Including Chapter Extract: "Utamawazo: The Cultural Structuring of Thought"              Play the Workshop“Rob the univers...
RBG Blakademics                                                     November, 2010         Professor Marimba Ani and Yurug...
RBG Blakademics                                                                   November, 2010                          ...
RBG Blakademics                                                         November, 2010 After having traveled in Afrika, Ma...
RBG Blakademics                                                              November, 2010         Let The Circle Be Unb...
RBG Blakademics                                                             November, 2010                           Open ...
RBG Blakademics                                                                  November, 2010An Excerpt from Chapter One...
RBG Blakademics                                                               November, 2010Scientists have talked in term...
RBG Blakademics                                                                 November, 2010the culture or makes them ex...
RBG Blakademics                                                                    November, 2010                …the proc...
RBG Blakademics                                                              November, 2010will be able to determine our p...
RBG Blakademics                                                                  November, 2010over that which we wish to ...
RBG Blakademics                                                                  November, 2010       discernment of great...
RBG Blakademics                                                                November, 2010world, and this he achieves t...
RBG Blakademics                                                             November, 2010Marimba Ani, Ph.D., is a veteran...
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RBGz Professor Marimba Ani Yurugu Workshop and Tutorial

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RBGz Professor Marimba Ani Yurugu Workshop and Tutorial

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RBGz Professor Marimba Ani Yurugu Workshop and Tutorial

  1. 1. Including Chapter Extract: "Utamawazo: The Cultural Structuring of Thought" Play the Workshop“Rob the universe of its richness, deny the significance of thesymbolic, simplify phenomena until it becomes mere object, and you have a knowable quantity. Here begins and ends the European epistemological mode.”
  2. 2. RBG Blakademics November, 2010 Professor Marimba Ani and Yurugu Yurugu is one of RBG Street Scholars Think Tanks Two Required Textbooks (The other being Dr. Amos Wilsons Blue Print for Black Power) Icebreaker mp3 Play Yurugu- Dr. Marimba AniProfessor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 2
  3. 3. RBG Blakademics November, 2010 Dr Anis RBG Worldwide Study Dr. Marimba Anis Cell THE CHOICE: Yurugu or RBG Worldwide 1 Afrikan Rebirth Nation Classroom About Professor Marimba Ani Bio From: http://africawithin.com/ani/ani_bio.htm "Without the African connection, we are a disjointed people ...begging for entry into somebody elses house."Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Notes for an African World Revolution Trenton: Africa World Press, 1991, P.418. Marimba Ani was brought to the Department of Africana and Puerto Rican Studies by Dr. John Henrik Clarke in 1974 as she was completing her PhD dissertation at the Graduate Faculty of New School University. She had worked as a field organizer for theStudent Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Mississippifrom 1963 to 1966, and had acted as Director of FreedomRegistration for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in1964 which challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation tothe Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City thatsummer. Dr. Clarke became her Jegna ("warrior- teacher,intellectual father, ideological influence") as she moved backto New York and into graduate school. It was through hisinfluence that she became committed to Pan Afrikanliberation.Professor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 3
