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.
Today is sunday which means my favourite day to post. I want to get over all the anger and frustration with what God should or should not have done in my life. Being angry with God is like being angry with the weather – it’s vexation of spirit. To me God is nature or the universe and remains so. Though some friends tell me that my thoughts are contradictory, in my mind everything is harmonious. I know exactly what I want. I’m not confused about anything. I could go to church, sing the hymns and shake hands with the preacher but that doesnt mean I have become a fundamentalist. I call it resilience. I could entertain just about any idea without conclusively accepting it. Being part of a larger community also makes one more humanistic – we just have to agree to disagree.
Last time I heard, my neighbour was praying that Jesus should kill all his enemies and he actually said (verbatim): ‘All my enemies die in Jesus name…die!…die!…die!’ This made me laugh so hard and I figured if not because of the law he will probably ask permission from Jesus and murder them himself. So here we can see the corrupting effect of false religion on the human mind. If Jesus exists in the material world, and if indeed he listened to such prayers we will all be dead by now. Nine out of every ten christian in my country has prayed such prayer before. How will he killing one’s enemies make one’s life better? If one is lazy and ignorant one remains poor and miserable even after all enemies are dead.
As I mentioned earlier I want to draw your attention to three words that reach the heart. These words have proven effect on even the most callous person, provided such a person is actually human. But they are also words that, for the proud in spirit, are difficult to utter. Unfortunately secular education does not teach virtue anymore and it’s sad. They inflate the ego with logic and logic has no reverse gears. So one only needs to keep moving forward. Culture has also evolved in such a way that modesty and politeness especially in men implies a weakness, so now most youths act tough to impress others and it often fails them in the end. The three words which if uttered genuinely, reaches the heart, irrespective of whether the relationship is marital, professional or casual are ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘help me.’ Happy sunday!
Let me intoduce my second poetry book dealing with the search for the meaning of life to you. It was originally written in 2014 but was constantly being edited to make sure it comes out tasty and well baked. It covers many themes from the ‘African situation’ to politics to religion to morality to love etc. If you are interested in what I have to say and want to buy it please click here. All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the CWC Childrens Home, an orphanage in Accra, Ghana, in service of humanity. Have a nice day my dear. You know yourself.
Everyone stumbles through many illusions on his or her way from childhood to adulthood. Illusions commend themselves to us because they afford us enjoyment but the greater the illusion the greater the pain when we eventually and inevitably collide with a bit of reality. The job of the mind, as I would understand it, is to help us survive and thrive until the finishing line, by differentiating between reality and illusion and making decisions based on the former against the backdrop of personal priorities. So congratulations to whoever made it into adulthood. It means, likely with the help of parents, you have done away with many illusions. Reality is inseparable from nature. No two people are exactly the same, which means there are probably more than seven billion personality types in the world.
But then another challenge emerges and that is: the mind is not a homogeneous mass of thoughts and feelings. For the most part, it is filled with confusion arising out of incongruent ideas. Ideas or thoughts, the stuff with which we build bridges from the unconscous to the conscious. Whoever lacks that lags. All true spirituality aims at the harmonization of thoughts and emotions, something Nietzsche will call “the spiritualization of the emotions.” This is essential for healing, spiritual growth and happiness. Ultimately one’s world reflects one’s mindset. And it is within the intellect not the emotions that the true battle rages.
The deception which every society feeds it young generation is the root cause of all forms of human deterioration – violence, rape, drug abuse, dereliction, criminality and terrorism etc. Many children never recover from those lies. When compelled by circumstances they find substitute lies because those lies inflate and caress the ego. And so everything snowballs into some soggy mass of deception. Chief among these hoaxes is organized popular religion. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry in Africa. They only need to create two conditions – fear and ignorance. As one may already be aware the Chinese have also settled in. They are in good business with Africa which many have even been described as a “love affair.” But Africa itself is still not yet on its feet and I hope they don’t introduce Buddha or Confucious to her.
I weep for the youth in particular because they bear the brunt of whatever happens as leadership continuous to fail in Africa. By reconstructing my consciousness, I have been able to at least make sense of my world and my existence. It’s a good exercise which must be conducted frequently by all who believe their consciousness needs reparation.
