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.

More Evil, Less Good

John Zande, a colleague blogger has authored a book titled “On The Problem of Good.” It’s a bold and an eloquent exposition premised on the hypothesis that “there is no good, everything degenerates into evil” according to the author. It’s hardly a book for the regular reader because it’s highly philosophical or abstract and it’s backed by scientific facts. Many of you already know my position on Science.

The founder of Christianity asserts that there is none that is good except God (Mathew 19:17), so the author may not be far from truth except that he claims evil is the basis of existence, good is illusionary, hence there is nothing wrong with the world. Here I disagree. There is everything wrong with the world. When we speak of life or existence, we speak of living things and how they percieve their environment. I believe humans, in spite of all the evil in this world, gravitate towards good. No sane person dreams of war, violence, hate, death etc.

How could such virtues as peace, unity, love, compassion, genuine altruism etc be evil? What about people who devote their lives to taking care of orphaned children, the homeless, the sick, victims of abuse, the vulnerable etc. This acts appear good to me and contradict the Darwinian notion of “survival of the fittest”. The instinct to help eachother when in trouble, to form and maintain social ties, to strive for morality and fairness etc that’s one tiny way us humans are different.

I have personally witnessed good. I have seen mothers risk their lives to save their children from harm. I have seen fathers sacrifice their future so that their children could have one. I have seen strangers offer refuge to the afflicted. I have seen people donate all their wealth to the needy after their death. I have seen strangers pull out a trapped person from under a rubble without asking to be paid. I have seen a crowd carry an accident victim to a hospital without requesting anything material. What is responsible for such altruistic acts if all there is is evil? These acts tell me humans are equally capable of good. However, agreeably, there is more evil and less good.

Now I have two questions for the Author concerning his hypothesis of a maximally evil, omnimalevolent universe.

1. Is the world a case study for testing his hypothesis?
2. If the world is his case study, then his hypothesis cannot be proved.

1. There is both good and evil in this world according to the experiences of the vast majority of people. This is irreducible to an all evil world. So John, if you are reading this how did you prove your hypothesis to be true? Forgive me but was it through confirmation bias?

God’s Boredom After the Sixth Day

I had argued with myself on several occasions as to why an almighty being will need rest at all. It was only six days, and he had created man, his finest handiwork and had retired the next day. I suspect he must have created the ape earlier, either to keep himself company or to mock man especially fearing that man, his finest creature, will eventually betray him and go out of control. Ofcourse gods have fears too. They fear that their subjects might abandon them and once abandoned they cease to exist. It happened many centuries ago in far away Europe where Heine attested to seeing the abanboned gods Zeus, Hera, Apollo, etc including their roman relatives in exile on a distant island with a hairless goat who later turned out to be one of thier human servants. They had been driven away by a new protestant god. Under such circumstances, the old gods lived as refugees and took on such menial jobs as wood chopping, says Heine. In Africa, things were a little different. The old gods fled in tumult and instead, took possession of rivers, rocks and trees. They didn’t flee into exile because apart from Madagascar there were no islands in Africa.

Interestingly, it was not mentioned anywhere in the bible that the Jewish god ever resumed work after the seventh day. Could it be that he never resumed work and had similarly fled into exile following the divine tragedy involving Angel Lucifer and his cohorts. Or he likely may have retired to some distant island and let humanity devise ways and means of settling their own disputes? And was that not a good thing for a god to have done for himself since he was already tired while the devil was always working? Could it be that the evil demon is more hard working since he never needed rest? If Lucifer rested a day, all of the world’s problems will be solved that very day and humanity will regain consciousness.

Anyway, so much to ruminate on this sunday. I believe I have, at least, reminded you of interesting questions as regards the genesis anecdote and god’s boredom after the sixth day. “Let there be light” and yay there was light! How amazing. Why can’t this be simply followed by “Let there be peace” for the world to experience peace and….”Let there be joy” for everyone to be healed and be happy? I guess it will be too much work. Happy rest day.

Why do African universities teach Kant as a “moral philosopher?”

Immanuel Kant as a moral philosopher? Please tell me this is a joke. What moral precepts did he contribute to the molding of the African personality, consciousness and existence? Would you label someone who called you an ox, who said you should be driven apart with thrashings a moral philosopher?  Yet this is what Kant said of Black Africans.

Worst still, would you take someone seriously if he wrote voluminously about how married couples should relate to each other when in fact he himself never had the courage to marry? Kant may be a giant in European philosophy, fair enough why shouldn’t he be, but to teach one concept and live the other is unethical.

One enters the department of philosophy in a typical African university and they are teaching Kant, Hegel, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Descartes etc. The irony in all this epistemological blunders is that there are probably more sages in Africa than there are elsewhere. Why not primarily teach the aphorisms of African sages as African philosophy. Wouldn’t that be more plausible and logical and even meritorious to Africa?