  4. 4. RBG Blakademics November, 2010 After having traveled in Afrika, Marimba Ani (born "Dona Richards") began formal studyof the nature of Afrikan Civilization, focusing on the "deep thought" which underlies itsfundamental common cultural themes and the varying constructs of Afrikan socialorganization. She has done extensive work on Afrikan spiritual conceptions andsystems. She is using her articulation of the Afrikan world view as a frame of referencefrom which to critique European cultural thought, and to construct paradigms for Pan-Afrikan reconstruction. Marimba Ani has developed the concepts of Maafa, Asili, Utamawazo, andUtamaroho as part of the on-going process of Afrikan-centered reconceptualization inwhich several Pan-Afrikan scholars are involved. She has helped to initiate anintellectual and ideological movement, the purpose of which is to construct a theoreticalframework which will allow people of Afrikan descent to explain the universe as itreflects their collective interests, values and vision. Her most recent work has been the development of the Maat/Maafa/Sankofa paradigm as an analytical tool for understanding and explaining the Afrikan experience in the Diaspora and to suggest modalities for cultural reconstruction. Dr. Ani has been lecturing throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Afrika on this new theoretical construct which is part of her endeavor to develop a pragmatic Afrikan Cultural Science. This new science becomes the basis for the creation of Afrikan institutions and Nation-Building in the Diaspora. Having taught at Hunter College for the past 25 years,Dr. Marimba Ani has had the opportunity to develop a number of courses on variousaspects of the Pan-Afrikan experience. She teaches Afrikan Civilization, AfrikanSpirituality in the Diaspora, The Afrikan World View, Theories of White Racism, AfrikanTraditional Healing Systems, Nile Valley Civilization, Afrikan-centered theory, Women inAfrika, Men in the Afrikan Diaspora, and a number of other courses.The following are some of the scholarly writings which have resulted from her work:  "The Ideology of European Dominance," The Western Journal of Black Studies. Vol. 3, No. 4, Winter, 1979, and Presence Africaine, No. 111, 3rd Quarterly, 1979.  "European Mythology: The Ideology of Progress," Contemporary Black Thought, eds. M. Asante and A. Vandi, Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1980, (59-79).Professor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 4
  5. 5. RBG Blakademics November, 2010  Let The Circle Be Unbroken: The Implications of Afrikan Spirituality in the Diaspora. New York: Nkonimfo Publications, 1988 (orig. 1980).  "The Nyama of the Blacksmith: The Metaphysical Significance of Metallurgy in Afrika," Journal of Black Studies. Vol. 12, No. 2, December, 1981.  Yurugu: An Afrikan-centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior. Trenton: Africa World Press, 1994.  "The Afrikan Asili," Selected Papers from the Proceedings of the Conference on Ethics, Higher Education and Social Responsibility, Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1996.  "The Afrikan Aesthetic and National Consciousness," The African Aesthetic, ed. Kariamu Welsh-Asante. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1993. (63-82) and To Heal a People, ed. Erriel Kofi Addae, Columbia, MD.: Kujichagulia Press, 1996 (91-125).  "Writing as a means of enabling Afrikan Self-determination," Defining Ourselves; Black Writers in the 90s, ed. Elizabeth Nuñez and Brenda M. Greene. New York: Peter Lang, 1999 (209-211). Marimba Ani is an active organizer in the Afrikan Community. She has conducted Rites of Passage programs for Afrikan youth and young adults. She travels frequently to Ghana, West Afrika, where she is continuing her study and support of Afrikan traditional healing concept and practices. She is part of a "think tank" of Afrikan-centered scholars currently spear-heading the socially and politically dynamic "To Be Afrikan" campaign. She is Director of the Afrikan Heritage Afterschool Program, a voluntary effort which has been operating in the Harlem Community for the past 14 years. Marimba Ani holds a BA degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago, and the MA and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from the Graduate Faculty of the New School University. She is Professor of Afrikan Studies in the Department of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York City. Her daughter Dzifa graduated in May of 1999 from Howard University with a BS degree in biology. Open VideoOpen Video Professor Marimba Ani Yurugu Workshop Page 5
  6. 6. RBG Blakademics November, 2010 Open Playlist Textbook Extracts:From the GlossaryAsili The logos of a culture, within which its various aspects cohere. It is the developmental germ/seed of a culture. It is the cultural essence, the ideological core, the matrix of a cultural entity which must be identified in order to make sense of the collective creations of its members.Utamawazo Culturally structured thought. It is the way in which cognition is determined by a cultural Asili. It is the way in which the thought of members of a culture must be patterned if the Asili is to be fulfilled.Utamaroho The vital force of a culture, set in motion by the Asili. It is the thrust or energy source of a culture; that which gives it its emotional tone and motivates the collective behavior of its members. Both the Utamawazo and the Utamaroho are born out of the Asili but as its manifestations.Professor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 6
