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rHE DI:EPSTRUCTUR.E ... . OF CULTURE . .. . . Relevance of traditional Mricart ~ .. CUItureinC()nt~m:p()rarytife
. LINDA :rAMES~YERS
OhioSjau ·UlIwenlly ..

._' Culture defiiied as the total way o(lit~of a people, is somewhit indestructible, As long as there are people they will have a way of.Iife. Culturedetermines quality of life in large.measure, The'··.· importa.n~e of cultural identity topeople of African descent. . has been emphasized repeatedly (Asante.19&3: Cruse, i967;. Karenga,) 983). . . .Part of what is being responded tois what Nobles (1976) .describes as the "conceptualincarceration"ofblack people ina hegel1ioriousEul'opean•. merican"~riented culture. A

might titaximizeitsbenefltSin contemporary tbnes(Asante~ . 1983);If we-. assume a single gene pool, acceptthe most curre~ ••.. archaeological and anthropological evidence. and follow what '. has been shown to be true' of dominaatgenesfor eolor versus .. . tccessh'e~ an people: can be said t6beof African descent. .-.' '.depending on bow far· back they wish· to go in tracing their .' . ancestry; We owe it to ou~elves to understand the nature.ofthe ..conceptualsystemthat YIeldedthe first culture from whicball,/1 ' other conceptual systems and culture evolved (Ben-Jochannon,'" • , 1971;.Piop •. 1974; VanSertimll, 1983); If .our prcmisesare . indeed true; having clearly identified the nature of this ancient .. system, of th~ught. we ;~hould be able to distin~hthc t.,ra. ~ltta.l of ItS. lements to al.ll.a. e ~ulturesf Thisart~cle ~. U ns. e t lden~ify the deepsttucture of the Afncan-cultural hentage m terms of conceptual sYsttms,.diSCuss methods forteclaiming it; .. ':'", and theconsequences ofJlonreClamatioJl. tn this instance, our . .discourse wiDbe restricted to comparing and contrasting the . . ancient African and. modem EurO'-Ainerican cultural world- . views as the polar' referents of the cultural continuum;

l .

Hd~

.. t·

THE DEEP STRUCTURE -.OF CULTURE

It has been said that we mustbecome"cultural scientists.•••. learn the ttuellattireofour Africallcu!tutal heritage so thlltrWe···
..AlJTHOR'SNOTE:
• ~fub~!";IIiC.

ThisaTlick ivasacccpicd/orpubJicalion
Vol. II No. I, ScPlCmber

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. . ' Cuiturehas been defined as the totalwayoflifeofa people; A'people's way of life may be examined at theJevel of~nsory observationor surface,structures. which are subjecUoietatively . rapid change, constrained bytiroeand space, and nongener1illye . . innatute; Or. artotherievelotanlllysismaybeth~,deep . ,strilctbre;whichisarcbelypa!.ilot bound to the spedfic grouP. . .and generative in nature. At tbe deep level of structural . analysis evidenceof aceriain set of rules or system is ~ough <.: r, that affords diagnosisoqhe features of empiriCal ph~Do :"iia·· .•• (Hammel 1912r''''\-~-'-''''''''''''''''''''''''''''';''''';''-' .... ~obJes'~I!J!m id,ent.ifieslbe deep sttuctur~ of culture u~he phdo~ophical assumptlons( e.g;, onll)logy. epIStemology,axiol- . . ogy, cosmology) uildctpinning·aiidteflectccUn "'tneiC\Jlture·s. ..

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Myers lDE}!P STllUcrtJRE OF CULTUR£

