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CRITICAL THINKING & CREATIVE RECONSTRUCTION: REAWAKENING AFRIKAN DEEP THOUGHT
Image of Human Brain & Peneal Gland
A Critical Thinking & Argumentation Course Compendium Editor Dr. Ambakisye-Okang Olatunde Dukuzumurenyi
NOTE: These quotes and proverbs stretching back several millennium encapsulate the main ideas of this course compendium. Popular beliefs on essential matters must be examined in order to discover the original thought. [Afrikan Nile Valley Proverb, 4500 BCE] Images are nearer reality than cold definitions. [Afrikan Nile Valley Proverb, 4500 BCE] What you are doing does not matter so much as what you are learning from doing it. · It is better not to know and to know that one does not know , than presumptuously to attribute some random meaning to symbols. [Afrikan Nile Valley Proverb, 4500 BCE] If you search for the laws of harmony, you will find knowledge. [Afrikan Nile Valley Proverb, 4500 BCE] True teaching is not an accumulation of knowledge; it is an awaking of consciousness which goes through successive stages. [Afrikan Nile Valley Proverb, 4500 BCE] To know means to record in one's memory; but to understand means to blend with the thing and to assimilate it oneself. [Afrikan Nile Valley Proverb, 4500 BCE] There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Never believe a word without putting its truth to the test; discernment does not grow in laziness; and this faculty of discernment is indispensable to the Seeker. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. [Afrikan Nile Valley Proverb, 4500 BCE] An answer brings no illumination unless the question has matured to a point where it gives rise to this answer which thus becomes its fruit. Therefore learn how to put a question. [Afrikan Nile Valley Proverb, 4500 BCE] Understanding develops by degrees. [Afrikan Nile Valley Proverb, 4500 BCE] An answer if profitable in proportion to the intensity of the quest. [Afrikan Nile Valley Proverb, 4500 BCE] We mustn't confuse mastery with mimicry, knowledge with superstitious ignorance. [Afrikan Nile Valley Proverb, 4500 BCE] If you are thinking a year ahead, sow seed. If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree. If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people. By sowing seed you will harvest once. By planting a tree you will harvest tenfold. By educating the people you will harvest one hundredfold. [Afrikan Aphorism] He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore make any progress. [Anwar El Sadat]
“What problems must we solve as an Afri kan people? Our problems include the problem of being dominated, not controlling our nations, being poor in the midst of affluence. What goals do we want to reach? What quality of life do we want to enjoy? What kind of people must we become in order to solve the problems that we must solve as a people? What institutions must we develop so that we can act in terms of our interests? What kind of social and educational experiences must we expose ourselves and young to become the kind of people we need to become to solve the problems we need to solve? Unless education, politics and economics are designed to solve our problems as a people they are pointless. What kind of education and knowledge and information and skills and so forth must we develop so that we can build the institutions, develop the relationships, attitudes to be the people we need to be?” [Dr. Amos N. Wilson] Whoever does not inform his children of his grandparents has destroyed his child, marred his descendants, and injured his offspring the day he dies. Whoever does not make use of his ancestry has muddled his reason. Whoever is unconcerned with his lineage has lost his mind. Whoever neglects his origin, his stupidity has become critical. Whoever is unaware of his ancestry his incompetence has become immense. Whoever is ignorant of his roots his intellect has vanished. Whoever does not know his place of origin, his honor has collapsed. [15th Century Timbuktu Poem] You are not an Afrikan because you were born in Afrika. You are an Afrikan because Afrikan is born in you. It’s in your genes, your DNA, your entire biological make up. Whether you like it or not, that’s the way it is. However, if you were to embrace this truth with open arms, MY – MY – MY: WHAT A WONDERFUL THING! [Dr. Marimba Ani] A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself. [Malcolm X] Whoever controls the images, controls your self-esteem, self-respect and self-development. Whoever controls the history, controls the vision. [Dr. Leonard Jeffries] One is fully conscious when he or she is the results of having been informed and instructed by the experience of his or her ancestors and use that knowledge to master, understand and become able to create institutions that allow him or her to live in harmony with the rest of nature and the universe. [Professor James Small]
When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary. [Dr. Carter G. Woodson] When you deal with the past, you're dealing with history, you're dealing actually with the origin of a thing. When you know the origin, you know the cause It's impossible for you and me to have a balanced mind in this society without going into the past, because in this particular society, as we function and fit into it right now, we're such an underdog, we're trampled upon, we're looked upon as almost nothing. Now if we don't go into the past and
find out how we got this way, we will think that we were always this way. And if you think that you were always in the condition that you're in right now, it's impossible for you to have too much confidence in yourself, you become worthless, almost nothing. But when you go back into the past and find out where you once were, then you will know that you once had attained a higher level, had made great achievements, contributions to society, civilization, science, and so forth. And you know that if you once did it you can do it again; you automatically get the incentive, the inspiration and the energy necessary to duplicate what our forefathers did. [Malcolm X]
Now consciousness, what is consciousness? Consciousness is being aware of one's surroundings, recognizing the existence, truth or fact of something; being aware of the very moment, the very instant that you are in; being aware of how you affect the human social, political, and natural ecology you are a part of and how it affects you. Consciousness is being informed and instructed through your groups peculiar culture on the effects of the varied ecologies on your immediate and distant ancestors, and to be aware of their interpretation of that experience. [Professor James Small] I think every person that calls themselves a leader, a preacher, a policy maker of any kind should ask and answer the question in his own life time, how will my people stay on this earth? How will they be educated? How will they be schooled? How will they be housed? And how will they be defended? The answer to these questions will create the concept of enduring nationhood because it creates the concept of enduring responsibility. I am saying whatever the solution is, either we are in charge of our own destiny or we are not in charge. On that point we got to be clear, you either free or you a slave. [Dr. John Henrik Clarke] O my body, make of me always a man who questions! [Dr. Frantz Fanon] Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well. [Dr. Frantz Fanon] Ultimately then, intelligence must be defined in terms of the degree in which it solves YOUR PROBLEMS. The nature of education today prepares you to solve THEIR PROBLEMS and not your own. That's why you study THEIR books, you go to THEIR schools, you learn THEIR information, THEIR language, THEIR styles, THEIR perceptions, so when you come out of school you can do a humdinger of a job solving European's problems, but you can't solve your own. And then you DARE call yourself "intelligent?" C'mon. That's the height of stupidity." [Dr. Amos Wilson]
Elements of Thinking I What follows are some guidelines helpful to you as you work toward developing your reasoning abilities: 1. All reasoning has a PURPOSE. Take time to state your purpose clearly. Distinguish your purpose from related purposes. Check periodically to be sure you are still on target. Choose significant and realistic purposes. 2. All reasoning is an attempt to FIGURE SOMETHING OUT, TO SETTLE SOME QUESTION, TO SOLVE SOME PROBLEM. Take time to clearly and precisely state the question at issue. Express the question in several ways to clarify its meaning and scope. Break the question into sub questions. Identify if the question has one right answer, is a matter of opinion, or requires reasoning from more than one point of view. 3. All reasoning is based on ASSUMPTIONS. Clearly identify your assumptions and determine whether they are justifiable. Consider how your assumptions are shaping your point of view. 4. All reasoning is done from some POINT OF VIEW. Identify your point of view. Seek other points of view and identify their strengths as well as weaknesses. Strive to be fair-minded in evaluating all points of view. 5. All reasoning is based on DATA, INFORMATION and EVIDENCE. Restrict your claims to those supported by the data you have. Search for information that opposes your position as well as information that supports it. Make sure that all information used is clear, accurate, and relevant to the question at issue. Make sure you have gathered sufficient information. 6. All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, CONCEPTS and IDEAS. Identify key concepts and explain them clearly. Consider alternative concepts or alternative definitions to concepts. Make sure you are using concepts with care and precision. 7. All reasoning contains INFERENCES or INTERPRETATIONS by which we draw CONCLUSIONS and give meaning to data. Infer only what the evidence implies. Check inferences for their consistency with each other. Identify assumptions, which lead you to your inferences. 8. All reasoning leads somewhere or has IMPLICATIONS and CONSEQUENCES. Trace the implications and consequences that follow from your reasoning. Search for negative as well as positive implications. Consider all possible consequences.
Elements of Thinking II 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Whenever we thinking, WE THINK FOR A PURPOSE. We think within a POINT OF VIEW. Our thinking is based on ASSUMPTIONS. Our thinking leads to IMPLICATIONS & CONSEQUENCES. Whenever we think we use DATA, FACTS & EXPERIENCES. Our data, facts and experiences are used to make INFERENCES & JUDGEMENTS. Our inferences and judgments are based on CONCEPTS & THEORIES. Our inferences & judgments are used to answer QUESTIONS & SOLVE PROBLEMS.
Elements of Thinking III 1. Our PURPOSE affects the TYPE OF QUESTIONS we ask. 2. The TYPE OF QUESTIONS we ask affects the TYPE OF INFORMATION, QUALITY OF INFORMATION, AND QUANTITY OF INFORMATION we gather. 3. The INFORMATION we gather affects the way we INTERPRET, i.e., DRAW CONCLUSIONS OR MAKE INFERENCES about the information. 4. The way we INTERPPRET INFORMATION affects the way we CONCEPTUALIZE the information. 5. The way we CONCEPTUALIZE INFORMATION affects the ASSUMPTIONS we make. 6. The ASSUMPTIONS we make affect the IMPLICATIONS that follow from our thinking. 7. The IMPLICATIONS that follow from our thinking affect the way we see things, i.e., OUR POINT OF VIEW. Questions To Ask When Thinking 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. What What What What What What What What is my fundamental PURPOSE? is the essential QUESTION I am answering? INFORMATION do I need to answer my QUESTION? is the most basic CONCEPT/IDEA in the QUESTION? ASSUMPTIONS am I using in my thinking? is my POINT OF VIEW with respect to the issue? are my fundamental INFERENCES/CONCLUSIONS? are the IMPLICATIONS of my thinking?
Analyzing Your Thinking Use the following questions to analyze your thinking: 1. Is this a good idea or a bad idea? 2. Is this belief defensible or indefensible? 3. Is my position on this issue reasonable and rational or not?
4. Am I willing to deal with complexity or do I retreat into simple stereotypes to avoid it? 5. If I can’t tell if my idea or belief is reasonable or defensible, how can I have confidence in my thinking, or in myself? 6. Is it appropriate and wise to assume that my ideas and beliefs are accurate, clear, and reasonable, when I haven’t really tested them? 7. Do I think deeply or only on the surface of things? 8. Do I ever enter sympathetically into points of view that are very different from my own, or do I just assume that I am right? 9. Do I know how to question my own ideas and to test them? 10. Do I know what I am aiming for? Should I? 11. What is the purpose of my thinking? 12. What precise question am I trying to answer? 13. Within what point of view am I thinking? 14. What information am I using? 15. How am I interpreting that information? 16. What concepts or ideas are central to my thinking? 17. What conclusions am I coming to? 18. What am I taking for granted, what assumptions am I making? 19. If I accept the conclusions, what are the implications? 20. What would the consequences be, if I put my thought into action? Universal Thinking Standards I CLARITY: Could you elaborate further on that point? Could you express that point in another way? Could you give me an illustration? Could you give me an example? Clarity is the gateway standard. If a statement is unclear, we cannot determine whether it is accurate or relevant. In fact, we cannot tell anything about it because we don't yet know what it is saying. For example, the question, "What can be done about the education system in America?" is unclear. In order to address the question adequately, we would need to have a clearer understanding of what the person asking the question is considering the "problem" to be. A clearer question might be "What can educators do to ensure that students learn the skills and abilities which help them function successfully on the job and in their daily decision-making?" II
ACCURACY: Is that really true? How could we check that? How could we find out if that is true? A statement can be clear but not accurate, as in "Most dogs are over 300 pounds in weight."
PRECISION: Could you give more details? Could you be more specific? A statement can be both clear and accurate, but not precise, as in "Jack is overweight." (We don't know how overweight Jack is, one pound or 500 pounds.) IV
RELEVANCE: How is that connected to the question? How does that bear on the issue? A statement can be clear, accurate, and precise, but not relevant to the question at issue. For example, students often think that the amount of effort they put into a course should be used in raising their grade in a course. Often, however, the "effort" does not measure the quality of student learning, and when this is so, effort is irrelevant to their appropriate grade. V
DEPTH: How does your answer address the complexities in the question? How are you taking into account the problems in the question? Is that dealing with the most significant factors? A statement can be clear, accurate, precise, and relevant, but superficial (that is, lack depth). For example, the statement "Just say No" which is often used to discourage children and teens for using drugs, is clear, accurate, precise, and relevant. Nevertheless, it lacks depth because it treats an extremely complex issue, the pervasive problem of drug use among young people, superficially. It fails to deal with the complexities of the issue.
BREADTH: Do we need to consider another point of view? Is there another way to look at this question? What would this look like from a conservative standpoint? What would this look like from the point of view of...? A line of reasoning may be clear accurate, precise, relevant, and deep, but lack breadth (as in an argument from either the conservative or liberal standpoint which gets deeply into an issue, but only recognizes the insights of one side of the question.)
LOGIC: Does this really make sense? Does that follow from what you said? How does that follow? But before you implied this and now you are saying that; how can both be true? When we think, we bring a variety of thoughts together into some order. When the combination of thoughts are mutually supporting and make sense in combination, the thinking is "logical." When the combination is not mutually supporting, is contradictory in some sense, or does not "make sense," the combination is not logical.
Readings I The Difference Between High School and College (Chapter 2 from College Thinking: How to Get the Best Out of College, by Jack W. Meiland, Mentor Book/The New American Library, New York, 1981. Copyright Jack W. Meiland. Jack Meiland was a professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. ) Since you know what high school work is like, we can approach the nature of college work by comparing college with high school. College freshmen believe that there must be a difference between high school and college, but their ideas about what the difference is are often radically mistaken. Students often see the function of high school as the teaching of facts and basic skills. They see high school as a continuation of elementary and junior high school in this respect. In senior high school, one learns physics and chemistry, trigonometry, American and world history--all subjects in which the "facts" to be learned are harder, but in which the method is much the same as in elementary and junior high school. The method of study most commonly used is memorization, although students are also called upon to apply memorized formulas in working problems and to make deductions in mathematical proofs. There are some exceptional high school classes, and some exceptional high schools, in which this is not so. But by and large, the perceived emphasis in secondary education is on learning facts through memorization. The secondary school teacher holds a position of authority because he has mastered factual information. Tests demand recitation of facts, papers require compilation of facts. It is only natural, then, that the typical student sees college along these same lines. Reinforced by the relation between elementary school, junior high, and high school, the students usually believe that the relation between high school and college is the same as that between junior high school and high school. They believe that the difference between high school and college is that college courses are simply more difficult and that they are more difficult because they present more difficult factual information; they examine more difficult topics; they go over topics covered in high school but in a more detailed and painstaking way. College is taken to be different from high school only in being more difficult. Unfortunately this belief is reinforced by the actual content and method of presentation of typical freshman courses and programs. For example, in the first semester a freshman might take a course in English composition, a beginning physics course, a course in a foreign language, and perhaps a lower-level survey course in social science or history. These courses are often indistinguishable from high school courses. New Types of Intellectual Work At the same time, college freshmen sometimes suspect or expect that college is or should be different in kind (not just in difficulty) from high school--that somehow intellectual activity in college is or should be of a distinctly different and higher level. And this expectation is fulfilled when the student gets beyond the introductory survey courses. There the instructors do seem to expect something different in kind from the student, though without telling the student explicitly and in detail what this is. The good college teacher presents some information, in the sense of "what is currently believed." But he also spends much time talking about the basis on which this information is
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currently believed. A large part of college work consists of discussing and examining the basis of current beliefs. The difference between high school and college is not that there is intellectual activity in one and not in the other. The difference is that college work requires that students engage in a different kind of intellectual activity, in addition to the activity of understanding the material that is presented. The first type of intellectual activity in both high school and college is understanding the material. Even here, though, college requires a different and higher type of understanding, a type to be explained to some extent in later chapters of this book. Once the material is understood, the college student must perform another sort of intellectual work on the material, namely critical examination and evaluation. A main difference, then, between high school and college is that new types of intellectual work are required at the college level. To see why new types of intellectual work are required, let's look again at the way in which materials are presented in high school and college. In high school, they are presented in an authoritative manner--almost as if they were absolutely and eternally true. This mode of presentation is reinforced by the fact that the content that is presented in high school is, typically, material about which people feel very, very sure. The laws of optics, the basic facts of American history, the structure of a plant, the operation of the Federal Reserve System--these are matters about which people feel great assurance, perhaps even certainty. They can be presented on the basis of authority. They are not controversial. Of course, we all know that once in a while, something about which we are very sure in this way turns out to be false--or at least subject to revised beliefs. Nevertheless, revisions of this sort are infrequent. But in college a different attitude prevails toward the material being presented. Rather than being treated as unchanging fact, it is treated as beliefs or conclusions that have been reached on the basis of investigations. At this point I must pause for a moment in order to talk about the kinds of statements that I'm making here. I have made, and will make, statements that assert that college work has such-and-such features or that college differs from high school in this or that way. And some of you might find that in some of your courses, or indeed in your whole college career, the work is not of this kind. In fact, some or all of your college work may seem not so different from your experience in high school. This may, of course, be due to your mistakenly approaching college work as if it were just the same as high school work. But I must admit that some college work really is no different from high school work. So how can I be justified in claiming so confidently that the two are different? My answer to this depends on first making a certain important distinction, the distinction between a descriptive statement and a normative statement. A descriptive statement tells how things in fact are. A normative statement tells how things should be, regardless of how they in fact are. If you say to me, "Things in my college are not the way you describe them," my reply is that they should be the way I describe them. Thus, some of my statements look like descriptive statements but they are to some extent normative statements too. My statements on this topic are intended to describe the way things are at the best colleges (not to be confused with the best-known colleges) and the way they should be in every college. I admit that some college teachers treat their materials as if they were teaching high school. And I admit that some exceptional high school teachers treat their materials in a college manner. What I am trying to do is not so much describe what actually goes on in the places called "high schools" and in the places called "colleges" as describe two different types of work and then say that the more advanced work is what ought to be going on in
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colleges. Only this more advanced work ought to count as "higher education." So my statements are partly descriptive (of the best teachers and the best colleges) and partly normative (in claiming that this is what ought to go on in college). Now let's return to the difference between high school and college just mentioned. I said that in college materials are treated as beliefs or conclusions reached through investigation. Modern people take a certain attitude toward beliefs, namely that if a person believes something, he should have a basis for such beliefs. This can be put in the following way: it is rational to believe something only if one has a basis for that belief. One basis is what we call evidence. Most people today believe that, in secular or nonreligious matters at least, one should have evidence for one's beliefs, that it is right to believe on the basis of evidence and wrong to believe that for which there is not sufficient evidence. W. K. Clifford, a nineteenth-century English mathematician and philosopher, put this point very directly when he said: "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."1 Clifford puts this point with perhaps greater moral fervor than most people would, but I think that no one would deny that he expresses a view that is quite widespread in contemporary thought. Material is presented in college not as something to be believed on the basis of authority but as something to be believed because such belief is rationally justified and can be rationally defended. Thus, much work in college--and, I would say, the work that is characteristic of college--deals with the rational justification of belief. College teachers are concerned not merely with imparting information but also, and mainly, to present and examine the basis on which this information is or should be believed. They do this because they want this material to be believed on the basis of reason rather than on the basis of authority. It is a basic presupposition of the modern mind that rationally based belief is better than belief based on authority, on faith, or on some other nonrational process. Thus, much time in college is spent investigating the rationality of this or that belief. It is important to notice that once we make this shift from authority to rational evaluation, the mode of presentation of the material--and the way in which we regard the material-also changes. Material that is presented on the basis of authority is presented as factual and is given an air of being absolutely and unchangeably true. Material that is presented on the basis of rational justification is presented as belief, as theory, as hypothesis, sometimes as conjecture--as material supported to a greater and lesser degree by argument and evidence. And this difference in mode of presentation makes an enormous difference in how the material is regarded. What is treated in high school as eternal and unchangeable fact that human beings have discovered in their continual and relentless progress toward total knowledge will be treated in college as belief that may perhaps be well supported at the present but that could turn out to be wrong. Another way of putting this is: what is fact in high school is often only theory--perhaps well-supported theory but nevertheless only theory--in college. And theories must be treated as such: one must examine the evidence to see how much support it gives the theory; and alternative theories must be examined to see which is better, that is, to see which theory should be believed. Basis of Belief Why do we believe that beliefs should be rationally based? Is this belief itself rationally based? Or is this belief itself merely an arbitrary presupposition or assumption? After all, someone might claim that what matters about a belief is not whether it is rational but instead whether it is true or false. If a belief is true, then it does not matter whether or not it is held on a rational basis. A true belief that is irrational will be as effective in our lives as
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a true belief that is totally rational. Consider the following example. Suppose that a businessman has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. His wife has a dream in which she sees her husband being held captive in an old warehouse by the harbor, and she wakes believing that he is indeed there. At the same time, the chief of detectives has been working all night on the case, gathering evidence, tracing the car used in the kidnapping, questioning witnesses, and interviewing suspects. By daybreak the chief of detectives comes to believe that the businessman is being held captive in that very same abandoned warehouse. He and his men break into the warehouse and rescue the businessman. So it turns out that the wife's belief is true and that the detective's belief is true, even though the first is irrational and the second is rational. But what difference did the rationality or irrationality of the belief make? If the police had followed up on the wife's belief instead of the detective's belief, they would have gone to the same warehouse and rescued the businessman anyway. This seems to show that it is the truth of the belief, not its rationality, that matters. This would be a good argument if our beliefs were always true and never false. But beliefs can be false, and our problem is to separate the true from the false. What we must do is find good reasons for believing what we believe. We think that if we base our beliefs on good reasons, our beliefs will turn out to be true more often than false. The wife does have a reason for believing that her husband is being held in the warehouse: she dreamed it was so. But we believe that this is not a good reason because many of the things that we dream turn out to be false. Dreaming does not, for most of us, provide a reliable guide to the truth. Hence the wife's belief is considered by modern persons to be unjustified, that is, irrational. But it is felt that evidence is a reliable guide to the truth, and that the more evidence we have, the more we are justified in believing what we do believe. Since college students are expected to believe on the basis of good reasons, they are expected to know what those good reasons are. They are expected to know not only facts but also the reasons those are believed to be facts. Therefore, much time in college is spent in examining reasons to see if they are good reasons. For example, a high school text on American history might state that Alexander Hamilton was one of the chief architects of our Republic, that Hamilton's ideas were extremely influential in shaping our form of government. A college teacher covering this period of American history would not let a statement like this pass without examination--he would demand to know the reasons for believing this claim to be true. This is, in part, why college courses beyond the initial survey courses usually cover a small specialized topic: it takes time to examine and evaluate reasons, to consider and discard alternative theories, to look at a theory from many sides before deciding that the reasons are good enough to accept the theory. So one question with which college work is concerned is the question: "What are the reasons for believing this?" And the next question is: "Are these reasons good reasons for believing this?" And for any particular belief about which this second question is asked, the answer might turn out to be no. In that case, the belief is not justified--or, alternatively, we are not justified in believing that. The answer might turn out to be no in the case of the belief that Alexander Hamilton's ideas were influential in shaping this country's government. "But," someone will say, "that's ridiculous. Of course Hamilton was influential. All the books say so. Everyone believes it. And it's obvious." But is it so obvious? What are the reasons for believing it? If Hamilton was influential, then we should be able to give good reasons for believing that he was. And if we do not know of any reasons, or if the reasons are not good reasons, then we should not believe that he was influential.
