In a small black town, a black man was selling ice to the people of the town. He was making a good living from his ice selling business. A white man from a neighboring town, seeing the profit in such a venture started a competitive ice selling business in the black town. The Blacks in the town, now wanting to be seen as racist, began to buy their ice from the white man. When the black man asked his townspeople why did they change and begin to patronize the white ice seller, they answered "the white man's ice is colder."
Cosmology becoming Philosophy
The search for knowledge outside Greece by her most learned men suggests the lack of a wisdom tradition in Greece. Before Thales, there was no such thing as a Greek philosopher or Greek philosophy. Thales was the first to acquire the title “philosopher,” and according to Diodorus of Sicily and Clement of Alexandria he studied many years under the tutelage of Kemetic priests, who introduced him to the Kemetic Cosmology or “Memphite Theology.” We know Pythagoras submitted to circumcision and we must assume Thales did also, since it is the first step to obtaining knowledge in Afrikan societies. This ritual procedure, marking the death of the child and rebirth of the adult, was requisite to attaining knowledge (the Word). After their studies, these men returned to Greece and attempted to institute the ideas they learned. Thales taught the ideas of the unity of matter and the primacy of the element of water, ideas that he did not fully understand when he learned them in Kemet. Thales’ water is none other than the primeval waters of Nun. However, Nun, on one level is a metaphor for our womb-zygotic existence, the space and time before birth (Creation). This metaphor of a biological reality, Greek philosophers will later treat as an opinion. But this is not the only problem because on a deeper level, we discover that Nun is not simply water but is actually sound/waves; its Medu Neter symbol represents the wave-like movement of sound, suggesting that waves or sound is the creative principle. This is how the Word became equated with the “beginning.”
We must reject this idea inferred by some scholars that the different centers in Kemet taught differing doctrines and that different Greek philosophers in espousing various doctrines were simply parroting Kemetic differences. Various Greeks espoused different ideas because that was the Greek mentality. In Greece, it was common practice for an individual to develop his own version of a “myth” or idea. Thus, Anaximander, a student of Thales, taught the Indefinite was the underlying principle of all things, while his student, Anaximenes, taught the underlying principle was air, yet Thales taught it was water. Two students, whose ideas stemmed from the same person, but in the end we have three ideas–here lies the origin of Greek philosophy. This is not how ideas in the schools in Kemet was approached. All knowledge was based on Maat and perceived through her husband, Tehuti. The centers of learning in Kemet were like verses in a poem, and like the Dogon's system, the various levels of the cosmology were laid out in a developmental systems that led initiates toward self-knowledge. Even when the myths have different versions, they perfect themselves and remained unitary. According to Griaule and Dogon thought, “Strictly speaking, they [myths] do not comprise variants. . . they follow the indigenous development of the thought based upon mythical facts.” I maintain that given the Afrikan stress on unity, the Kemetic initiation system, like the Dogon, Bambara or any Afrikan system, reflected the inherent unity of the Afrikan cosmos. At the different centers, i.e., Men-nefer (Memphis), Iunu (Heliopolis), Waset (Thebes) and Khmunoun (Hermopolis), the system was organized progressively, each revealing a different aspect of knowledge (the Word). Initiates began at Men-nefer where the elders revealed the creative act; proceeded to Iunu, where they taught the principles behind animated form; then advanced to Waset, where they defined Creation; and terminated at Khmunoun, the city of Tehuti, where they synthesized all knowledge.