  7. 7. RBG Blakademics November, 2010An Excerpt from Chapter One "Utamawazo: The Cultural Structuring of Thought"Theory of HumannessA theory of the human being has already been implied in our discussion of Platonic conceptions.We, as humans, are not whole beings, but rather made up of parts that are in continual conflictwith one another. We are made up of "reason," "intellect," and our "better natures," which areconstantly seeking to control our desires, appetites, emotions and to put our "senses" to properuse. The better part must control the "baser." According to Eric Havelock, Plato "discovered" the"psyche" that came to refer to the "isolated, thinking of self." The self was no longer conceivedas a cosmic being, that is, a being that experienced itself as intimately involved with otherbeings in the cosmos. A "cosmic self" implies that the reality of self is phenomenally part ofother realities presented as a result of sentient, conscious, and spiritual coexistence in theuniverse. Cosmos itself refers to the universe as a unified, interrelated (organic) whole.Havelock is saying that "pre-Platonic" Greece understood the self in this way. That makeshistorical sense, since Greece developed out of its cultural and intellectual association with earlyAfrican traditions.The African and Native American world-views have similar cosmic concepts. Their intellectualtraditions and thought-systems rest from a basis of communal relationships as well as asympathetic relationship with the natural environment. How would such a conception of thehuman being interfere with the ground rules of Platonic epistemology? Why was it essential thathe cast doubt on the validity of such conceptions? A cosmic being must be whole. In such abeing reason and emotion cannot be experienced as disparate, unconnected, and antagonistic.A cosmic self cannot objectify the universe. The more "intelligent" such a self becomes, themore it understands language as merely metaphor. This idea is common to the thought-systemsmentioned. The highest, most profound truths cannot be verbalized, and one reaches for thedimension beyond the profane word where the meaning of the symbols becomes clear. But forPlato the "cosmic self" is incapable of knowing; it can only perceive, sense, intuit, and have"opinions." (The ascendancy of the so-called "left-brain.")Plato establishes instead the "autonomous, thinking self." According to Havelock, this "self" or"psyche" is a thing or entity capable of not only scientific cognition, but of moral decision. 36 Platonot only put forth the idea of the "thinking self"—an idea which must have predated him—but hesimultaneously discarded other aspects of our "human" beingness as invalid or unworthy(unreal) and declared this superconceptual function—this totally cerebral activity—as theessence of humanness. Therein lies its uniqueness, strangeness, and significance all at once.He had proffered a new theory of humanness (man/woman). Much later, caught in the throes ofevolutionary theory, it became very important in European thought to emphasize thosecharacteristics that were thought to separate and distinguish "humans" from animals."Intelligence," of course, was key; the essence of man/woman. (For Michael Bradley it is the"discovery of time.")37 Using Platonic conceptions and elaborating them, intelligence took on aparticular definition.Professor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 7
  8. 8. RBG Blakademics November, 2010Scientists have talked in terms of two parts or "hemispheres" of the brain for some time. The lefthemisphere is believed to control certain kinds of thought processes.38 The implications involvedare important to this discussion and will be discussed later. A related point to be made here isthat while all cultures and all people involve both "hemisphere-modes," so to speak, in "normal"functioning, cultures and therefore their members can value one style of cognition over another.In such cases one will be emphasized and encouraged, while the other is not. A person will berewarded for thinking in the valued mode, and such habits of thought will be reinforced in theformalized learning and socialization processes. The same person will be "punished" forthinking in the "devalued" mode, and will "fail for doing so."In nineteenth century Europe, in which unilinear evolutionary theory reigned, Europeanscientists said that the left hemisphere was "major," because it was associated with "thought"and "reasoning," which set humans apart from animals. The right hemisphere was labeled"minor" and less advanced or less evolved. It had a "lower" capacity, dealt with "emotion," andhad to be directed by the left hemisphere. Clearly this was a nineteenth century version of thePlatonic