Beauty and Truth

It’s not only beauty but truth also lies in the eyes of the beholder because one man’s fabrication is another’s fact and vice versa. However, truth differs from beauty in that it is very ugly. I’m not sure if these two can ever cohabit. Beauty occurs where there is symmetry and ‘organisation’ whereas truth only emerges when organisation breaks down. 

Could truth be the opposite of beauty? Or a precursor to it. It appears truth can only be defined and searched for within a specific context which is why some argue that there are no universal objective truths. Beauty on the other hand can be universal but I have never experienced truth where there is unaccidental beauty.

Metamorphous Agents in the African Universe

The indegenous non-westernised African cares not much for the significance of celestial bodies. It’s clear from where the sun rises every morning and where it sets. It’s clear whether it’s a full moon or it’s half or a crescent. But he makes no clear connection between these objects and an evolving universe. There was never a sun god or a moon god in any African tribal theological constructs. Instead, concerntration was on immediate surroundings – the trees, the rivers, the sea, the animals and rocks etc. In fact they believed in something which could be immedietely experienced such as peace, love, success, fertility, health and they had gods of such attributes. We could say that everything in African world at the time was a social construct. Objectivity was still subject to interpretations.

Mythologies, fables and fairy tales involving animal characters informs us that our ancestors sensed a connection between humans and animals long before genetics descovered that. Their actions guided by animalistic totems implied that they viewed the animal society as an extension of the human society. All organisms are possessed by a life force called ‘spirit’. Spirits could take possesion of anything they desired. Even today the typical indegenous African considers certain animals as an embodiment of spirits or higher ancestral beings. A bird standing at the window could be an anamorphous spirit agent visiting the family and carrying a message. Ofcourse this notion is completely fallacious to the scientific mind but there are interesting observations similar to those supplied by the theory of evolution. This concerns the metamorphosis of organisms. Whereas Darwin’s theory claims that phylogenesis is gradual and takes millions of years, our ancestors believed such transformations are instantaneous. But bottom line is transformations do occur.

These ideas extend even to what we call the world of ancestors, the netherworld or hades or the grave which we all dread. To the African the world of the dead is not far. It’s like a basement or an area below the deck of the ship of existence which one could shuffle anytime in a spiritual sense. Therefore our dead ancestors are not believed to be really dead, they have just changed form from physical to spiritual. The spiritual forms the substructure for the physical. The interesting thing is that these ancestors do not wait to rise in the future and save the living. Instead, they rise everyday, they metamorphose into other creatures everyday, they aid and guide the living everyday. A cat, a bird or a lizard or even a beetle etc. are not just animals one could disregard and exterminate. They are all metamorphous agents having a connection to humans. As someone who likes nature I find this concept more inspiring.

All progress in the ego gradually eliminates the individual from his herd

By ‘progress’ I mean advancement, growth, strengthening etc. This ego which in common language is referred to as ‘the self’ has a very short existence. In fact the very sojourness of our world is the ego metaphorised. The contents of the ego is lost at death. Not a single thought, idea or belief within the ego is passed to one’s offspring. Most individuals with high thinking enter the herd only to dominate or exploit it. Often this fails and the individual is alienated or he alienates himself. Nothing is as repugnant to the herd as selfishness but, then again it depends on inherent thought patterns within the herd. Here again, by ‘herd’ I mean an animal, tribal, communal or societal unit.

The elimination of logic by the herd leaves us with only emotion. The question arises: ‘Can truth come to us through emotion? In other words can there be truth without logic? Within the herd, and supposing that the emotions are in their proper frameworks, then yes! In fact the most discernable truth within and between members of the herd is emotional or instinctive truth. But what we mean by ‘truth’ is too much subjected to arguments. There is correct or incorrect logic but no true logic nor moral logic. This is because logic is a figment of the psychic tree. At the root is the instincts which every living organism identifies with symbolically and which is responsible for herd formation.

