Aminata N. Mbodj: An Essay

Aminata N. Mbodj

Pure humanity extract, an elixir…

Aminata N. MbodjAminata’s resume is an amazing reflection of a young woman on a mission to be the best. Intelligent, courageous, creative, imaginative, and adventurous. When life took a train wreck of a turn, she reconnected with her love for music to center her, gain perspective and find new direction. She reached out to One Roof Publishing because of an article about Ron Maltais, her music teacher when she was at the United World College in Montezuma, N.M., in 2012. In her resume she writes: (I am an)”… individual aching to uncover the ways in which music can be used to affect the human brain processes so to redefine and expand our concepts of education and vocation.” Below is an essay Aminata wrote about creativity, music, expression and personal exploration.

For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out, and everything changes. To someone who does not understand growth, it would look like complete destruction. – Unknown

On an alien baker’s shelf, somewhere in the cosmos, sits a small vial labelled “Pure Humanity Extract.” The kaleidoscopic fluid refashions enjoying the simplest vanilla pastry into catharsis. On Earth, it bears the name  music.

When a child, as my family constantly moved cities, music was company. At 15, in navigating a solitary relocation to the US, she became compass. Next, music was lifeline, when my 2014 summer internship turned into a near death experience; then, therapy, through the subsequent years of depression, social sabbatical, and path pivoting.

Along with music, the stars and the mind have obsessed me; peculiar interests for an African girl with a conservative Muslim background. Yet paired with the fact that I stayed anywhere just long enough to memorise my address, I found a home in cosmos documentaries and philosophical ouvrages. In choosing a field of study, however, I left my path to fall into the familiar territories of cultural expectations. In my sophomore year of college studies, I contracted Typhoid Fever and had one of those epiphanies we all have when it becomes clear that we are made for a completely different purpose than that which we follow. Since my flirt with death, I have lain with insanity, kept depression on my bedside, and blanketed myself in uncertainty.

However, this is the dawn of a new season in my life, one in which music, the stars, and the mind occupy center stage; I have never felt desire so strong to simply be!

I have now come to the understanding that, my life is not about me. For twenty-two years, my environment was but soil for my growth. Adequate to both give a glimpse of me and accommodate development yet lacking enough to make me hunger for more and take charge in sculpting my life. From now on, my worth is no longer measured by how fulfilled I get but the number of humans I take along on the journey.

The past year, I have been fascinated by fields such as neuromusicology and altered states of consciousness. The former is exploring how music influences our brain processes and essentially rewires our neurological make-up while the latter focuses on creating states of mind propice to learning, curiosity, and growth. Essentially, these tools can create the circumstances that took me twenty-two years of “right” to reach, contexts that we have been taught only happen in old age as we fade in regret’s bitter embrace. My objective is to hack the human psyche for fulfillment, well-being, and growth with music. The likelihood of this goal is indisputable yet the sheer contemplation of its future benefits is intoxicating.

Change is said to be the only constant and as we engage in today’s cultural crossroad, we can:

  • Perpetuate systems encouraging “capacity narcosis” while it is evident that we are at a brink of essential shifts in our understanding of the mind, or
  • Tap into the boundless human potential through creating technologies which revisit the societal concepts of education, vocation, and success

Add three teaspoons of Pure Humanity Extract, one pinch of Aminata, and a cup of You to the latter. Stir and watch the magic happen.

Courtesy Photo
Thanks to Aminata for sharing her essay with One Roof Publishing.


2 Comments on “Aminata N. Mbodj: An Essay

  1. Beautiful essay, beautiful concepts, beautiful woman expressing them. So very much that is exciting is coming to be known about brain function and capacity for change, now that the neuro-imaging technology has developed so far. Music appears to produce almost the exact opposite alteration to the deterioration of function now demonstrated as arising from being in a power position. Does that mean a ruler could be kept in check from moving into abuse of power by being required to listen to good music on a daily basis?

    • chelawriter: Thank you kindly for the encouraging words, I appreciate you! These times are indeed brimful of opportunities to use music in reshaping the way we experience the world. If you are interested in knowing more about music’s role in neuroplasticity and/or in neurological rehabilitation of Alzheimer’s patients among other wonderful things, Dr. Michael Thaut’s work will prove much helpful; he is a professor at the University of Toronto and a pioneer in the field. And, who knows, we might even use music to alter the very environment in which such a ruler were to be bred!

%d bloggers like this: