This Fully-funded Creative Writing Scholarship at the University of East Anglia, Sponsored by the Miles Morland Foundation

UEA - Literature@UEA Twitter

The Miles Morland Foundation African Writers’ Scholarship is currently accepting accepting applications for its 2020 program. It is an initiative […]

Chinelo Okparanta Recalls Her First Teenage Crush

chinelo okparanta - bucknell university

“I was 16 years old, nearly 17, when a boy first expressed interest in me. Or, maybe it was that […]

Namwali Serpell, Maaza Mengiste & Marlon James Are Finalists for Los Angeles Times Book Prizes

Namwali Serpell

Finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes have been announced. The Ethiopian novelist Maaza Mengiste is nominated in the […]

Romeo Oriogun Shares Heartfelt, Powerful Personal Story as Anticipation Peaks for His Debut Poetry Collection, Sacrament of Bodies

Romeo Oriogun - main

Romeo Oriogun’s debut poetry collection Sacrament of Bodies is still some 12 days away from its March 1 publication date […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.