by Monde Mdodana
“One of the most remarkable figures in Xhosa history is warrior prophet named Nxele, known in the colony as Makana or Links, the left-handed.”
1. Nxele’s Prologue
And now that we have made all the preparations, I must take pains to write this letter. I hope that it will be timeless, and that every Son of Man will read it. But I am addressing it specifically to you; the Existing Individual. I can not hope to address it to everyone, for then I address it to no one. I can not hope to inspire Spirit in the crowd, for Spirit manifests not but through the Existing Individual Soul. Concepts such as “crowd”, “humanity” and “mankind” are but abstractions representing a group of Existing Individuals. What actually exist, in the concrete, are the Individuals, not the concepts. The first clue to the Spirit is the Spiritual Individual. The first clue to the Creator is the Created Individual. The first clue to Existence is the Existing Individual. No, I can not hope to inspire the crowd with Spirit. But you, the Existing Individual, I have Faith in you.
2. The Seven Solitudes or The Ten Year Exile
From the moment we set foot on the island, I began attracting thoughts about making a getaway as soon as an opportunity presented itself. I gave myself up to the Christians because I knew it was me that they wanted the most. The scourge that they brought to the village was a challenge to me personally to come out of hiding. They know that I am the heart of the assault, that it is I who inspired the warriors to raise the War Cry and stab the enemy in order to protect the land. I knew that they would not cease to harass and torture the villagers as long as I remained in hiding.
I gave myself up so here I am; bound at Robben Island. They could have kept me in a prison in Xhosaland, but they chose to bring me out to this island. I imagine that a plant that has been uprooted and left in the sun to dry feels like I feel right now; banned from the nutritious soil, exiled, condemned to the Seven Solitudes! They obviously hope to hammer it in that I will never see my homeland again, to press it into my psyche until it sinks in that I will be isolated forever! The island is a symbol of Isolation, their message is clear to me.
But I am no stranger to isolation. In fact, isolation is my most faithful Spirit. I like to call him Solitude and play with his ears. I have been with Solitude ever since I was a little boy. He and I have an irresistible, mysterious, unspoken connection. He has been following me everywhere I go for as long as I can remember. But I also follow him sometimes. To the bushveld, to the rivers; to the mountains! I let Solitude lead every now and again because he knows where Mystery dwells.
She is an irresistible creature, this Mystery. Our best minds and Huntsmen in The World of Spirit have broken down or gone insane, all in despair of her elusive nature. But what is really irresistible about Mystery? Is she irresistible in herself, or is it an irresistible urge in us to search, to explore, to climb the mountains of Consciousness that we may know their abysses as well as their summits? I think it’s the latter; we, Huntsmen in The World of Spirit, are the begetters of the irresistible quality in Mystery. Mystery Exists, but not every man finds her irresistible. It is us, Huntsmen in The World of Spirit!
You may be wondering; what is a Huntsman in The World of Spirit? A Huntsman in The World of Spirit is a -Man of Solitude. Every man has his Solitude, but not every man acknowledges him in his entirety. A Huntsman in The World of Spirit must accept his Solitude, because it is from, in, and through Solitude that he will learn to go beyond the senses in his hunt for the heart of Mystery. And we must not forget our formula: The first clue to the Spirit is the Spiritual Individual. The first clue to the Creator is the Created Individual. The first clue to Existence is the Existing Individual. But what is the first clue to Mystery? The first clue to Mystery is the Self. His Individual Soul or him-Self is everyman’s first true Mystery. A Huntsman in The World of Spirit must learn this. He must learn that the crowd can not help him in his search for Mystery or Spirit or the Creator. That is, he must learn to accept his Solitude!
A Huntsman in The World of Spirit should strive to be like the Firefly, which finds its way through darkness not but by the aid of its own light.
3. The Circumcision of Nxele
During the period of my circumcision, I retreated to Inwardness so deep and frightening that it made permanent mark on my nerves and changed my life forever. I listened to the teachings of the school of circumcision, I thought -I despaired. I accepted the teachings with an open heart so far as they recognized and acknowledged everyman’s aloneness. Much of man’s Inward experiences are inexpressible. Language as a symbol for interpersonal communication is not fully capable representing the Individual Soul or the Self to itself and to others. To think about oneself therefore, is only to know a fraction of oneself. For, thinking is the use of language in the organization of mental contents. Our thoughts are predominantly constructed from language. The insights that come to us from beyond the use of language are not thoughts, they are Intuitions.
None of the teachers at the school were aware of this inadequacy. Each of them thought about him-Self, they spoke to each other about themselves and none of them felt that he was under-representing him-Self. I despaired over this, and oftentimes I went aside and wandered the abysses and summits of the mountains.
For me, the circumcision involved the recognition that Umdalidphu (The Creator of the Deep) does not see crowds; he only sees the Individual. I had to get circumcised as an Individual; no one could get circumcised on my behalf.
The circumcision means the sacrifice of the foreskin and the emergence of everyman’s Uniqueness. After the sacrifice of the foreskin, a new and original Individuality will emerge. It will not be like anyone else, but will have its own difference, its own special entity, its own character and its own special power. Umdalidiphu does not create all plants of exactly the same size, beauty and strength. There are stupid people, wise people and those whose heads have opened to the power to read thoughts and see that which is invisible to most people. The sacrifice reveals this new person hidden in the boy.
I wandered from school to school, from village to village, looking for a teacher who could teach me more Self and more Self-Expression. My Intuition told me to look for a teacher who can dance; “the teacher who can dance experiences more of him-Self than the thinker or the lukewarm speaker. Consequently, he will teach you the remotest and most hidden parts of your-Self”. I followed my Intuition and went from teacher to teacher, greeting them with offerings of tobacco and wine, bidding them to teach me to dance before Umdalidiphu. That is, to teach me complete Self-Expression.
I discovered that they weighed the value of your Manhood according to the amount of Self you sacrifice and how socially acceptable you are. I am not against being socially acceptable, I just think that we should give more respect to the Man who has the courage to be alone, to be him-Self. A Man should not sacrifice himself for outward moralities, he should express him-Self to the fullest, because outward moralities are born from his Self-Expression.
4. The Sea, Death and Eternal Recurrence
But I will not consent to spending the rest of my days in captivity on an island. We have made all the preparations, tomorrow, we are going to the sea. If it is the will of Umdalidiphu and the Spirits of Our Ancestors, we will kill a guard or two, steal (in fact take) a small boat and sail homeward. If it is the will of the Spirits of our Ancestors, we will overcome the dangers of the sea, reach our homeland and sharpen our spears anew.
But the Sea has a will of her own; we might not live this Destiny, we might not live at all to reach the homeland. Should we then despair? My Intuition tells me that death is not the end. Death is the end of that which is matter in me, or death is the end my body. But I am not only body; I am body and Spirit. When I die, my body will decompose and fertilize the soil. My Spirit will also be a fertilizer of some sort when I die. But it will not fertilize the soil; it will fertilize the Souls of like-minded Individuals and all those who are of my Blood.
The Spirit of the Huntsman in The World of Spirit or the Outsider has Existed since the Moment of Creation. It was and still remains the fountain from which we Outsiders of yesterday and today drew and still draw our guidance, wisdom and inspiration. And this Spirit will Exist for all eternity, because the Cosmos is Spirit Without End.
But what is Spirit Without End? Spirit Without End is never-ending Creation of Self through the following mechanism (in fact Spiritism):
Certain psychological types (such as the Huntsman in The World of Spirit) recur because certain Individuals make a particular pattern of Choices. Sometimes they make these Choices consciously, sometimes they make them unconsciously. But nonetheless, it is them who make these Choices, the Choices do not make themselves and they do not magically appear. This is what I mean when I talk about Never-Ending Creation of Self and the Moment of Creation
5. Existential Becoming
The Moment of Creation is every moment or the Moment of Creation is Existential Becoming. That is, if an Individual makes a Choice to be x instead of y at Moment A, then he has to make that Choice again at Moment B in order to remain x. He has to Become x, because x is not his essence; his essence is to Choose. That is, if he wants to be x, then he has to Create x out of him-self, every Moment of his life! And so it comes about that every man Becomes the sum of the Choices that he makes. But, as long as long as he is still alive, we can not underline the problem. So because, as long as he still lives, he still has the power to make additions or subtractions to the sum which is him-Self.
Existential becoming is a terrible concept. If you are strong, honest and brave enough to understand it, then it cannot but condemn you to Fear and Trembling. When one grasps this concept, intellectually and Spiritually, then one becomes a battleground for the conflict between the dynamic nature of Existence and the static nature of philosophical, moral and religious systems that claim to explain and demystify Existence. Philosophical, moral and religious systems are fixed symbols that attempt to represent Existence, but Existence is spontaneous, dynamic Energy or Spirit, infinitely Mysterious!
6. Existential Anxiety
These thoughts and these Intuitions have condemned me to Fear and Trembling or Existential Anxiety. But what is Existential Anxiety? It is trembling before the fact of my Existence, after I have learned of the inadequate and incomplete nature of man’s conception of Existence, trembling because I have overcome the tyranny and guidance of these systems. I have become free and without an objective value system. The only meaning that will henceforth guide my conduct is the subjective meaning that I create for myself. That is, the root of my Fear and Trembling is the realization that I have to be a Creator!