The Lord of War is a movie features Nicolas Cage and Ethan Hawk. Nicolas Cage played a very complicated character. A family man who worked to be a good son, brother, husband, and father. Unfulfilled with his life working the family restaurant, Mr. Cage’s character started his own weapons trading business. I won’t divulge anything else about the movie, except to say Mr. Cage was very good at his business. And in the end, after all was said and done, his business was the only thing that mattered to him.
I watched the movie and emotions flowed through my Ori. I pitied the protagonist because I felt he was so focused on business at the detriment of everything else. I was angry because he was so able to disassociate himself from the bloodshed his business enabled throughout the world. There were depictions of conflicts in Africa with amputated children suffering from the effects of war and I sat and watched, astounded at the business man’s blindness. Over the course of the movie’s events I was amazed at the man’s weakness. I wondered how this kind of shit can happen. Then all of a sudden, out of the blue it hit me; I may not have liked it, but the man was truly on his path.
Notable movies have an effect on me long after they’ve ended. I will continue to ponder the questions and answers laid out before the audience while others simply go on with their lives. As I ponder, I’ll ask myself, “What are the Orisa trying to say to us?” This was our answer.
More often than not we stray off of the path that was laid out for us long before we were born. There was a time when I thought the number of people was a tiny, infinitesimal fraction of the whole. But I have been corrected. While still a fraction of the number of people off path, with respect to the divine plan, things aren’t nearly as bleak as I had once feared. Where did my calculation go wrong?
It’s all in the way one interprets being on/off path. My missed conception was that people on path were good people totally committed to the development of the community and people off path were bad for the community. My behavior model, developed as a culmination of experiences and understandings of the human interpretation of the battle of good versus evil, was just too simple.
What constitutes good and what constitutes evil is a matter of perspective. Back in the days of American slavery most blacks look at what happened to our ancestors as the most hideous evil ever to stain the face of the earth while some white people would look at the same experience with longing. Many Americans will look at the nuclear bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as just an unfortunate necessity of war while many Japanese see it as a horrendous evil that many Japanese descendants still suffer from to this day. How many times has it been said, “One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist”? Good and evil are just a matter of perspectives.
From a narrow perspective, the Lord of War has no redeeming qualities. Yet broaden the point of view just enough to see the angle from his clients at we see a man who satisfies a need for weaponry. Most people may not agree with that need, but to his customers it is a need nevertheless.
Now broaden the perspective even more and add the element of time to our equation. Over time, the number of us who are disgusted by the war that is enabled by people like this grows until our influence causes changes to the global community and makes it more difficult, if not impossible, for men and women like this to operate. The global community actually benefits in the long run.
Now broaden the perspective even further. Let’s imagine a look at the equation from the point of view of an Orisa and anything’s possible. From the viewpoint of Orisa even the notorious devil of the Christians may be considered on path. In the Christian faith, the devil is the alternative to God and is necessary in order to give people their freedom of will. In the grand scheme of things, everything has a purpose.
A lot of people hate snakes. If given a choice, most people wouldn’t mind eradicating the world of this particular reptile. Yet, believe it or not, it has a purpose. As part of the food chain, snakes help keep rodent populations from getting out of balance. They also provide food for the predators that feed on them. Why do we hate them so? From our perspective they appear slimy, they got a bad rap from the book of Genesis out of the Bible, they slither instead of walk, whatever. But the truth is they help perform a very important role in the balance of nature.
It may be true that if snakes were removed off the face of the planet other animals would move in to the void left behind. But the balance would be disturbed and a ripple would flow through nature until balance could be restored. That’s the long term perspective. In the near term, rodents would run rampant in certain areas. Rampant rodents would lead to an increase in certain diseases, many possibly fatal to humans. All things considered it should be easy to see that the snake is important to our very existence. It fulfills its role. The snake is on path. Yet many people would happily wipe its existence away. Good thing we don’t run the divine plan.
In the bigger picture the Lord of War fulfills a role very few people can and he does it very well. The global conflicts he facilitates would happen regardless of the part he plays. In the absence of missiles and guns determined people will use knives, rocks, bottles, beer cans, and anything else we can get our hands on to annihilate each other. I remember a scene from the Godfather III where a man was killed by an assassin with his own eye glasses. That’s some determination.
That’s not to say that behavior detrimental to the overall welfare of the community should be tolerated. Quite the contrary, every step should be taken to eliminate the harmful influences. In fact, the divine plan requires it. Every ying has its yang. Every zig has its zag. For every Lord of War there should be a counterpart, a Lord of Peace maybe. For every Joker there should be a Batman. For every Agent Smith there should be a Neo. Heroism, rising above and beyond the call of duty, is absolutely part of the plan. Who knows? Maybe the divine plan was for someone, or some group, to develop the courage to standup against the rogue.
I hope no one expected me to give some kind of formula or criteria list for determining if one is off path or not. How in the world would I know? The divine plan is way over my head. As the Christians like to say, “God works in mysterious ways!” The human experience doesn’t even come close to preparing you, me, Albert Einstein or anyone of us for understanding the Orisas or Olodumare. Besides, that’s Orunmila’s job and from what I understand he’s not afraid of being replaced any time soon. Now that’s some serious job security. My best advice is to get a reading, get them often, and take them to heart.