Here is the funniest joke of the last two millenia: A Jew died for the love of Africans.
And no, he didn’t just die for only Africans who are alive today.
He died for all who died before him, after him and even those who are yet to exist – the nonexisting ones.
Ok, let’s just assume it’s not a joke, that everything is true. If he died to save us why is there so much evil in the world?
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.
It is a fact that different societies have different morals and value systems. This argument is further advanced by most amoralists and serves as a basis for a rejection of universal moral values. But even when we look at the great diversity in human nature, societies and their values and norms, it is by all means that whatever one does, one will be repaid in full. This is what justifies vengeance even if it is done in the name of one god or another god. The desire for justice is innate in every human. Morality itself is not based on reason, it has its basis in instinct. So a rational discussion on morality is futile – one would just be moving in circles. However, one thing that runs through all moral laws irrespective of geographic location, social group, race or nation is that there is reciprocity. There is something akin to a reward or payback (though sometimes difficult to perceive) based on an act that was perpetuated or neglected thereof. This reciprocity is not peculiar to only relationships within social groups, it is the fabric of all individual human interactions. Others call it karma. The problem however is that sometimes this reciprocal relationships are also subject to subjective interpretations and people with similar perspectives randomly self organize and create a morality of their own. They may even seek to punish someone who may have done something right for the majority. In a society as dysfunctional as mine, based on random self organization, criminals or the most unscrupulous are sometimes selected as the decision makers and adjudicators. When it happens that way the righteous is punished and everyone turns evil. There is reciprocity in there. Society has to be better than individuals so it is very important that people aspiring to leadership positions have high ethical principles and are people of highest moral standards. This ensures that the right values are emulated and promoted in the system. Sadly, as the reader may be aware this is often not so. We elect leaders based on their wealth and connections, then we turn around and complain when they attack us.
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.
Though I don’t consider myself an apologist, I have always defended intelligent design and creationism because I believe the universe has a substructure established by a higher being – an originator and that such a being has no religion. Religion is man’s way of trying to reach who or what we call God but the will of God remains unknown. The strongest and most reliable philosophies are those planted within the emotions, they hijack the passions even before those passions reach the faculty of reason. This is probably why religion is introduced to children at an early stage and I think it is still helpful to society as long as undistorted moral lessons continue to be taught. Any direct attack on religion will backfire.
I also consider the bible a work of literature comprising biographical works, poetry, letters or essays, mythology, folklore, nonfiction and of course fiction etc. It’s not a research work, so I think to question its factual basis is neither here no there. We read such highly fictional works as ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Hobbit’, ‘Hunger Games’and even ‘Animal Farm’ etc with keen interest and often allow aspects of the story to influence us because we discern some truths in them without requiring any proof. Why then do we dismiss such moving stories as Joseph (Which teaches the reality of sibling rivalry, betrayal and forgiveness), The Prodigal Son (Which teaches valuable lessons in life and fathering), and the story of David (Which teaches practical lessons in leadership)?
All religions teach the inspiring truth, not the (whole) philosophical truth. According to Hegel, truth in philosophy means concept and external reality correspond. It’s not always so with religion. True religion fortifies the soul and the spirit (the inner world) so that it can take on the affairs of the external world. It’s method is that of helping the individual neutralize pain by creating channels through which the individual can have hope – call it selective thinking or perceiving. Pain is severe where there is no hope of resolution. Personally, I’m more interested in the lessons or the substance in any story than its factual basis though that’s also relevant to the understanding of the story.
Note: Many years after Joseph forgave his brothers and welcomed them to Egypt, they still believed he hasn’t truly forgiven them and was only waiting for their father to die for him to carry out his revenge. So they sent a messenger to Joseph as soon as Jacob, their father, died reminding him of the promise of forgiveness he made before their father. They might have been so nervous that they soon followed up themselves, knelt before Joseph and said “we are your servants”and he wept when he saw them (Genesis 50:15). Does one really need all the material/historical facts in order to accept the emotional truth of this story?