The Senegalese scientist Diop theorized that the northern cradle individual, the predecessor of Western man, viewed Nature as a brutal enemy. Europe’s devastating cold during the Ice Age, which resulted in food scarcity, bred an adversarial relationship between the human and Nature, creating materialistic, competitive, insecure, self-centered, violence-prone people determined to conquer and control Nature. Nigerian religious scholar Anyanwu added a psychological basis for Western behavioral dynamics. He reminds us that although interaction with the outer world (Nature) is essential in the development of the human being (self), an equally important development occurs within the self. He explains that the self-contradiction of experience involves two dilemmas: the self-world and the self-self. Diop’s analysis addresses the self-world experience without examining the self-self aspect, but to fully understand the human being, we must examine the self-self aspects with the self-world experience since their development is interlinked. Therefore while the negative view of Nature was developing, there also developed a negative view of the self, making the situation doubly complex. Not only did the self-world experience produce a man versus Nature chasm, the self-self experience produced a mind versus body and a reason versus emotion antagonism. His resolution to this internal discord or fractured sense of self requires one aspect of the self to control the other — thus man had to control Nature and reason control emotion.
This fractured sense of self highlights the incurable defect of Western civilization. The Western worldview has created a dissociated person, a disjointed being unable to see the inherent unity of life; of the harmony between humans and Nature; spirit (mind) and body; man and woman; energy and matter. All complementary relationships are viewed as opposites or as confrontational. Instead of harmony, the West sees discord. Instead of the whole, it sees the part. The inability to resolve harmoniously the self-contradictions of experience has produced the dissociated person or the fractured self, in essence, the Western individual (the Caucasoid).
How can we expect Western society to develop a high culture when Western man views the world as a “rat race,” as “dog eat dog,“ or embraces ideas like “every man for himself?” These Western colloquialisms reflect the Western gestalt and have been reinforced by Western science’s canon that “man” is an animal. And if one believes he is an animal, he will act accordingly. In effect, the West has created a type of societal self-fulfilling prophecy, a pernicious cycle that consistently produces individuals whose actions and motivations encapsulate selfish, undisciplined behavior. It creates materialistic automatons, and the pool from which its leadership arises. Moreover, its leadership consists of those who have excelled in the culture’s values: individualism, competitiveness, militarism, and unscrupulous economic enterprise.
Afrikans, on the other hand, possess an entirely different conception of human potential, leadership and power. Afrikan thought teaches that human character and virtue must be developed. The innate potentialities for growth exist but they must be cultivated. Mythologies address this evolved person—he is the cultural hero, the self-mastered man. Persons who achieve this developmental stage will manifest certain decora, discipline, and sense of order. Those having mastered their emotions will comprise the leadership in an Afrikan meritocracy. They exercise authority over society either directly or indirectly and live lives governed by service and self-sacrifice. This conception is totally alien to the West since it has never devised techniques or systems to create self- mastered leadership. There’s nothing particularly altruistic or human- centered about individualism, competitiveness, militarism, and unscrupulous economic enterprise. These values most likely produce self-centered, aggressive, hawkish, social climbers instead of responsible leaders. In traditional Afrika, a person of this caliber, specifically because he lacks self-mastery, would be barred from responsible leadership. Childish, he is an uninitiated person. Yet this type, the West holds up as leader.
A society led by individuals who lack self-mastery can never rise to the level of a high culture, let alone to the level of a culture. But they can be a civilization. Harmony and balance, the two foundations of Afrikan societies, have never been elements of Western civilization. Under the West peoples of the world have endured racism, imperialism, horrific wars, numerous genocides, whole scale poverty, plagues and other maladies. The planet is also suffering: desertification, a damaged ozone layer, air pollution, water pollution, oil spills, acid rain, massive erosion, rising oceans, global warming, and the extinction and near-extinction of species. Ruling Europeans fail to realize than human beings are part of Nature and what we do to her we do to ourselves. When Nature, in response to defilement by Western civilization acts to maintain harmony and balance, and reacts in ways humans perceive as harmful to our existence, what do we do? Fight back as if Nature were an assailant, or do we adjust our behavior to ensure our survival, understanding that we must live in step with Nature? The world desperately needs the Afrikan worldview, with its emphasis on harmony and balance. But are or will Afrikan people be in any position to serve as vanguards for this gargantuan task?