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worldview.ethos.and ideology.The outward,phYsicalIrialuresta-- <,: tions of culture and its artifacts (i.e., specific languages, specific ' knowledge of tribal origins; customs, and rituals, .African . socioeconomic organization,and so on) art amenable to change and loi-destruction; However,the world view yielded by a particular ,setofphilosophicalassumptiollscan be . preserved in the conceptualsystem thosea:SsUmptionsstrt1c~ ture. In terms of Africanl African-American culture, what persevered and developed were the essential. qualities of the '.' Africanworldview;aView,cofieerned with metaphysical rather thanputclY'physitillinferrelatioll$hips,suchasthllt between. -. music and poetry; religious funetionsarid practice, man and _...wllJ.ll:re(Walion,1972);.. .' " " , Others have detailed the existence of a traditional Africiln , worldview, andeertailiculhiralethos seem continually to ' predonunate(Asanie,19g0 ••IlalanderaridMaquet,J974; , Busia, 1963; Diop, t978; Forde, 1954; Gerhart. 1978, Levine; 1977; Mbiti, 1970;,Nobels, J972; Paitinder,1954;So'Wande, " 1974;Thompson, 1974; WillialllS,I976j Zahan.1979).Dixon (l976}and Nichols (I!n6) have bien particularly dear jn ; 'delineatingand articulating thephilosophieal assumptions of ' the worldview, OntologicaIly,thena:ture of reality is believed' to beatonccspiritualand material(spiritual/material,exttaseIisoryescan ,be known through the five sense). Self-knowledge ' becomes the basis'oCiillknowle<lgeinAftbcenftie:cpistelnology:' " and one:k~ows through symbolic imagery and rhythm, In " terms of axiology, highest value is placed on interpersonal relatiollshipsamong people. Diunita! (Uilionofopposites) logicdominates,this worldviewalldtheptocessisntuology (illl sets are interrelated through humanandspiritual networks).
t

THE AFltoCE~RiC,CONCEPTtJAL

SYSTEM"

Adherertce toa cohesive set of philosophical asSutriptions~, such as the onejustdesctibed,createsaconceptualsystem,ll' pattern of beliefs and values. that define a way of life and the

worldinwhichpedpleact, judge, decide, iuidsolve problems (Albert. 1970). It is thiS conceptual system that structures the world view at the level of cultural deep structure to be reflected in surface strtictu're across timel sp8te .. Forexample, in llnillysisof the sacred. ,and secUlar dYnarnicso( the AfricanAmericancommuriic.tion .systeiii.Daniel andSmitlierinaJi', (1976) IdentiCythe tradItional AfriCan worldviewas signifiCanl.~ for understanding patterns of black' communlcationinthe United States, and the call response pattern as exemplary of a" "deep structure" cUltural difference. . ' , ,' Weean therefore· speak ,reliably in terms ofaEutopeaJi , ,.'conCeptual (definitionill) system as weUasan African toncep. , -. tual'system. each being distinctly different from the other in terms of basicsutvival thrust and fundamental character, . (Baldwin, 1980). Describing ptop1eof African descent~Asan~ , " (1980)acknowledges tbatthey~ a people who appreeiatethe , 'contirl\lurnofspiri~ andmattet, not distinguiShing~~een .11 them, Frye (1978)dlScusses,as the first constructor traditional', ft. Africanp.hiIosophicaItho~ght.the notion ~hatthere isan? all-pervasive "energy"thatlS the source •.sustamer, and essence Q ofallpheJiotricnpn. Tncoiitrast, the W~ternworldviewisR fragmented with itS Separation of spirit and matter (Capra, 1975). Rather th,anclfiphasizethcdynamicumty orall thingS.' ,"such a system focuses on thesegnumtatioJl ofthephenomenal world (e.g., separating mind and body, persons against nature, • self and ofher ,aQd sooll).Orily Witbinthe last quartet century , do we find an awareness of fbisspiritualfmaterial paradigm, ,gainiilggroundinWestemscience(CaptllfI97S,1982; Gelwict, 1917; Jantsch,1919: Pelletiet,1978).<HoWevet,knowledgcof, , , , the implications pf the paradigm shift; fot' daily functioning , "still seems to elude Western culture. , . ':' .The concept of self will be-used toillustratc how the AfroccntricsYstem functions. In order to make these ideas more fully comprehensible within a EllrocCnmc frame of refeience,lef usfirstentertain the Jiatuteof spirit, and mattet, , ,the ma~ifestations of spirit: Spirit is defined astlia~ p~rvasive essence that is known in an extrasensory fashion (i.e., the