Philosophy's origins lie in the Greek mentality itself, a mentality that championed individual initiative, while at the same time created a selfish egocentrism. Kemetic thought championed the oneness of creation, and the notion of communalism that grew from such a concept. Pythagoras’ teachings were perhaps the closest to what we was taught in Kemet. However, other Greeks challenged his ideas, those who had never traveled to Kemet, such as Xenophanes. Xenophanes of Colophon (Ionia) was one of Pythagoras' harshest critics. In the sixth century B.C.E., he started a religious revolt that laid the foundation for the eventual break from mythology and toward a rational philosophy. He essentially uprooted Greek Theology, which had already been indebted to Kemet, arguing that men create gods in their own image, thus, he denied their existence. He rejected the anthropomorphic gods of Homer and Hesiod and in their place he introduced a sort of rational pantheism by establishing the existence of a single, unifying all-powerful God. Aristotle said that Xenophanes was the first person to “one-ized” things–hence a forerunner of the Eleatic school, started by two of his students Zeno and Parmenides. Schwaller de Lubicz believes that Xenophanes helped to create the schism between religious and rational thought that his students would take up.
In the philosophies of Thales and Pythagoras we see an attempt to improve the political climate in Greece with emphasis being placed on character development through the acquisition of knowledge. These thinkers tried to incorporate knowledge derived from a culture based on a unitary worldview, into a society based on “egocentric classism.” However, Xenophanes' students Zeno and Parmenides are not concerned with improving the character of men. They are engaging in arguments for the sake of arguing. They are making intellectual arguments that have no practical application to daily living. Similarly, the philosopher Gorgian is arguing not for the sake of truth, but for the sake of rhetoric.20 In actuality, Zeno and other Eleatic philosophers developed a new awareness of rhetorical argument. In defense of Parmenides, Zeno produces a book consisting entirely of rhetorical arguments. This is philosophy pure and simple. What we see happening is the Greeks rejecting Kemetic thought (cosmology), and in doing so, they in effect created philosophy--a system of thought based on an individual’s personal intellection, beliefs, tendencies, and temperament. An individual can arbitrarily change his or her philosophy; however, cosmology is based on worldview and culture and cannot be changed because of personal conviction. Hence, it is the differences in worldview that are actually responsible for the perversion of cosmology into philosophy.
Yesterday, March 19 at approximately 3:30 a.m. Dr. Yosef A.A. Ben-Jochannan, otherwise affectionately known as Dr. Ben, passed away. He was 96 years young, and according to his own account lived a full and beautiful life, leaving us without regrets. When his heart is weighed against the feather of Maat, his life will reveal his nous attained, his destiny fulfilled. As a young man Dr Ben had the greatest impact on me. People that know me know I loved me some Dr. Ben. I am a Ben-ite, no doubt. At First World Alliance, in the late seventies and early eighties I heard him speak every week. Later Dr Clarke would join him. Dr Ben more than anybody else is responsible for the proliferation of Afrikan centered thought. He was out there lecturing on Garveyism, Pan-Afrikanism, the role of Afrikan people in the development of Western civilization, the reclaimation of Kemet, and other topics. Ben was also important in stressing that we as a people must give respect to the Afrikan woman.
Dr Ben was a very funny man. He use to have me dying with laughter. I have always enjoyed laughter; I come from a family that loves laughter. Hence, it was quite natural for me to infuse laughter into my lessons as a teacher of history, and in this way, I consciously emulated Dr. Ben. Any student that had me as a teacher can admit to my blend of Pan-Afrikan, pro-Black orientation and humor. My classes were hilarious, thought-provoking, and Afrikan centered. And I have Dr. Ben to thank for it.
Rest in peace, in Amenta
"Know the world in yourself. Never look for yourself in the world, for this would be to project your illusion."
Recently a spiritual brother of mine forwarded me an article on Islam. The general theme of the article was that according to initial Chinese contacts with Islam, the founders and propagators of Islam were black people, and that perhaps the insipid racism and the greater stress placed on “jihadic slavery” in Islam was introduced during the Persian period. (Ever since the Africoid Elamites were conquered by the Caucasoid Aryans, giving birth to the Persian people, that area of the world has increasing been “whitened” and an endemic racism has been concomitant with it.) Since then I have read Wesley Muhammad’s Black Arabia and the Rise of Islam. If we accept the veracity of the arguments being made and the evidence provided in the article and book, one thing becomes clear, that Islam like Judaism and Christianity joins the ranks of religions created by black people. Countless books have been written with the theme that Abrahamic religions were created by black or Africoid people. I have even penned a book, Distorted Truths, documenting the role of Afrikans in the rise of doctrinal Christianity, and Judaism's indebtedness to Afrikan thought, especially Atenism.
