Tuesday, August 29, 2006


The Epistle of Potash to the Adept

If a lion could talk we could not understand him- Wittgenstein

Potash is a lion; the lion of (no translation available)

Read not my words all ye that are of uncircumcised minds. Stiff- necked fools, who think that only their God can be blasphemed. You know what is Blasphemy? Blasphemy is calling me a pagan… heathen!

Cogito Ergo Sum- Rene Descartes

Yaxakaty(?) My thoughts these then that I send to you. You know it is I for we are one. I am in receipt of your summons. To Nairobi I must return, anon. My presence then anticipate; in time for the Third Caucus. Until then this here my herald, a mere messenger that you should not whip- just cut off his head! He is to me worth nothing but to you he is as hot milk. Vox clamantis in deserto is what he claims to be; preparing the way. Preparing the way for me- I. I AM. I think I am. I think therefore I am!

In the Beginning was the Word- John Bar Zebedee

Words. They are signposts to thoughts. Words. My words, are what I send you. I speak to minds saying it like Jesus of Nazareth: EPHPHATHA! Too many runes to scribble and not enough Rizla to roll this like the scrolls of the Ancients. So what happens when you find them; when you find these words that are, each filled with mystic value?

Burn them I say. Let the pillar of smoke be your guide. Where there is smoke there is fire; if the smoke is with you, so will be the fire- The Burning Bush. These words will be passed from one mouth to the next as our lore has always been. Words passed on today as they were passed on in the beginning… In the beginning these words WERE!

God is dead- Nietzsche

I see a return to a city in a shambles. A city we love but one that will not love us back. I will return to murky squalor beyond Mabu (English equivalent= Dickensian) parallels. Our Nairobi where hope is like a foetus- for others it grows but for us it is aborted. Aborted and cast adrift on the Stygian effluent they call Nairobi River.

Our hope, just like us, is too impecunious to afford the boat ride to Hades. So it (we) stays suspended in emptiness- drifting to nowhere. We are the living dead. Miserable souls caught up in the Purgatory of dreams. We knoweth not where we are coming from … Ati Intelligent Design, na nini… na nini; Intelligent Design my patapakata! (This word means a prosthetic limb that you have been waiting for for three years:”…Jaribu next week! Angalia room 4B! ...aiih, hiyo file sijui… ati umesema jina yako ni nani?” Et cetera.)

It is the return to a city where faith cannot move the mountains of garbage. And yet faith is what we live by; faith in our ability to live and die another day. Any other faith has no value. For where is God when we need him, flying fighter jets in the Middle East? (And the Cedars of Lebanon wither before him, for he is a vengeful God.) That is his shauri, anyway, as for us… us we have done buried him: Ashes to ashes and dust to dust- or whatever his most elemental state is, was or plans to be! All we have left is a word without meaning.
God is a swear word: God, pass me the Buddha!


The Triumphal Entry- (Rear or otherwise?)

“Ye have heard how I said unto you; I go away and come again unto you.” (Jn 14:28)

We remain the de trop- urban detritus.

I and my people are one.


Kaunda said...

Planet of Slums

"Our hope, just like us, is too impecunious to afford the boat ride to Hades. So it (we) stays suspended in emptiness- drifting to nowhere. We are the living dead. Miserable souls caught up in the Purgatory of dreams."

Mike Davis somewhere has referred to cities as "arks" for survival. "Dickensian" isn't quite equivalent to our current dilemma because communications technologies connect our dreams. You're right it's a nightmare, but dreams are predictive as a measure because we belive them to be true. And in that sense the destination of the boats we construct need not be to hell but to our salvation.

Hugo Denis said...

Interesting blog you have here.

Anonymous said...

It's 'I exist therefore I am'. The process of cognition is not just about reasoning. Descartes back in those days did not have the luxury of cognitive neuroscience textbooks. What are you complaining about? You sound like a typical Marxist, always refuting in those terms. Back in those days those guys were slaves for like 200 years before God came to their rescue. It's all about the timing. Why don't you try being patient then be so quick to condemn you of little faith.

Me on the other hand, have faith Nairobi will soon be a vibrant, modern yet humble, tech city without the reliance on materialistic desires we the west have grown so use to. Nairobi is fresh, untainted, it WILL be the model city of tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

On another note. Lions don't talk. Language is a fundamental attribute that seperates us from mammals. No you are not a lion, you are an individual on cyber airing his views. Blasphemy is in the tongue of the beholderaaaa.

Sir, it sounds like you need a woman's body to raaaaa in the bedroom with. *mew mew*

POTASH said...

Okay frankly I had no intention of responding to comments on this post. It was a letter to the Adept, everyone can only read me whichever way they want and the audience in this case cannot be any less than a vexation of the spirit.