Ultimately, thoughts, emotions and ideas are the only realities

In a complex social system, the effectiveness of one’s decisions is dependent on the decisions of others. In other words, for a trader to have a business there must be someone willing to buy. For a leader to legitimately lead, there must others willing to follow. Every decision we make no matter how reasonable it may appear has some emotional influence as the basis. The current state of our lives is as a result of all the decisions we have made since adulthood and decisions made for us by our parents since we were born. Most decisions are reversible. Decision making improves with accurate knowledge or information. The entire world is shaped by knowledge or ideas. Ideas basically comprise thoughts and emotions. Ultimately, the physical world is an extension of the mental world because everything man-made we see around in the environment today was once an idea existing in somebody’s mind. Others argue that thoughts and ideas are shaped by the physical world or arise as a result of physiological processes and therefore cannot precede physicalism. I don’t know how far that truth can go. There are large areas of the earth inhabited by only vegetation. Thoughts are not real there because plants have no mind to produce thoughts. But we can be sure that within human societies, thoughts, ideas and emotions influence everything human and therefore are the only realities to us. Thoughts, emotions and ideas cannot be perceived, they are perceptions in themselves. All other “realities” are real to us if only perceived.

Happy new year to all my readers. Those who recently followed, welcome to a meaningful and a meaningless blog.

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.

Concerning the Philosophization of the Emotions

No psychical activity is as dangerous and self harming as the philosophization of the emotions. To philosophize the emotions is to obstruct it’s path, to preserve its wounds and prevent the individual from training the emotions to successfully deal with life’s daily pains. Philosophy only protects. It does not heal emotional wounds. So herein lies the difference between philosophy and spirituality.

To spiritualize the emotions, in contrast, does not obstruct the flow of the emotions but rather it diffuses it so that its painful effect is no longer felt. This creates a feeling of healing. In other words a kind thought is often the most effective antidote to an evil thought or a negative emotion. Moreover, the misery in this world is what necessitates faith. Our formal educational systems have failed us because they train only the logical mind of a child. They do not train children in emotional intelligence.

Metaphysical poets and prophets often advocate the spiritualization of the emotions over the philosophization of the emotions. Bottom line is this: one must not escape or shield oneself from emotional pain but rather toughen up and overcome it. This is victory for the soul. Any social situation that makes one extremely fearful is necessary for the evolution of one’s soul. However, one could also combine the two ways of dealing with emotional pain – to spiritualize first, and then philosophize – which is probably the best.

Is nature self animated?

When stepped on in front, an earthworm tries to change direction of movement. When stepped on at the rear it immediately speeds up.That way it mitigates the probability of being stepped on again (Nietzsche). Do earth worms have a scientifically observable brain? What about fairy flies and sugar ants who display remarkable intelligence. Many atheists believe that living organisms are self animated – life just happened by accident and organisms simply act by instinct and this instinct according to Dawkins works so well in creating a gene pool from where sometimes reparations are made to the cistron of the organism.

Most birds are born knowing how to fly and build nests. Do you not think that they were endowed with this knowledge by some higher being who made them? Why of all the things that can be instinctively known like burrowing and slithering they didn’t acquire that irrelevant knowledge but rather they knew just the right thing – how to fly and build nests. Different organisms living in the same habitat often acquire distinct characteristics so the environment cannot be the sole determinant of form and physiology. If nature is self animated and works by blind chance (without intelligent design) then something should have gone wrong with instinctive knowing or we shouldn’t have such wonderful symbiosis in the universe. I have never seen self-animated stones or rocks walking on two feet?

I’m aware science has completely eroded age old superstitions and I’m thankful for that. Nonetheless, evolutionary biologists have consistently pounded into our ears, the theory that all living organisms evolved into their current form from a common ancestor. They have not provided sufficient evidence of the existence of this common ancestor neither have they provided sufficient evidence for the transitional forms leading to man. Their strongest evidence of the precise anatomical links between man and ape, or fish and bird is nothing but an artist’s impression. Anybody could make an impression of God and present it as evidence of existence of God. How about that? The many frauds in evolution point to the fact that evolutionary theory is a deliberate scam and probably the biggest deception of humanity. I can’t help but laugh whenever they claim to have made a discovery of the so called missing link – which I believe was their own creation, they even give it a fanciful name as if it were a new born baby. No one has seen God, likewise no one has seen one organism transform into another. So let everyone believe whatever makes meaning to him or her – whether transcendental or empirical. Though I can’t put faith above science, I think the scientific method has certain inherent flaws in so far as it rigidly limits itself to the immediately observable world and rejects intuition.

“Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD….” — Psalm 150:6

Are There Universal Existential Truths?

Assuming that we know what truth is and how to find it, the question then arises, are there universal existential truths? In other words different people derive different ‘truths’ from same experience of reality. Some even have their own methods of deriving said ‘truths’ and are sure about those methods. How can we tell whether the truth which we derive or perceive is experienced in the exact way as all other conscious beings?

Secondly, what is reality? Something existing in the mind or in the world or both?