But it is not the racial heritage that is important in my view; it is the worldview and culture that matters. So for example, despite Tertullian being Afrikan, he nevertheless embraced the Greek worldview and was one of the staunchest misogynist in the ancient world. Even though Akhnaten was Kemau he still rejected his ancestral tradition in an attempt to be inclusive of non Afrikans in the new Kemetic empire. So it is not a question of race or color but one of living according to the proper worldview, and that is a worldview based on cosmology and not philosophy. (It could probably be argued that Akhnaten is the world's first philosopher and not Thales.)
For the record, I am a student of Diop; Dr. Ben and Dr. Clarke were my earliest teachers; I live as a Kawaidist cultural nationalist (Seba Maat Karenga); and have studied most of the works of Ra Un Nefer Amen. This does not mean that I will not occasionally disagree with an idea or two of theirs. But it is hoped that as I grow, that as we grow (in knowledge) our differences will be cosmological and not philosophical. Cosmological differences use Maat as their basis of knowledge and not simply human intellection devoid of Maat. As a simple example, a philosopher might argue that the world is locked in a struggle between “good” and “evil.” A cosmologist using the body as a microcosm of the world or existence would determine that the philosopher's ideas are inaccurate (for several reasons, which I will not addressed in this article). That there is neither an internal battle within nor an eternal battle without the body between “good” and “evil” forces; therefore, there is not such battle outside the body, i.e., in the world. That the body, life Nature, has both forces that together act reciprocally to sustain health, to sustain life. In the case of bacteria and cholesterol, we know the “good” ones outnumber the “bad,” and that one's health is directly related to maintaining their inherent balance, Maat by another name. Therefore it is maintaining balance that is the key to existence. Consequently, balance becomes the organizing principle in human life in the cosmologist's eyes and not winning some supposed battle of “good” over “evil,” the likely objective of the philosopher. If the latter is also reminiscent of the religious practitioner's attitude or view point, it should be, since religion is always undergirded by an implicit or understood philosophy.
No my folks, we lose site of the issues when we narrowly focus on race, without regard to worldview and culture. It's time to embrace our own unique and special way of seeing the world—if it was good enough for the people of ancient Kemet, Wagadu (Ghana), and the countless other high cultures still to be discovered, then it is good enough for us! And for the record, if you want to give me a label, I'm not a philosopher but a "cosmologist."
An extremely long but amazing video that everyone should watch. One of the best I have ever seen.
Afrikan Centered Christianity
In the 1990's there appeared a new phenomena in the U.S., the Afrocentric Church. This phenomena was not universally accepted as many well meaning Black Christians raise an eyebrow at it. These same Christians do not realize that the present version of Christianity they practice has been Europeanized over the centuries. They refuse to study history and see that Afrikans laid the foundations for Christianity, as it was an expression of the Kemetic cosmology, but even more so, an early ideological battle took place in Christianity between Afrikan centered thinkers one the one hand, and Eurocentric thinkers on the other. These ideas are clearly presented in my book, Distorted Truths. Christianity had a number of different paths but the most popular brand was the Egyptian school, which was Afrikan centered. Eventually, the Roman version won out over the Afrikan and established Catholicism as the main brand. Then, from this Eurocentric version of Christianity sprung Protestantism. It was just as Eurocentric.