conception, which split man/woman into reasonable and emotional tendencies, superiorand inferior faculties, and mandated the dominance and control of the emotional as normativestate of being. And so "order" and "justice" were achieved. Plato stated the case for this kind oforder in the person and, by extension, in the State. Nineteenth century evolutionists were giving"scientific" backing to the same kind of imposed "order" among the worlds cultures controllingthe more "emotional" (lower and less advanced) ones.The point that is critical to this analysis of European thought and behavior is Platonic theory andepistemology and its subsequent development, enculturation, and reformulation provided themost effective ideological underpinning for politically and culturally aggressive and imperialisticbehavior patterns on the part of European people precisely because the argument was stated inintellectual and academic "scientific" terms. Plato not only helped to establish a theory of thehuman that would valorize "scientific" cognition to the exclusion of other cognitive modes, but heestablished the Academy. It has since become a characteristic of European culture thatassociation with academia represents association with truth, superior reasoning capacity, andimpartiality or "objectivity"—this also means a lack of commitment to anything other than thesupposed "abstract truth." What Platonic conceptions allowed for, consequently, was that themost politically motivated acts (e.g., wars of aggression, racially based slavery) could bejustified in what passed for a-political, "scientific" terms; the terms of a supposed "universaltruth," the eternal, unchanging "idea." This was not necessarily the Platonic objective, but it isthe use to which this conception was put within the confines of European culture, molded by theneeds of the European utamaroho. The asili—demanding power—made appropriate use of the"universal truth" idea.The tack here is to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive analysis of European thought andbehavior by examining related aspects of Platonic theory in terms of their ideologicalsignificance in subsequent European development. This analysis ends and begins in synthesiswhich is the asili demonstrating the consistency and cohesion, the monolithic character, of thetradition under scrutiny.Platos theory of humanness is a crucial aspect of his over-all theory. He successfully creates anillusion of the isolated self, and so, in twentieth century European (Euro-American) society, thisself is indeed experienced as the psyche. This conception of the autonomous thinking self haslocked the European into a narrow and limiting view of the human. It precipitated a kind ofspiritual retardation in which painful isolation and alienation either incapacitates participants inProfessor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 8
  9. 9. RBG Blakademics November, 2010the culture or makes them extremely efficient competitors, aggressors, and technocrats(technicians). In the Theatetus, Socrates uses the term "soul" as synonymous with "mind."Given the Platonic conception of significant mental faculties, this means that the soul becameidentified with cognitive thought, with "cold" calculation, with a lack of emotion and a denial offeeling and sensation. What theory of the human being does this imply? And what kind ofutamaroho and behavior develops in a culture that accepts such a theory? If I am right insuggesting that these Platonic conceptions did indeed become normative and thentremendously powerful as cognitive models, and if we can accept the relationship betweenutamawazo (cultural cognitive character) and utamaroho (affective characteristics) as beingintimate and co-generative, then clearly a model begins to emerge of patterned thought andbehavior reinforcing each other as they develop.In the Theaetetus, Socrates talks about the soul perceiving under its own "power." He makesthe distinction between the body and the soul or mind. Through the organs of the body weperceive "hardness," "cold," "red," etc., but with the mind (soul) we "reflect," make judgments,and "think" about "likeness," "difference"—things that require knowledge of the "forms" or of"being." The soul reflects with its own "power," and the objects that it perceives are universal.Universality emerges as superiority and value. In the chapters which follow, the attribute ofuniversality will be traced along the road of European ideology as it develops and hardens intothe framework of the culture.What is it that the soul, mind, or psyche has that the body and senses do not? Clearly it iscontrol and with control comes power as in "the ability to dominate." The desire (need) forcontrol and power are the most important factors in understanding the European asili. We willsee that the sensation of