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My point here is that the business of college teaching and learning--namely the examination of reasons for beliefs--gives rise to, encourages, and absolutely depends on both students and teachers having an attitude of skepticism, of questioning, of not taking anything for granted. The whole project of college teaching and research--indeed, the whole project of the modern mind--is to base belief only on good reasons. Moderns feel that only this is rational and legitimate. We have banished authority, superstition, magic, and prophecy as bases for belief. We pride ourselves on rejecting these "primitive" and "emotional" reactions to the world. We exalt reason. And what this means is that we attempt to base belief only on good reasons. We are told that in the Middle Ages, people believed things because the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said that they were true. They believed these things on Aristotle's authority. This is now seen as illegitimate; instead, we should see for ourselves whether things are true by gathering evidence and finding good reasons for ourselves. Various tribes base some beliefs on the results of magical rites. We regard this as mere superstition. The modern mind rejects all this. And college simply reflects this view about the legitimation of belief by inquiring into the rationality of every belief to find out whether each belief is supported by good reasons. This view has extremely important consequences. Because every belief ought to be based on good reasons, every belief must be examined. This includes even the most obvious beliefs. In fact, it is especially important to examine those claims and beliefs that are most obvious--it is precisely because something is "obvious" that people will not have examined the reasons behind it. But it may turn out that any particular belief, even an "obvious" belief, is unjustified. It may turn out that although we thought that there were good reasons for that belief, when we take a hard look at the case, there are no good reasons for it. College As a "Subversive" Institution This questioning of everything, including the obvious, is the mission of college in carrying out this project of modern intellectual life. And this sometimes has uncomfortable consequences for colleges, college teachers, and college students. For this mission makes the college potentially the most "subversive" institution in society. Here is an example. It has been held as "obvious" by many people in our country that the American economic system (a variety of capitalism) is superior to the Communist economic system. In college one might well investigate this belief to see if it is backed up by good reasons. However, merely raising and discussing this matter is likely to seem (and certainly has in the past seemed) to large segments of the American people as sedition, as "anti-American," as a betrayal of the trust of the American people in colleges and universities, as a lack of faith in America. And in the past, college teachers have been threatened and punished for doing just this sort of thing. College teachers have been fired from their jobs or made to sign loyalty oaths because they have investigated such topics or have come to have unorthodox views on such topics. The anti-Communist witchhunts of the 1950's, associated with the name of Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.), included college teachers among their victims. Here is another example. College teachers who investigated and taught about Darwinian evolution were considered by powerful conservative segments of society to be undermining established religion and were persecuted for this, when in fact they were only doing their jobs, namely, inquiring into the reasons for a particular belief. Somewhat closer to our own time, several academics have been threatened because they have proposed that intelligence and social behavior are genetically determined. They have been prevented from speaking to groups and have even occasionally been physically assaulted. Their views have been condemned by liberals as politically dangerous. Thus, we find colleges under attack by both liberals and conservatives. All of this was foreshadowed by the situation of Socrates, the first person in recorded Western culture to have seriously examined the basis of common and obvious beliefs. Socrates unceasingly questioned others to find out whether they had
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good reasons for their beliefs about such sensitive topics as justice, piety, and virtue. He was finally accused of corrupting the youth and casting doubt on the gods, tried by the Athenian people, and put to death. Inquiry into reasons for beliefs has sometimes been a dangerous activity, from Socrates' time to the present, because the answer could always turn out to be no, in which case some favorite or important beliefs are threatened. This phenomenon is not limited to college teachers. It extends to college students themselves. Many college students, after hearing and talking with their instructors and other students, have gone home during vacations and questioned important beliefs that they had formerly shared with their parents. They sometimes question their parents' way of life ("How can you live in this expensive house and drive several cars while people in other parts of the world are starving?"). Sometimes they question their parents' religious beliefs. Tensions develop and fierce quarrels break out between parents and students over just this kind of issue. So the basic attitude fostered by college--questioning of the reasons for beliefs--does sometimes lead to uncomfortable situations, and both students and faculty must be prepared to withstand this and to hold firm in carrying out the project of critical inquiry. College is sometimes thought of as an "ivory tower," as somehow not part of "real" life. But the strong emotions generated when favorite beliefs are questioned show that college work has a direct connection with important aspects of "real" life. If college were irrelevant to life, no one would care what was being done in colleges, and colleges would be viewed with amused tolerance rather than with sometimes heated emotion, vituperation, and outright assault. When you inquire into the reasons for a belief, you may seem to be doubting that belief. When you raise questions about the reasons for a belief, some people may take you to be attacking that belief. We should distinguish here between two attitudes that one may take toward a belief when investigating the reasons for it: doubting the belief, in the sense of suspecting or believing that it is false; suspending the belief, in the sense of neither believing it to be true nor believing it to be false. This second attitude is a neutral attitude toward the belief and it maximizes the objectivity with which you pursue your inquiry into the reasons behind the belief. In view of this distinction, we can see that to raise questions about the reasons for a belief is not necessarily to attack it, since the questioner may have the second attitude toward the belief instead of the first attitude. When you take this attitude of suspension of belief toward a statement, you are no longer regarding that statement as an expression of fact. For example, you no longer regard it as a fact that Hamilton was influential in shaping our government. You are now investigating to see if the reasons justify your taking the statement to express a fact. The statement expresses a "claim," a "hypothesis," a "theory," or a "supposition." When this statement is found to be supported by good reasons, then it may be said to express a fact. Why Reasons Matter Why is it that college work is so concerned with the reasons for our beliefs? I have already briefly mentioned one reason for this: we hold that a belief that is supported by good reasons is more likely to be true than one that is not supported by good reasons. You should not, however, allow this justification of the search for good reasons to go unchallenged and unexamined. Is it true that good reasons make truth more likely? Someone may say that this connection between good reasons and likelihood of truth must exist because a reason will count as a good reason only if its presence does produce a greater likelihood of truth. This is what being a good reason is. But this response only shifts the problem by raising a new and equally important question: what types of reasons increase the likelihood of truth?
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There is a second, very different, justification of the search for good reasons. One could form beliefs capriciously--that is, choose in an arbitrary manner to believe this or that. For example, if you wanted to believe that you are the best figure skater in the world, you would simply go ahead and believe it, ignoring all evidence. The trouble with forming one's beliefs in this way is that eventually--and probably sooner rather than later--you will come into frustrating, or even violent, contact with the real world. If you did believe that you were the greatest figure skater in the world but weren't, you might demand special privileges for yourself of the type often enjoyed by great artists. And you would be shocked and frustrated when you did not get what you wanted. Basing beliefs on good reasons has been found to aid in avoiding frustrations of this sort and to help in achieving one's goals. We might call this a "pragmatic' justification of the search for good reasons. Beliefs based on good reasons help us to get along better in the world. A third justification is what we might call a "social" justification: basing beliefs on good reasons fits together well with our democratic way of life. In a democracy, authority is frowned upon as a basis for social decisions and social action. We do not believe in following the orders of a dictator or a tyrant. Instead, we "reason together" to decide what ought to be done. We try to persuade others that our position or view is the best; and we do this by trying to show that our position is supported by the best reasons. When a zoning dispute comes up in the city council, a new curriculum is proposed in the university, or an expansion plan is discussed by a group of businessmen and women, each side tries to show that the best reasons support its alternative. This is not to deny that other factors--personal influence, threats, emotion, bribery--sometimes weigh heavily or even determine the final decision. Nevertheless, our ideal--and often our practice--is to reason and to argue for or against one side or the other in an attempt to reach the best decision. This is the way we believe that we should relate to one another in society. Each person, we feel, ought to be treated as a rational, independent judge, interested in doing what is right and capable of being persuaded by argument. This democratic vision has nothing to do with whether beliefs supported by good reasons are likely to be true. It has nothing to do with whether beliefs supported by good reasons are more likely to be instrumental in the achievement of our goals. Instead it has to do with the way in which we think about ourselves, the kinds of persons we are or would like to become, and the ways in which we want to relate to and interact with others in society. Basing belief on good reasons discovered in cooperative discussion with others helps to make us the persons that we want to be and to produce the type of society in which we want to live. A fourth justification is to be found in the works of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. Plato's works take the form of dialogues between Socrates (who was Plato's teacher) and others whom Socrates encountered in Athens. These dialogues have a question-and-answer format, with Socrates asking the questions in a way that results in a critical examination and evaluation of the beliefs of others on such important topics as justice, piety, and virtue. In fact, Plato's dialogues are probably the single greatest influence in the formation of Western rationality; any critical evaluation of Western rationality should begin with an evaluation of Plato's view of the function of the intellect in living. In the Meno, a dialogue about the nature of virtuous action, Socrates eventually poses the question: is true belief equally as good, equally as valuable, as justified true belief (that is, true belief supported by good reasons)? In other words, he poses the question: what difference does justification, or support by good reasons, make? Isn't it enough to have true belief even if it is not supported by good reasons? It appears to many people that true belief is as useful as justified true belief, that justification by good reasons adds nothing, and so one need not bother about justification. As Socrates put it: "Then true opinion is as good a guide to correct action as knowledge ... right opinion is not less useful than knowledge."(1) To show that this is wrong and that good reasons are important, Socrates begins with the story of
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the statues of Daedalus, which are so lifelike that they need to be fastened down to prevent them from running away: “they are not very valuable possessions if they are at liberty, for they will walk off like runaway slaves; but when fastened, they are of great value, for they are really beautiful works of art. Now this is an illustration of the nature of true opinions: while they abide with us, they are fruitful and beautiful, but they run away out of the human soul, and do not remain long, and therefore they are not of much value until they are fastened by the tie of the cause ...” Socrates is saying here that if a person has a merely true belief without knowing the justification of that belief, then he is not likely to have that belief for very long. A true belief is of as much value as a justified true belief as long as you have the true belief. But the trouble is that you are likely to change your mind about the merely true belief because you do not know the reasons behind it. Thus, beliefs that are merely true and not also justified are of little value because these beliefs do not stay around--you do not believe them--long enough to be of value. For example, suppose you believe the maple is a deciduous tree because someone told you this. This is a true belief. But you are accepting the belief merely on the basis of authority; you do not know its justification; you do not know why you should believe it. If someone else were to come along and tell you that the maple is not a deciduous tree, you would probably not know whom to believe; you would feel that you no longer knew what the truth was, and you would give up your belief that the maple is a deciduous tree. You would no longer have this true belief, and thus this true belief could do you no good at all. This is precisely the situation you are in if you believe things because your high school or college teachers told you that they are true. Someone else might come along and tell you something different, challenging your belief, and then you would not know whom or what to believe. But if you know the grounds--the good reasons or justification--for your beliefs, then when your belief is challenged, you can defend your belief, not only to other people but to yourself too. You are therefore more likely to retain your true beliefs when you know why you ought to hold them. You are in a good position to evaluate and reject the justifications (if any) offered for other beliefs. Thus, justified true belief turns out to be more useful to us than merely true belief because it stays with us longer. We are more likely to continue to hold it. Finally, there is a fifth and equally important justification of the search for good reasons. Earlier I said that in high school, students are required to do a certain kind of intellectual work, namely understanding the material presented. This is so in college, too. And the investigation of reasons and arguments for a belief assists in understanding that belief. To put this in a somewhat different way, if one does not know how to defend a belief, if one does not know what counts as good reasons for a belief, then to that extent one does not understand that belief. This is another of the lessons of the dialogues of Plato. In these dialogues, Socrates, through adroit questioning, seems to cast grave doubt on the favorite beliefs of other people. Many readers take Socrates to have shown in this way that these beliefs of others are false. But in many cases this is not so. For it is also possible, even likely, that these people do not defend their beliefs properly in the face of Socrates' probing questions. And they do not defend them properly because they do not fully understand their own beliefs. Thus, Socrates' questioning reveals others' lack of understanding rather than falsity. If these people had understood their beliefs, they would have known what to say in defense of those beliefs. Thus, one of Socrates' messages to us is this: it is as useless and as dangerous to hold beliefs that may be true but which you do not understand as it is to hold beliefs that are out-and-out false. By investigating reasons for our beliefs, we come to understand them better.
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II This Matter of Culture (Chapter 1 from Think On These Things by J. Krishnamurti) I WONDER IF we have ever asked ourselves what education means. Why do we go to school, why do we learn various subjects, why do we pass examinations and compete with each other for better grades? What does this so-called education mean, and what is it all about? This is really a very important question, not only for the students, but also for the parents, for the teachers, and for everyone who loves this earth. Why do we go through the struggle to be educated? Is it merely in order to pass some examinations and get a job? Or is it the function of education to prepare us while we are young to understand the whole process of life? Having a job and earning one's livelihood is necessary - but is that all? Are we being educated only for that? Surely, life is not merely a job, an occupation; life is something extraordinarily wide and profound, it is a great mystery, a vast realm in which we function as human beings. If we merely prepare ourselves to earn a livelihood, we shall miss the whole point of life; and to understand life is much more important than merely to prepare for examinations and become very proficient in mathematics, physics, or what you will. So, whether we are teachers or students, is it not important to ask ourselves why we are educating or being educated? And what does life mean? Is not life an extraordinary thing? The birds, the flowers, the flourishing trees, the heavens, the stars, the rivers and the fish therein - all this is life. Life is the poor and the rich; life is the constant battle between groups, races and nations; life is meditation; life is what we call religion, and it is also the subtle, hidden things of the mind - the envies, the ambitions, the passions, the fears, fulfilments and anxieties. All this and much more is life. But we generally prepare ourselves to understand only one small corner of it. We pass certain examinations, find a job, get married, have children, and then become more and more like machines. We remain fearful, anxious, frightened of life. So, is it the function of education to help us understand the whole process of life, or is it merely to prepare us for a vocation, for the best job we can get? What is going to happen to all of us when we grow to be men and women? Have you ever asked yourselves what you are going to do when you grow up? In all likelihood you will get married, and before you know where you are you will be mothers and fathers; and you will then be tied to a job, or to the kitchen, in which you will gradually wither away. Is that all
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that your life is going to be? Have you ever asked yourselves this question? Should you not ask it? If your family is wealthy you may have a fairly good position already assured, your father may give you a comfortable job, or you may get richly married; but there also you will decay, deteriorate. Do you see? Surely, education has no meaning unless it helps you to understand the vast expanse of life with all its subtleties, with its extraordinary beauty, its sorrows and joys. You may earn degrees, you may have a series of letters after your name and land a very good job; but then what? What is the point of it all if in the process your mind becomes dull, weary, stupid? So, while you are young, must you not seek to find out what life is all about? And is it not the true function of education to cultivate in you the intelligence which will try to find the answer to all these problems? Do you know what intelligence is? It is the capacity, surely, to think freely without fear, without a formula, so that you begin to discover for yourself what is real, what is true; but if you are frightened you will never be intelligent. Any form of ambition, spiritual or mundane, breeds anxiety, fear; therefore ambition does not help to bring about a mind that is clear, simple, direct, and hence intelligent. You know, it is really very important while you are young to live in an environment in which there is no fear. Most of us, as we grow older, become frightened; we are afraid of living, afraid of losing a job, afraid of tradition, afraid of what the neighbours, or what the wife or husband would say, afraid of death. Most of us have fear in one form or another; and where there is fear there is no intelligence. And is it not possible for all of us, while we are young, to be in an environment where there is no fear but rather an atmosphere of freedom freedom, not just to do what we like, but to understand the whole process of living? Life is really very beautiful, it is not this ugly thing that we have made of it; and you can appreciate its richness, its depth, its extraordinary loveliness only when you revolt against everything - against organized religion, against tradition, against the present rotten society - so that you as a human being find out for yourself what is true. Not to imitate but to discover - that is education, is it not? It is very easy to conform to what your society or your parents and teachers tell you. That is a safe and easy way of existing; but that is not living, because in it there is fear, decay, death. To live is to find out for yourself what is true, and you can do this only when there is freedom, when there is continuous revolution inwardly, within yourself. But you are not encouraged to do this; no one tells you to question, to find out for yourself what God is, because if you were to rebel you would become a danger to all that is false.
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Your parents and society want you to live safely, and you also want to live safely. Living safely generally means living in imitation and therefore in fear. Surely, the function of education is to help each one of us to live freely and without fear, is it not? And to create an atmosphere in which there is no fear requires a great deal of thinking on your part as well as on the part of the teacher, the educator. Do you know what this means - what an extraordinary thing it would be to create an atmosphere in which there is no fear? And we must create it, because we see that the world is caught up in endless wars; it is guided by politicians who are always seeking power; it is a world of lawyers, policemen and soldiers, of ambitious men and women all wanting position and all fighting each other to get it. Then there are the so-called saints, the religious gurus with their followers; they also want power, position, here or in the next life. It is a mad world, completely confused, in which the communist is fighting the capitalist, the socialist is resisting both, and everybody is against somebody, struggling to arrive at a safe place, a position of power or comfort. The world is torn by conflicting beliefs, by caste and class distinctions, by separative nationalities, by every form of stupidity and cruelty - and this is the world you are being educated to fit into. You are encouraged to fit into the framework of this disastrous society; your parents want you to do that, and you also want to fit in. Now, is it the function of education merely to help you to conform to the pattern of this rotten social order, or is it to give you freedom - complete freedom to grow and create a different society, a new world? We want to have this freedom, not in the future, but now, otherwise we may all be destroyed. We must create immediately an atmosphere of freedom so that you can live and find out for yourselves what is true, so that you become intelligent, so that you are able to face the world and understand it, not just conform to it, so that inwardly, deeply, psychologically you are in constant revolt; because it is only those who are in constant revolt that discover what is true, not the man who conforms, who follows some tradition. It is only when you are constantly inquiring, constantly observing, constantly learning, that you find truth, God, or love; and you cannot inquire, observe, learn, you cannot be deeply aware, if you are afraid. So the function of education, surely, is to eradicate, inwardly as well as outwardly, this fear that destroys human thought, human relationship and love.
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III Afrocentricity By Dr. Molefi Kete Asante Published 4/13/2009 Afrocentricity is a paradigm based on the idea that African people should re-assert a sense of agency in order to achieve sanity. During the l960s a group of African American intellectuals in the newly-formed Black Studies departments at universities began to formulate novel ways of analyzing information. In some cases, these new ways were called looking at information from “a black perspective” as opposed to what had been considered the “white perspective” of most information in the American academy. In the late l970s Molefi Kete Asante began speaking of the need for an Afrocentric orientation to data. By l980 he had published a book, Afrocentricity: The Theory of Social Change, which launched the first full discussion of the concept. Although the word existed before Asante’s book and had been used by many people, including Asante in the l970s, and Kwame Nkrumah in the l960s, the intellectual idea did not have substance as a philosophical concept until l980. The Afrocentric paradigm is a revolutionary shift in thinking proposed as a constructural adjustment to black disorientation, decenteredness, and lack of agency. The Afrocentrist asks the question, “What would African people do if there were no white people?” In other words, what natural responses would occur in the relationships, attitudes toward the environment, kinship patterns, preferences for colors, type of religion, and historical referent points for African people if there had not been any intervention of colonialism or enslavement? Afrocentricity answers this question by asserting the central role of the African subject within the context of African history, thereby removing Europe from the center of the African reality. In this way, Afrocentricity becomes a revolutionary idea because it studies ideas, concepts, events, personalities, and political and economic processes from a standpoint of black people as subjects and not as objects, basing all knowledge on the authentic interrogation of location. So that it becomes legitmate to ask, “Where is the sistah coming from?” or “Where is the brotha at?” “Are you down with overcoming oppression?” These are assessment and evaluative questions that allow the interrogator to accurately pinpoint the responder’s
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location, whether it be a cultural or psychological location. As a paradigm Afrocentricity enthrones the centrality of the African, that is, black ideals and values, as expressed in the highest forms of African culture, and activates consciousness as a functional aspect of any revolutionary approach to phenomena. The cognitive and structural aspects of a paradigm are incomplete without the functional aspect. There is something more than knowing in the Afrocentric sense; there is also doing. Afrocentricity holds that all definitions are autobiographical. One of the key assumptions of the Afrocentrist is that all relationships are based on centers and margins and the distances from either the center or the margin. When black people view themselves as centered and central in their own history then they see themselves as agents, actors, and participants rather than as marginals on the periphery of political or economic experience. Using this paradigm, human beings have discovered that all phenomena are expressed in the fundamental categories of space and time. Furthermore, it is then understood that relationships develop and knowledge increases to the extent we are able to appreciate the issues of space and time. The Afrocentric scholar or practitioner knows that one way to express Afrocentricity is called marking. Whenever a person delineates a cultural boundary around a particular cultural space in human time, this is called marking. It might be done with the announcement of a certain symbol, the creation of a special bonding, or the citing of personal heroes of African history and culture. Beyond citing the revolutionary thinkers in our history, that is, beyond Amilcar Cabral, Frantz Fanon, Malcolm X and Nkrumah, we must be prepared to act upon our interpretation of what is in the best interest of black people, that is, black people as an historically oppressed population. This is the fundamental necessity for advancing the political process. Afrocentricity is the substance of our regeneration because it is in line with what contemporary philosophers Haki Madhubuti and Maulana Karenga, among others, have articulated as in the best image and interest of African people. What is any better than operating and acting out of our own collective interest? What is any greater than seeing the world through our eyes? What resonates more with people than understanding that we are central to our history, not someone else’s? If we can, in the process of materializing our consciousness, claim space as agents of progressive change, then we can change our condition and change the world. Afrocentricity maintains that one can claim this space only if one knows the general characteristics of Afrocentricity as well as the practical applications of the field.
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There are five general characteristics of the Afrocentric Method 1. The Afrocentric method considers that no phenomena can be apprehended adequately without locating it first. A phenom must be studied and analyzed in relationship to psychological time and space. It must always be located. This is the only way to investigate the complex interrelationships of science and art, design and execution, creation and maintenance, generation and tradition, and other areas bypassed by theory. 2. The Afrocentric method considers phenomena to be diverse, dynamic, and in motion and therefore it is necessary for a person to accurately note and record the location of phenomena even in the midst of fluctuations. This means that the investigator must know where he or she is standing in the process. 3. The Afrocentric method is a form of cultural criticism that examines etymological uses of words and terms in order to know the source of an author’s location. This allows us to intersect ideas with actions and actions with ideas on the basis of what is pejorative and ineffective and what is creative and transformative at the political and economic levels. 4. The Afrocentric method seeks to uncover the masks behind the rhetoric of power, privilege, and position in order to establish how principal myths create place. The method enthrones critical reflection that reveals the perception of monolithic power as nothing but the projection of a cadre of adventurers. 5. The Afrocentric method locates the imaginative structure of a system of economics, bureau of politics, policy of government, expression of cultural form in the attitude, direction, and language of the phenom, be it text, institution, personality, interaction, or event. Analytic Afrocentricity Analytic Afrocentricity is the application of the principles of the Afrocentric method to textual analysis. An Afrocentrist seeks to understand the principles of the Afrocentric method in order to use them as a guide in analysis and discourse. It goes without saying that the Afrocentrist cannot function properly as a scientist or humanist if he or she does not adequately locate the phenom in time and space. This means that chronology is as important in some situations as location. The two aspects of analysis are central to any proper understanding of society, history, or personality.
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Inasmuch as phenoms are active, dynamic, and diverse in our society, the Afrocentric method requires the scientists to focus on accurate notations and recording of space and time. In fact, the best way to apprehend location of a text is to determine where the researcher is located in time and space first. Once you know the location and time of the researcher or author it is fairly easy to establish the parameters for the phenom itself. The value of etymology, that is, the origin of terms and words is in the proper identification and location of concepts. The Afrocentrist seeks to demonstrate clarity by exposing dislocations, disorientations, and decenterness. One of the simplest ways of accessing textual clarity is through etymology.