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fastest moving energy. consciousness, God). TItink in terms of breaking down matter (the most outward manifestationol, spirit).Cbemistry has aided in this endeavor, with its periodic table we c'anidentify all.of tbechemical elements known and . their atomic (proton.·neutron, electron)configurati()hS, Sub .• atomic physics thenallowsl!S topeiietrate the nrieleIJs6fthe . atom.and discover a partic:le world in which all particlesofa given kind are completely identical. The. constituents-of .particles are more'elusive observationally. S~rongly interacting p~i~lfs (had rons) are believed to be composed of elementary entItIes called quarks. OUT technology does notallQw.usto "scc"quarksor' measurethem, In rnodem physics, the question ..• of consciousness has arisen in connection with the observation of these subatomic phenomena. Quantum theory has made it clear that these phenomenacan be un~rstood onlyaslinks in a chain of processes, the end ofwhicb lies in the.eonsciousnessof . the human-observer (WignerI970),Subsequentlyy we.have": simultaneous levels of eXistenceranging from the most inward.··· ~rvasive. fastest-moving ~rgy, consciousness, to its most outward crystallized form,matter. . ---Inordinaryli{einAmc:rican culture.we ate not always aware' offhe unity (irin' things; but divide: tbeworld intoseperate objects and events. Western culture assumes this division useful and necessary tocopewith the everyday environment; however, .it is· riot a. fundamental feature of reality, .It isatt .. abstraction devised •. your discriminating andcategorlzing b intellectual 'Orientation (Capra, 1915).111 contrast,theAfrican mind function~ hofistically, 'emphasizing the interrelatedness' and interdependenceohll things. Africans of traditional culture apprehended a sense of self . extended in time toincIude alloffheaneestors, the yet Ufibotn. . all of naturejandtheentirecornrnunity (Nobles, I976;Zahan, 1979).Thus they identified themselves at the levelof permeating essencerather thansJ:lCcificoutward manifestation (i.e•• as eonseiousness otspirit.ta.therthan individualiZed material form). According tozahan (1979), from.this point ofviewthe· Individual does not constituteaclosed system in opposition to'

theoutsid~ W()tld.in order to better securcherot his own substancea!ld limitations. On the contr8ry~the individual enters into'the sultoundingenyitonment. which iri turn perpetuatesher orhim. , . . . Id~ntifyingself in'tbisway .-eflectS idea ofhOlonorny. the the Whole beingco~tainedin each Of.ibpartS,wbicbisso characteristic of natute (Bohm, 1980; Chew. 1964; Capra.. 1982). The African at on eeing herself or himself as one with I IntteCon'Sciousness and tm IVI oy, auni ueart •• o t atconsciousncss manifesting.' ,an speaks of the , , . .very Wldcsprea(t, if not univei'S8l;belief among Airicans in the '. ability of the iildividuaI to "double~herselfoJ"biJnself atceriain ·moments in ber or his life. Within this frame of referenee, the extended Self. Infinite Consciousness, po~esses a point of fission that assures man or woman an ·infinite range of • ·'possi~ili' . . .'... '..'.. .•.. .:. .. '..• ' e African ltterid~ self is God manifeSting, the hUman ·~v\.t 'beingis one with od having s.t~ctured conSciousnessthrou~ po." ~ conceptuaIsysteto be divine orsup-remely good. It IS . . .' iinportanUo note.b wever. that withintbisworldview one is ' notautomaticallygi n the status of human beint. not does I JI ,/ · "dying"autofIaticafiDaJre.oile an ancestor. Both statuses are j v ..1accorded on the b .. S of one either evidencing the potential to manifest good eo sciousness (correct awuenessaccording to '",i4' ·t~estructu~o <the co.nceptual S)'st~m).or in the .c~.of ~he

is

11'

cJt(lr.

ancest.. ..~ h or ...•. .·.a . , .:e. n... ." ·uall groupexpenece real.I.%C.. d go:ode. C.O. n.,s.OU.S ....n S.S..•. 1.->. d.IVI-. d.(self-actualIZed).·er ·The African,con ... tlialsystemwith itsspititUallinaterl~ p onto!ogyandsubsequent .notion ofextendedselfllSsumesa .~ ..seJf-organi2inguniverse (Jantsch.1980), Theprocess ofntuol": , ogy.,~Usetsareinterrehitedthr'ough human and spiritual .:': networks, assures· that higbest· value. must be placed·..on .•. interpersonal ~elationships~etween individuals.ZahanCI979)V ./ . notes that tBmgs' and beings are not an obstacle to .the V. . knowledge of God. rather they constitutesignifiers and indices thatreveal' divinebeirig .(i.e.,·one knoWs through symbOlic· .. irnagery andrhythrn in the expression otself':kbowledge).