The real value of the instincts is in its ability to carry out repetitive instructions from the psyche without getting exhausted. This is where what we call love emanates from. Any form of attraction that seem logical and reasonable (based clearly on external material needs and fulfilment) will quickly lose energy and passion because needs change over time. Love, which requires repetitive actions can only be sustained at the roots, within the emotions, therefore strong bonds occur at an emotional level and it’s supplemented by reason. I’m not sure I’m making sense but I think only emotional discernment can offer us satisfactory answers in our search for the purpose of life.

What is normality?

I have been wanting to ask this question as far back as last year but couldn’t really find a way to frame it well. What is ‘normality’?

Supposed that one wakes up tomorrow and saw that everybody was walking about completely naked – even at school or at work. In fact every social gathering is filled with people in the nude. What will be one’s reaction? One will likely immediately feel embarrassed for fully dressing, go back home or to the washroom, undress and come back in order to fit in. Same will apply to whether one woke up and saw people walking backwards. Thus the question arises, is something normal because it’s commonplace or is it normal because it’s appropriate or right to do?

Would you steal, accept bribes or commit adultery simply because it is common place in society or would you rather refuse to do these things because refusal is right? The pressure in society, to conform, is strong and can be reflected even in the kind of traditions or laws in place. But the reward of doing the right thing is superior and far reaching and ultimately good for yourself even if it means being labeled abnormal. Happy Sunday!

The Hebrew God’s Metamorphosis

With regards to the story of the great chronicle of the ancient Israelites, arguably inspired of god and documented in the bible, the reader will notice that there is a huge difference between the god of the old testament and the god of the new. Let’s just assume for the sake of this discussion that  those stories were true. One will instantly notice that Moses’s god reflected the character of Moses, a mysterious man and a murderer, whose real name, according to Freud, was Moshe (meaning drawer of water). But he was just what the Hebrews needed at the time. The new testament however reflected the sweet, peace loving, mild mannered and a more rational character of a carpenter’s son called Jesus.

Moses wrote the ten commandments himself. He was said, by Egyptologists, to have been inspired by the moral incantations in the Egyptian book of the dead which was usually buried together with a deceased in a tomb. Moses also advocated ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ mentality whereas Jesus was somewhat opposite by advocating ‘returning good for evil,’ ‘blessing one’s enemies’ and ‘turning the other cheek when slapped.’ I’m sure even the pope will repudiate the literal application of such religious principles. It’s simply too much of idealism but is there really some spiritual truth in self non-defense?

In their forty year or so exodus in the wilderness, the ancient Israelites introduced ‘The Ark of the Covenant of God.’ This was nothing but a deity similar to those found in primitive religions. Literally, a deity is an object or place designated as the dwelling of a god. As the Hebrew tribe progressed towards a more intellectualized society or as their minds could now very well handle abstraction, the gods were rid of their arts and decorations and then came the commandment: ‘Thou shall not make any graven images’…..I’m sure many of you are familiar with this commandment. Think of this. How could Moses present the ten commandments and say,’I, moses, give you infidels and Idolator’s these laws so that you can have a sense of morality.’ They will probably rise up and stone him to death. So he simply said it’s from God.

Each new prophet in the bible revealed an aspect or attribute of the Hebrew god that was initially not known to his followers. By so doing the Hebrew god gradually evolved into a coherent philosophy which needed to be internalized. This was what Jesus finished off after John the baptist. He removed all the unreasonable or unnecessary elements and replaced them with his own ideas about what ought to be or how one ought to live. He was a very rational man but also very compassionate. Note that I’m speaking of Jesus here as a historical figure and the bible simply as literature and subjecting religious writing to a rational interpretation. My conclusion is that all gods exist in and are shaped by human consciousness.

Nature or Nurture

The Nativists argue that nature (the genetic coding) is responsible for a persons behaviour and overall performance in life. The Empiricists (not to be confused with the scientific methodologists) argue that the external environment is responsible for the individuals personality or behaviour through a process called conditioning. A third cohort also proposes that it is a combination of both forces but the precise degree of interaction on each side is still in dispute.

