When the mind is blind!

Ogunsakin Mustapha
9 Min Read
Prof Hope Eghagha

By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

When the mind is blind! eyes are useless when the mind is blind; so say the prophets and sages of old. How can a mind be blind? Does the mind have eyes to see? See what? To the uninitiated this sounds like a conundrum, an impossible and abstract journey in philosophical musings. Indeed, we are concerned with life choices and the quality of thinking that goes into our daily or life decisions. To be sure, a blind mind cannot lead. No wonder Christ said: if the blind lead the blind, they shall both fall into the ditch.

Within the context of this essay, I do not refer to aphantasia, which is the capacity ‘to see with the eyes but not in the mind’ or ‘being unable to predict behaviour and attribute mental states including beliefs, desires, emotions, or intentions.’ In this context mind blindness refers to lacking the power of seeing beyond the ephemeral things and taking decisions based on greed and selfishness. To be blind in the mind, is to live outside of the good, outside of our common humanity, outside of love, and outside of wisdom.

We discover how a blind mind can obstruct vision as we grow older and begin to appreciate the spirit of things, placing them above the material contraptions of this world, those things which shine like gold and diamond, but which contain temporary and transient things, those things which after we possess them, we simply yearn for more and more because they lack the power of the spirit, the power to keep us happy. A blind mind yields a deviant, unhappy spirit. It shuts out doing good for the sake of good. Banquo tells Macbeth, ‘Now you have it all, Macbeth. You’re king, Lord of Cawdor, and Lord of Glamis. Everything the witches promised, yet I’m afraid you might have engaged in foul play’. This does not stop the murderous man from degenerating further into evil. After getting the kingship!

As we wind up our affairs here on earth, either when we are mortally ill or knocked down by the burdens of old age, we join the prophets to declare I have no pleasure in them! For some, it is too late. The harm which a blind mind has brought upon the world around them haunts them in perpetuity. And beyond! Some end up confessing in delirious frenzy on their death bed, sometimes exaggerating the scope of their ills to get relief. It is for this reason that those who have read the mind of the wise and seen the ways of the foolish, proclaim from the rooftops for us to open the eyes of our minds to see the other side of things.

The blind mind is often a victim of ignorance, of greed, of avarice, of fear, and lust after ephemeral things. And that is why King Odewale in Ola Rotimi’s adapted play The Gods are Not to Blame, gorges out his eyes when he realizes the incestuous relationship between him and his mother-wife. Sophocles had masterfully depicted this in his eponymous play Oedipus Rex when the disgraced king decries his inability see through the veils of humanity when he married his mother in blinding ignorance after committing patricide. How could he face his mother in the netherworld after his ignominious acts? Marry your mother and produce children by her? What blindness! What ignorance? Stop to think my dear reader. Are you currently in unholy matrimony with your mother in a metaphorical sense?

But nobody listens to the wailing prophets. A blind mind sees only the periphery. It sees only shadows and takes the shadows for the real. Fantasy and an exaggerated sense of self-importance are the hallmarks of the blind mind. The mind is a powerhouse. Some men are imprisoned in their minds through negative thoughts and fear. They see the small picture even as chief executives of a billion-dollar company, a community, a local government, a state, or a country. They do not rise beyond the glamour of the surface. They are harassed and hurried by time to grab it all, by the racing hour, and remain bogged down by puerile thinking.

There is the big picture. There is also the small picture. Moses in the Bible saw the big picture and rejected a false prince hood to become the real hero. He stood against Pharaoh because he in the picture about the big picture. In Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara and Blaise Campaore saw the big picture and decided to effect a change. Later, Campaore killed Sankara and settled for the small picture. So, do you have a mind that is locked against the beauty of humanity? Spinning around your enclave and excluding persons who are not from your comfort zone from career progress? Are you a parent whose mind is locked? Are you a pastor/imam with a locked mind? Are you blinded by bigotry?

When the mind is blind, we place ourselves first and above all others especially when we are given power, or when we acquire power. A blind mind in political power only sees what will benefit him, not the clan, the community, the state, or the country. Of such men we must beware. They pose a danger to the survival of the state, of the human species. It is the blindness of the mind that makes a state official plunder resources meant for road construction and convert same for personal use. Later, months or years outside office, he dies in an accident on that road which he failed to repair.

A blind mind surfeits itself with the abundance of material wealth believing in his foolishness that ill-gotten wealth brings happiness. A blind mind worships opulence and arrogates power to issues beyond the real. A blind mind at the helm of affairs leads to the followership to death. ‘And the leaders of this people cause them to err, and they that are ked of them are destroyed’, so says Prophet Isaiah. A blind mind exaggerates things. It is arrogant. It is not satisfied with taking a whiff. It buries its face and body in the heap of filthy things to savor the beauty of abundant rottenness.

Open your mind therefore that you may see the beauty in character and the virtues of loyalty, of truth, of pursuing the common good. For the mind to see, it must be liberated from the shackles of greed, dishonesty, exploitative tendencies, and lust for the ephemeral things of life. A blind mind could not have developed Singapore of Dubai! A blind mind in power travels to Dubai to enjoy the beauty of what an open mind has done. But he never thinks of replicating Dubai in his home country!

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