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Establishing the validity and reliability of the conceptual system is not the objective of this article per se (see, Myers, 1984), but the current paradigm shift of Western science. and' Eastern philosophies (Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism), endorse the acceptance of such an holistic world view. It is from the deep structure of traditional African culture that we can learn how to apply the height of this knowledge to everyday . experience. ,

RECLAIMING THE AFROCENTRIC WORLDVIEW Our purpose in supporting the resurgence of the deep structures of African culture ise 12! ~ replic~on 5!:f a~t s~e .s~e c~ I!!..modem times. ve~ if possible, that woulabe unnecessary, aiUl1lkely, iiiil>eneficial. For example, ancient Egyptians taught a deification process whereby man or woman could achieve everlasting peace and happiness, called the Egyptian Mystery System (James, J954). We do not, however, need to go through the form and ritual of the Mystery System itself to benefit from its teachings. -lndeed the conceptual system that we would be seeking to achieve would preclude that; because its basic premise is to allow the outward form to change freely while focusing on its source, inward spirit that is unchanging. Once that is accomplished we will' have ensured that outward materiality will "take shape" consistent with underlying spirit in a manner far superior to anything II segmented conceptual system could fathom. Given an Afrocentricconceptualsystem, life is meantto he I . carefree (free of worry, anxiety, fear, guilt. frustration. anger, hostility, and soon). The waythe system is structured we are one with the source of all things good, and; as such, infinite . .beings. To the extent, however, we entertain the dominant E~rocentric conceptual system, at best, aspects of that truth ~11 be fragmented in our experience. The choice of conceptual . systems is ours; and at all times we can know that the law of

mind is worlcingso that.whatever we are believing is, is for us at the moment o( belief. Power is the ability to define reality. . Asante (1980) speaks of five levels of awareness in our souls. The fifth level, Afrocentricity, occurs "when the person . becomes totally changed to a censcious level of involvement in the struggle for his br her own mindlibetation." This level of awareness is of course requisite'foradoption and maintenance of the Afrocentric conceptual system. The consciousness of the person is totally changed and empowered when he or she .••. establishes the conceptual system of the African culture deep . structure. I will now briefly discuss three approaches that will facilitate the. reclamation process.

.METHODS OF RECLAMATION Youngand Hardiman (1983) argue t~at tbe Afrocentric perspective can be taught in an academic setting and have devised a curricular approach consisting of five phases for the teac?i~g ~fliterature. I believe tbe.irap~ro.ach is app~cable t.o all disciplines. The first pbase they Idenhfy IS reclamation. ThIS I . phase entails the documentation of evidence verifying ilie true African historical record. Phase two is emotional and intellect.lW identification in which students conduct'theiroWiiTnvestiga- ~ tions, raising questions and answering them in terms of research of personal relevance. Phase three is demystificatiQJl ~ in which emphasis is placed on defining. and clarifyin~ structural elements, form, content, and other devices of the ~iscipli~e. In phase. four, .u.!.!.s!mt~inB,students!oeus on fE7 integratingcsynthesizing, internalizing, andreflectlDg what\.:!;! theyhave learned through analysis of western orthodox wo.rk.· . The last phase, mastery, requires that students demonstrate their understanding by applying the information in a product~ ~f their own creation for future generations of humankind and . . thereby taking their place in the African legacy continuum. Having analyzed the psychology of black expressiveness, Pasteur and Toldson (1982) provide the following suggestions

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knowtedge'OfhoJistiCtriedicine;tesiSffol"lDlili%ingnd st8!idllid~ ..•. a '. izingeXiste~ guard agaWfitjlctitr~.tOutitlt$cft)t~$atU.fr!. : o~ thmg1hesa,meway;.do so~lbbiP·Wbeil,~Jeellike,'··, 'doingthtni aitd~tiatC!o.r(~o~r~tiili~~mpOJsion{~: .., .' be as' frank(hoDcst,'llrtd,,tOlht:"point.ai' pOS$ii)let-movtas, ". .,: "

.material ol1to19lY,as~.',itihereIltly -.Deans' ~OD. " ~usc by. def"mition 'matCri8litj u fiDite Ud JiiDitcd.,A , ' consc:io'lwie$sr()Oted in SUCha world view Will terliJiDilte itselF , , (i.e:.·beliewwith full~on itialOiGitodie).·~e-cu see
.,thel!l~,ibd$hOrt~co~;of£~tric rutH>··titJiWla.Three lo'n,.lGeft'e'cll:uon'eciOlogy thtO~out of•• • .bala~(ilcla' ram..sOil erOSion;cfmwe.mits.the ~OUie' · d'f~).a,.,orkiO'D the' bnnto(ilUCleat ~n.Uda ",··batlmpt~()nomybtieddtttdianyimbal~ utiliAtion'of' _tmgpeace

