Orbiting dead worlds

When we ruminate on what we believe other people are thinking about us, it is almost as if our attention gives mass to these things, and since mass produces gravity, we find ourselves in the orbit of these notions, going over them again and again. As our attention persists, these thoughts take on the nature of a black hole, ultimately devouring us.

Instead we might consider the ultimate insubstantiality of such thoughts, that the power of such things is contingent upon our investments in them. They are not constitutive of reality. In fact we are often disconnected from reality when we allow our minds orbit worlds born of our anxieties and little else.

The Deep Thought of Jacob H. Carruthers on African Spirituality

Jacob H. Carruthers stated that within African spirituality we do not find a “ritual of dis-alienation”, that is a ritual to restore the connection between humanity and the divine. We do not find this because humanity was conceived as divine.
He explained that the practice of African spirituality in kmt was concerned with the practice of mAat–order, truth, righteousness. mdw nfr, or good speech was a means of this practice. mdw nfr when elevated to its highest form, became mdw nTr, or divine speech.
The centrality of mdw or speech within the spirituality of kmt was linked to the conceptualization of humanity’s maximal development. mdw was the mediator between thought and action. A controlled tongue reflected an ordered mind and moderation in action. As speech was a means of personal development, Carruthers stated that the person who had achieved their full potential possessed siA–exceptional insight, hw–a commanding tongue, and hkA–the ability to manifest their will in the world. These were not magical qualities but simply the consequence of self-mastery, that is living mAat.
Thus, Carruthers articulated a vision of African spirituality as a means whereby we 1) reoriented ourselves in time and space, 2) drew from the deep well of African wisdom and applied these lessons in our lives, 3) reclaimed an African worldview, and 4) transformed ourselves. Ultimately he posited that “We’re not going anywhere without African spirituality” or that our journey through the desert will be unending so long as we remain mired in the fundamental alienation of this culture which seeks to nurture the values of the wasteland within us.
In African spirituality Jacob H. Carruthers saw a path out of the desert, to a fertile valley, and to the restoration of African civilization.

Democracy, capitalism, socialism, and fascism

I wonder if folks have considered that so-called liberal democracy may have been an ephemeral mode of governance born of a unique convergence of industrial capitalism and increasingly irrelevant monarchies. Marx’s predictions of socialism’s inevitable ascendance notwithstanding, the seamless alignment of capital and the state has shown that other configurations do emerge.

While global capitalism resulted in a diminution of the state’s relevance and power, fascism promises both the states restoration, and the reconfiguration of capitalism along nationalistic lines. Hence if globalization has resulted in the disillusionment of the laboring masses of the world, fascism represents the illusory promise of a restoration to some imagined halcyon days of dignity or greatness.

Rehabilitating the deficient notion of Africa and African culture

Given the conceptual malaise that we face as a people, that is our being centered in the paradigms of other peoples, we have to be discerning regarding those knowledges which informs our work among our people. Some of us are deepening our alienation, rather than countering it.
The expression, “African solutions to African problems”, is not a mere abstraction when we seek to manifest it in all that we do. When we make African cultural knowledge primary we accomplish three things. First, we affirm the viability and legitimacy of African knowledge. Second, we teach others about African culture by empowering them to draw from it. Third, we rehabilitate the deficient notion of Africa and African culture which so afflicts the minds of our people.
For my part, I have attempted to be discerning regarding how I position African knowledges in my work. This has been with respect to the combat arts (as in teaching Capoeira), languages (as in promoting Swahili and mdw nTr), history, philosophy, and so on. It has not always been easy, but it has been and continues to be very necessary.