I was strolling in the gardens of an insane asylum when I met a young man who was reading a philosophy book. His behavior and his evident good health made him stand out from the other inmates.
I sat down beside him and asked:
What are you doing here?
He looked at me, surprised. But seeing that I was not one of the doctors, he replied:
It’s very simple. My father, a brilliant lawyer, wanted me to be like him.
My uncle, who owns a large emporium, hoped I would follow his example.
My mother wanted me to be the image of her beloved father.
My sister always set her husband before me as an example of the successful man.
My brother tried to train me up to be a fine athlete like himself.
And the same thing happened at school, with the piano teacher and the English teacher — they were all convinced and determined that they were the best possible example to follow.
None of them looked at me as one should look at a man, but as if they were looking in a mirror.
So I decided to enter this asylum. At least here I can be myself.
– Khalil Gibran
Yoruba Peoples Sculpture, Nigeria
Elaborately carved bowls such as this one were receptacles for the sixteen
palm nuts and other equipment used during the ifá divination oracle.
"Ife ( pronounced ee-feh) is today regarded as the spiritual heartland of the Yoruba people living in Nigeria, the Republic of Benin and their many descendants around the world. It is rightly regarded as the birthplace of some of the highest achievements of African art and culture, combining technical accomplishment with strong aesthetic appeal. From the 12th to the 15th centuries, Ife flourished as a powerful, cosmopolitan and wealthy city-state in West Africa, in what is now modern Nigeria. It was an influential centre of trade connected to extensive local and long-distance trade networks which enabled the region to prosper."