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naturi11y.l'Clax:~auar~Ytb~y'aspo$slbleno~Jif'e:.:nd ., . ~If. isliliigtosee.$elfmUltlply,ltl;tti1ils.ofgeneral.orielitati~:" w

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JOURNAL .OF BLACK STUDIES I SEPTEMBER 1987

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Mjiom I D£llp·STIlUCTUREOPCULlURE
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·giiJJiPseSoftbeitis()lali()ni'ritenslfies;iil:me~beno~this;grOliP, ... t/teireffrirttowardaceeptabiIityby the white domma,ti'tgroup . and they become even more aggressive towam thell"group of ·origin. People withantiselrdisorders are particularly susceptible to manipulation by the dominant .group to aid in the. .suppression and control of progress in the African-American community. The last category I will discuss here is the self-destructive ·disorder, people in this group are the most ditect.Victims.of ·oppression. Akbar states ihat these disorders represent, selfdefeating. attemptstosurvlve.in it society that systematically frusii'attSnornial efforts Ior.natural human growth. Members of this category have usually Joundthe doors to legitimate survival locked and out of the urgency for survivalselected personally and sociallydestructive means to alleviate immediate wants. Included in this category would be pimps,prostitutes, ~ubstanceab~ets,and psychotics, . .

Peltot. 11)78) ser'V;erimarify torcinf'orcetbe status quo rather p tban entighteD.~·is thecase\\,ithm\i~h siH:alled~holarship • Ratherthan ela.bOrateon these issues furthCt; SQffidit to say .. that wetanaffotdlobecreative, no areaofinterest sbCiu{d be

~:~~~:!nt~:n~~~:~i;:~~~: .

are~ommunicati~g iri.ordinaryday-to-d.ysituatloDs· ceriainlyproYeli$ valuable a source of tnowledgeas

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left untouched. The consequences fot notliberiltlng our minds
dbe~~~. . . If you can control a person's thinking, yO~'donot have to w0rtYaboutthe Person'S action. When you detetminewhala person shatt think, you do not Itaveto C'dnctm ~ourself about What thtpenonwill do: If you make il pttsonfetl that he or she is inferior. you dci not have-to compel him or her to accept an inferior statUs, for the person will seelcit for himSelf or herself . (WOodsol1,1933); •
.

..

'R~FERENCES
CONCLUSION
AKJlAit;N;(198

The issues.raised ill this article regarding theadoption of a conceptual system rooted-in the African cultural deep structure areempirically verifiable and warrant further investigation. Autobiography comes as a most highly recommended method- . oiogy, simply because. it is so . purely consistent~th the .Afrocentric epistemology of self-knowledge as the basis Ofall kiioWledge•.An open andhi>ttes~encountetWithyourse!fmight .: bea fits!Step in crltical examinatlon, particu1ar1ywhemfealing .. with the deepest levels of analysis. What areyou assulIling to be .tnie?Andhavingassumed it, how isit shaping youtexperience . rightriOw? Howhasit.influencCdyo1ir, past?\Vhatbetter informed i:hoices might you want to makei'rithe fiiture'? . The adopuoll ofanAfrocentrie conceptual system. prompts us to reevaluate every aspect of out. being; we begin to see an . old ~<>rldin a new Way. As vie begin ourexploration, viemight . Want topaypartictdarattention to folklore. Messages that folk

1,."M';'taI dilorder

.

".

.

uilOD, AriiCaa-~

"lii.dr: JIoobIlull

.