Myths tie all relationships together, whether personal or concept ual. It is the Afrocentrist’s task to determine to what extent the myths of society are represented as being central to or marginal to society. This means that any textual analysis must involve the concrete realities of lived experiences, thus making historical experiences a key element in analytica Afrocentricity. In examining attitude, direction, and language the Afrocentrist is seeking to uncover the imagination of the author. What one seeks to do is to create an opportunity for the writer to show where he or she stands in relationship to the subject. Is the writer centered or is the writer marginalized within his own story? Afrocentric Philosophy The philosophy of Afrocentricity as expounded by Molefi Kete Asante and Ama Mazama, central figures of the Temple School, is a way of answering all cultural, economic, political, and social questions related to African people from a centered position. There are other Afrocentric ideas as well but these are the ones propounded in texts by Professors Asante, Mazama, and the late C. Tsehloane Keto. Indeed, Afrocentricity cannot be reconciled to any hegemonic or idealistic philosophy. It is opposed to radical individualism as expressed in the postmodern school. But it is also opposed to spookism, confusion, and superstition. As example of the differences between the methods of Afrocentricity and postmodernism, consider the following question, “Why have Africans been shut out of global development?” The postmodernist would begin by saying that there is no such thing as “Africans” because there are many different types of Africans and all Africans are not equal. The postmodernist would go on to say that if there were Africans and if the conditions were as described by the querist then the answer would be that Africans had not fully developed their own capacities in relationship to the global economy and therefore they are outside of the normal
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development patterns of the world economy. On the other hand, the Afrocentrist does not question the fact that there is a collective sense of Africanity revealed in the common experiences of the African world. The Afrocentrist would look to the questions of location, control of the hegemonic global economy, marginalization, and power positions as keys to understand the underdevelopment of African people. Major Works: Molefi Kete Asante, The Afrocentric Idea. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998. Ama Mazama, ed., The Afrocentric Paradigm. Trenton: Africa World Press, 2003 Posted by Molefi Kete Asante
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IV Afrika South of the Sahara (Speech By Mwalimu Julius Nyerere: Cape Town, South Afrika 16 OCTOBER 1997) Madam Speaker and, I think I may say, Comrade President and Comrade Vice President, ladies and gentlemen. I have told you already how I felt when you asked me to come and talk here. And then I got the message that you were coming. Of course, I am happy you are here, but what do I say in your presence in this House? This is not my first time here. I have been here before and I have thanked you, but I must thank you again. For me to come here to this Chamber and address you is a dream which you have helped me to make true. How could any one of us have thought that it would be possible for me or people of my type to come to this country and speak from a forum like this? So, Mr. President, and all your colleagues, I say thank you very much for making this possible. Now, as for sharing my thoughts with you: my thoughts, unfortunately, don't change, so a lot of what I am going to say some of you will have heard before, but some of you have not. I am going to say two things about Africa. One, that Africa south of the Sahara is an isolated region of the world. That's the first thing I want to say. The second thing I want to say is that Africa south of the Sahara is not what it is believed to be because Africa is now changing. So let me see if I can share those thoughts with you in a very short period. Africa south of the Sahara is an isolated region of the world. During the last ten years, since my retirement as head of state of my country, I was asked, and I agreed, to establish something called the South Commission. That has meant a lot of travelling. I have been many times to Latin America, many times to Asia, many times to many parts of Africa before coming here, and many times to a large number of countries in Europe. The world is changing. It is not only Africa which is changing. The world is changing. Of the three big power blocs developing in the world since the end of the Cold War, one -- the obvious one - is the United States. It has always been there. The United States is building around it a group of other countries. That is the obvious area of power. It is the one which is very clear. Another is Europe, which is also an obvious power bloc. The third is Japan and the areas of Asia around it.
The US has neighbours. One of them is Mexico, from the Third World. A President of Mexico is reported to have said once -- this is a president of the country -- "Poor Mexico! So far from God, and so near to the United States!" When he said that, what Mexicans were reaping were the disadvantages of being close to the United States. They were not getting any advantages at all from being so close to the United States. The US is reach and there is a kind of osmosis- a political osmosis, but I think also an economic osmosis. The economy of the US pulls people from Mexico into the United States. The US has been trying very hard to stop these poor Mexicans from getting into the US, but without success. They spend a lot of money on the border, and have a lot of police there. I don't know whether they have electric fences and other things to try to prevent Mexicans going to the US, but they can't succeed. They have not succeeded. Mexicans keep pouring into the United States. The United States had decided to change its policy. They have invited Mexico to join NAFTA,
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and now they are working together to create jobs in Mexico to prevent poor Mexicans from looking for jobs in the United States. I think they will succeed and Mexicans will now want to remain in Mexico. Some will still want to go to the United States, but the flood can be stemmed. There will not be a flood of Mexicans going to the United States. What is happening between Mexico and the US is happening in Europe. Europe is a powerhouse -- not a political powerhouse or even a military power house like the US, but an economic powerhouse, and one of these days, I think, they are actually going to be a bigger powerhouse than USA. They are a power and are attracting people: again there is osmosis there, the economic osmosis. Who are pulled there? East Europeans are pulled towards Europe. But the others who are pulled towards the economic power are from Mediterranean Africa, Africa north of the Sahara. That is why I was talking about Africa south of the Sahara being the isolated region in the world. So Eastern Europe and Mediterranean Africa are to Europe what Mexico is to the US. Geography, the logic of geography, means that if you have problems of unemployment in Eastern Europe, East Europeans will want to move into Western Europe. The Germans know it, and others know it. They will try to keep them out. They will not try to keep them out by building fences or putting up another wall. They will try to help East Europeans to stay at home by creating jobs in Eastern Europe, and they are already doing that. They will do the same with regard to the Africans of North Africa. So Europe has a policy with regard to the countries of North Africa -- not simply an economic policy, but actually a security policy. The French, the Italians, the Portuguese, the Spaniards -- those are the ones in particular who are frightened of a flood of unemployment from North Africa into Europe. And some, of course, are afraid not only of the unemployed. Some think they don't like the export of Islamic fundamentalism into Europe. But I think that's a minor problem. The real problem is unemployment, people moving into Europe from North Africa. Europe has a plan. They can't just sit there and watch this happening. European countries will have to work together to help the countries of North Africa to create jobs. The other bloc is Japan. Japan is small, Japan is wealthy, Japan doesn't like other people going to Japan. They don't like that. But they are a big trading nation and they are pouring a lot of money into Asia, and I think they'll do it in China also. I don't think they'll be frightened of China. They'll put money in China. So there are those three blocs of countries, three power blocs -- power developing in Asia, power developing in North America, power developing in Europe- and those countries which are geographically in the orbit of those areas. These rich areas are being forced to help the countries which are near them. Africa south of the Sahara is different - completely different. It's not in the orbit of any of those big areas. If you people here are unemployed, very few of you will want to go to the US. The unemployed here will stay here. But so will unemployed in Tanzania. We'll not go to the US. We'll not go Europe. Certainly we'd never dream of going to Japan or anywhere else. A trickle will go out -- the stowaways. But there is no answer to our unemployment in running away from where we are. And if you try it, it won't work. So the USA is not frightened of unemployment in Africa south of the Sahara. It's your problem. It's not their problem. They will not do here or in Tanzania or in Nigeria, what they
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are doing about Mexico. No, it's not a problem for them, and it's not a problem for Europe either. Europe has a problem arising from Algeria, yes, or even from Egypt, from that part of the world. But from Africa south of the Sahara? No, they've no fear of a problem there. There is no flood of unemployed moving from this area going to Europe to seek jobs. So what would be the imperative from Europe? What pressure has Europe to deal with you people, unless you create some very attractive means of attracting a few business people? And in Asia, the Japanese are afraid that if they don't share their wealth with some of the poor, these poor might come to Japan. Those poor are not the African poor from this part of the world. They are from Asia. So that is the first thing I wanted to say about Africa south of the Sahara. You are isolated from the centres of power. There is no internal urge in the US, in Europe or in Japan to help Africa. None. And, I think, to some extent the urge of imperialism has gone. So you could easily be forgotten. Africa is of interest when we are killing one another. Then we arouse a lot of interest. The big news now in Europe and North America is not here. It's in Congo Brazzaville; Congo Brazzaville is now big news. The television screens are full of what is happening in Congo Brazzaville. That's news. And won't last for long. It might last until the end of this week, then it's out. And then, if Africa wants to appear on European television, we can cause more trouble somewhere, I think I've made that point. Africa south of the Sahara is isolated. Africa south of the Sahara, in the world today, is on its own -- totally on its own. That's the first thing I wanted to say. The second thing I wanted to say is that Africa is changing. I've been to Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America, and Africa is a stereotype. The Africa which now arouses some interest is the Brazzaville Africa, that Rwanda Africa, that Somalia Africa, that Liberia Africa. That is the Africa which arouses interest, and I don't blame these people. That's the Africa that they know. And so I go out. I come from Tanzania, and we don't have these blessed troubles that they have in other places, but I go out. Sometimes I get annoyed, but sometimes I don't get annoyed. Here I am a former president of my country. There are no problems in Tanzania -we have never had these problems that they have -- but I'm an African. So when they see me they ask about the problems of Rwanda. I say, "I don't come from Rwanda." And they answer, "But you come from Africa" But if Blair were to come to Dar es Salaam, I wouldn't ask him what is happening in Bosnia. If I meet President Kohi somewhere. I don't ask him, "what is happening in Chechnya? Kohi could say, "Why are you asking about Chechnya? I don't know hat is happening in Chechnya." But this is not true about Africa. Mr. President, here you are trying to build something which is a tremendous experience, but perhaps you are different. Sometimes they think South Africa is different, so perhaps they would say, "This is President Mandela, this is different." But for the likes of me, no, I am an African. And sometimes I get irritated, but then I say, "Why? Why do I get irritated?" Because, of course, I am a Tanzanian. But what is this Tanzania? Why should these Europeans see me as a Tanzanian? What is this Tanzania? This is something we tried to create in my lifetime. I built Tanzania. So what is this Tanzania? The Europeans are right. The North Americans are right to look at me as an African, not as a Tanzanian, because Tanzania is a creation of colonialism, which is causing us a lot of trouble on the continent. So, to some extent, Europeans are right when they choose to see us in this differentiated manner. The Tanzania here is a president of Tanzania. He struggled there for 23 years
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before he stepped down to try and turn those 125 tribes into some kind of nation, and he has succeeded to some extent. This is what I want them to think of. Why? They see me correctly as an African. So that is where I want to end. This is the other thing I really wanted to say. Africa South of the Sahara is isolated, Africa south of the Sahara is changing. That stereotype of "There is trouble in Africa all the time" is nonsensical. There is trouble in Africa, there is trouble in Asia, there is trouble in Europe, there is trouble everywhere, and it would be amazing if after the suffering of the blessed continent for the last 100 years, we didn't have what we are having. Some of these nations we have are not nations at all. They make no sense at all, any geographical sense or ethnic sense or economic sense. They don't. The Europeans set somewhere and said, "you take that part, you take that part." They drew these lines on a map and here we are, trying to create nations which are almost impossible to create. But we are changing. The continent is changing. My friend who was introducing me mentioned neocolonialism. I'm glad you still use the word "neocolonialism", because, you know. We went through a period when some of our people thought we were so advanced now to talk about neocolonialism. Uh-uh, no, no. It is almost communist to talk about neocolonialism. He is a communist? Well, I am not a communist, but I agree with you! We went through a neocolonial period in Africa. It nearly destroyed all the hopes of the struggle for the liberation of the continent, with a bunch of soldiers taking over power all over the continent, pushed, instigated and assisted by the people who talk about this stereotype of Africa. We have just got rid of Mobutu, who put him there? I don't know what Lumumba would have been if he had been allowed to live. I don't know. He was an elected leader, but angered the powerful and they removed him within weeks. Then Mobutu came on the scene within weeks and he's been there since. He was the worst of the lot. He loots the country, he goes out, and he leaves that country with a debt of US$14 billion. That money has done nothing for the people of Congo. So I sit down with friends of the World Bank and IMF. I say, "You know where that money is. Are you going to ask Kabila to tax the poor Congolese to pay that money? That would be a crime. It's criminal." And that was the type of leadership we had over a large part of Africa. They were leaders put there either by the French or by the Americans. When we had the Cold War, boy, I tell you, we couldn't breathe. But Africa is changing. You can make a map of Africa and just look at the countries stretching from Eritrea to here. Just draw a line and see all those countries. You still have a Somalia and a Burundi there, but it's a very different kind of Africa now, it has elected governments, it has confident governments. Actually, most of those countries with the exception of Uganda, have never been under military rule. Never! And since your coming onto the scene, this is completely different kind of Africa. When we were struggling here, South Africa still under apartheid, and you being a destabiliser of your neighbours instead of working together with them to develop our continent, of course that was a different thing. It was a terrible thing. Here was a powerful South Africa, and this power was a curse to us. It was not a blessing for us. We wished it away, because it was not a blessing at all. It destroyed Angola with a combination of apartheid; it was a menace to Mozambique and a menace to its neighbours, but that has changed. South Africa is democratic. South Africa is no longer trying to destroy the others. South Africa is now working with the others. And, boy please work with the others!
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And don't accept this nonsense that South Africa is big brother. My brother, you can't be big brother. What is your per capita income? Your per capita income is about US$3,000 a year. Of course compared with Tanzania you are a giant. But you are poor. When you begin to use that money this is arithmetic, simple arithmetic and if you divide the wealth of this country for the population, of course everybody gets US$3, 000, but not everybody in this country is getting US$ 3,000. That would be a miracle. That is simply arithmetic. So when you begin to use that wealth, Mr. President and I know you are trying to address the legacy of apartheid -- you have no money. You are still different from Tanzania, but you have no money. You are still more powerful. So Tanzania and the others to say that South Africa is big brother, and they must not throw their weight around, what kind of weight is that? And, in any case, this would be positive weight, not the negative weight of apartheid. So this is a different Africa. I am saying that this Africa now is changing. Neocolonialism is being fought more effectively, I think, with a new leadership in Africa. And I believe the one region which can lead this fight is our region. With the end of apartheid and South Africa having joined SADC, this area of Africa is a very solid area. It is an extremely solid area. It is strong, it has serious leaders and these leaders know one another. I know that because where some of them have come from, They have a habit of working together, Mr. President, so let them work together. Deliberately. It should be a serious decision to work together. Why? You have no other choice. You have absolutely no other choice. South Africa, because of its infrastructure, can attract more investment from Europe, from North America, than Tanzania can. Fine, go ahead. Do it, use your capacity to get as much investment as you can. That's good. But then don't be isolated from the rest of Africa. What you build here because of your infrastructure and the relative strength of your economy, you are building for all of us here. The power that Germany has is European power, and the Europeans are moving together. The small and the big are working together. It is absurd for Africa to think that we, these little countries of Africa, can do it alone. Belgium has 10 million people. Africa south of the Sahara if you exclude South Africa has 470 million Africans, I sit down with the Prime Minister of Belgium, and he talks to me about European unity. I say, "You are small, your country is very small, so how can you talk of European unity with giants like Germany and the others? He says, "This question of the protection of our sovereignty we leave to the big powers. We lost our sovereignty ages ago." These countries are old, their sovereignty is old. These Europeans fought wars. When we were studying history, it was the history of the wars of Europe. They fought and fought, and they called their wars World Wars. But now I can't imagine Europeans fighting. No, war in Europe is an endangered species. I think it's gone, certainly war between one country and another. The internal problems you will still have, the problem of the Balkans, but that is a reflection of something that is like Africa. So I'm saying that Africa is changing because the leadership in Africa is changing. Africa is beginning to realise and we should all encourage Africa to get that realisation more and more that we have to depend upon ourselves, both at national level and at the collective level. Each of our countries will have to rely upon its own human resources and natural material resources for its development. But that is not enough. The next area to look at is our collectivity, our working together. We all enhance our capacity to develop if we work together.
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V The Chinweizu Interview: "It’s a War for the African mind" Thursday, 01 December 2005 Chinweizu in conversation with James Eze Q: Sir I hope you don’t mind my recording this conversation. Some of the things you have already said so far are too exciting for a reporter to pass up. A : Does this mean that without a tape recorder you cannot do a summary description of a conversation an hour later? If you can’t do that, you couldn’t have been a journalist in Zikâs time because there was no tape recorder then. Can’t you be at a meeting and report the proceedings later if it is so crowded that you couldn’t bring out pen and paper to writ e? Q: As a matter of fact I could and I have indeed done it many times before. I don’t know if it would sound immodest to say that I also have a good memory. The fact is that I consider meeting you a privilege and I wouldn’t want to summarize what you have to say but to have it in a format that will make reference to it at a later time possible. I also would like to take direct quotes from you and I wouldn’t want to quote you out of context or paraphrase your statements in a manner that robs them of the vital punch lines. A: I’ve heard you. The point is, we are discussing a general institutional failure. You yourself can have the best memory in the world, you can still do very good work, but as an institution, something is not being cultivated. And that is the point. The journalism profession in Nigeria today, and probably in most of the world, has deviated from the craft tradition where you are trained on the job. That great tradition is lost and with it a lot of knowledge of how to do things. Now, you rely on Mass Comm Departments to train journalists, but there's no substitute for learning on the job. Most farmers can still farm because they learn it on the job, because they go through the nitty-gritty under the observation of the elders; and the elders will explain and tell them when they are not doing anything right. Training is based ultimately not on lectures but on that practical hands-on context. Engineers are trained in universities, but most industries regard fresh graduates as raw material. They have the theory, they have the general information, but when they get to the factory floor they have to really bend down and pick up some practical knowledge. Q: But does that necessarily imply that the design of our education system may have left out some vital loose ends?
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A: Do you have an education system? Q: Well, we have a system in place at the moment even if it does not qualify as an education system. A: You have what you dignify by calling it an education system. Q: Well, it’s perhaps because some of us are products of this system and may not have had the good fortune of knowing how other systems work. A: Well, the argument is not with you but with those who maintain the system and call it an education system. An education system trains somebody to live in a particular society. That's what every proper education system does. As somebody recently said in a book: A Chaga with the education of an Eskimo is, from the point of view of his society, uneducated, as he would be were he to have been exclusively educated in a Western school or university. Now, if you take an Eskimo who lives in his environment, his ecosystem, and give him the training of an Englishman who lives in a different environment, is that education? You train him to live in English society but he is not going to live in English society. In Eskimo society, he cannot fit in because he has a wrong mentality; his attitude, his notion of his ecosystem and how to exploit it are all wrong. So, he is not educated. He cannot function effectively in Eskimo society because you trained him for English society, which is in a different ecosystem. What we practice here is some version of the English education system. You see the students in all these schools with their jackets and blazers, especially these new ones in Lekki and V.I. What are they being trained to be? What society will they operate in when they graduate? Not English society, not American society but Nigerian society. And they are not being trained to function in Nigerian society or ecosystem. Start with language. Language is critical in any culture. So when you train people in a language that is not the language of their culture, you have not trained them for their culture. This is a very large issue, actually, but the point is that what we call our education system here is basically a miseducation system. We are miseducating our children by trying to train them as if they are going to live in the industrialized society of England , with the traditions of England and among people who think and behave as the English people do. But that's not the society they are going into. So, on the premise that an education system trains people to live in their own society and ecosystem, what we have here is a miseducation system. It’s all crap! People think they are doing a great thing here: They give birth to a child and hand it over to an alien education system and expect that at the end of 20 or 30 years he would come back to be part of them. It can't be, because they have molded him differently, alienated him from his culture.
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Q: How can a good education system be designed? What are the standards in other societies? A: The standards in other societies should not interest you because they were designed for their own peculiar purposes. You have to ask yourself what kind of training you need in your own society, and then invent a system to provide it. It's not something you copy; it's something you invent. You have to know what you want, what kind of society you want the products to live in. If you haven't worked out all those things, then you haven't started, because it's only when you know the purpose for which you plan to train the next generation that you can invent an education system that will serve your purpose. For a century now, we have not been educating our people for our society and its ecosystem. It started when the British conquered us. So, it's a great error that has been perpetuated for a century or more. We don't even train people to speak our languages. Here we are, holding this discussion in English. It's not your fault or mine. I am just pointing out the cumulative effect of a century of misdirection. It was not the fault of our ancestors directly because somebody conquered them and imposed an alien and alienating system on them. The white people trained people here because they needed clerks to help them exploit us. That's why they brought their schools. They didn't bring their schools to help us survive. The people who designed the present system did not do so in our interest. They came here to destroy us. And some of the structures they brought in, we have foolishly adopted as our own and we can't see beyond our noses to realize that what they have given us is poison, and that we should throw it out and find something else. We haven't reached that stage in our understanding of our situation. So, we perpetuate the ruinous system the British left behind. Q: This miseducation, as you rightly pointed out, has been going on for over a century. So, when shall we wake up to its disturbing reality? A : Well, it's not in the hands of any other people; it's in our own hands. The world is moving on. It is when we want to wake up from our slumber that we will wake up. Fela, in one of his songs, told us what to do. He reminded us that, as in other lands, it is the culture of our people that our schools should teach. That's the basic need. But was he heeded? We blacks haven't understood that this our imported way of living isn't a good way. Until we find that out, we'll keep messing up. But, as usual, we don't ask ourselves the fundamentals. Take this matter of education, which is our gloss of Igbo ozuzu. In contrast to this education, which is a process of book learning and Europeanization, ozuzu was the process of socializing a child into the Igbo way of life, so he became an adult equipped to behave in the Igbo way, rather than the Eskimo way, the European way or some other non-
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Igbo way, or even like a wild animal! Unlike this education, ozuzu was specific and appropriate to a cultural context, the Igbo context. It aimed to produce, not just any kind of educated person, but an Igbo person, a well-behaved Igbo person, suffused with the Igbo worldview, and living by the Igbo code of conduct. And I am sure that every other precolonial African society had its own equivalent of Igbo ozuzu, an equivalent that was appropriate to its own specific culture. To get back to your point about our waking up, we shall continue on our present ruinous way until we wake up and retrace our steps to our ancestral system of culturally appropriate education, and then develop it. The pertinent question to ask is not how other societies educate but how did our ancestors socialize and acculturate their children for their environment? The answer does not lie in copying how other societies conduct their own training. There's so much to learn from what our ancestors did. If we find out how we did it in ancient times, we can then adapt from it and make a new version that will serve our new situation. What they did is still relevant. After all, we still live in the same ecosystem as they did. And they mastered how to live in it, which is why we have survived so far. And we should gratefully use their legacy to our benefit. Q: Now, talking about our ancestors, you are a distinguished black scholar. How valid is the claim that Greek civilization had its origins in Africa , particularly Egypt ? And also how true is the claim that these ancient Egyptians from whom the Greeks borrowed the now famous European model of civilization were actually black? A: The long and short of it is that the ancient Egyptians, those who built the pyramids and all of Pharaonic civilization were black; and they played a central role in the formation of Greek culture. The evidence of that is abundant. Pythagoras, Orpheus, Homer, Thales, Lycurgus, Solon, Plato, Eudoxus and other famous Greeks that founded the various aspects of Greek civilization went to Egypt to learn. Much of what is propagated as Greek philosophy and Greek knowledge were things they learnt when they went to Egypt to study. There are books on that. Here, for instance, is Onyewuenyi's book on that (produces a copy of Prof. Onyewuenyi's The African Origins of Greek Philosophy: An exercise in Afrocentrism ). Furthermore, Egyptian influence on Greek civilization was not exerted only through students who took Egyptian learning back to Greece . In addition, by ancient Greek accounts, settlers from Egypt and Phoenicia had, much earlier, either founded or supplied ruling dynasties to such Greek cities as Thebes , Argos , Sparta and Athens . Athens is actually named after an Ancient Egyptian city Sais which was reportedly also called Athenai; and the Greek goddess Athena is a version of the goddess Neith of the Egyptian Sais/Athenai. In addition, many Greek words, (about 25% of the Greek vocabulary, by some expert estimates) are derived from Ancient Egyptian. Greek place names that were derived from Egyptian words testify to
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what the ancient Greeks themselves said: that Egyptians had colonized Greece in remote times and taught civilization to the Greeks. They also said that Greek religion, including its oracles and mystery rites, was introduced from Egypt . A good popular account of all this is given in the book Black Spark, White Fire by Richard Poe. If the specialist argument interests you, you can look it up in the multi-volume work Black Athena by Martin Bernal. On the matter of the color of the Ancient Egyptians, Herodotus, whom the Europeans call the father of history, said that the Egyptians were black. In fact Cheikh Anta Diop has an essay, Origin of the Ancient Egyptians, in which he quoted about ten of those Greek and Roman writers who lived during the first six centuries after the whites had overrun Egypt . They all say that the ancient Egyptians were black. People who went there and saw them with their own eyes, said that the ancient Egyptians were black. They were still a black population even centuries after whites had overrun them. In contrast, those claiming today that the Ancient Egyptians were not black have not produced even one ancient eyewitness report that says the Egyptians were anything other than black. The bottom line is that Ancient Greek civilization was a daughter of Egypt ; and that the Ancient Egyptians were blacks. The white boys now pretend that the Ancient Egyptian civilization was created by white people and that it did not spawn Greek civilization. They are lying about all that and they have been doing so for the last three centuries. Their ancestors knew differently. The Greeks themselves said differently. So, even if you don't believe what anybody else says, there are the ancient Greeks themselves who studied in or visited Egypt , and they said so. Q: How come black people could not sustain this civilization after the Europeans invaded Egypt ? Where was our proverbial knowledge? A : You first have to understand that black civilization was destroyed. Chancellor Williams wrote a book, The Destruction of Black Civilization, where he describes that. The easiest way to understand what happened is to take what happened to your own country in the last century. Once you lose sovereignty, you are rubbished. Loss of sovereignty is the worst thing that can happen to a people. The Egyptians tried long and hard to maintain their sovereignty and power: it took the white people more than 1000 years of repeated attempts to finally overrun Egypt . But once they finally accomplished it, it was one white group after another. The Persians were the first whites to overrun Egypt . Before them, other groups had penetrated Egypt but were fought off by the Egyptians. The long and short of it is that 525 BC was the final defeat of Egypt , about 2,500 years ago. After the Persians, the Greeks defeated the Persians and took over Egypt . Then the Romans took over and occupied it till
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the Arabs invaded Egypt . The Arab invasion was the turning point because all the previous conquerors just sent people to administer Egypt , but the Arabs came in large numbers to live. They were a settler multitude. They swamped and drove the real Egyptians away so that today, most Egyptians don't look black. The only Egyptians who are still black are descended from remnants of the ancient Egyptians. People like Sadat, the former Egyptian president. Sadat didn't look like the normal Arab; he was black, being of Nubian descent, from the Nubian remnants of the Ancient Egyptians. Boutrous Ghali, who was presented as an Egyptian, is a Copt and the Copts are descendants of Greek invaders. So, Boutrous Ghali is a white man. He descended from people like Cleopatra who were the Greek colonizers of Egypt . But, by the lying accounts of modern Europeans, the Copts are the real Ancient Egyptians! The long and short of it is that 525 BC marked the end of the sovereign ancient black Egypt . Everything since then has been the Egypt of white invaders. The invaders have long since taken over. That's the way it is with conquest. If you allow yourself to be conquered, you are finished. Not many peoples survive conquest, especially by conquerors who are determined to eliminate you. Black Africa is struggling to shake off the effects of just one century of people who didn't even come in droves to live here. It's so hard. They scattered your civilization, scattered your culture, scattered your mind and scattered your mentality. And just getting yourselves out of that disaster is difficult enough, not to talk of when they come in large numbers to settle permanently and take over your land. So, you can begin to understand what happened in Egypt . But the basic thing is that those illustrious Egyptians were black. The pyramids were built by black people. All of the glory of Ancient Egypt belongs to black people. But there are other questions, of course. Why is the influence of Ancient Egyptian civilization not so manifest in the rest of Africa ? It's necessary to ask such questions. Egypt happens to be one great achievement but where are the others? This is what makes it easier for the whites to claim Egypt . Maybe if pyramids like those of Ancient Egypt are found all over the continent and you lose Egypt to the whites, that's not so bad. There would still be enough visible remains to save you from the imputation of having achieved nothing. There are all kinds of questions about African history that need to be investigated, but black people are yet to wake up from their slumber to investigate them. Cheikh Anta Diop once asked: How can Africans love Africa when they don't know Africa ?• A century of European brainwashing through the education system has done its damage, and to get out of it is a long and difficult process. So, people should just read Cheikh Anta Diop's works to get themselves started. These include The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality,
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Pre-Colonial Black Africa , The Cultural Unity of Black Africa , and Civilization or Barbarism. Q: It would seem that all these claims and counter claims have not been helped by the seeming lack of any enduring account of how black people evolved as a race. To the best of my knowledge, there doesn't seem to be a historically black theory of creation outside of the big bang. You are knowledgeable in these things, do you know of any? A: We have the Ancient Egyptian cosmogony: it is the original from which the Hebrew cosmogony in the Bible was derived. Dogon cosmogony was recorded in 1946 by some French anthropologists. I believe there were many others and that, wherever there appears to be none, it has been simply lost. The notion that some societies did not have their own world systems, including cosmogonies, is, I think, just a Euro chauvinist prejudice. The valid question, to my mind, is: would these cosmogonies still be remembered now, after what befell black people for all of the last century? Q: These things are known to have a way of enduring through the generations. They may not be popular but you would still find people who know about these accounts if ever they existed. A : Well, if there are such people who do remember, until you seek and find them, how would you know? Indians can remember theirs and their journey through time because they still have the institutions that have transmitted Hindu lore and knowledge for many thousands of years, from one generation to the next, orally, by their own methods, under their own authorities. So too the Dogon. The condition for finding ancestral bodies of knowledge, cosmogonies included, seems to be this: The society must have preserved its ancestral organization, especially the institutions of the initiates, those that conserved and transmitted ancestral knowledge of all sorts. In the 1940s and 1950s, there were still many such societies left in Africa , societies that had managed to preserve some cultural autonomy and had saved their ancestral institutions from total destruction by the intolerance and fanaticism that is standard with Christians, Moslems, colonial administrators, Europeanizers and Arabizers. That was why French anthropologists were able to document the world systems of the Dogon, Bambara, Bozo, Kouroumba and others. (See the book Conversations with Ogotemmeli, by Marcel Griaule). The point I am making is that many such accounts as we had would have been destroyed in the last century because part of the main work of the missionaries was to attack all our institutions, calling them works of the devil and so on. So, they interrupted the transmission of ancestral lore, and there are things that, if you interrupt transmission for two generations, they are gone! If father doesn't teach son and son doesn't teach grandson, the knowledge is lost.