Yes, Kaunda, always good to have you. Like I say, it is all in the language, I do not think in English but the tragedy of our situation is that we have to express ourselves in it. So in this case Dickensian is more of a working defination rather than a translation.

About dreams they are only worthwhile in actuality. When the enabling environment for their realisation is non existent, there are nothing more than nightmares. That because nightmares aren't just the things that go bang in the night but also those parched throats of King Tantalus in hades while all about him is the verdant garden and the stream that is merely tantalising. Nightmares is seeing what is possible and not being able to reach it.

@Anonymous: You obviously feel obligated to comment even when you have absolutely no perspective or descent opinion on the subject matter. Hey do you even understand yourself leave alone understanding me- which you obviously do not?

In the first instance if you know a thing about the 'first certainity' you would know that the Cartesian argument as originally formulated was 'je pense, donc je suis.'So which Descartes are you talking about if you cannot even quote him right.

Unfortunately,for me unlike you, I have no luxurious facade of annonymity to hide behind and shout my innanities and display ignorance from. I talk about the thinks I know.

How can you even term me Marxist? In what sense does that term apply to this post. Marxism is not about refuting anything more than other ideologies are, so what exactly is your point. And you keep regressing to the jewish question, it is of no consequence to me, and that has been stated before. What I do is use imagery from the Hellenist-judaeo- christian tradition that has been imposed on me and that renders my traditions heathen. That isn't anything you would understand.
And that is the greatest advantage I have over you. I am better versed in western philosophy than you are. And then I am a good Africanist. So I can talk to you, but you can only shout back. You cannot speak my language, so how can you judge anything i say.

When you talk of Nairobi, what do you know about it? Nairobi is not trees and building it is the people. And you do not know them. I do they are my peopl, how can you argue with me about what our realities are if you have never seen them?

Oh, and I cannot even start giving you the basics on the Philosophy of language. Go find Wittgenstein for dummies because his Tractatus Logical Philosophicus is beyond you...
In the meantime, I am a self made intellectual. I cut it the hard way, whatever advantages you think I had, you can indulge them in your perversions

Anonymous said...

No I don't feel obligated to comment, I comment because I enjoy doing so. I don't do fads. I translated 'cogito ergo sum' which is latin for 'I exist, therefore I am.' Of course there could be 14 different ways to translate this but this one appears to be the most plausible when considering it in TODAY'S context. But just to let you know I did study Decart briefly in my philosophy major and no I didn't find his works damning, it's why they teach it in the introductory units in philosophy. Just to let you also know I did find my linguistics unit interesting and I do speak several languages but no I haven't studied the 'philosophy of language' if there is such a thing.

I'm not much of a blogger I just enjoy reading them when I'm procrastinating. I profiled you as a marxist based on how you refute, it's actually not that difficult to label a marxist in the academic literature, they stick out like a sore thumb in the way they structure their arguments... refute, refute, refute, questionable refute, refute, refute, sort of like what you are doing now in response to my opinion. They rarely offer solutions that make sense, when they're not surgically refuting other models, they resort to quite abstract, conceptual and prophetic solutions which can be hard to elucidate and make sense of.

I'm sure you are a great Africanist and that is why I read your blog and not John Ochieng's blog. If you found me judgmental I apologise, I thought you may take it more as just an opinion. Sawa mzee, I will not come back to your blog but I will just say Nairobi is a name for a city occupying a certain territory and it doesn't matter if these Nairobians reside in Montreal, Texas, Brussels, Moscow whatever, we are all people, citizens of this world.

POTASH said...

The only thing that annoys me is having to debate with an amorphous entity.

As you say you have profiled me from the structure of my arguments, all it says is that there is a consistency of thought. I am here as you say '...you are an individual on cyber airing his views' but the thing is I am not anonymous, I am owning my thought. I am bold enough to sign it. Why can't you?

How the hell do I know where you are coming from, that you are even one person. If you have to engage me, on my views, I have to be able to understand what your view was yesterday and compare it with today.

If it is impossible to consistently consistently sign your comments then I would appreciate if you refrained from airing them.

What exactly do you represent?

Sammie said...

I blog, therefore i am!

Opinions, however mundane, are the products of thought.

What anon here is trying to do is to analyse you which in MY opinion is not the real reason why s/he reads.

Sometimes its the words, cobbled together in seeming disarray, that make music.

Maik Kwambo said...

tis a great blog you got here...feel free to check out mine..kenyanexpressions.blogspot.com ...its about poems covering kenyan ligfe

Njoki said...

excellent. Food for thought. I'ts a good thing I'm not watching my weight. As usuall I will gorge. And then Some. and come back for seconds. And then some.

Njoki said...

Excellent. Food for thought. It's a good thing I'm watching not watching my weight. I will gorge. And then some. Seconds? And then some.