M~(1980)AfIOClintriCity: 'hcOTyof SociII CliUie- B\dJilo, NY: Amulcf1. 1 ASANTIl:,M.(19B3)-AfricalllinauQjics •••••ca!IIIDUllicaliim~tiei. -1'racaIcd at tbe F'.tIce.ith Aimual Coofcmicc of the AfriuD Hcritl.C'Stllllie* AIIoc:i&tiOD; .N•.••• ·Yort. ·ApriI. .. .. . . . :.. . BALANDER.G •••••• J. MAQUET (1974) DidiOlWYof IlIlicltAfricail ClYiliwioJL J'{o",Yort:·LtoII AmieL .. ... . . ...BALOWI'N.J. (1980) "The paycboiOifO[ oppreai~q.-laM.Alantb •••••R. VoDdi (cda.)CoDltmporuy Blick TIIousht, Ncwbur; Park: Ck 5qt •.... BEN.JOCHANNAN. Y.(197I)Afriu:Motber ofW •••••.••Civilizalloll..Nri York: • A1hbU"lilI... . . .. .. .. IiOHM.D, (lil8o)Wl!ol'•••••thtilllp\il:attotd .. .. . er, London: RaiJtledae.t ~

"~..' ASANTE,

·7.2.. . .... . . ":'. .. .... ALBERT.), (1970)oCollCOpiual ayatcllllUa Africa, -pp.99-107;" J.hdem •••••E. . Sojl(oda;)The ElpOr;euc:e. Vol t E_Oft;Ii.: Nortllwatcnl Um.

M",*,

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DUSIA, Ie A. (1963)-n..:AfriuD WOrld """': ilIJ. DrIcllct(od.)AfricaB IIcri~. No.Vork: ctowen-Coliii:t. ._ -. CAPRA. F.(i915) TheTlOof Pbyiia. N~ Yort:liaataili. . ., . . CAPRA. F. (1982) The timWl&Point:ScitIIc:e, sOciety ••••• 'hc RiaiDi Cultun. New . YorlcSimon. SchUlter,

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JOURNAL OFBLACJ(S1'1iDIES.

I 5EP'rEMBER 1981
PASTEUIt. A. B. iIDd1.]; TOLDSQN (!9S2}RoouOfSoul: The.PoyehoIoSYOfBlaek Eopraoiv<acu.GanicJI city,NY: AncIiOi'/OoultWay;, .". ." .., ' .PELLETIER.", R•. (I971) t_oni. .a·~ or CODJcio ••••••••..~ l'od:: 0e1litOi1e. '. '..•...•... ' '. '. '... ".. ' . . . . ". .... . PitEISWERt. P.• 1I,u).PEItROT~im}ElliilocOiitJiam ilDdHillory,.AfnC.; IWa ••••• iDdiuAacricu ill W-..Tmboob. Newyoik:NO~ .. . SOWAIm'l. T.(I972)-n.e~vrIlllMricaD-W'riew:t!ae'~~'" ~·iDl~~~ed.)ma.:.·,t;MimuaieJ6oooMli . "·..rR~ .iuJd hlllrJCtiOa.JI~llC:.H~l!8dOnIetII.for"HI''''''ilia!., '.' TlfOMIPsON,Il;.T(1974j.ArricaD lad in.Mlilloo;·LoaAllcelcO,:V.,j;,.OfOi!ifotaii.

