What is culture?

Wordweb dictionary defines culture as the “attitudes and behaviours that are characteristic of a particular social group.” I think this is a very straightforward definition but are the said attitudes and behaviours acquired or genetic? Also, is culture based on reason? Is it dictated by nature, since every culture evolved differently depending on the geographic location of a people? Is “deity” also a product of culture?

Since abnormal behaviour is behaviour that does not conform to the culture of one’s society, we would be correct to label one as “normal” if one woke up tomorrow morning and saw every neighbour walking backwards, and also immediately starts walking backward. That’s probably the new “normal.”

So in a society what is right is what is done by the majority not necessarily what is “good,” reasonable or sound. I think the advancement of a culture directly reflects how accommodating its actors are of reason. Now my last question to the reader: Do humans have a definite, eternal or unchanging nature? If so, what is this nature? I want to be enlightened.

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Perfect Face

Reminds me of figure drawing class.

Where we are taught to draw the face

With an oval line – making an egg shape.

The pointed part becomes the chin.

Later we add the ears, eyes, lips, hair etc.

She has that perfect egg shaped face.

More perfect than Tyra Banks.

She should be easy to draw.

Observations in Social Anthropology 

Maybe I’m wrong but I think it is inappropriate for a woman to raise a boy or a man to raise a girl. Only a man can raise a boy to become a man (socio-culturally) and vice versa. Of course the consequences of dysfunctional parenting are not always life threatening but they do, to a greater or lesser extent, affect the evolution of the child’s emotions and consciousness. 

A boy who lives with his mother throughout his childhood and growing up may, depending on numerous other factors, have trouble behaving in a way that’s typical of men. In short he may acquire too much femininity. The inverse applies to a girl but this situation is not always the case. The interesting thing about human societies is that relationships are more fluid. Humans are extremely social and social ties can be formed under almost any circumstances. There are aunties, nieces, friends, neighbours, teachers etc. who also shape a person’s behaviour should he or she lose one or both parents.  

I suspect that people who are anatomically or biologically one gender but identify with the opposite or people who have gender ambiguity may have suffered some parental dysfunction at an early stage in their lives. Unless biologically and anatomically they are ambiguous. A functioning society is a like mirror, it helps humanize us. One will never know who one is until one shows themselves to the “mirror.” Happy Weekend.

Nkrumah’s Vision for Africa

I promised to make some of Kwame Nkrumah’s ebooks available to some of you. The links are at the end of this post. When Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966 many of his books were burnt so most Africans haven’t likely read him. His name appears in the Internet Encyclopeadia of Philosophy as a panAfrican thinker who was first to define “neo-colonialism”. In “Consciencism” Nkrumah traces the history of philosophy from Thales through to Aristotle and makes a brilliant defence of where African philosophy fits. Below are some of Nkrumah’s books. I have also added other books which I think will help readers understand the African existential problem better. “Lumumba’s Last Days” chronicles a series of events that led to the arrest and execution of Congo’s first prime minister. This happened in the full glare of United Nations which did nothing to save Lumumba. 

In “The Dual Mandate” and “The East Africa Protectorate”, the European authors present Africa as a big zoo, where humans mingle indistinguishably with wild animals and their job as colonialists was to bring “civilization” to these “savages.” The question arises: “What is the purpose of the life of the African if everything he does today is to serve neocolonial interests?” Our history, culture, language, identity, art, philosophy etc has been wiped out. We only need to thank nature – the African hot and humid climate, mosquitoes and typhoid for driving away the colonialists. They would have taken over everything we owned.

I’m aware this blog has a most enlightened following so if interested, download and read the ebooks yourself. Things have not changed much in Africa today. My conclusion is that Black Africa, as a whole has no economic future if this system of affair continues and if there is no continental unity. But of course your conclusion might be different from mine after reading, in which case you may share your conclusions. Happy weekend!

1. “The Dual Mandate” by F.D. Lugard: https://app.box.com/s/7othpl63h3u43pmtw9cqv86x56f7qa33

2. “Consciencism” by Kwame Nkrumah: https://app.box.com/s/63jd38r6ov6uyz6322knz2bk6r1ddsez

3. “Africa Must Unite” by Kwame Nkrumah: https://app.box.com/s/heuvmvtbqf8t20z1sv1r4hc5zf62cg6s

4. “Axioms” of Kwame Nkrumah: https://app.box.com/s/r0jpqdp90a6mc3p0wkyhquw8vd10rjk3

5. “Neocoloniasm”: https://app.box.com/s/t6asodo9tjfzy93f3wa56ijxhz3z4i8l

6. “The East Africa Protectorate”: https://app.box.com/s/t062xkg7w9y0rxpgltxez6f0ohedy95h

7. “Neocolonialism – The Last Stage of Imperialism” by Kwame Nkrumah: https://app.box.com/s/von6ztg7q3k4h1umg0cnimycyhzutepw

8. “The Struggle Continuous” by Kwame Nkrumah: https://app.box.com/s/9ec6wtbnyf8rg826x6zgahsvmb6gty7x

9. “Lumumba’s Last Days”: https://app.box.com/s/prb7uqzicutzk2nqswelltoqhphezsjn

On Morals

Here is a question I read in a philosophy handbook on morals:

Question: John is a moral philosophy student and he believes in moral relativism. His professor, who believes in moral absolutism didn’t like John so he failed him in an exams though John got good grades. Is John right to be angry or to protest the assessment of his paper?

Answer: All beliefs are personal convictions and personal convictions should not have a place in professional/academic relationships. John was supposed to be assessed based on the absolute merit (rightness or wrongness) of the answers he gave in the exams and not based on his personal beliefs. 

I find this scenario very interesting because I think we all encounter it daily in human organisational systems. It’s like saying: Mr. A, believes he can live without breathing in oxygen. If Mr. B suffocates him and he faints, has Mr. B been immoral? 

Lying is immoral

Complete optimism is naivity and every fraudster requires that his victims be optimistic. In my country today, there is religious ecstacy and people are so optimisic that they deny the existence of many problems. Still, denial is not resolution. Nature doesn’t care who believes what. Some even say problems should be seen as opportunities. Right! So if the IRS or the army is dysfunctional does that mean people can start their own armies or tax agencies? And if we all try to solve problems for profit, wouldn’t the common good be in limbo? Maturity always comprise some element of realism which is often mistaken for pessimism. Truth is, optimism indeed can lead to the biggest opportunities or blunders. So lets not only emphasize the former as faith mongers always do. Half truths are lies and lying is immoral.