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And too much of that has happened to us in the last 100 years. So, even if a cosmogony existed in a given society and we cannot find people who have received it from their parents, it's lost. We Africans are like a people hit by a rampaging hurricane of barbarism from Europe , a hurricane which swept through our continent, disrupting and destroying so many things. If our people had woken up in the 1960s, it would have been easier to start reconstructing the transmission structures because, at that time, some of these things were still around. But now, after a full century of loss, it's very difficult to find the bits and pieces, especially for people who had no strong institutions for preserving ancestral lore. But even those who still have strong institutions may have found it hard to do so under the hostile and deforming conditions of colonialism. Look at Bin people for instance. Their monarchy is still intact. I, therefore, think that keepers of their ancestral world systems are still there. So they could begin to reconstruct, but any society that does not have strong institutions that can preserve those things is worse off. Ndi-Igbo are in this sad group. Even the remnants of those few institutions that Ndi-Igbo had have been destroyed. That’s what you destroy when you attack shrines and sacred groves. Missionaries destroyed most of them 100 years ago; now it’s our own people who are destroying the remainder. You recently demolished Okija shrine over some rubbish, some false and sensational allegations, whereas it’s such institutions and their priests that preserve knowledge of the kind you are asking about. The more you demonize them, the more you lose these precious things. Now, this has gone on for a century; so what are you going to pick up that will be intact, coherent and authentic? This is the reason why we don’t know as much as we should know. Take, for instance, the institution of Eze Nri, whether in Oraeri or in Nri: Is it still being preserved? Are they still keeping the ancestral traditions intact? When the keepers of a tradition go Christian or Islamic, a lot of things get adulterated, abandoned or lost. So there are all kinds of difficulties in recovering the ancestral tradition after five generations of this type of damage. I am not saying that the full story, if we had collected it a century ago, would have answered all the questions you are raising. I am saying that we don’t even have that little to tell us how far we can recreate our history and the various myths of origin that we had. There are myths of origin all over the world but if we could find out our own, it would help to answer some of these questions. Q: Now, how would you assess the present Nigerian society as it is. Are we showing any real signs of readiness to stand on our feet? A: Nigeria? Stand on its feet? This Nigeria that cannot survive one month without imports? That must be the joke of the century! Can Nigeria defend herself? Can Nigeria defend her territory and population from any attack? If she can’t, what are you talking about? Where is
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Nigeria going? Nowhere but down the drain and into the sad condition of Haiti. The world is in crisis, you can’t defend yourself, you can’t even grow your own food? All it would take to scatter Nigeria is an embargo from wherever we import all these importables. If they embargo exports to Nigeria for one month will there be any Nigeria left? You are in a disaster if you can’t even survive for a month unless your enemies allow you to eat. The root of the disaster is that you don’t even understand that you are at war and that you have enemies; and you take your imperialist enemies as your best friends! Q: Are we at war really? A: You’ve been at war for six hundred years and you don’t even know it, and you’ve lost every battle in that war. When you don’t even know you are at war then you’re lost. Europe has been making war on the world since the time of Columbus. You complain about slave trade. Who were the slaves? Were they not prisoners of war? You talk of the scramble for Africa; was it just a scramble? It was the conquest of Africa, but you delude yourselves by calling it a scramble. Colonialism: you were slaves to colonial masters, doing forced labor for them; your foreign conquerors came and ruled you, that’s slavery and that’s war. When some armed fellow comes to your house and takes it over, comes into your bedroom and tells you what to do and not do, is he your friend or your enemy? We don’t understand that we are at war and that we have been at war for a long time. And that we have lost every major encounter. Even your so-called independence might have counted as a partial victory, but it isn’t, because you didn’t get independence. You didn’t. So, if a people are at war and have lost every battle for six centuries, are they not in disaster? It’s not that a disaster is coming, we are already in the final stages of it. The question now is: Will there be black people living here in the next century? Will the people of Nigeria survive till this time next century? Q: What is the nature of this war? It’s not a shooting war evidently. A: It’s long past the shooting stage. When Lugard and his troops were conquering dif ferent bits and pieces of Nigeria, when they attacked Sokoto, Lokoja and other places; when British troops attacked Arochukwu and crisscrossed all over Igboland shooting, burning and destroying, that was the shooting stage that led to what you now call colonialism. So, we lost the war before the shooting stage, lost it at the shooting stage, lost it at the fundamental cultural stages when they destroyed our ancestral education system and destroyed our religion. We lost all those stages of the war. It’s like what’s happening in Sudan now: the Arabs overrun a village, kill the men, rape the women and force them into slavery, capture the small children and raise them up as Arabs. That’s exactly what the British did to us. They defeated all your kingdoms and non-kingdoms, captured the small
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children and sent them to mission schools where they raised them as fake Europeans. That’s what we all are. Q: That’s what we all are? A: That’s what we all are; every one of us now in Nigeria . For five generations so far. You see people have a baby today, tomorrow they hand him over to the church and the school where children are brainwashed as imitation Europeans. It’s a cultural war, a military war. The military stage is over but it can come back again. We still have episodes of the shooting war erupting from time to time -- as in Bakalori, Odi, Zaki-Biam and in the case of the Apo Six -- when armed units of the Nigerian State massacre defenceless Nigerians, and do so with impunity. And there is the political side too: you guys claim you have democracy, you have the AU, you have NEPAD. You haven’t asked yourself what those organizations and programs actually are; what purpose were they instituted to serve and what will happen to you in another 50 years if they continue? You are at the tail end of a 600 year old disaster. Q: What is the nature of this struggle? A: It has been comprehensive all along. But at this terminal stage, it’s mostly a cultural war. But it’s also an economic war in the sense that when Obasanjo goes an d throws away $12 billion of your money to the Paris Club, that’s the economic side of the war. When he jacks up your petrol prices, that’s the economic side of the war. Who are the beneficiaries of this jacking up and all that? Whose orders is he carrying out? Enemy orders. And how many thousands have starved, gone mad or even died from the effects of these enemy policies (foreignization, deregulation, etc) that OBJ has been implementing? They are the present day casualties of the economic side of this war. But, of course, you donâ€™t understand that the IMF, the UN, the WHO, the World Bank and WTO are enemy institutions. So you are at war on every front and you don’t even know it. They use these agencies to dictate your government policies, down to the last detail. None of your budgets is devised without abiding by the framework that the World Bank and the IMF impose, before it is allowed to be written up and announced and you are allowed to implement it. Nyerere called it the International Ministry of Finance. I call it the Imperialist Ministry of Finance. That’s what the IMF actually is. And the imperialists use it to run Nigeria and the other provinces of their global G-8 empire. And they sent you their agent, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala to be your Finance Minister and you accepted, and she is doing their job. She is on leave from the World Bank. That wasn’t quite clear until the other day when the MIT Alumni Magazine wrote that she is on leave from the World Bank. So, she’s still on their job. And she’s your Minis ter of Finance designing policies to impoverish you and enrich her imperialist masters. You say you are not at war? Well, it’s worse than a Trojan Horse because the enemy has taken control of your
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brain. In the old imperialism, they would send a white governor general to come and run your affairs. After a while they began sending their agents whom you appointed as consultants to your presidents and to your ministry of finance, to co-ordinate oversee things for the imperialists. Now they have locals whom they have trained and brought up and you just make them your Minister of Finance or Central Bank Manager or this or that. So, your own people are now running the provinces of their empire for them. That is the disaster in which you are. And the bottom line of all this is that when you project all the things that are happening now, you’ll see that your economic system is on its way to implode. Q: How? A: The self-uprooting dynamic of this upside-down economy will cause it to implode. But even before you get to that point, there’s the matter of oil. Your oil is not going to last forever, is it? In fact, it will soon finish. This Nigeria you talk about, what is it? It’s only a pool of oil under your ground. And who mines it? The foreigners mine it, they tell you how much they have taken and give you some money. And even before the oil finishes, if they refuse to pay you tomorrow, Nigeria will collapse in 6 weeks. This Nigerian state you are talking about with Obasanjo and all his gragra, all this foolishness about being the giant of Africa and about getting a permanent veto seat on the UN Security Council; if Obasanjo, or whoever takes over Aso Rock, doesn’t have the money to pay his security services, nobody will take orders from him; Nigeria will collapse in one week. So when the Americans were warning about your collapsing in 10 years, they were just being nice to you. All it takes for them to destroy Nigeria , whenever it is in their interest to do so, is to instruct the oil companies not to pay you a damn penny for six weeks, and Nigeria is finished. Nigeria is a failed state already, and if you don’t have oil revenue for six weeks all your governors, all the contracts they have been sharing will come to an end. And who will be loyal to the Nigerian state if money is not being dished out? You are living in a state that doesn’t really exist. It’s only a contraption that the foreigners built and are using for their own purposes. They can disappear it any day they like. All that your on shore-off shore debate. None of the oil is effectively yours. It’s like a child who is told that a goat is its own. The day it’s killed he will not know. If he is lucky, he will arrive to see his goat in the soup pot on the fire. The oil still left in Ijaw land in the Niger Delta, who mines it? If they refuse to mine it tomorrow, what will you do? If the oil companies say they are pulling out tomorrow, what will you do? They have their reasons for not doing so for now. You are a big power, right? Big enough for a Security Council veto seat, right? The easiest way for them to call your game, to dispel your delusions and cut you down to size, is to say: sorry, we shall no longer mine oil in Nigeria and your state will collapse. You don’t have the off shore oil under your control. The US Navy is in physical possession of all the oil fields in the Gulf of Guinea. You can’t dislodge
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them. What do you have to dislodge them with and say: this place is mine, I want you out? So, oil money is the only thing holding Nigeria together today and that oil is not in your control. So, your state is not only insecure, it’s rickety, it has no economic foundation. All it takes is for someone to stop paying money into its account and this conceited Lugardian state will disappear, poof! Your president cannot give an order to anyone and have it carried out if there is no money to share, whether legally or illegally. The caliphate thinks it is clever but it does not realize that the game it’s been playing is coming to an end. Q: The caliphate itself? A: The caliphate is dead. All you have been seeing for a hundred years is the artificially revived corpse of the caliphate. It was already dying when the British propped it up for their own purposes and later handed Nigeria over to it to run for them. The caliphate has foolishly run Nigeria into the ground and turned it into a cesspool, and neither Nigeria nor the Caliphate will survive without oil revenue. Nothing in Nigeria will survive without oil revenue and that revenue can be stopped any day by the G8 masters when it suits their interest. So, you are not in control of anything. You can’t even feed yourselves, you can’t produce food. To produce food, you now must depend on fertilizers, and fertilizers depend on oil. The Nigerian state has even sabotaged the refineries that would help produce fertilizers locally to lessen the impact of an enemy embargo. If your oil money is cut off, but you have working refineries, you can try to make your own fertilizers and carry on for a while. But now, with your refineries ki lled off, if there’s no imported fertilizer for one season, there’ll be no food! What I am pointing out is that you are living in a rickety structure that is already as good as dead. All that is waiting to happen is Nigeria’s official funeral. And you are shouting keep Nigeria one, Nigeria will survive. How can it? Why should it? Okay let’s watch and see. Q: What must Nigeria do to counter these obvious inadequacies? A: I am not an adviser to Nigeria. If I have any idea, why should I help to sustain this rickety structure by giving it to them? Nigeria to me is an enemy state. So, I don’t see why I should give out any idea on how to preserve Nigeria.
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Q: Nigeria, an enemy state? A: Yes, it was created by our enemies. Lugard was an enemy of the African peoples he conquered and foisted the Nigerian state on. And that state has not changed. It was programmed to be the enemy of the Nigerian peoples, and so it remains. Just think of Bakalori, Odi, Zaki-Biam, the Apo Six. Is that the behavior of a friend or enemy of the Nigerian people? So why should I be advising an enemy creation on how to preserve itself? It’s none of my business. Lagos , Nov. 2005
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VI The Political Leader Considered as the Representative of a Culture. Sekou Toure (On October 2, 1958 Sekou Touré, proclaimed Guinea's independence from France and became its first president. One year later he gave a speech in Conakry, the capital in which he outlined the role of political leaders in reflecting and developing the culture of their nations. That speech appears below.)
Since culture is not an entity or a phenomenon which is separate or separable from a people, the political leaders who have, in a free and democratic manner, acquired the confidence of that people with a view to directing it along the way it has chosen, are at the same time the expression of the aspirations of their people and the representatives or defenders of its cultural values. The culture of a people is necessarily determined by its material and moral conditions. The man and his surroundings constitute a whole. Every free and sovereign people finds itself placed in conditions more favourable to the expression of its cultural values than a colonized country, deprived of all freedom, whose cultué sustains the nefarious consequences of its state of subjection4 Whether it is a question of a free people or of a colonized people, the political leader who truly remains the authentic expression of his people is the one whose thought, sense of existence, social conduct and objects of action are in perfect harmony with the characteristics of his people. Whether he tends, in a conservative spirit, to ensure the maintenance of an old economic, social and moral equilibrium, or in revolutionary manner, to replace the old conditions, by new conditions more favourable to the people, the political leader is by the very fact of his communion of ideas and action with his people, the representative of a culture. That culture may be reactionary or progressist according to the nature of the aims set for the action of the political movement to which the people have committed themselves. The man, before becoming the leader of a group, a people, or party of the people, has inevitably made a choice between the par and the future. In this way he will represent and defend the a values, or he will sustain and give impulsion to the development and constant enrichment of all the values of his people, including the cultural values, which by their
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content and their form will express the realities of the conditions of existence of the people, or the need which they experience or feel for a transformation. In consequence, whatever may be the fundamental character of a culture, reactionary or progressist, the political leader who is freely chosen by a people, maintains a natural link between action and the culture proper to his people, since, in any event, he could not act effectively upon the people if he ceased to obey the rules and values which determine their behaviour and influence their thought. Why are the great thinkers of capitalism not accepted by the peoples who have chosen other ways of evolution? The leaders of the popular democracies could not represent a culture which was capitalist in essence for the good reason that their peoples have chosen the socialist system. Arab culture is equally different from Latin culture because of the fact that the Arab peoples and the Latin peoples obey different thoughts and different rules of life. In addition to the material and technical state in which a people finds itself, their mental, philosophic and moral state gives their culture a form of expression and a significance which are proper to them, quite independent of the extent to which they have a decisive influence on the general cultural context. The imperialists use scientific, technical, economic, literary and moral cultural values in order to maintain their regime of exploitation and oppression. The oppressed peoples equally use cultural values of a contrary nature to the former, in order to make a better fight against imperialism and to extricate themselves from the colonial system. If scientific knowledge, modern techniques and the elevation of thought to the level of higher human principles for the perfecting of social life, are necessary for the enrichment of a culture, they none the less retain the capacity of being used for contradictory purposes. It is at this point that the cultural value of a people must be identified with the contributory value which it may represent in the development of universal civilization in establishing between human beings concrete relations of equality, solidarity, unity and fraternity. Thus, the true political leaders of Africa, whose thought and attitude tend towards the national liberation of their peoples can only be committed men, fundamentally committed against all the forms and forces of depersonalization of African culture. They represent, by
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the anti-colonialist nature and the national content of their struggle, the cultural values of their society mobilized against colonization. It is as representatives of these cultural values that they lead the struggle for the decolonization of all the structures of their country. But decolonization does not consist merely in liberating oneself from the presence of the colonizers: it must necessarily be completed by total liberation from the spirit of the ‘colonized’, that is to say, from all the evil consequences, moral, intellectual and cultural, of the colonial system. Colonization, in order to enjoy a certain security, always needs to create and maintain a psychological climate favourable to its justification: hence the negation of the cultural, moral and intellectual values of the subjected people; that is why the struggle for national liberation is only complete when, once disengaged from the colonial apparatus, the country becomes conscious of the negative values deliberately injected into its life, thought and traditions... in order to extirpate them in the conditions of its evolution and flourishing This science of depersonalizing the colonized people is sometimes so subtle in its methods that it progressively succeeds in falsifying our natural psychic behaviour and devaluing our own original virtues and qualities with a view to our assimilation It is no mere chance that French colonialism reached its height at the period of the famous and now exploded theory of ‘primitive’ and ‘pre-logical mentality’ of Lévy-Bruhl. I modifying certain forms of its manifestations, although it apparently tries to adapt itself to the inevitable evolution of the oppressed peoples, colonization has never engendered, under the most diverse and subtle aspects, anything but a moral, intellectual and cultural superiority complex towards the colonized peoples. And this policy of depersonalization is all the more successful since the nature of the degree of evolution of the colonized and I colonizer is different. It is all the more deeply rooted where domination is long-lasting. In the most varied forms, the ‘colonized complex’ taints evolution and imprints itself on our very reflexes. Thus the wearing of a cap and sun-glasses, regarded as a sign of western civilization, bears witness to this depersonalization which runs counter to the current of our evolution. Nevertheless, it is wrong to think that one people, one race one culture possess by themselves all the moral, spiritual, social or intellectual values: to believe that the truth is
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not necessarily to be found elsewhere than in one’s own national, racial or cultural background is an Utopia. We have already said that human discoveries, intellectual acquisitions, the expansion of knowledge do not belong exclusively to anyone. They are the result of a sum of universal discoveries, acquisitions and expansion in which no people has the right to claim a monopoly. The immigrants into the United States did not leave behind them at the frontiers of their respective countries all that they acquired in the intellectual field; they did not have to reinvent sailing ships, iron tools or gunpowder. They used them for their own needs before certain colonial powers thought of claiming their discovery and the rights of ownership in them. It is not because he symbolizes the colonial presence that the French gendarme in garrison at Dakar or Algiers is the ‘proprietor’ of the process of liberating the atom. And yet it is in this form and by similar intellectual approaches that colonialism has established the principle of its superiority. Our school books in the colonial schools teach us about the wars of the Gauls, the life of Joan of Arc or Napoleon, the list of French Départements, the poems of Lamartine or the plays of Moliere, as though Africa had never had any history, any past, any geographical existence, any cultural life... Our pupils were only appreciated according to their aptitude in this policy of integral cultural assimilation. Colonialism, through its diverse manifestations, by boasting of having taught our elite in its schools science, technique, mechanics and electricity, succeeds in influencing a number of our intellectuals to such an extent that they end up by finding in this the justification for colonial domination. Some go so far as to believe that, in order to acquire the true universal knowledge of science, they must necessarily disregard the moral, intellectual and cultural values of their own country in order to subject themselves to and assimilate a culture which is often foreign to them in a thousand respects. And yet, is not the knowledge which leads to the practice of surgery taught in the same way in London, Prague, Belgrade and Bordeaux? Is the procedure for calculating the volume of a body not identical in New York, Budapest and Berlin? Is the principle of Archimedes not the
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same in China and in Holland? There is no Russian chemistry or Japanese chemistry, there is only chemistry pure and simple. The science which results from all universal knowledge has no nationality. The ridiculous conflicts which rage about the origin of this or that discovery do not interest us, because they add nothing to the value of the discovery. But, however much it may dissemble, colonialism betrays its intentions in the organization and nature of the education which it claims to dispense in the name of some humanism or other, I know not what. The truth is that, to start with, it had to satisfy its needs for junior staff, clerks, book-keepers, typists, messengers etc. The elementary character of the education dispensed bears sufficiently eloquent witness to the object in view, for the colonial power took great care, for example, not to set up real administrative colleges for young Africans which might have trained genuine executives, or to teach the real history of Africa and so forth. What would have happened on the morow of the Independance of Guinea, if we had not ourselves created, during the period of the Outline Law, our own administrative college? The administrative life of the Republic of Guinea would have faced us at Government level with a multitude of problems which we could only have solved in empirical fashion. This determination to keep the populations in a constant state of inferiority marks both the programmes and the nature of colonial education. It was desired that the African teacher should be and should remain a teacher of inferior quality, in order to keep the quality of teaching in Africa at an inferior level. In contrast, an obstacle was placed in the way of African officials attaining to senior rank by insisting on the equivalence of diplomas. This diversion was so well managed that some of our trade union comrades, although anticolonialist, fought furiously about these problems of the equivalent value of parchments instead of directly attacking the fundamental reasons for this policy of hocus-pocus. Special teachers, special doctors! what the colonial system needed was men to produce, men to create, labourers, woodcutters in the Middle Congo or the Ivory Coast, peasants in the Sudan or Dahomey, and so forth. The colonists of French West Africa and French Equatqrial Africa, the powerful colonial companies of the Belgian Congo and Rhodesia would not installed themselves in Africa had it not been for the wealth of Africa in its soil and its men, regarded as an instrument to exploit that wealth. And it was in order to resist the great endemic scourges which threatened the quantitative equilibrium of the population by
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reducing manpower that the colonial power created the corps of African doctors, with the determination to make them a subordinate corps, of ‘medical workers’. Thus, on the level of pure knowledge, on the level of universal knowledge, the education dispensed in Africa was deliberately inferior and limited to those disciplines which would allow the better exploitation of the population. In addition, primary and secondary education was constantly directed towards depersonalization and cultural dependence. We must denounce that false sentimentalism which consists in believing ourselves indebted to the contribution of a culture imposed to the detriment of our own. The problem must be tackled objectively. How many of our young students, even without realizing it, judge African culture by assessing it according to the hierarchy of values established in this field by the culture of the colonial power? The value of a culture can only be assessed in relation to its influence in the development of social conduct. Culture is the way in which a given society directs and utilizes its resources of thought. Marx and Ghandi have not contributed less to the progress of humanity than Victor Hugo or Pasteur. But while we were learning to appreciate such a culture and to know the names of its most eminent interpreters, we were gradually losing the traditional notions of our own culture and the memory of those who had thrown lustre upon it. How many of our young schoolchildren who can quote Bossuet, are ignorant of the life of El Hadj Omar? How many African intellectuals have unconsciously deprived themselves of the wealth of our culture so as to assimilate the philosophic concepts of a Descartes or a Bergson? So long as we argue solely in the light of this external acquisition, so long as we continue to judge and to make our determinations according to the values of colonial culture, we shall not be decolonized and we shall not succeed in giving our thoughts and acts a national content, that is to say a utility placed at the service of our Society. So true is it that every culture worthy of the name must be able to give and to receive; we can only regard foreign cultures as a necessary contribution to the enrichment of our own culture. The surroundings determine the individual; that is why the peasant in our villages has more authentically African characteristics than the lawyer or doctor in the big towns. In fact the
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former, who preserves more or less intact his personality and the nature of his culture, is more sensitive to the real needs of Africa. There is no indictment to be drawn up against intellectualism but it is important to demonstrate the depersonalization of the African intellectual, a depersonalization for which nobody can hold him responsible, because it is the price which the colonial system demands for teaching him the universal knowledge which enables him to be an engineer, a doctor, an architect or an accountant. That is why decolonization at the individual level must operate more profoundly upon those who have been trained by the colonial system. It is in relation to this decolonization that the African intellectual will afford effective and invaluable aid to Africa. The more he realizes the need to free himself intellectually from the colonized complex, the more he will discover our original virtues and the more he will serve the African cause. Our incessant efforts will be directed towards finding our own ways of development if we wish our emancipation and our evolution to take place without our personality being changed thereby. Every time we adopt a solution which is authentically African in its nature and its conception, we shall solve our problems easily, because all those who take part will not be disorientated or surprised by what they have to achieve; they will realize without difficulty the manner in which they must work, act, and think. Our specific qualities will be used to the full and, in the long run, we shall speed up our historic evolution. How many young men and young girls have lost the taste our traditional dances and the cultural value of our popular songs; they have all become enthusiasts for the tango or the waltz or for some singer of charm or realism. This unconsciousness of our characteristic values inevitably leads to our isolation from our own social background, whose slightest human qualities escape us. In this way we finish by disregarding the real significance of the things which surround us, our own significance. In contrast, the African peasants and craftsmen are in no way complicated by the colonial system, whose culture, habits and values they do not know. Is it necessary to emphasize that, in spite of their good will, their discipline and their fidelity to the ideal of freedom and democracy, in spite of their faith in the destiny of their country, the colonized who have been educated by the colonizer have their thought more tainted by the colonial imprint than the rural masses who have evolved in their original context.
