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SILAS O. ABAYOMI

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 11/15/2016 |




SONGSOPTOK: It seems that fear is the most important primal instinct in the animal world. The two main manifestations of fear in the human society is centered around two entities: God(s) and Demons. We somehow learn to fear ghosts and spirits at a very early age and remain marked by that fear later in life. What is your personal experience? When did you start fearing ghosts and for what reasons?

SILAS:  From the time immemorial, humankind had developed fear for known and unknown beings; unfortunately, in most cases, if not in all, these fears arise from what humans had been told about unknown or fairly understood spirit entities. At times, these fears come from the myths, instinct, and learned concepts put forward by human society-through opinion leaders, family heads, and religious leaders. Since, we are a part of society that believes in spirit entities, from oriental, African, to occidental lands, we are bound to believe what society dishes out to us, which in turn, we dish out to those coming after us.


SONGSOPTOK: Very often adults try to control the tantrums of children by threatening them with ghosts and spirits. Do you remember any such incident when you were very young? In your opinion, do such methods have a permanently negative effect on children? In what way?

SILAS: Part of the created fear in our society is to use something unknown to teach lesson; lessons that live with individual as long as he lives. No doubt, I was told of several ghost stories when growing up. Stories that elicited fear in me; stories that taught me some moral lessons, more so, stories that explained certain phenomenal, beyond human understanding. Stories that look very frightening and scary; stories that require total obedience from what society put before you. Stories that limit your question-asking-ability. Stories that keep society’s socio-cultural institutions going, without challenge.


SONGSOPTOK: Not only do we frighten children with ghosts, we often entertain them with ghost stories. When children learn to read, grown-ups often try to incite them to get into the habit of reading by buying ghost stories. What do you think of this practice?

SILAS: Perhaps, I see these stories as part of learning process, and being what they are, somehow phenomenal; people have concluded that stories like these help with critical thinking, strong mental development, more important, help dissecting certain society’s behavior  beyond the physical realm.


SONGSOPTOK: Adolescence is normally the period when we start asking questions about different things. Did you start asking questions about the existence of ghosts? Will you share the details with us?

SILAS: In fact, I asked questions about these stories with little or no satisfactory answers; but remember, we live in a society where children accept without questioning what adults or elders say. It is even worse, when issues at hand revolve around unknown concepts like spirit entities. 


SONGSOPTOK: A lot of people claim to have direct experience of ghosts or other inexplicable phenomena. Do you have any such experience to share with us? Or experiences of people you know?

SILAS: No, I did not; but I have heard of several stories of humans’ encounter with ghosts; however, experience with these spirit entities varies. Some said it happened in their dreams; for some, it was in trance. In other instances, it happened to individuals who wanted to seek knowledge about certain life questions, which daily activities of man such as work, sleep, sex, religion, couldn’t provide answers.  To some others, their claim of contact was and is by means of inheritance. In addition, to another group of people, through their professions, trades, or services rendered; while their encounters with inexplicable phenomena may just be a routine.


SONGSOPTOK: It is true that most of us like reading or watching films about ghosts, spirits or mysterious phenomena. Do you enjoy these things too? Can you think of a specific story or a film that really thrilled you? Do you have any favorite writers of this genre?

SILAS: No, most people do not like it for several reasons; 1) It is could be scary; 2) It might not be a true reflection of reality, rather a false, or a mere conjecture. 3) It could make heart become desensitize to human feelings, thereby, making humans to be unkind, unfeeling, impassible, and uncaring. Even though, I may not like watching films about ghosts and, or allied stories, quite a few times, in the company of friends, one watches.


SONGSOPTOK: Many of us think that science still has to go a long way to explain everything that we experience on earth. Science has enlightened us about a lot of things, but there are certain areas that can be considered as the twilight zone – the breeding place for the uncanny and the preternatural. What are your thoughts about this?

SILAS: Yes, science has explained and made several issues from body anatomy to physical earth and outerspace somehow understood, and in some cases, previously unknown have become understood, completely or absolutely. However, we should not be deceived that everything is science and science is everything. Many a time,  scientists are dumbfounded at certain issues that may defy simple logic and complex scientific explanation. This may call for a belief in supernatural or, perhaps, ghosts are at work; again, we need to be careful. Inasmuch as humans may not fully know everything, because of how certain things operate in our universe; I will rather suggest, humans stay in the middle of unknown or unexplanable concepts. Science must be given a change to explore, just as we look elsewhere, though with proven evidence; if submission and conclusion are not to be taken with a pinch or a grain  of salt.


SONGSOPTOK: We find it difficult to accept that nothing remains after death, which often leads us to imagine the supernatural. We are naturally attracted to what lies beyond the known everyday world. What is your opinion about this? Do you think that everything ends with death? Or is it because since we don’t really know that we oscillate between belief and doubt?

SILAS: I strongly believe that life ends at death. Some people may question this belief, while another group may remain indifferent. Because of human’s limited knowledge, our concepts about matters are somehow opaque; more so, ancient stories without scientific proof plus religion or faith have continued to stretch spirit matters beyond reasonable limit.


SONGSOPTOK: Almost all societies believe that the entities that exists in the realms that are beyond our understanding and our sensory perceptions possess an immense amount of power. But the capacity of humans is limited. So why does humans believe that the souls of the dead are immensely powerful? What, according to you, is the reason for this?

SILAS:Granted, every human society believes in the existence of certain entities in the spirit realm; as previously said, humans have over-dramatized and overstretched this issue; religion and faith have made it worse, held values and society’s belief are another source of trouble.


SONGSOPTOK: As we grow more and more dependent on science and technology, it is possible that our belief in the supernatural will grow weaker with time. In that sense ghosts and other entities are likely to have a very dark future indeed. But wouldn’t that deprive us of a whole range of feelings and emotions? Wouldn’t we become poorer in our sensations? What is your opinion?

SILAS: No doubt, science will continue to change man on his belief, the ways he does things, presents a new outlook, which may require another look; regardless, supernatural and allied matters will still have a place in people’s mind generation after generation for these reasons:
1)     Ageless stories about supernatural will continue to be with humans, even, if these stories are wrongly presented; people will still subscribe to them just as previous generations believed that supernaturals existed,  had unlimited power,  and  influence over the affairs of man.
2)     Media will continue to feature supernaturals in movies-still or motion; creating every day reminder about unseen spirits, mostly for economic reasons of generating profits for media owners and shareholders.
3)     Religion will never desist from telling adherents about supernaturals, because upon spirit beings, all worldly religions derive life. If you take away spirit or supernatural entities from religions, they will be left empty, bare, barren, and deflated. Religions, at least for now, not ready to lose more members.



We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen
(EDITOR)

 Songsoptok

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