The term “Protestant” comes from “protesting against the Roman Catholic Church.” Neither Roman Catholicism nor Protestantism derived from the Afrikan worldview but there was an Afrikan centered Christianity that emerge in the 18th century, called Antonianism. Antonianism developed in the Kongo, at a time that the people of the Kongo or the BaKongo desperately needed peace. During this period the Kongo was wrecked by civil war at the same time there was a thriving European slave trade, and the threat of being shipped across the Atlantic was ever-present. It was with this backdrop that a new religious ideology was developed, which combined traditional Kongolese culture with an adapted Christian message. This new system was needed to replace the old one under which so much turmoil existed. This movement was led by a Kongolese woman named Kimpa Vita, who had been trained as a traditional priestess or a nganga marinda (a person who consults the supernatural world to solve problems within the community). Her Christian name was Dona Beatriz and as a Christian she claimed to have derived her inspiration from the mother of God as depicted in the Old Testament. Three events gave Beatriz her credibility: First, Dona Beatriz, at the early age of 17, predicted that God would soon punish the Kongo. Soon after, one of Beatriz's followers, Appolonia Mafuta, found a stone which she alleged to be molded in the shape of Christ's head. Finally, after overcoming a lengthy illness, Beatriz claimed to be possessed by Saint Anthony's spirit—giving the movement its name.
Speaking as a medium for Saint Anthony, Beatriz claimed to have direct connection to the spirit world. She believed that she perished each Friday, only to be resurrected the following Monday. Between the time of her death and her resurrection, Beatriz claimed that she was given instructions from God. These divine decrees were given to the Kongo and this enabled her to build a temple, form a group of disciples, and start a national church completely independent of Rome. Beatriz called for the revitalization of the kingdom through adherence to a vision of Catholicism that was set firmly within Kongo history and geography. Her message was directed at unifying the Kongolose people as her spiritually was not separate from her politics, and her politics was not separate from her spiritually. She preached a message that was "Africanized," but Christian nonetheless. This divine communication with God spoke of an African Holy Family. According to Beatriz, Jesus was born in Mbanza, Kongo and baptized not at Nazareth but in the northern province of Nsundi, while Mary's mother was a slave of the Kongo nobleman Nzimba Mpangi. Beatriz spoke of Christ and his disciples as black Africans and agents of change. She also taught that the Last Judgement would soon occur within the Kongo. Although the movement recognized papal authority, it was hostile to European missionaries, whom it considered corrupt and unsympathetic to the spiritual needs of Kongolese Catholics. Beatriz and her followers briefly occupied Mbanza, from which she sent emissaries to spread her teachings and urge rulers of the divided Kongo territories to unite under one king.
Antonianism changed the traditional Catholic prayer "Saive Regina" to "Saive Antonio" making it more relevant to Kongolese modes of thought. Her version taught that the sacraments of marriage, confession, and baptism were meaningless since God invariably knew one's intention. Because of this Beatriz burned crosses and traditional religious objects (nganga objects) as unnecessary fetishes. She used the politically powerful isimbi cult to further her movement, and ultimately to empower her to appoint the new king. At this point she commanded all nobles to cease the fighting which was detrimental to the kingdom's harmony. Pedro Constantininho was one of the nobles who joined the movement, converting to Antonianism. Beatriz named him king. This aligned her and all of her followers against the former king, Pedro I, who was supported by the Portuguese Catholic Church and, consequently, by the Pope. By naming Pedro Constantininho king, Beatriz made enemies within the Catholic community. This would eventually lead to a full-fledged holy war, Catholicism vs Antonianism. In 1706, already an anathema in the Roman church's eyes, Beatriz gave birth to a child while claiming to be a virgin; hence, this was an immaculate conception. This outraged the Church, and in June of that year, she was captured by King Pedro II and burned as a heretic at the behest of Capuchin monks. Her infant son was spared.
For Christianity to be meaningful to Afrikan people it must be Afrikan centered. Why should it be Eurocentric as it is now? The idea of making Christianity, or any religion or spiritual practice to suit the needs of the worshipers is not new. It has a history as long as Christianity itself. Let us learn from our history--let's take a lesson from Dona Beatriz and her efforts in the Kongo.