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Africa is essentially a country of community government. Collective life and social solidarity give its habits a fund of humanism which many peoples might envy. It is also because of these human qualities that a human being in Africa cannot conceive the organization of his life outside that of the family, village or clan society. The voice of the African peoples has no features, no name, no individual ring. But in the circles which have been contaminated by the spirit of the colonizers, who has not observed the progress of personal egoism? Who has not heard the defence of the theory of art for art’s sake, the theory of poetry for poetry’s sake, the theory of every man for himself? Whereas our anonymous artists are the wonder of the world, and everywhere we are asked for our dances, our music, our songs, our statuettes, in order that their profound significance may be better known, some of our young intellectuals think that it is enough to know Prévert, Rimbaud, Picasso or Renoir to be cultivated and to be able to carry our culture, our art and our personality on to a higher plane. These people only appreciate the appearances of things, they only judge through the medium of their complexes and mentality of the ‘colonized’. For them, our popular songs are only of value so far as they fit harmoniously into the western modes which are foreign to their social significance. Our painters! they would like them to be more classical; our masks and our statuettes! purely aesthetic; without realizing that African art is essentially utilitarian and social. Mechanized and reduced to a certain restrictive form of thought, habituated to judge in the light of values which they have not been allowed to determine for themselves, educated to appreciate according to the spirit, thought, conditions and will of the colonial system, they are stupefied every time we denounce the nefarious character of their behaviour. But if they interrogated themselves, in the light, not of their theoretical knowledge of the world, but by attaining to selfconsciousness, about the true values of their people and their motherland, if they asked themselves what their conduct contributes to all Africa turned towards its objectives of liberation and progress, of peace and dignity, they would judge and appreciate our problems. They do not realize that the slightest of our original artistic manifestations represents an active participation in the life of our people. They divorce themselves from the culture of the people, the art of real life.
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In all things there is form and substance, and what is of prime importance in African art is its effective and living content, the profound thought which animates it and makes it useful to Society. Intellectuals or artists, thinkers or researchers, their capacities have no values unless they really concur with the life of the people, unless they are integrated in fundamental manner with the action, thought and aspirations of the populations. If they isolate themselves from their own surroundings by their special mentality of the colonized, they can have no influence, they will be of no value to the revolutionary action which the African populations have undertaken to liberate themselves from colonialism, they will be outcasts and strangers in their own country. This intellectual decolonization, this decolonization of thoughts and concepts may seem infinitely difficult. There is, in effect, a sum of acquired habits, of uncontrolled behaviour, a way of living, a manner of thinking, the combination of which constitutes a sort of second nature which certainly seems to have destroyed the original personality of the colonized. It is not intellectual approaches, nor even a sustained and patient labour of readapting the will which will achieve the purpose. It will only be enough if there is reintegration in the social background, a return to Africa by the daily practice of African life so as to readapt oneself to its basic values, its proper activities, its special mentality. The official, who lives constantly among other officials, will not give up his bad colonial habits, because they represent a daily practice for himself and the circles in which he lives. He will not succeed in defining himself in relation to the African revolution, he will continue to define himself in relation to himself as an official living in administrative circles. He will have reduced his human objectives solely to an administrative career. The artist who is proudly convinced that it is enough for him to be known in order to express the African personality in his works, will remain a colonized intelligence, an intelligence enslaved by colonial thought. Take the example of the Ballets of our comrade Keita Fodeiba which for several years have been touring the world to reveal through the medium of that traditional mode of expression, African dancing, the cultural, moral and intellectual values of our Society. And yet it was not at the Paris Opera or the Vienna Opera that these artists were initiated. Their choreographic
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initiation merely starts from their authentically African education and the national consciousness of our artistic values. The troupe is an anonymous troupe in which there is no first or second star. The singers only know the popular songs of Africa as they learned them in their far-off village. The value of the troupe of our comrade Keita Fodeiba is its authenticity, and it will have done more to reveal the social and choreographic values of Africa than will ever be done by all the works of colonial inspiration which have been written on this subject. And that because no author has been able or has understood how to interpret the internal significance of the dance, which is, in Africa, a part of the social and intellectual life of the people. It is not enough to write a revolutionary hymn to take part in the African revolution; it is necessary to act in the revolution with the people—with the people and the hymns will come of their own accord. In order to exercise authentic action, it is necessary to be oneself a living part of Africa and its thought, an element in that popular energy which is totally mobilized for the Liberation, progress and happiness of Africa. There is no place outside this one combat either for the artist or the intellectual who is not himself committed and totally mobilized with the people in the great struggle of Africa and of suffering humanity. The man of Africa, yesterday still marked by the unworthiness of others, still excluded from universal enterprises, set at a distance from a world which had made him inferior by the practice of domination, this man, deprived of everything, stateless in his own country, seated naked and impoverished on his own wealth, is suddenly re-emerging into the world, to claim the fulness of his human rights and an entire share in universal life. This attitude is not without doing some damage to the caricatured image which the colonial conquest had projected here and there, of the black man, doomed, according to them, to congenital incapacity. It is not the least of the errors of certain civilizations to shut themselves up in egocentric considerations in judging what is foreign to them and could not either satisfy their special criterions or their historic tradition, nor correspond to their hierarchy of conventional values. It is a very heavy responsibility borne by the civilizations of conquest that they oriented their forces towards the destruction of human societies whose values they had neither the capacity nor the power to appreciate objectively. Contemplating the ruins of this destruction, the world of thought and the world of research are to-day in communion in the
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same anxious effort to try to snatch from the destroyed civilizations the secret of the unknown values which enabled them to develop according to an intellectual process, the universal knowledge of which is forever lost. The crime of Fernando Cortez in torturing the last Emperor óf the Aztecs appears less as the misdeed of a man than as an irremediable error on the part of the civilizations of conquest. In judging in the light of their own proper surroundings, in determining according to the values of their own proper cu1ture, the civilizations of conquest, far from encouraging the development of human values, have reduced their possibilities of expression and, of set purpose, subjected them partially to ferocious exploitation and generalized oppression. But the reign of force and fraudulent possession is henceforth doomed to disaster, for there no longer exists any external influence, any foreign pressure which can bend a people to the laws of dispossession and domination. In the slow progress of the human universe, which is given sanction in proportion to the development of the universal conscience, brute force and illegitimate sway are becoming increasingl y on the fringe of man’s positive values. Africa which only yesterday was still the plaything and the take of boundless appetites, the mute witness of the slow degradation of the noblest social mentalities, is to-day totally committed to the road of its freedom, its dignity and its complete rehabilitation. Yesterday dominated, but not conquered, Africa is determined to deliver its special message to the world, and to contribute to the human universe the fruit of its experiences, the whole of its intellectual resources and the teachings of its proper culture. The moral personality of Africa, long denied through the medium of the most fantastic interpretations and the grossest historical falsifications, barely precedes the growing manifestation of the African personality, which the forces of conquest and domination can no longer reduce with impunity. The Negro, whatever may be his place of asylum, whatever his natal region, has finally liberated himself from the weight of a factitious inferiority inflicted upon him by the domination, from the moment that he reappeared in his full and entire authenticity, legitimately proud of the ability to reclaim control over his destiny and full responsibility for his history.
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In truth, there could be no confusion between the apparent submission of the African peoples and their profound determination to escape from depersonalization. ‘To submit in order to save yourself’, ‘to accept in order to endure’, that has been the hard philosophy of the Negro snatched from his origins, or deprived of his free will. No malediction will have weighed so heavily upon a people as that born of a coalition of race and interests to achieve, in the same enterprise, enslavement or destruction, exploitation or ruin. But the domain of man, growing and extending beyond the bounds of the world, could not tolerate those enclosed estates which the feudal nations appropriated to themselves under the sign of force: the man of to-day requires the whole earth, a total solidarity and a full participation in its works and its enterprises. Partly by necessity and partly by conscious determination, man is proceeding to eliminate the individualistic and racist heresies of which the Negro world will have been the last tragic victim. The gates of the future will not open before a few privileged ones, nor before a people elect among peoples, but they will yield to the combined thrust of peoples and races when the efforts of all peoples allied by the need of a universal fraternity are joined together and complete each other. However near this time may be, and however powerful human hopes for a fruitful and unlimited future, universal reconciliation cannot become effective until the excluded peoples have achieved their total independence, exercised their entire dignity and ensured their full blossoming. To meet its requirements and abdicate none of its human responsibilities, Africa is drawing untiringly upon its own sources so as to perfect its authenticity and enrich the nourishing sap from which it has arisen throughout the obscure milleniums of history. Harmonizing the resources of his thought with the pitiless laws of a world led and directed by the necessities of a constant development, having recourse to the hard disciplines of concrete knowledge as much as to his own moral and spiritual riches, the Negro is committed to maintain intact the values and outlook of an original culture which has survived all the extreme vicissitudes which have marked its estiny.It is just as superfluous to inquire what might or might not have been good as to try to determine opportunities lost or missed. Only error, analysed objectively according to its causes and effects, brings the mind a constant enrichment and gives man the positive achievement of experimentation.
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Negro culture, preserved from any profound alteration, flows into universal life, not as an antagonistic element, but with the anxious care to be a factor of equilibrium, a power for peace, a force of solidarity in favour of a new civilization which will outdistance the great hopes of mankind and fashion itself in contact with all the currents of thought. The future cannot be conceived as a reiteration of the past, no, as a closed field reserved solely for those human societies which are secretly initiated or arbitrarily privileged. The future will be the sum of cultures and civilizations which do not measure their special contribution or drive a bargain in respect of their singular values. To reach these successive summits it is not too much for each one to join his efforts with those of others, to deliver to the world his intellectual resources and his scientific and technical knowledge, for no people, no nation, can move and grow except with and by the others. Any doctrine of cultural isolation of cellularization, whether its motives are a proud superiority or an unacceptable group selfishness, conceals a fatal error in consequence of which the isolated particle will succumb. Without even wishing to respond to the unnatural challenge of the racist ideal, which insolently claims to harness for itself alone the sap and the fruits of the world, the Negro is convinced that his mere presence entitles him to a full and complete participation in human works, not as a denatured or outdone element, but in the character of a new power, of an unexploited intellectual force whose potentialities are relevant to the universal enterprises of progress, justice and human solidarity. In the domain of thought man can claim to be the brain of the world, but on the plane of concrete life, where every intervention affects the physical and spiritual being, the world is always the brain of man, for it is at that level that the totality of thinking powers and units are found, the dynamic forces of development and perfection, it is there that the fusion of energies operates and that in the long run the sum of man’s intellectual values inscribed. But who can claim to exclude a particular group of thought, a particular form of thought, or a particular human family without by that very fact putting himself beyond the pale of universal life? The right of existence extends to presence, conception, expression and action. Any amputation of this fundamental right must be set down as a debit to mankind’s account.
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It is, for the rest, a difficult mission which the Negro has set himself who has chosen to be at the same time the intellectual instrument of the rehabilitation of a race and the messenger of a culture dispossessed of its right of free expression, and whose profound content and real significance have been falsified by the multiple interpretations given to it by the outside world. But this action undertaken by the messengers of our culture cannot be isolated from the general movement for the reconquest of the rights of expression and means of development of the people of Africa, totally mobilized in the struggle for their dignity and their liberty, on the side of the equality of men and peoples. The process of the participation of the Negro in universal achievements stems in the first place from the African personality, which cannot be validly reconstituted by the intermediary of wills or forces external to Africa, or outside the factors of independence and unity on which the destiny of the Negro world reposes. The cultural compromises which the domination has established by way of contact and by way of constraint, impose a complete reconversion upon the man of Africa so that his authentic personality, the full possibilities of his singular values and the means of employing his human resources may all reappear. In the independence of its young sovereignty, that is the way which the people of Guinea have unanimously engaged themselves for the total liberation and effective unity of the African people so as to accelerate their march towards technical, economic a cultural progress in a society in perfect social and equilibrium and in a world of real human civilization. Sources: J. Ayo Langley, Ideologies of Liberation in Black Africa, 1856-1970 (London: Rex Collings, 1979).
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VII Black Woman Leopold Senghor (A Poem by Dr. Leopold Senghor former President of Senegal) Naked woman, Black woman Clothed with your colour which is life, with your form which is beauty! In your shadow I have grown up; the gentleness of your hands was laid over my eyes. And now, high up on the sun-baked pass, at the heart of summer, at the heart of noon, I come upon you, my Promised Land, And your beauty strikes me to the heart like the flash of an eagle. Naked Woman, Dark Woman Firm-fleshed ripe fruit, sombre raptures of black wine, mouth making lyrical my mouth Savannah stretching to clear horizons, savannah shuddering beneath the East Wind's eager caresses Carved tom-tom, taut tom-tom, muttering under the Conqueror's fingers Your solemn contralto voice is the spiritual song of the Beloved. Naked Woman, Dark Woman Oil that no breath ruffles, calm oil on the athlete's flanks, on the flanks of the Princes of Mali Gazelle limbed in Paradise, pearls are stars on the night of your skin Delights of the mind, the glinting of red gold against your watered skin Under the shadow of your hair, my care is lightened by the neighbouring suns of your eyes. Naked Woman, Black Woman, I sing your beauty that passes, the form that I fix in the Eternal, Before jealous fate turn you to ashes to feed the roots of life.
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VIII Pambazuka News The Global Crisis of Capitalism And Its Impact Dani Nabudere (2008-12-11) http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/52604 The present financial crisis afflicting the global economy should not be seen from the narrow focus of the credit crunch and its relationship to the subprime mortgage crisis in the Western countries, especially the US. The crisis goes to the very foundations of the global capitalist system and it should be analysed from that angle. What is at the core of the crisis is the over-extension of credit on a narrow material production base. This is in a situation in which money has become increasingly detached from its material base of a money commodity that can measure its value such as gold. The expansion of the world economy from 1945 onwards was based on the US providing some kind of link between money and the gold standard, which the US tried to maintain until its collapse in the 1970s. Increasingly the dollar became the global currency but without a backing to its currency from a money commodity. The over-expansion of credit that has taken place since then, especially with the globalisation of the world economy, has meant that a lot of paper money and monetary instruments in the form of derivatives and ‘future options’ have lost any relationship to the ‘fundamentals’ in the material production of the world economy. That is why there has been a growing outcry that the growth of ‘speculative capital’ has over-run the growth of ‘productive capital’ with large amounts of money and credit circulating without the backing of any production at all. That is also why the relationship between the ‘fundamentals’ in the economy and the new credit instruments created on a daily basis in many cases from speculative ‘short-selling’ have become narrower and narrower over time. This is also why the present financial crisis is also a reflection of the energy and food crisis, because oil and food products such as wheat, rice and other commodities have been subjected to speculative trading to back up paper money many years in the future. The British Prime Minister, among the world leaders, is the only one who has seen this connection when he brought it up in the World Bank meeting a few months ago and also when he met the US Democratic Party Presidential candidate, Barrack Obama, when he visited Europe recently. Thus the amount of credit floating around the world is ‘loose money’ completely run-wild, which claims a relationship with a narrow production base. This is in a situation when the US is increasingly unable to repay debts it has accumulated in its Treasury Bonds and Bills, in which the rest of the world have placed their reserves. Most African countries have millions of dollars in these US Treasury bills, which are held as the countries’ ‘reserves.’ China, India and Japan have
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trillions deposited in these ‘T’ bills and bonds This means that should the world economy collapse under pressure of ‘loose money’ wanting to be given a value (which they do not have) so that the holders of that ‘money’ can preserve their wealth, those holdings in US Treasury bills (or US debt to the rest of the world) will be lost forcing many weak economies to collapse along with it. This is why it is wrong to conclude, like many people do that capitalism has the capacity, as it has shown over the years, to always reinvent itself by growing a new skin to resist the pangs of crisis inflicted on it by its own greed. That is a false conclusion. US and British capitalism are being put under pressure to stay a float only by nationalising a number of banks and the corporations that can no longer sustain their operations because of shortage of ‘liquid cash.’ These corporations and banks demand that the state should bail them out. The state is being forced to bail these enterprises out on condition that they shall sell the bulk of their shares to the state. This means that these capitalist states are being forced to move in the direction of central planning and management of the economy. For lack of space, we cannot go into this matter in greater detail. In short, what Karl Marx called ‘the financial oligarchy’ is demanding that the state should take over their burdens and maintain the ‘value’ of their valueless credit instruments while insisting that the poor workers and the middle classes shall take care of themselves. In other world, the oligarchy demand communism for themselves while relegating socialism and capitalism for the middle class and the working class and the other poor strata of society because socialism and capitalism are the only ways through which the middle class and the working poor can ‘compete’ among themselves for survival. Remember that Marx defined communism as: ‘to each according to his needs’ and socialism as: ‘to each according to his capacities.” Capitalism can now better be defined as: ‘to each according to his own devices,’ which is a paradigm fit for the working poor. THE CREDIT CRUNCH AND THE FOOD CRISIS The economic crisis has also revealed the way credit over-expansion has affected food prices throughout the world. In fact when the credit crunch struck the world and the food crisis was announced, the crisis was recognised as a global food crisis. That is why the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank immediately held a special session of the Boards of Governors of their institutions to develop policies to deal with this crisis when it became clear that the food crisis was likely to stay with us until 2015 at the very least. Immediately following the meetings of these multilateral institutions, the World Food Organisation-FAO held an urgent Food Summit on June 3-5 in Rome, in which the Summit called for an immediate response by governments. After the World Bank meeting, the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, wrote a letter to the Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who was at the time the chair of the G8, in which he asked the
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group to act with speed to address the soaring food prices. What was significant was that Gordon also recognised that the financial market-based risk management instruments, including derivatives, had to be considered as contributing to the food price volatilities. What did Gordon Brown mean by this statement? The real problem underlying currency instability and commodity price volatilities is the fact that the dollar, which acts as a global reserve currency, is not backed by any solid money commodity such as gold or silver. These money commodities were historically overwhelmed by the growth of capitalist wealth. As a result not all paper wealth that was held by economic actors could be changed into gold in periods of crisis when the demand for ‘real’ money became overwhelming. With the collapse of the gold standard in the US in the 1970s because of the outgrowth of Eurodollars, attempts were made to rely on other commodities such as platinum to back up the dollar, but this was a non-starter because the cost of storing platinum was too high to be borne by paper wealth holders. But financial instruments, especially future options and instruments called derivatives continued to grow in volume. This is what led to the food commodities coming into the picture to back up future contracts and derivatives expressed in US dollars. The centre of the global commodity trade is the Chicago Board of Trade-CBOT. It is here that global trade in commodities is valued and undertaken together with other commodities markets. It is also here that all commodities, including food commodities, are ‘financialised’ in dollar financial instruments Wheat, oats, corn, rice and soybean are all agricultural products traded on various commodities exchanges, including the CBOT. Here the exchanges also trade the financial ‘products,’ as well as futures and options contracts on these and several derivative products such as bean oil. Coffee, cocoa, sugar, cotton and orange juice are all 'soft' commodities, many of which are traded on the CSCE (Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange). Interestingly, since 80% of the oranges grown in the U.S. are turned into frozen orange juice concentrate, it's the juice that is traded as a commodity, not the fruit. An article that appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail of 31st May 2008 argued that it was the deregulation of financial markets and the systematic exploitation of US regulatory loopholes that had led to the upsurge of speculative investments in food commodity markets, much of it by institutional investors such as the managers of pension funds. "These funds", wrote the authors, "have ploughed tens of billions of dollars into agricultural commodities as a way of diversifying their assets and improve returns for their investors.” According to the authors, the amount of fund money invested in commodity indexes had climbed from just $13-billion in 2003 to a staggering $260-billion in March 2008, according to calculations based on regulatory filings. There were warnings that this amount could easily quadruple to $1-trillion, if pension fund managers allocated a greater portion of their portfolio to commodities, as some consultants suggested they were poised to do. Thus, it was the progressive loosening of regulatory requirements, which made possible the enormous influx of money, much of it fleeing the meltdown in the market for mortgage-backed
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securities and the wider fallout, including big leveraged buyouts in banks. Because agricultural markets are small - relative to stock markets - the amount of cash pouring into these markets gives these funds substantial clout. The authors observed that these big institutional investors controlled enough wheat in futures instruments, which could supply the needs of American consumers for the next two years. They blamed the "demand shock" from these recent entrants to the commodities markets as the primary factor behind the sudden soaring of food prices. They noted that if no immediate action was taken, food and energy prices were bound to rise still further leading to the catastrophic economic effects on millions of already stressed U.S. consumers and the possible starvation of millions of the worlds poor. For instance, the Ontario Teachers' Pension fund, which began with a modest investment in food commodities in 1997, had by 2008 invested some 3 billion dollars in this market. With rising investor activity and increasing demand, prices began to rise. Between 2000 and 2007, the price of wheat increased 147 per cent on the Chicago Board of Trade. Over the same period, corn increased by 79 per cent and soybeans by 72 per cent. As more funds moved in to invest, speculators began clamour for more flexibility with trading limits and since there were no controls, the food commodity prices kept on rising. It has been estimated that for every one percent increase in the price of food, there is an additional 16 million people who go hungry. In its briefing paper for the World Food Summit, the FAO Secretariat devoted two whole paragraphs to the influence of financial markets in pushing upwards the cost of staple food commodities in its assessment of recent developments. However, it had nothing to say about the matter when it came to recommending "policy options" for dealing with the problem. This was not accidental, but a reflection of the positions of the States. This is why it was correct to conclude, as we have done above, that for the financial oligarchy who wield power in the States, the demand is that the State must guarantee them ‘communism’ (which can assure them their needs) while for the producing and middle classes the attitude of the State is only to guarantee them the conditions for ’free competition’ for the little the financial oligarchy is able to leave aside for the ‘markets’ (to compete over according to their abilities and devices). Financial markets in the global capitalist system, as well as global inter-governmental organisations such as FAO, it seems, have no ‘policy options’ to attend to the needs of the starving mass es. There always are, however, ‘options’ for ‘bailing out’ the financial oligarchy while the masses are left to the devices of ‘the markets.’ THE WAY OUT OF THE CRISIS FOR AFRICA It is clear from the above that agricultural production has become a victim of late capitalist crisis. This is as it has been because from its birth capitalism had always profited from agriculture as an ‘old industry’ in which this ‘industry’ provided the raw materials for its expanded reproduction at low cost. Capitalist crisis has therefore
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contributed greatly to the exploitation of agricultural workers and ultimately to its collapse. It did so first, by plundering the European peasantry and converting them into paupers through the enclosure system by using the proceeds for its ‘primitive accumulation’ of capital as one of the sources of its birth. In so doing, it turned the peasants into workers and in its imperialist phase turned to the colonies for agricultural raw materials where the colonial peasant producers were paid prices below subsistence subsidised by female and child free labour working on land. Only after decolonisation and the establishment of the European Common Market did Europe develop a common agricultural policy to avoid being starved in case of wars in the post-colonial States. Secondly, with the increasing securitisation of commodities, in which the central banks relied on a variety of commodities to give value to paper debt instruments, capitalists fell to agriculture in the post-colonial States of Africa to save their currencies from collapse. This as we saw above is what led to the escalation in the prices of food products leading to their destruction as commodities. The collapse of the dollar and other ‘hard currencies’ has meant a doom for those agricultural food products as their prices begun to plummet with the collapsing currencies. This is what the economists are calling a ‘recession.’ But nobody knows when the recession will end although many of them now agree that it is already on in all the developed capitalist countries. So those who believed that with high food prices the peasant producers would earn high incomes had better rethink their arithmetic because they need to revise their knowledge of how capitalism operates in its old age. African agricultural and food production based on exports to the markets of the developed countries can no longer be assured and so the African farmer has to find a way out of this mess as quickly as possible. What we have said above must already alert us as to what we have to do to get out of the mess. First, we have to look at how we can survive in terms of food availability. For the first time, we have to wake up to the reality that African countries need a food security policy as a matter of urgency about which leaders can no longer dilly-dally. That means African countries have first to focus on the home market followed by the regional market and finally the global market. With the home market becoming the focus for our production, we can create regional currencies because in that case we shall have no alternative but to create them to serve the regional markets, but operating under completely new conditions and principles. But we cannot develop a food security based on food crops of which people have very little knowledge, especially since with the currency crisis; we shall not have sufficient dollars to buy foreign food products with in the short and medium terms. This means we have to rely more on indigenous food products as the basis of our food security, which we must quickly encourage the farmers to revive. Although many of our indigenous food crops were abandoned in favour of exotic products that could also be sold on the market, there
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is still a reservoir of knowledge about these crops in the rural communities. So reviving these crops would not be an uphill task if we have a policy that is driven with the same zeal as that of the current production for export. The African elites will have to content themselves with consuming indigenous crops since they can no longer depend on exotic foreign products. Secondly, we have to consider the strategy of encouraging cooperative production because with the increasing population driven by poverty and the great fragmentation of land holding, it will not be possible to sustain families on the small farm-holdings. A cooperative policy also presupposes a sound credit policy that can enable farmers to borrow for their production and hence the need to hasten the creation of a regional currency that can inform the creation of new local credit systems drawing on the experiences of the ‘informal sector.’ We should learn what the people of Somaliland have done in this respect because they have managed to create a very strong local currency that is not pegged to any global currency. The collapse of the global capitalist system will not mean the end of the world! On the contrary, it will release the bottled up energies of the people that have been suffocated by the collapsing capitalist system. We shall survive by burying the old system and creating a new one. Such a new system will have to be socialist-oriented since even the most developed capitalist countries have no alternative but to do so as we can already see with the whole sale nationalisation of banks throughout Europe and the US. Some countries such as Iceland have already gone bankrupt. This means that even the political system has to change. The key to political rejuvenation will lie in the ‘deepening of democracy’ right from the family level, to the clan and to the traditional institutions level since the post-colonial state would have collapsed along with the dollar. New forms of political power will emerge at a local level unless new warlords try to occupy the political space. But the warlords are already doomed as the Somali situation already demonstrates. The local power structures will need a wider cooperative basis on the model of confederal or federal regional states and we should consider Southern, Eastern African or the Great Lakes region for such a partnership. The development of local markets will need the backing of regional markets for wider exchange of commodities. Therefore, new forms of agricultural and industrial production will have to be tailored to local needs and tastes. Similarly, new local markets will emerge in other parts of the world calling for global exchanges of commodities with those consumers. Eventually a new global currency or currencies based on a basket of commodities will have to be created to facilitate these exchanges on a completely new basis not based on capitalist super-profits run by transnational corporations. At a political level, we shall increasingly see the emergence of a global civil society along side the new global market. Hence, we can already envisage the emergence of a GLOCAL SOCIETY (a Global society
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based on local nationalities and global citizenship). Along side with these developments will eventually emerge a federated global State, which will be developed by the local powers. We can no longer return to the caves, we can only move forward to a new world. Yes, a New World is possible and it can now be said with certainty: A NEW WORLD IS INEVITABLE! * Professor Dani W. Nabudere was the Executive Director of the Afrika Study Centre
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IX The Teachings of Ptah Hotep The Oldest Book in the World Asa G. Hilliard III, Larry Williams and Nia Damali Editors
(First published Circa 2388 B.C. to 2356 B.C. First Kemetic (Egyptian) Dynasty under the title: Teachings of the Prefect of the City, Dja Ptahhotep under the majesty of the king of the South and the North, Assa Djed - Ka- Ra, living eternally forever.) These are instructions by the Mayor of the City who is also the Vizier. His name is Ptahhotep and he serves under Pharoah Assa who lives for all eternity. The mayor of the City, Vizier Ptahhotep, addressed the Supreme Divinity, the Diety as follows: "God upon the crocodiles." (Reference to Heru) who is sometimes shown standing on two crocodiles. My God, the process of aging brings senility. My mind decays and forgetfulness of the things of yesterday has already begun. Feebleness has come and weakness grows. Childlike one sleeps all day. The eyes are dim and the ears are becoming deaf. The strength is being sapped. The mouth has grown silent and does not speak. The bones ache through and through. Good things now seem evil. The taste is gone. What old age does to people in evil is everything. The nose is clogged and does not breath. It is painful even to stand or to sit. May your servant be authorized to use the status that old age affords, to teach the hearers, so as to tell them the words of those who have listened to the ways of our ancestors, and of those who have listened to the Gods. May I do this for you, so that strife may be banned from among our people, and so that the Two Shores may serve you? Then the majesty of the Diety said to Ptahhotep, go ahead and instruct him in the Ancient Wisdom. May he become a model for the children of the great. May obedience enter into him, and may he be devoted to the one who speaks to him. No one is born wise. And so begins the formulation of Mdw Ntr, good speech, to be spoken by the Prince, the Count, God's beloved, the eldest son of the Pharoah, the son of his body, Mayor of the City and Vizier, Ptahhotep, instructs the ignorant in the knowledge and in the standards of good speech. It will profit those who hear. It will be a loss to those who transgress. Ptahhotep began to speak to "Pharoah's son" (to posterity). 1. Do not be proud and arrogant with your knowledge. Consult and converse with ignorant and the wise, for the limits of art are not reached. No artist ever possesses that perfection to which he should aspire. Good speech is more hidden than greenstone (emeralds), yet it may be found among maids at the grindstones. 2. If you meet a disputant in the heat of action, one who more powerful than you, simply fold your arms and bend your back. To confront him will not make him agree with you. Pay no attention to his evil speech. If you do not confront him while he is raging, people will call him an ignoramus. Your self-control will be the match for his evil utterances.
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3. If you meet a disputant in action, one who is your equal, one who is on your level, you will overcome him by being silent while he is speaking evilly. There will be much talk among those who hear and your name will be held in high regard among the great. 4. If you meet a disputant in action who is a poor man and who is not your equal do not attack him because he is weak. Leave him alone. He will confound himself. Do not answer him just so that you can relieve your own heart. Do not vent yourself against your opponent. Wretched is he who injures a poor man. If you ignore him listeners will wish to do what you want. You will beat him through their reproof. 5. If you are a man who leads, a man who controls the affairs of many, then seek the most perfect way of performing your responsibility so that your conduct will be blameless. Great is Maat (truth, justice, and righteousness). It is everlasting. Maat has been unchanged since the time of Osiris. To create obstacles ot the following of laws, is to open a way to a condition of violence. The transgressor of laws is punished, although the greedy person overlooks this. Baseness may obtain riches, yet crime never lands its wares on the shore. In the end only Maat lasts. Man says, "Maat is my father's ground." 6. Do not scheme against people. God will punish accordingly; If a man says, "I will live by scheming," he will lack bread for his mouth. If a man says, "I will be rich," he will have to say, "My cleverness has trapped me." If he says, "I will trap for myself" he will not be able to say, "I trapped for myself" he will not be able to say, "I trapped for my profit." If a man says, "I will rob someone," he wiill end by being given to a stranger. People schemes do not prevail. God's command is what prevails. Therefore, live in the midst of peace. What God gives comes by itself. 7. If you are one among guests at the table of person who is more powerful than you, take what that person gives just as it is set before you. Look at what is before you. Don't stare at your host. Don't speak to him until he asks. One does not know what may displease him. Speak when he has spoken to you. Then your words will please the heart. The man who has plenty of the means of existence acts as his Ka commands. He will give food to those who he favors. It is the Ka that makes his hand stretch out. The great man gives to the chosen man, thus eating is under the direction of God. It is a fool who complains about it. 8. If you are a person of trust sent by one great person to another great person, be careful to stick to the essence of the message that you were asked to transmit. Give the message exactly as he gave it to you. Guard against provocative speech which makes one great person angry with another. Just keep to the truth. Do not exceed it. However, even though there may have been an out-burst in the message you should not repeat it. Do not malign anyone, great or small, the Ka abhors it. 9. If you plow and if there is growth in your field and God lets it prosper in you hand, don't boast to your neighbor. One has great respect for the silent person. A person of character is a person of wealth. If that person robs, he or she like a crocodile in the middle of the waters. If God gives you children, don't impose on one who has no children. Neither should you decry or brag about having your own children, for there is many a father who has grief and many a mother with children who is less content whan another. It is the lonely whom God nurtures while the family man prays for a follower. 10. If you are poor, then serve a person of worth so that your conduct may be well with God. Do not bring up the fact that he was once poor. Do not be arrogant towards him just because you know about his former state. Respect him now for his position of authority. As
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for fortune, it obeys its own law and that is her will. It is God's gift. It is God who makes him worthy and who protects him whil he sleeps, or who can turn away from him. 11. Follow your heart as long as you live. Do more than is required of you. Do not shorten the time of "follow the heart", since that offends the Ka. Don't waste time on daily cares over and beyond providing for your household. When wealth finally comes, then follow your heart. Weatlh does no good if you are glum. 12. If you are a wise man, train up a son who will be pleasing to God. If he is straight and takes after you, take good care of him. Do everything that is good for him. He is your son, your Ka begot him. Don't withdraw your heart from him. But an offspring can make trouble. If your son strays and neglects your council and disobeys all that is said, with his mouth spouting evil speech, then punish him for all his talk. God will hate him who crosses you. His guilt was determined in the womb. He who God makes boatless cannot cross the water. 13. If you are a guard in the storehouse, stand or sit rather than leave your post and trepass into someones else's place. Follow this rule from the first. Never leave your post, even when fatigued. Keen is the face to him who enters announced, and spacious is the seat of him who has been asked to come in. The storehouse has fixed rules. All behaviour is strictly by the rule. Only a God can penetrate the secure warehouse where the rules are followed, even by privileged persons. 14. If you are among the people then gain your supporters by building trust. The trusted man is one who does not speak the first thing that comes to mind; and he will become a leader. A man of means has a good name, and his face is benign. People will praise him even without his knowledge. On the other hand, he whose heart obeys his belly asks for contempt of himself in the place of love. His heart is naked. His body is unanointed. The great hearted is a gift of God. He who is ruled by his appetite belongs to the enemy. 15. Report the thing that you were commissioned to report without error. Give your advice in the high council. If you are fluent in your speech, it will not be hard for you to report. Nor will anyone say of you, "who is he to know this?" As to the authories, their affairs will fail if they punish you for speaking truth. They should be silent upon hearing the report that you have rendered as you have been told. 16. If you are a man who leads, a man whose authority reaches widely, they you should do perfect things, those which posterity will remember. Don't listen to the words of flatterers or to words that puff you up with pride and vanity. 17. If you are a person who judges, listen carefully to the speech of one who pleads. Don't stop the person from telling you everything that they had planned to tell you. A person in distress wants to pour out his or her heart, even more than they want their case to be won. If you are one who stops a person who is pleading, that person will say "why does he reject my plea?" Of course not all that one pleads for can be granted, but a good hearing soothes the heart. The means for getting a true and clear explanation is to listen with kindness. 18. If you want friendship to endure in the house that you enter, the house of a master, of a brother or of a friend, then in whatever place you enter beware of approaching the women there. Unhappy is the place where this is done. Unwelcome is he who intrudes on them. A thousand men are turned away from their good because of a short moment that is like a dream, and then that moment is followed by death that comes from having known that dream. Anyone who encourages you take advantage of the situation gives you poor advice. When you go to do it, your heart says no. If you are one who fails through the lust of
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women, then no affair of yours can prosper. 19. If you want to have perfect conduct, to be free from every evil, then above all guard against the vice of greed. Greed is a grievous sickness that has no cure. There is no treatment for it. It embroils fathers, mothers and the brothers of the mother. It parts the wife from the husband. Greed is a compound of all the evils. It is a bundle of all hateful things. That person endures whose rule is righteous, who walks a straight line, for that person will leave a legacy by such behavior. On the other hand, the greedy has no tomb. 20. Do not be greedy in the division of things. Do not covet more than your share. Don't be greedy towards your relatives. A mild person has a greater claim than the harsh one. Poor is the person who forgets his relatives. He is deprived of their company. Even a little bit of what is wanted will turn a quarreler into a friendly person. 21. When you prosper and establish your home, love your wife with ardor. Then fill her belly and clothe her back. Caress her. Give her oitments to soothe her body. Fulfill her wishes for as long as you live. She is a fertile field for her husband. Do not be brutal. Good manners will influence her better than force. Do not contend with her in the courts. Keep her from the need to resort to outside powers. Her eye is her storm when she gazes. It is by such treatment that she will be compelled to stay in your house. 22. Help your friends with things that you have, for you have these things by the grace of God. If you fail to help your friends, one will say you have a selfish Ka. One plans for tommorow, but you do not know what tomorrow will bring. The right soul is the soul by which one is sustained. If you do praiseworthy deeds your friends will say, "welcome" in you time of need. 23. Don't repeat slander nor should you even listen to it. It is the spouting of the hot bellied. Just report a thing that has been observed, not something that has been heard secondhand. If it is something negligible, don't even say anything. He who is standing before you will recognize your worth. Slander is like a terrible dream against which one covers the face. 24. If you are a man of worth who sits at the council of a leader, concentrate on being excellent. Your silence is much better than boasting. Speak when you know that you have a solution. It is the skilled person who should speak when in council. Speaking is harder than all other work. The one who understands this makes speech a servant. 25. If you are mighty and powerful then gain respect through knowledge and through your gentleness of speech. Don't order things except as it is fitting. The one who provokes others gets into trouble. Don't be haughty lest you be humbled. But also don't be mute lest you be chided. When you answer one who is fuming, turn your face and control yourself. The flame of the hot hearted sweeps across everything. But he who steps gently, his path is a paved road. He who is agitated all day has no happy moments but he who amuses himself all day can't keep his fortune. 26. Do not disturb a great man or distract his attention when he is occupied, trying to understand his task. When he is thus occupied, he strips his body through the love of what he does. Love for the work which they do brings men closer to God. These are the people who succeed in what they do. 27. Teach the great what is useful to them. Be an aide to the great before the people. If you let your knowledge impress your leader, your substenance from him will then come from his
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soul. As his favorite's belly is filled, so will your back be clothed and his help will be there to sustain you. For you leader whom you love and who lives by useful knowledge, he in turn will give you good support. Thus will the love of you endure in his belly. He is a soul who loves to listen. 28. If you are an official of high standing, and you are commissioned to satisfy the many, then hold to a straight line. When you speak don't lean to one side or to the other. Beware lest someone complain, saying to the judges, "he has distorted things", and then your very deeds will turn into a judgement of you. 29. If you are angered by a misdeed, then lean toward a man on account of his rightness. Pass over the misdeed and don't remember it, since God was silent to you on the first day on your misdeed. 30. If you are great after having been humble, if you have gained your wealth after having been poor, and then go to town that you know and that knows your former condition, don't put your trust in your newly acquired wealth which has come to you as a gift of God. If you do, one day someone there who is poor may very well overtake you. 31. Accept the authority of your leaders then your house will endure in it's wealth. Your rewards will come from the right place. Wretched is he who opposes his leader. One lives as long as he is mild. Baring your arm does not hurt it. Do not plunder your neighbor's house or steal the goods of one that is near you, lest he denounce you before you are even heard. One who is argumentative is a mildless person. If he is also known as an aggressor, then that hostile man will have trouble in the neighborhood. 32. Be circumspect in matters of sexual relations. 33. If you examine the character of a friend, don't ask other people, approach your friend. Deal with him alone, so as not to suffer from his anger. You may argue with him after a little while. You may test his heart in conversation. If what he has seen escapes him, if he does something that annoys you, stay friendly with him and do not attack. Be restrained and don't answer him with hostility. Do not leave him and do not attack him. His time will not fail to come. He cannot escape his fate. 34. Be generous as long as you live. What leaves the storehouse does not return. It is the food in the storehouse that one must share that is coveted. One whose belly is empty becomes an opponent. Therefore, do not have an accuser or an opponent as a neighbor. Your kindness to your neighbors will be a memorial to you for years, after you satisfy their needs. 35. Know your friends and then you prosper. Don't be mean towards your friends. They are like a watered field and greater than any material riches that you may have, for what belongs to one belongs to another. The character of one who is well born should be a profit to him. Good nature is a memorial. 36. Punish firmly and chastise soundly, then repression of crime becomes an example. But punishment except for crime will turn the complainer into an enemy. 37. If you take a wife a good time woman who is joyful and who is well known in the town, if she is fickle and seems to live for the moment, do not reject her. Let her eat. The joyful person brings happiness.
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If you listen to my sayings all of your affairs will go forward. Their value resides in their truth. The memory of these sayings goes on in the speech of men and women because of the worth of their precepts. If every word is carried on, they will not perish in this land. If advice is given for the good, the great will speak accordingly. This is a matter of teaching a person to speak to posterity. He or she who hears it becomes a master hearer. It is good to speak to posterity. Posterity will listen. If an example is set by him or her who leads, he or she will beneficient forever, his wisdom lasting for all time. The wise person feeds the Ka with what endures, so that is is happy with that person on earth. The wise is known by his or her wisdom. the great is known by his or her good actions. The heart of the wise matches his or her tongue and his or her lips are straight when he or she speaks. The wise have eyes that are made to see and ears that are made to hear what will profit the offspring. The wise person who acts with Maat is free of falsehood and disorder. Useful is hearing to a son who hears. If hearing enters the hearer, then the hearer becomes a listener. Hearing well is speaking well. Useful is hearing to one who hears. Hearing is better than everything else. It creates good will. How good is it for a son to understand his father's words. That son will reach old age through those words. He who hears is beloved of God. He whom God hates does not hear. The heart makes of its owner hearer or a non-hearer. Man's heart is his life, prosperity and health. The hearer is one who hears what is said. He who loves to hear is one who acts on what is said. How good is it for a son to listen to his father. How happy is he to whom it is said "Your son, is a master of hearing." The hearer of whom this is said is well endowed indeed and is honored by his father. That hearer's rememberance is in the mouth of the living, those that are on earth and those who will be. If a man's son accepts his father's words then no plan of his will go wrong. So teach your son to be a hearer, one who will be valued by the officials, one who will guide his speech by what he has been told, one who is regarded as a hearer. This son will excel and his deeds will stand out while failure will follow those who do not hear. The wise wakes up early to his lasting gain while the fool is hard pressed. The fool who does not hear, he can do nothing at all. He looks at ignorance and sees knowledge. He looks at harmfulness and see usefulness. He doees everything that one detests and is blamed for it every day. He lives on the things by which one dies. His food is evil speech. His sort is known to the officials who say, "There goes a living death every day." One ignores the things that he does because of his many daily troubles. A son who hears is a follower of Heru. It will go well with him when he has heard. When he old and has reached the period where he is venerated, then he will speak likewise to his own children, renewing then the teachings of his father. Every man teaches as he acts. He will speak to the children so that they will speak to their children. He will set an example and not give offense. So if justice stands firm, your children will live. As to the first child who gets into trouble, when people see it, they will say about the child "that is just like him", and they will also say when they even hear a rumor about the child, "that is just like him too."
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To see everyone is to satisfy the many. Any riches that you have are useless without the many. Don't say something and then take is back. Don't put one thing in place of another. Beware of releasing the restraints in you, lest the wise man say, "listen, if you want to endure in the mouth of the hearers, speak after you have mastered the craft." If you speak to good purpose all your affairs will be in place. Conceal your heart. Control your mouth. Then you will known among the officials. Be quite exact before your leader. Act so that no one will say to him "he is the son of that one." Be deliberate when you speak so as to say things that count. Then the officials who listen will say, "how good is the thing that comes from his mouth." Act so that your leader will say of you, "how good is he whom his father has taught. When he came forth from his body, he told him all that was in his mind, and he does even more than he was told." The good son is the gift of God and exceeds what is told him by his leader. He will do right when his heart is straight. As you succeed me sound in body, a Pharoah, content with all that was done, may obtain many years of life. The things that I did on earth were not small. I have had 110 years of life. As a gift of the Pharoah, I have had honors exceeding those of the ancestors, by doing Maat until the state of veneration. Is is done, from its beginning to its end, as it was found in the writings of the ancestors and Diety. Peace be upon you
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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.
BASIC CONCEPTS OF LOGIC
What Is Logic? ................................................................................................... 2 Inferences And Arguments ................................................................................ 2 Deductive Logic Versus Inductive Logic .......................................................... 5 Statements Versus Propositions......................................................................... 6 Form Versus Content ......................................................................................... 7 Preliminary Definitions...................................................................................... 9 Form And Content In Syllogistic Logic .......................................................... 11 Demonstrating Invalidity Using The Method Of Counterexamples ............... 13 Examples Of Valid Arguments In Syllogistic Logic....................................... 20 Exercises For Chapter 1 ................................................................................... 23 Answers To Exercises For Chapter 1 .............................................................. 27
Hardegree, Symbolic Logic
WHAT IS LOGIC?
Logic may be defined as the science of reasoning. However, this is not to suggest that logic is an empirical (i.e., experimental or observational) science like physics, biology, or psychology. Rather, logic is a non-empirical science like mathematics. Also, in saying that logic is the science of reasoning, we do not mean that it is concerned with the actual mental (or physical) process employed by a thinking being when it is reasoning. The investigation of the actual reasoning process falls more appropriately within the province of psychology, neurophysiology, or cybernetics. Even if these empirical disciplines were considerably more advanced than they presently are, the most they could disclose is the exact process that goes on in a being's head when he or she (or it) is reasoning. They could not, however, tell us whether the being is reasoning correctly or incorrectly. Distinguishing correct reasoning from incorrect reasoning is the task of logic.
INFERENCES AND ARGUMENTS
Reasoning is a special mental activity called inferring, what can also be called making (or performing) inferences. The following is a useful and simple definition of the word ‘infer’. To infer is to draw conclusions from premises. In place of word ‘premises’, you can also put: ‘data’, ‘information’, ‘facts’. Examples of Inferences: (1) (2) You see smoke and infer that there is a fire. You count 19 persons in a group that originally had 20, and you infer that someone is missing.
Note carefully the difference between ‘infer’ and ‘imply’, which are sometimes confused. We infer the fire on the basis of the smoke, but we do not imply the fire. On the other hand, the smoke implies the fire, but it does not infer the fire. The word ‘infer’ is not equivalent to the word ‘imply’, nor is it equivalent to ‘insinuate’. The reasoning process may be thought of as beginning with input (premises, data, etc.) and producing output (conclusions). In each specific case of drawing (inferring) a conclusion C from premises P1, P2, P3, ..., the details of the actual mental process (how the "gears" work) is not the proper concern of logic, but of psychology or neurophysiology. The proper concern of logic is whether the inference of C on the basis of P1, P2, P3, ... is warranted (correct). Inferences are made on the basis of various sorts of things – data, facts, information, states of affairs. In order to simplify the investigation of reasoning, logic
Chapter 1: Basic Concepts
treats all of these things in terms of a single sort of thing – statements. Logic correspondingly treats inferences in terms of collections of statements, which are called arguments. The word ‘argument’ has a number of meanings in ordinary English. The definition of ‘argument’ that is relevant to logic is given as follows. An argument is a collection of statements, one of which is designated as the conclusion, and the remainder of which are designated as the premises. Note that this is not a definition of a good argument. Also note that, in the context of ordinary discourse, an argument has an additional trait, described as follows. Usually, the premises of an argument are intended to support (justify) the conclusion of the argument. Before giving some concrete examples of arguments, it might be best to clarify a term in the definition. The word ‘statement’ is intended to mean declarative sentence. In addition to declarative sentences, there are also interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences. The sentences that make up an argument are all declarative sentences; that is, they are all statements. The following may be taken as the official definition of ‘statement’. A statement is a declarative sentence, which is to say a sentence that is capable of being true or false. The following are examples of statements. it is raining I am hungry 2+2 = 4 God exists On the other hand the following are examples of sentences that are not statements. are you hungry? shut the door, please #$%@!!!
(replace ‘#$%@!!!’ by your favorite expletive)
Observe that whereas a statement is capable of being true or false, a question, or a command, or an exclamation is not capable of being true or false. Note that in saying that a statement is capable of being true or false, we are not saying that we know for sure which of the two (true, false) it is. Thus, for a sentence to be a statement, it is not necessary that humankind knows for sure whether it is true, or whether it is false. An example is the statement ‘God exists’. Now let us get back to inferences and arguments. Earlier, we discussed two examples of inferences. Let us see how these can be represented as arguments. In the case of the smoke-fire inference, the corresponding argument is given as follows.
4 (a1) there is smoke therefore, there is fire
Hardegree, Symbolic Logic
Here the argument consists of two statements, ‘there is smoke’ and ‘there is fire’. The term ‘therefore’ is not strictly speaking part of the argument; it rather serves to designate the conclusion (‘there is fire’), setting it off from the premise (‘there is smoke’). In this argument, there is just one premise. In the case of the missing-person inference, the corresponding argument is given as follows. (a2) there were 20 persons originally there are 19 persons currently therefore, someone is missing (premise) (premise) (conclusion)
Here the argument consists of three statements – ‘there were 20 persons originally’, ‘there are 19 persons currently’, and ‘someone is missing’. Once again, ‘therefore’ sets off the conclusion from the premises. In principle, any collection of statements can be treated as an argument simply by designating which statement in particular is the conclusion. However, not every collection of statements is intended to be an argument. We accordingly need criteria by which to distinguish arguments from other collections of statements. There are no hard and fast rules for telling when a collection of statements is intended to be an argument, but there are a few rules of thumb. Often an argument can be identified as such because its conclusion is marked. We have already seen one conclusion-marker – the word ‘therefore’. Besides ‘therefore’, there are other words that are commonly used to mark conclusions of arguments, including ‘consequently’, ‘hence’, ‘thus’, ‘so’, and ‘ergo’. Usually, such words indicate that what follows is the conclusion of an argument. Other times an argument can be identified as such because its premises are marked. Words that are used for this purpose include: ‘for’, ‘because’, and ‘since’. For example, using the word ‘for’, the smoke-fire argument (a1) earlier can be rephrased as follows. (a1') there is fire for there is smoke Note that in (a1') the conclusion comes before the premise. Other times neither the conclusion nor the premises of an argument are marked, so it is harder to tell that the collection of statements is intended to be an argument. A general rule of thumb applies in this case, as well as in previous cases. In an argument, the premises are intended to support (justify) the conclusion. To state things somewhat differently, when a person (speaking or writing) advances an argument, he(she) expresses a statement he(she) believes to be true (the conclusion), and he(she) cites other statements as a reason for believing that statement (the premises).
Chapter 1: Basic Concepts
DEDUCTIVE LOGIC VERSUS INDUCTIVE LOGIC
Let us go back to the two arguments from the previous section. (a1) there is smoke; therefore, there is fire. (a2) there were 20 people originally; there are 19 persons currently; therefore, someone is missing.
There is an important difference between these two inferences, which corresponds to a division of logic into two branches. On the one hand, we know that the existence of smoke does not guarantee (ensure) the existence of fire; it only makes the existence of fire likely or probable. Thus, although inferring fire on the basis of smoke is reasonable, it is nevertheless fallible. Insofar as it is possible for there to be smoke without there being fire, we may be wrong in asserting that there is a fire. The investigation of inferences of this sort is traditionally called inductive logic. Inductive logic investigates the process of drawing probable (likely, plausible) though fallible conclusions from premises. Another way of stating this: inductive logic investigates arguments in which the truth of the premises makes likely the truth of the conclusion. Inductive logic is a very difficult and intricate subject, partly because the practitioners (experts) of this discipline are not in complete agreement concerning what constitutes correct inductive reasoning. Inductive logic is not the subject of this book. If you want to learn about inductive logic, it is probably best to take a course on probability and statistics. Inductive reasoning is often called statistical (or probabilistic) reasoning, and forms the basis of experimental science. Inductive reasoning is important to science, but so is deductive reasoning, which is the subject of this book. Consider argument (a2) above. In this argument, if the premises are in fact true, then the conclusion is certainly also true; or, to state things in the subjunctive mood, if the premises were true, then the conclusion would certainly also be true. Still another way of stating things: the truth of the premises necessitates the truth of the conclusion. The investigation of these sorts of arguments is called deductive logic. The following should be noted. suppose that you have an argument and suppose that the truth of the premises necessitates (guarantees) the truth of the conclusion. Then it follows (logically!) that the truth of the premises makes likely the truth of the conclusion. In other words, if an argument is judged to be deductively correct, then it is also judged to be inductively correct as well. The converse is not true: not every inductively correct argument is also deductively correct; the smokefire argument is an example of an inductively correct argument that is not deduc-
Hardegree, Symbolic Logic
tively correct. For whereas the existence of smoke makes likely the existence of fire it does not guarantee the existence of fire. In deductive logic, the task is to distinguish deductively correct arguments from deductively incorrect arguments. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that, although an argument may be judged to be deductively incorrect, it may still be reasonable, that is, it may still be inductively correct. Some arguments are not inductively correct, and therefore are not deductively correct either; they are just plain unreasonable. Suppose you flunk intro logic, and suppose that on the basis of this you conclude that it will be a breeze to get into law school. Under these circumstances, it seems that your reasoning is faulty.
STATEMENTS VERSUS PROPOSITIONS
Henceforth, by ‘logic’ I mean deductive logic.
Logic investigates inferences in terms of the arguments that represent them. Recall that an argument is a collection of statements (declarative sentences), one of which is designated as the conclusion, and the remainder of which are designated as the premises. Also recall that usually in an argument the premises are offered to support or justify the conclusions. Statements, and sentences in general, are linguistic objects, like words. They consist of strings (sequences) of sounds (spoken language) or strings of symbols (written language). Statements must be carefully distinguished from the propositions they express (assert) when they are uttered. Intuitively, statements stand in the same relation to propositions as nouns stand to the objects they denote. Just as the word ‘water’ denotes a substance that is liquid under normal circumstances, the sentence (statement) ‘water is wet’ denotes the proposition that water is wet; equivalently, the sentence denotes the state of affairs the wetness of water. The difference between the five letter word ‘water’ in English and the liquid substance it denotes should be obvious enough, and no one is apt to confuse the word and the substance. Whereas ‘water’ consists of letters, water consists of molecules. The distinction between a statement and the proposition it expresses is very much like the distinction between the word ‘water’ and the substance water. There is another difference between statements and propositions. Whereas statements are always part of a particular language (e.g., English), propositions are not peculiar to any particular language in which they might be expressed. Thus, for example, the following are different statements in different languages, yet they all express the same proposition – namely, the whiteness of snow. snow is white der Schnee ist weiss la neige est blanche In this case, quite clearly different sentences may be used to express the same proposition. The opposite can also happen: the same sentence may be used in
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different contexts, or under different circumstances, to express different propositions, to denote different states of affairs. For example, the statement ‘I am hungry’ expresses a different proposition for each person who utters it. When I utter it, the proposition expressed pertains to my stomach; when you utter it, the proposition pertains to your stomach; when the president utters it, the proposition pertains to his(her) stomach.
FORM VERSUS CONTENT
Although propositions (or the meanings of statements) are always lurking behind the scenes, logic is primarily concerned with statements. The reason is that statements are in some sense easier to point at, easier to work with; for example, we can write a statement on the blackboard and examine it. By contrast, since they are essentially abstract in nature, propositions cannot be brought into the classroom, or anywhere. Propositions are unwieldy and uncooperative. What is worse, no one quite knows exactly what they are! There is another important reason for concentrating on statements rather than propositions. Logic analyzes and classifies arguments according to their form, as opposed to their content (this distinction will be explained later). Whereas the form of a statement is fairly easily understood, the form of a proposition is not so easily understood. Whereas it is easy to say what a statement consists of, it is not so easy to say what a proposition consists of. A statement consists of words arranged in a particular order. Thus, the form of a statement may be analyzed in terms of the arrangement of its constituent words. To be more precise, a statement consists of terms, which include simple terms and compound terms. A simple term is just a single word together with a specific grammatical role (being a noun, or being a verb, etc.). A compound term is a string of words that act as a grammatical unit within statements. Examples of compound terms include noun phrases, such as ‘the president of the U.S.’, and predicate phrases, such as ‘is a Democrat’. For the purposes of logic, terms divide into two important categories – descriptive terms and logical terms. One must carefully note, however, that this distinction is not absolute. Rather, the distinction between descriptive and logical terms depends upon the level (depth) of logical analysis we are pursuing. Let us pursue an analogy for a moment. Recall first of all that the core meaning of the word ‘analyze’ is to break down a complex whole into its constituent parts. In physics, matter can be broken down (analyzed) at different levels; it can be analyzed into molecules, into atoms, into elementary particles (electrons, protons, etc.); still deeper levels of analysis are available (e.g., quarks). The basic idea in breaking down matter is that in order to go deeper and deeper one needs ever increasing amounts of energy, and one needs ever increasing sophistication. The same may be said about logic and the analysis of language. There are many levels at which we can analyze language, and the deeper levels require more
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logical sophistication than the shallower levels (they also require more energy on the part of the logician!) In the present text, we consider three different levels of logical analysis. Each of these levels is given a name – Syllogistic Logic, Sentential Logic, and Predicate Logic. Whereas syllogistic logic and sentential logic represent relatively superficial (shallow) levels of logical analysis, predicate logic represents a relatively deep level of analysis. Deeper levels of analysis are available. Each level of analysis – syllogistic logic, sentential logic, and predicate logic – has associated with it a special class of logical terms. In the case of syllogistic logic, the logical terms include only the following: ‘all’, ‘some’, ‘no’, ‘not’, and ‘is/are’. In the case of sentential logic, the logical terms include only sentential connectives (e.g., ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘if...then’, ‘only if’). In the case of predicate logic, the logical terms include the logical terms of both syllogistic logic and sentential logic. As noted earlier, logic analyzes and classifies arguments according to their form. The (logical) form of an argument is a function of the forms of the individual statements that constitute the argument. The logical form of a statement, in turn, is a function of the arrangement of its terms, where the logical terms are regarded as more important than the descriptive terms. Whereas the logical terms have to do with the form of a statement, the descriptive terms have to do with its content. Note, however, that since the distinction between logical terms and descriptive terms is relative to the particular level of analysis we are pursuing, the notion of logical form is likewise relative in this way. In particular, for each of the different logics listed above, there is a corresponding notion of logical form. The distinction between form and content is difficult to understand in the abstract. It is best to consider some actual examples. In a later section, we examine this distinction in the context of syllogistic logic. As soon as we can get a clear idea about form and content, then we can discuss how to classify arguments into those that are deductively correct and those that are not deductively correct.
In the present section we examine some of the basic ideas in logic which will be made considerably clearer in subsequent chapters. As we saw in the previous section there is a distinction in logic between form and content. There is likewise a distinction in logic between arguments that are good in form and arguments that are good in content. This distinction is best understood by way of an example or two. Consider the following arguments. (a1) all cats are dogs all dogs are reptiles therefore, all cats are reptiles
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(a2) all cats are vertebrates all mammals are vertebrates therefore, all cats are mammals Neither of these arguments is good, but they are bad for different reasons. Consider first their content. Whereas all the statements in (a1) are false, all the statements in (a2) are true. Since the premises of (a1) are not all true this is not a good argument as far as content goes, whereas (a2) is a good argument as far as content goes. Now consider their forms. This will be explained more fully in a later section. The question is this: do the premises support the conclusion? Does the conclusion follow from the premises? In the case of (a1), the premises do in fact support the conclusion, the conclusion does in fact follow from the premises. Although the premises are not true, if they were true then the conclusion would also be true, of necessity. In the case of (a2), the premises are all true, and so is the conclusion, but nevertheless the truth of the conclusion is not conclusively supported by the premises; in (a2), the conclusion does not follow from the premises. To see that the conclusion does not follow from the premises, we need merely substitute the term ‘reptiles’ for ‘mammals’. Then the premises are both true but the conclusion is false. All of this is meant to be at an intuitive level. The details will be presented later. For the moment, however we give some rough definitions to help us get started in understanding the ways of classifying various arguments. In examining an argument there are basically two questions one should ask. Question 1: Question 2: Are all of the premises true? Does the conclusion follow from the premises?
The classification of a given argument is based on the answers to these two questions. In particular, we have the following definitions. An argument is factually correct if and only if all of its premises are true. An argument is valid if and only if its conclusion follows from its premises. An argument is sound if and only if it is both factually correct and valid.
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Basically, a factually correct argument has good content, and a valid argument has good form, and a sound argument has both good content and good form. Note that a factually correct argument may have a false conclusion; the definition only refers to the premises. Whether an argument is valid is sometimes difficult to decide. Sometimes it is hard to know whether or not the conclusion follows from the premises. Part of the problem has to do with knowing what ‘follows from’ means. In studying logic we are attempting to understand the meaning of ‘follows from’; more importantly perhaps, we are attempting to learn how to distinguish between valid and invalid arguments. Although logic can teach us something about validity and invalidity, it can teach us very little about factual correctness. The question of the truth or falsity of individual statements is primarily the subject matter of the sciences, broadly construed. As a rough-and-ready definition of validity, the following is offered. An argument is valid if and only if it is impossible for the conclusion to be false while the premises are all true. An alternative definition might be helpful in understanding validity. To say that an argument is valid is to say that if the premises were true, then the conclusion would necessarily also be true. These will become clearer as you read further, and as you study particular examples.
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FORM AND CONTENT IN SYLLOGISTIC LOGIC
In order to understand more fully the notion of logical form, we will briefly examine syllogistic logic, which was invented by Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). The arguments studied in syllogistic logic are called syllogisms (more precisely, categorical syllogisms). Syllogisms have a couple of distinguishing characteristics, which make them peculiar as arguments. First of all, every syllogism has exactly two premises, whereas in general an argument can have any number of premises. Secondly, the statements that constitute a syllogism (two premises, one conclusion) come in very few models, so to speak; more precisely, all such statements have forms similar to the following statements. (1) (2) (3) (4) all Lutherans are Protestants some Lutherans are Republicans no Lutherans are Methodists some Lutherans are not Democrats all dogs are collies some dogs are cats no dogs are pets some dogs are not mammals
In these examples, the words written in bold-face letters are descriptive terms, and the remaining words are logical terms, relative to syllogistic logic. In syllogistic logic, the descriptive terms all refer to classes, for example, the class of cats, or the class of mammals. On the other hand, in syllogistic logic, the logical terms are all used to express relations among classes. For example, the statements on line (1) state that a certain class (Lutherans/dogs) is entirely contained in another class (Protestants/collies). Note the following about the four pairs of statements above. In each case, the pair contains both a true statement (on the left) and a false statement (on the right). Also, in each case, the statements are about different things. Thus, we can say that the two statements differ in content. Note, however, that in each pair above, the two statements have the same form. Thus, although ‘all Lutherans are Protestants’ differs in content from ‘all dogs are collies’, these two statements have the same form. The sentences (1)-(4) are what we call concrete sentences; they are all actual sentences of a particular actual language (English). Concrete sentences are to be distinguished from sentence forms. Basically, a sentence form may be obtained from a concrete sentence by replacing all the descriptive terms by letters, which serve as place holders. For example, sentences (1)-(4) yield the following sentence forms. (f1) (f2) (f3) (f4) all X are Y some X are Y no X are Y some X are not Y
The process can also be reversed: concrete sentences may be obtained from sentence forms by uniformly substituting descriptive terms for the letters. Any concrete sentence obtained from a sentence form in this way is called a substitution instance of that form. For example, ‘all cows are mammals’ and ‘all cats are felines’ are both substitution instances of sentence form (f1).
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Just as there is a distinction between concrete statements and statement forms, there is also a distinction between concrete arguments and argument forms. A concrete argument is an argument consisting entirely of concrete statements; an argument form is an argument consisting entirely of statement forms. The following are examples of concrete arguments. (a1) all Lutherans are Protestants some Lutherans are Republicans / some Protestants are Republicans (a2) all Lutherans are Protestants some Protestants are Republicans / some Lutherans are Republicans Note: henceforth, we use a forward slash (/) to abbreviate ‘therefore’. In order to obtain the argument form associated with (a1), we can simply replace each descriptive term by its initial letter; we can do this because the descriptive terms in (a1) all have different initial letters. this yields the following argument form. An alternative version of the form, using X,Y,Z, is given to the right. (f1) all L are P some L are R / some P are R all X are Y some X are Z / some Y are Z
By a similar procedure we can convert concrete argument (a2) into an associated argument form. (f2) all L are P some P are R / some L are R all X are Y some Y are Z / some X are Z
Observe that argument (a2) is obtained from argument (a1) simply by interchanging the conclusion and the second premise. In other words, these two arguments which are different, consist of precisely the same statements. They are different because their conclusions are different. As we will later see, they are different in that one is a valid argument, and the other is an invalid argument. Do you know which one is which? In which one does the truth of the premises guarantee the truth of the conclusion? In deriving an argument form from a concrete argument care must be taken in assigning letters to the descriptive terms. First of all different letters must be assigned to different terms: we cannot use ‘L’ for both ‘Lutherans’ and ‘Protestants’. Secondly, we cannot use two different letters for the same term: we cannot use ‘L’ for Lutherans in one statement, and use ‘Z’ in another statement.
Chapter 1: Basic Concepts
DEMONSTRATING INVALIDITY USING THE METHOD OF COUNTEREXAMPLES
Earlier we discussed some of the basic ideas of logic, including the notions of validity and invalidity. In the present section, we attempt to get a better idea about these notions. We begin by making precise definitions concerning statement forms and argument forms. A substitution instance of an argument/statement form is a concrete argument/statement that is obtained from that form by substituting appropriate descriptive terms for the letters, in such a way that each occurrence of the same letter is replaced by the same term. A uniform substitution instance of an argument/ statement form is a substitution instance with the additional property that distinct letters are replaced by distinct (non-equivalent) descriptive terms. In order to understand these definitions let us look at a very simple argument form (since it has just one premise it is not a syllogistic argument form): (F) all X are Y / some Y are Z
Now consider the following concrete arguments. (1) (2) (3) all cats are dogs / some cats are cows all cats are dogs / some dogs are cats all cats are dogs / some dogs are cows
These examples are not chosen because of their intrinsic interest, but merely to illustrate the concepts of substitution instance and uniform substitution instance. First of all, (1) is not a substitution instance of (F), and so it is not a uniform substitution instance either (why is this?). In order for (1) to be a substitution instance to (F), it is required that each occurrence of the same letter is replaced by the same term. This is not the case in (1): in the premise, Y is replaced by ‘dogs’, but in the conclusion, Y is replaced by ‘cats’. It is accordingly not a substitution instance. Next, (2) is a substitution instance of (F), but it is not a uniform substitution instance. There is only one letter that appears twice (or more) in (F) – namely, Y. In each occurrence, it is replaced by the same term – namely, ‘dogs’. Therefore, (2) is a substitution instance of (F). On the other hand, (2) is not a uniform substitution
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instance since distinct letters – namely, X and Z – are replaced by the same descriptive term – namely, ‘cats’. Finally, (3) is a uniform substitution instance and hence a substitution instance, of (F). Y is the only letter that is repeated; in each occurrence, it is replaced by the same term – namely, ‘dogs’. So (3) is a substitution instance of (F). To see whether it is a uniform substitution instance, we check to see that the same descriptive term is not used to replace different letters. The only descriptive term that is repeated is ‘dogs’, and in each case, it replaces Y. Thus, (3) is a uniform substitution instance. The following is an argument form followed by three concrete arguments, one of which is not a substitution instance, one of which is a non-uniform substitution instance, and one of which is a uniform substitution instance, in that order. (F) no X are Y no Y are Z / no X are Z no cats are dogs no cats are cows / no dogs are cows no cats are dogs no dogs are cats / no cats are cats no cats are dogs no dogs are cows / no cats are cows
Check to make sure you agree with this classification. Having defined (uniform) substitution instance, we now define the notion of having the same form. Two arguments/statements have the same form if and only if they are both uniform substitution instances of the same argument/statement form. For example, the following arguments have the same form, because they can both be obtained from the argument form that follows as uniform substitution instances. (a1) all Lutherans are Republicans some Lutherans are Democrats / some Republicans are Democrats (a2) all cab drivers are maniacs some cab drivers are Democrats / some maniacs are Democrats The form common to (a1) and (a2) is:
Chapter 1: Basic Concepts
all X are Y some X are Z / some Y are Z
As an example of two arguments that do not have the same form consider arguments (2) and (3) above. They cannot be obtained from a common argument form by uniform substitution. Earlier, we gave two intuitive definitions of validity. Let us look at them again. An argument is valid if and only if it is impossible for the conclusion to be false while the premises are all true. To say that an argument is valid is to say that if the premises were true, then the conclusion would necessarily also be true. Although these definitions may give us a general idea concerning what ‘valid’ means in logic, they are difficult to apply to specific instances. It would be nice if we had some methods that could be applied to specific arguments by which to decide whether they are valid or invalid. In the remainder of the present section, we examine a method for showing that an argument is invalid (if it is indeed invalid) – the method of counterexamples. Note however, that this method cannot be used to prove that a valid argument is in fact valid. In order to understand the method of counterexamples, we begin with the following fundamental principle of logic. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF LOGIC Whether an argument is valid or invalid is determined entirely by its form; in other words:
VALIDITY IS A FUNCTION OF FORM.
This principle can be rendered somewhat more specific, as follows.
16 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF LOGIC (REWRITTEN)
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If an argument is valid, then every argument with the same form is also valid. If an argument is invalid, then every argument with the same form is also invalid. There is one more principle that we need to add before describing the method of counterexamples. Since the principle almost doesn't need to be stated, we call it the Trivial Principle, which is stated in two forms. THE TRIVIAL PRINCIPLE No argument with all true premises but a false conclusion is valid. If an argument has all true premises but has a false conclusion, then it is invalid. The Trivial Principle follows from the definition of validity given earlier: an argument is valid if and only if it is impossible for the conclusion to be false while the premises are all true. Now, if the premises are all true, and the conclusion is in fact false, then it is possible for the conclusion to be false while the premises are all true. Therefore, if the premises are all true, and the conclusion is in fact false, then the argument is not valid that is, it is invalid. Now let's put all these ideas together. Consider the following concrete argument, and the corresponding argument form to its right. (A) all cats are mammals some mammals are dogs / some cats are dogs (F) all X are Y some Y are Z / some X are Z
First notice that whereas the premises of (A) are both true, the conclusion is false. Therefore, in virtue of the Trivial Principle, argument (A) is invalid. But if (A) is invalid, then in virtue of the Fundamental Principle (rewritten), every argument with the same form as (A) is also invalid. In other words, every argument with form (F) is invalid. For example, the following arguments are invalid. (a2) all cats are mammals some mammals are pets / some cats are pets (a3) all Lutherans are Protestants some Protestants are Democrats / some Lutherans are Democrats
Chapter 1: Basic Concepts
Notice that the premises are both true and the conclusion is true, in both arguments (a2) and (a3). Nevertheless, both these arguments are invalid. To say that (a2) (or (a3)) is invalid is to say that the truth of the premises does not guarantee the truth of the conclusion – the premises do not support the conclusion. For example, it is possible for the conclusion to be false even while the premises are both true. Can't we imagine a world in which all cats are mammals, some mammals are pets, but no cats are pets. Such a world could in fact be easily brought about by a dastardly dictator, who passed an edict prohibiting cats to be kept as pets. In this world, all cats are mammals (that hasn't changed!), some mammals are pets (e.g., dogs), yet no cats are pets (in virtue of the edict proclaimed by the dictator). Thus, in argument (a2), it is possible for the conclusion to be false while the premises are both true, which is to say that (a2) is invalid. In demonstrating that a particular argument is invalid, it may be difficult to imagine a world in which the premises are true but the conclusion is false. An easier method, which does not require one to imagine unusual worlds, is the method of counterexamples, which is based on the following definition and principle, each stated in two forms. A. A counterexample to an argument form is any substitution instance (not necessarily uniform) of that form having true premises but a false conclusion. A counterexample to a concrete argument d is any concrete argument that (1) (2) (3) has the same form as d has all true premises has a false conclusion
PRINCIPLE OF COUNTEREXAMPLES A. B. An argument (form) is invalid if it admits a counterexample. An argument (form) is valid only if it does not admit any counterexamples.
The Principle of Counterexamples follows our earlier principles and the definition of the term ‘counterexample’. One might reason as follows:
Hardegree, Symbolic Logic Suppose argument d admits a counterexample. Then there is another argument d* such that: (1) d* has the same form as d, (2) d* has all true premises, and (3) d* has a false conclusion. Since d* has all true premises but a false conclusion, d* is invalid, in virtue of the Trivial Principle. But d and d* have the same form, so in virtue of the Fundamental Principle, d is invalid also.
According to the Principle of Counterexamples, one can demonstrate that an argument is invalid by showing that it admits a counterexample. As an example, consider the earlier arguments (a2) and (a3). These are both invalid. To see this, we merely look at the earlier argument (A), and note that it is a counterexample to both (a2) and (a3). Specifically, (A) has the same form as (a2) and (a3), it has all true premises, and it has a false conclusion. Thus, the existence of (A) demonstrates that (a2) and (a3) are invalid. Let us consider two more examples. In each of the following, an invalid argument is given, and a counterexample is given to its right. (a4) no cats are dogs no dogs are apes / no cats are apes (a5) all humans are mammals no humans are reptiles / no mammals are reptiles (c4) no men are women no women are fathers / no men are fathers (c5) all men are humans no men are mothers / no humans are mothers
In each case, the argument to the right has the same form as the argument to the left; it also has all true premises and a false conclusion. Thus, it demonstrates the invalidity of the argument to the left. In (a4), as well as in (a5), the premises are true, and so is the conclusion; nevertheless, the conclusion does not follow from the premises, and so the argument is invalid. For example, if (a4) were valid, then (c4) would be valid also, since they have exactly the same form. But (c4) is not valid, because it has a false conclusion and all true premises. So, (c4) is not valid either. The same applies to (a5) and (c5). If all we know about an argument is whether its premises and conclusion are true or false, then usually we cannot say whether the argument is valid or invalid. In fact, there is only one case in which we can say: when the premises are all true, and the conclusion is false, the argument is definitely invalid (by the Trivial Principle). However, in all other cases, we cannot say, one way or the other; we need additional information about the form of the argument. This is summarized in the following table.
Chapter 1: Basic Concepts
19 CONCLUSION true false true false VALID OR INVALID? can't tell; need more info definitely invalid can't tell; need more info can't tell; need more info
PREMISES all true all true not all true not all true
EXAMPLES OF VALID ARGUMENTS IN SYLLOGISTIC LOGIC
In the previous section, we examined a few examples of invalid arguments in syllogistic logic. In each case of an invalid argument we found a counterexample, which is an argument with the same form, having all true premises but a false conclusion. In the present section, we examine a few examples of valid syllogistic arguments (also called valid syllogisms). At present we have no method to demonstrate that these arguments are in fact valid; this will come in later sections of this chapter. Note carefully: if we cannot find a counterexample to an argument, it does not mean that no counterexample exists; it might simply mean that we have not looked hard enough. Failure to find a counterexample is not proof that an argument is valid. Analogously, if I claimed “all swans are white”, you could refute me simply by finding a swan that isn't white; this swan would be a counterexample to my claim. On the other hand, if you could not find a non-white swan, I could not thereby say that my claim was proved, only that it was not disproved yet. Thus, although we are going to examine some examples of valid syllogisms, we do not presently have a technique to prove this. For the moment, these merely serve as examples. The following are all valid syllogistic argument forms. (f1) all X are Y all Y are Z / all X are Z (f2) all X are Y some X are Z / some Y are Z (f3) all X are Z no Y are Z / no X are Y (f4) no X are Y some Y are Z / some Z are not X
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To say that (f1)-(f4) are valid argument forms is to say that every argument obtained from them by substitution is a valid argument. Let us examine the first argument form (f1), since it is by far the simplest to comprehend. Since (f1) is valid, every substitution instance is valid. For example the following arguments are all valid. (1a) all cats are mammals all mammals are vertebrates / all cats are vertebrates (1b) all cats are reptiles all reptiles are vertebrates / all cats are vertebrates (1c) all cats are animals all animals are mammals / all cats are mammals (1d) all cats are reptiles all reptiles are mammals / all cats are mammals (1e) all cats are mammals all mammals are reptiles / all cats are reptiles (1f) all cats are reptiles all reptiles are cold-blooded / all cats are cold-blooded (1g) all cats are dogs all dogs are reptiles / all cats are reptiles (1h) all Martians are reptiles all reptiles are vertebrates / all Martians are vertebrates T T T F T T T F T F F T T F F F T F F F F ? T ?
In the above examples, a number of possibilities are exemplified. It is possible for a valid argument to have all true premises and a true conclusion – (1a); it is possible for a valid argument to have some false premises and a true conclusion – (1b)-(1c); it is possible for a valid argument to have all false premises and a true conclusion – (1d); it is possible for a valid argument to have all false premises and a false conclusion – (1g). On the other hand, it is not possible for a valid argument to have all true premises and a false conclusion – no example of this. In the case of argument (1h), we don't know whether the first premise is true or whether it is false. Nonetheless, the argument is valid; that is, if the first premise were true, then the conclusion would necessarily also be true, since the second premise is true.
Chapter 1: Basic Concepts
The truth or falsity of the premises and conclusion of an argument is not crucial to the validity of the argument. To say that an argument is valid is simply to say that the conclusion follows from the premises. The truth or falsity of the premises and conclusion may not even arise, as for example in a fictional story. Suppose I write a science fiction story, and suppose this story involves various classes of people (human or otherwise!), among them being Gargatrons and Dacrons. Suppose I say the following about these two classes. (1) (2) all Dacrons are thieves no Gargatrons are thieves
(the latter is equivalent to: no thieves are Gargatrons). What could the reader immediately conclude about the relation between Dacrons and Gargatrons? (3) no Dacrons are Gargatrons (or: no Gargatrons are Dacrons)
I (the writer) would not have to say this explicitly for it to be true in my story; I would not have to say it for you (the reader) to know that it is true in my story; it follows from other things already stated. Furthermore, if I (the writer) were to introduce a character in a later chapter call it Persimion (unknown gender!), and if I were to say that Persimion is both a Dacron and a Gargatron, then I would be guilty of logical inconsistency in the story. I would be guilty of inconsistency, because it is not possible for the first two statements above to be true without the third statement also being true. The third statement follows from the first two. There is no world (real or imaginary) in which the first two statements are true, but the third statement is false. Thus, we can say that statement (3) follows from statements (1) and (2) without having any idea whether they are true or false. All we know is that in any world (real or imaginary), if (1) and (2) are true, then (3) must also be true. Note that the argument from (1) and (2) to (3) has the form (F3) from the beginning of this section.
Hardegree, Symbolic Logic
10. EXERCISES FOR CHAPTER 1
EXERCISE SET A
For each of the following say whether the statement is true (T) or false (F). 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. In any valid argument, the premises are all true. In any valid argument, the conclusion is true. In any valid argument, if the premises are all true, then the conclusion is also true. In any factually correct argument, the premises are all true. In any factually correct argument, the conclusion is true. In any sound argument, the premises are all true. In a sound argument the conclusion is true. Every sound argument is factually correct. Every sound argument is valid. Every factually correct argument is valid. Every factually correct argument is sound. Every valid argument is factually correct. Every valid argument is sound. Every valid argument has a true conclusion. Every factually correct argument has a true conclusion. Every sound argument has a true conclusion. If an argument is valid and has a false conclusion, then it must have at least one false premise. If an argument is valid and has a true conclusion, then it must have all true premises. If an argument is valid and has at least one false premise then its conclusion must be false. If an argument is valid and has all true premises, then its conclusion must be true.
Chapter 1: Basic Concepts
EXERCISE SET B
In each of the following, you are given an argument to analyze. In each case, answer the following questions. (1) (2) (3) Is the argument factually correct? Is the argument valid? Is the argument sound?
Note that in many cases, the answer might legitimately be “can't tell”. For example, in certain cases in which one does not know whether the premises are true or false, one cannot decide whether the argument is factually correct, and hence on cannot decide whether the argument is sound. 1. all dogs are reptiles all reptiles are Martians / all dogs are Martians some dogs are cats all cats are felines / some dogs are felines all dogs are Republicans some dogs are flea-bags / some Republicans are flea-bags all dogs are Republicans some Republicans are flea-bags / some dogs are flea-bags some cats are pets some pets are dogs / some cats are dogs all cats are mammals all dogs are mammals / all cats are dogs all lizards are reptiles no reptiles are warm-blooded / no lizards are warm-blooded all dogs are reptiles no reptiles are warm-blooded / no dogs are warm-blooded no cats are dogs no dogs are cows / no cats are cows no cats are dogs some dogs are pets / some pets are not cats
24 11. only dogs are pets some cats are pets / some cats are dogs only bullfighters are macho Max is macho / Max is a bullfighter only bullfighters are macho Max is a bullfighter / Max is macho food containing DDT is dangerous everything I cook is dangerous / everything I cook contains DDT the only dogs I like are collies Sean is a dog I like / Sean is a collie
Hardegree, Symbolic Logic
the only people still working these exercises are masochists I am still working on these exercises / I am a masochist
Chapter 1: Basic Concepts
EXERCISE SET C
In the following, you are given several syllogistic arguments (some valid, some invalid). In each case, attempt to construct a counterexample. A valid argument does not admit a counterexample, so in some cases, you will not be able to construct a counterexample. 1. all dogs are reptiles all reptiles are Martians / all dogs are Martians all dogs are mammals some mammals are pets / some dogs are pets all ducks waddle nothing that waddles is graceful / no duck is graceful all cows are eligible voters some cows are stupid / some eligible voters are stupid all birds can fly some mammals can fly / some birds are mammals all cats are vertebrates all mammals are vertebrates / all cats are mammals all dogs are Republicans some Republicans are flea-bags / some dogs are flea-bags all turtles are reptiles no turtles are warm-blooded / no reptiles are warm-blooded no dogs are cats no cats are apes / no dogs are apes no mammals are cold-blooded some lizards are cold-blooded / some mammals are not lizards
Hardegree, Symbolic Logic
11. ANSWERS TO EXERCISES FOR CHAPTER 1
EXERCISE SET A
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. False False True True False True True True True False 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. False False False False False True True False False True
EXERCISE SET B
1. factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? NO YES NO NO YES NO NO YES NO NO NO NO YES NO NO YES NO NO YES YES YES NO YES NO
Chapter 1: Basic Concepts
27 YES NO NO YES YES YES NO YES NO NO YES NO NO NO NO can't tell NO NO can't tell YES can't tell can't tell YES can't tell
factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound? factually correct? valid? sound?
Hardegree, Symbolic Logic
EXERCISE SET C Original Argument
1. all dogs are reptiles all reptiles are Martians / all dogs are Martians 2. all dogs are mammals some mammals are pets / some dogs are pets all ducks waddle nothing that waddles is graceful / no duck is graceful all cows are eligible voters some cows are stupid / some eligible voters are stupid all birds can fly some mammals can fly / some birds are mammals all cats are vertebrates all mammals are vertebrates / all cats are mammals all dogs are Republicans some Republicans are flea-bags / some dogs are flea-bags all turtles are reptiles no turtles are warm-blooded / no reptiles are warm-blooded no dogs are cats no cats are apes / no dogs are apes no mammals are cold-blooded some lizards are cold-blooded / some mammals are not lizards all dogs are mammals some mammals are cats / some dogs are cats valid; admits no counterexample
valid; admits no counterexample
valid; admits no counterexample
all birds lay eggs some mammals lay eggs (the platypus) / some birds are mammals all cats are vertebrates all reptiles are vertebrates / all cats are reptiles all dogs are mammals some mammals are cats / some dogs are cats all turtles are reptiles no turtles are lizards / no reptiles are lizards no dogs are cats no cats are poodles / no dogs are poodles no mammals are cold-blooded some vertebrates are cold-blooded / some mammals are not vertebrates
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PRINCIPLES OF ANCIENT AFRICAN CONSTITUTION LAW AND THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF AFRICAN PEOPLE
From: Destruction of Black Civilization, by Dr. Chancellor Williams (pp. 181-186)
(Drawn from African Traditional Constitutional and Customary Laws. Different versions and modifications of the same laws occurred in different societies. )
I. The People are the first and final source of all power. II. The rights of the community of people are, and of right ought to be, superior to those of any individual, including Chiefs and Kings (a) The Will of the People is the supreme law; (b) Chiefs and Kings are under the law, not above it. III. Kings, Chiefs and Elders are leaders, not rulers. They are the elected representatives of the people and the instruments for executing their will. IV. Government and people are one and the same. V. The family is recognized as the primary social, judicial, economic and political unity in the society; the family council may function as a court empowered to try all internal (non-serious) matters involving only members of the Extended Family Group VI. The Elder of each Extended Family or Clan is its chosen representative on the Council. VII. Decisions in council are made by the Elders. The Chief or King must remain silent. Even when the Council’s decision is announced, it is through a Speaker (Linguist). Decrees or laws are issued in the same manner to assure that the voice of the Chief or King is the “voice of the people.” (This is an example of a provis ion that had wide variations. )
PRINCIPLES OF ANCIENT AFRICAN CONSTITUTION LAW AND THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF AFRICAN PEOPLE
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VIII. The land belongs to no one. It is God’s gift to mankind for use and as a sacred heritage, transmitted by our forefathers as a bond between the living and the dead, to be held in trust by each generation for the unborn who will follow, and thus to the last generation. IX. Each family, therefore, has a right to land, free of charge, sufficient in acreage for its economic well-being; for the right to the opportunity and means to make a living is the right to live. (a) The land, accordingly, cannot be sold or given away. (b) The land may be held for life and passed on to the family’s heirs, and so on forever. (c) The Chief is the Custodian of all land, the principal duty being to assure fair distribution and actual use. X. All moneys, gifts, taxes and other forms of donations to Chief or King still belong to the people for relief or aid to individuals in times of need. XI. Every member of the state has a right of appeal from a lower to higher courts. (In some states appeals could be taken even from the King’s Court to the “Mother of the Nation. ”) (a) The procedure was from the Chief’s Village Court to the District Court, to the Provincial Court, to the King’s Court. (b) Such appeals were allowed in serious or major crimes only (those affecting the whole society). XII. Fines for offenses against an individual went to the victims, not the court. (a) Part of the money receive from the loser was returned to him as an expression of goodwill and desire for renewal of friendship. (b) Another part was given as a fee to the trial court as an appreciation of justice. XIII. “Royalty” in African terms means Royal Worth, the highest in character, wisdom, sense of justice and courage.
PRINCIPLES OF ANCIENT AFRICAN CONSTITUTION LAW AND THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF AFRICAN PEOPLE
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(a) He who founded the nation by uniting many as one must be the real leader, guide and servant of his people. (b) The people, in honor of the founder of the nation, thereafter will elect Chiefs from the founder’s family (lineage) if the heirs meet the original test that reflected the Founder’s character, whose spirit was supposed to be inherited. XIV. The trouble of one is the trouble of all. No one may go in want while others have anything to give. All are brothers and sisters. Each is his “Brothers’ or sisters’ keeper.” XV. Age grades, sets, and classes are social, economic, political and military systems for (1) basic and advanced traditional education (formal); (2) individual and group responsibility roles (3) police and military training; (4) division of labor; (5) rites of passage and social activates. In chiefless societies the age grades are the organs of social, economic and political action. XVI. Bride Price or Bride Wealth is the gift that signifies mutual acceptance on the part of both families and is intended as a mainly security bond which may be returned in part if the wife turns out to be worthless or utterly unsatisfactory. (Bride Wealth tended to stabilize the institution of marriage. This was not “wifebuying. ”) XVII. The community as a whole is conceived of as One party, opposition being conducted by leaders various factions. (1) Factions of opposition are usually formed by the different age-groups: (2) Debates may go on indefinitely or until a consensus is reached.
PRINCIPLES OF ANCIENT AFRICAN CONSTITUTION LAW AND THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF AFRICAN PEOPLE
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(3) Once a consensus is reached, and the community’s will determined, all open opposition to the common will must cease. (4) Those who opposition is so serious that they are unwilling to accept the new law may “splinter off”’ either individually or in groups under a leader (to form a new state or the nucleus for it). XVIII. In warfare the object is not to kill the enemy, but to overcome him with fear, if possible, such as screaming war cries, loud noise, hideously masked faces, etc. Where killing is unavoidable it must be kept at a minimum. In case of defeat there must be some kind of ruse to enable the enemy to retire in honor. XIX. The African religion, not being a creed or “articles of faith,” but an actual way of thinking and living, is reflected in all institutions and is, therefore, of the greatest constitutional significance. (a) Politically, the role of the Chief as High Priest who presents the prayers of the people to his and their ancestors in Heaven is the real source of his influence, political or otherwise. (b) Socially, the “rites of passage,” songs, and the dances (to drive away evil, etc.), as well as the purification and sacrificial rites for the atonement of sins—are important. XX. Since religious and moral law must prevail and the race survive, a man may have more than one wife; for he is forbidden to sleep or cohabit with his wife either during the nine months of pregnancy or during the suckling period of one or two years thereafter. (1) The wife may not prepare meals for the husband or family during the menstrual period. (2) The husband is strictly forbidden to have any kind of relationship with the one wife during the set period that belongs to another wife. XXI. The supreme command of the fighting forces is under the Council, not the King. If the King becomes the Commander-in-Chief, it is through election by the Council because of his qualification as a general or field commander. This
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position ends with the war and the armed forces returned to former status under the Council or, more directly under the respective Paramount chiefs. There were no standing armies
THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE AFRICAN PEOPLE The following is a representative number of human rights, also drawn from customary laws or tradition constitutions: Every member of the community had(1) The right to equal protection of the law. (2) The right to a home. (3) The right to land sufficient for earning livelihood for oneself and family. (4) The right to aid in times of trouble. (5) The right to petition for redress of grievances. (6) The right to criticize and condemn any acts by the authorities or proposed new laws. (Opposition groups, in some areas called “The Youngmen,” were recognized by law.) (7) The right to reject the community’s final decision on any matter and to withdraw from the community unmolested—the right of rebellion and withdrawal. (8) The right to a fair trail. There must be no punishment greater than the offense, or fines beyond ability to pay. This latter is determined by income and status of the individual and his family. (9) The right to indemnity for injuries or loss caused by others. (10) The right to family or community care in cases of sickness or accidents.
PRINCIPLES OF ANCIENT AFRICAN CONSTITUTION LAW AND THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF AFRICAN PEOPLE
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(11) The rights to special aid from the Chief in circumstances beyond a family’s ability. (12) The right to a general education covering morals and good manners, family rights and responsibilities and boundaries, farming and marketing, rapid mental calculation, and family, clan tribal, and state histories. (13) The right to apprentice training for a useful vocation. (14) The right to an inheritance as defined by custom. (15) The right to develop one’s ability and exercise any developed skills. (16) The right to protect one’s family and kinsmen, even by violent means if such becomes necessary and can be justified. (17) The right to the protection of moral law in respect to wife and children—a right which not evens the king may violate. (18) The Right of a man, even a slave, to rise to occupy the highest position in the sate if he has the requisite ability and character. (19) The right to protection and treatment as a guest in enemy territory once one is within the gates of the enemy’s village, town or city. (20) And the right to an equal share in all benefits from common community undertakings if one has contributed to the fullest extent of his ability, no matter who or how many were able to contribute more. These constitutional principles and practices were held on to and carried by the migrating Blacks to every part of the African continent. This fact is one of the most remarkable parts of the black man’s story—most remarkable because even those societies that sank to barbarism held on the fundamentals age after age as though they were clutching the last threads of life itself. Even in Egypt, where the Asian and European impact was greatest, African constitutionalism could not be completely blotted out.
PRINCIPLES OF ANCIENT AFRICAN CONSTITUTION LAW AND THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF AFRICAN PEOPLE
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