I have a case against each proponent. Concerning the Nativists: If nature is responsible for human behaviour then it implies that there is no freewill since a thief is genetically designed to be a thief. It also implies that without external stimuli, a child who inherited genes for intelligence should necessarily be successful and happy in life since nature has dictated that. But we all know this to be untrue.

My second case is against the Empiricists: If the external environment is responsible for human behaviour then how come two children from the same family, living under the same physical, economic, social and cultural conditions develop contrasting personalities sometimes to the extremities of good and evil. There are those who even say that humans have no fixed nature.

Concerning the third cohort, I think the degree to which nature and nurture influence the individual is not as important as the specific genetic information and how it is designed to react to various external stimuli – whether analogous or inverse. A typical example is how different people react to criticisms. Some react without processing, others process and then react, still others don’t process and don’t react. For those interested in further reading, there is an interesting article on the subject here. Happy weekend!

Intellectualism and Pseudo-Intellectualism

I looked up the definition of ‘intellectual’ after I was labelled by some co-bloggers as indulging in ‘false intellectualism.’ I didn’t know what that phrase meant, neither did I think anyone could successfully pretended to be intelligent or clever without ultimately making a fool out of himself. Intelligence is inborn – arising from the genes, so it’s either one knows something based one’s experience or one simply does not know. Moreover, I don’t blog to prove anything to anyone, truth is self evident. I just blog because I love to share my thoughts and ideas.

The dictionary came up with the following definitions:

Intellectual: Of or associated with or requiring the use of the mind. 

Intellectual: Possessing or showing intellect or mental capacity, especially to a high degree.

Intellectual: Appealing to or using the intellect or a person who uses the mind creatively.

Intellectualism (philosophy): The doctrine that knowledge is acquired by reason alone without resort to experience

Of the last definition which could easily pass for truth, I nonetheless disagree with that philosophical doctrine. I believe all knowledge is derived from sensory perception and therefore from experience. But it is the intellect that discloses the true meaning of an experience and sends the message to the individual. Without the experience or stimuli, there will be no message. Even with much experience, the message could be weak.

If someone writes a good essay or a poem or an article, is he not using his or her  mind creatively? Is that not an intellectual activity. So what at all do they mean by pseudo-intellectualism? Do we need to acquire PhDs in order to confer intellectualism on ourselves, because I know people who have acquired doctorates but apart from their dissertation, they have not written even a pamphlet. They simply sit in lousy offices and enforce unexplainable rules. Being an intellectual is not something that is inherited through degrees. One is born with it and it’s exhibited from childhood and probably only validated through high academic qualifications. Even then the biggest problems of this world were solved and are continuously being solved by people who did not even have any definitive education. That’s probably why the Academia is now, more than ever, admittable of people who can demonstrate practical knowledge of a field but without necessary certification. Misdirected education is a waste of time but it also doesn’t mean dropping out of college and putting the cart before the horse. That is regrettable.

Maybe my critics will label me differently once I complete my masters degree and inform them to that effect. But…wait a minute! maybe it’s not about my education. People who call me pseud-intellectual may actually be doing so because I am a black African living in the jungles of Africa – I am not supposed to discern much or speak with an intellectual or rational voice. Is that right? Well, here is the good thing: I am quite impervious to criticisms – in fact I welcome them.

Speciation Events Don’t Disprove Creationism

Recently I realized there are fundamentalists in atheism just as there are in religion. They literally believe every single word that is published by evolutionary biologists. The scientific journal is probably their ‘holy book’ and they defend it with such zeal that you wonder what has gone into their heads.

Throughout the Judaeo-Christian account of creation, there is always the mention of birds of the air and fishes of the sea not fishes of the air and birds of the sea. This implies speciation. To be [of] something is to have descended from an autochthon of that place. Consider this passage:

“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”

A god who creates static or devolving organisms should be a very dumb god. Organisms are specially designed to fit their environments – birds of the air, fishes of the sea, beasts and creeping things upon the earth and even herbs of the field.  Clearly the Bible was talking about speciation. I wonder how that disproves the existence of an intelligent designer.