.CHEW, G. G., M. GELL-MANN,and A. H. ROSENFIELD (1964) "SlroDSIy iD.mc.iniparticleo."ScU:utir!C:AnxriCan210: 7.t-33. •. . ' . CRI!SE,H.(I.~1l TheCJisis ortheN"esro hile.IIOctu.UleW yo,t; Wimlt!DMo~ow iIDdC<impOl\Y.IIIC"~. '. . .... '. . .. , l>ANIEL,J. L. •••d G. SMITHERMAN (1976) "How 1 sol over. COIIimunicatioD dJtwnicI in tbt bldcommunity.·Q. J.ofSpeeeh62; I: u;.~. .I mop,c. A, U914) TbeAfrican Onsm ofC¥liution:- MYth or Rulity. Net..-Yori: . ·.DIOP, eA (i91i) c"iuual Ullity of BIatI::Afiic*:Matrian:hy iIDd':PatriatChyill ;\itiiqWty,~;11iird World, .... . .. OI~ON; V"(1916) "Worl'hic- ••• iIDd~hmelboclolOlY;"m:L.J(in*c1 aI. (od,,) , MriOa.. Plilloaopby, AuumptloDJ _ ParodijpnrotR_h'ODBtacltPm""" Loa "","lei: FUOD.OeDter. .. FORDE, D. (ed,){I~) MricaDWorIda: StudieSin the C<>SmoIop:.Jld••••••• rSociai . VaI_ orA(rico" PcopIea. NcwVork: (),.{ord um.:i>.eIa. .' . FIlY!!.·C; (lnl) To';;atd.·. PhilOSOphyorm..:k Sludi ••. SIliFraftciico:lt . .t £; . lti::ltitdi~~Ini;,. ." .: .....•....... Gt!LWICK; It. ('9i7)ikway or Oisc:overy.N'" Y~k!();doidUoi.V.Pn!A, ..•• GI!RHART. G; M. (1911) Blael:: Po_ ill Souu.Ai'rii:&:The·I!YOiUti"DOC", ldeoIosY. Berkeley. UDiv.or~omia Pna, . \ HAMMEL,LA.(I972t'niemjthOfotnic:lural ualym; Levj"!iiraus ~ u.e"ih..., boon.· AcI.cIiso WeoIq MocIulCia.Alllbropolol)'(MocIuIe nv). lteailia&JlA: ••• MdisO..-Wii1ey.. . .... '. , ' .' ..•. . .•.•. . ..... • '\ . .J;\MES. (I, (1954jSlo"0 UIIie)' New Yoik:PIilloocipbical La'braty. . ...• JA1'O'SCH;E.(I9S9).n.e·Sell~IUDivene: ~ifICUilIfUal&blmpl~ MIll of !lie Eme,.u..PatadiJDI of Evolu\lOft. NewV"n, PtrpmOD: K:AitENGA,M (1983)'''Nationalilm: lbe ]Il~ or ei>lIecIivevocation." Preaealed."a( the ~ih ADDuaICOnf......,..onhdi.tiOnaI"COimcil~r Blick Sludiei. Bei;l<ck)'.!ot>fiL .•. .' . . , ~.' . . .' . LEVlNE,J..,W.(1977)1IIatt Cohure,iIDd Bia-CotI#luoneoa;.New Y9tk:Oiford UaiY.~;· ." MBm. J,(mOrAr~ It.lili() •••IIjIdPIill~by.Gjoid.IlCitY.l'I\,;O!>Ubled.Y' MYERS, G.j; (19&0)"lICIitf.lystcml aDaIysis:ilDArridilbaseil ~.IIimPY.~
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OPTIMAL CONCEPTUALIZATION:
Methods of an Ancient Afrocentric Psychology Based upon the philosophical assumptions and principles serving as the foundation of the world view of ancient Africans, a conceptual system has been identified designed toward the achievement of everlasting peace and happiness. It may be described as optimal, if one values such an aim. Most of us in the West have been socialized into a world view undergirded by a conceptual system that is less than optimal, yielding racism, sexism, classisrn, and so on; one that is sub-optimal. Briefly described below you will find the differences between the two conceptual systems and subsequent world views delineated in terms of structure. If utilized, the optimal conceptual system orders one's thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and actions so as to yield maximum positivity in experience. Optimal psychology is realized through reason, which is the unity that contains and transcends all opposites.
Conceptual Systems Assumptions
Ontology

Optimal Spiritual (known in an extrasensory fashion) and material (known through the five senses) as one self-knowledge known through symbolic imagery and rhythm Highest value in positive interpersonal relationships between wolman Diunital-unionof opposites Ntuology-all sets are interrelated through human and spiritual network . Extended self, multi-dimensional Intrinsic in being Spiritualism,oneness with nature. communalism Positively consistent despite appearances due to relationships with source Infinite and unlimited (spirit manifesting) Holistic/oneness External Carefree/flow Unconditional (see beyond to truth) Manifestation of sharing spiritual union Unity through ideology Tied to ethics and character

Sub-Optimal Material with possible spiritual aspect that is separate and secondary External knowledge known through counting and measuring Highest value in objects or acquisition Dichotomous=-either/or Technology-c-all.sets are repeatable and reproducible Individual form Based on external criteria or materialism Materialism, competition. individualism In constant flux and struggle Finite and limited (beginning with birth and ending with death) segmented, fragmented (duality) Temporal (temporary) Continual confrontation Conditional (focus on appearance) Manifestation of material attraction Unity through common goals or specific aim External. superficial

(nature of reality) Epistemology (nature of knowledge) Axiology (nature of value) . Logic (reason) Process Identity Self-worth Values guiding behavior Sense of well-being Life-space Perspective Peace, happiness orientation Stress, anxiety orientation "Loveorientation Close interpersonal relationships Group orientation Aesthetic orientation

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