controlling others and of therefore having power over them is the mostaesthetically, psychologically, and emotionally satisfying experience that the culture has to offer.It therefore satisfies the utamaroho. It is the pursuit of these feelings and this state of being thatmotivates its members. The sensation of control and power is achieved in many ways inEuropean culture, but what is significant here is that in its earliest and formative stages, Platolaid the basis for its achievement through an epistemology that rejected the poetic participation,thereby gaining "independence" (Havelock) from poetic involvement in order to both "create"and to apprehend the proper object of knowledge. The "object" was in this way controlled by themind that contemplated it. With this knowledge came power, because the world could begin tobe understood as being comprised of many such objects capable of being manipulated by theknower, the knower who was aware of himself (women didnt count) as knower and as being incomplete control. The "pre-Platonic" man, in this view, was powerless, lacked self-control andwas indeed manipulated by the myriad of emotions he was made to feel by the images aroundhim. Such is the picture that we are given.We cannot overstate Platos significance precisely because we find European theorists andscholars making the same argument, painting the same picture in the twentieth century. Henriand H.A. Frankfort are concerned here with the distinction between ancient, "primitive man,"and "mythopoeic" thought on the one hand andmodern," "scientific" man, and "scientific thought" on the other: Thought (mythopoeic thought) does not know dead matter and confronts a world animated from end to end. It is unable to leave the scope of the concrete and renders its own concepts as realities existing per se. [p.14]Professor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 9
  10. 10. RBG Blakademics November, 2010 …the procedure of the mythopoetic mind in expressing a phenomenon by manifold images corresponding to unconnected avenues of approach clearly leads away from rather than toward, our postulate of causality which seeks to discover identical causes for identical effects through-out the phenomenal world. [p.20] …mythopoetic thought may succeed no less than modern thought in establishing a coordinated spatial system; but the system is determined not by objective measurements, but by an emotional recognition of values.39Not only does Platos epistemology bring control accompanied by power, but also its attendanttheory of (hu)man produces the European conception of the authentically moral being. ForPlato, with rationality comes the power to make moral decisions, and only this new "autonomousthinking self" (Havelock) can properly be the seat of moral decision. This position, however,represents a confusion between the spiritual and the scientific/rational. Having equated humanpotential with an abstracted rational faculty, Plato takes us out of a humanly defined socialcontext as the ground or determinant of our being. He then places us back into an artificialsocial construct that is now a reflection of his abstract concept of the "good" and of the "true"; adenial of the lived and experienced reality. But in fact, our concepts of morality must reflect ourideas as well as our feeling about proper human interrelationship. The "rational" person is notnecessarily the "moral" person. It may be "rational" (efficient) to think in terms of selectivebreeding, cloning, and extermination in order to produce the "master race." It is neitherspiritually nor morally compelling to do so. Plato seemed to be hinting that scientific methodwould generate "right" action. But war in the twentieth century is both rational and irrational atthe same time. European horror movies in which mad scientists do crazy things are expressionsof this seeming contradiction. Yet that personality is a "logical" extension of the Platonicequation of the moral and the rational.This argument has been expanded, refined, and camouflaged in the terms of "modern"European "critical" philosophy. Jurgen Habermas seems to be arguing for a kind of universallanguage of "communicative rationality." In which social/cultural beings rely on their ownintellectual examination of issues as the basis for judgment, as opposed to relying on theircultural traditions as a source of validation of choices/actions.40 This for Habermas would bepart of the process of "rationalization" and can lead to authentic moral behavior or at least acriterion for determining such. His own language is that of European philosophic discourse ofthe 1980s; the Platonic model honed to cerebral perfection. It is "rationality" at its mostimpressive calling for a universal rationalism as the basis for "rational action orientations" 40 andrationalized social order. Habermas uses Piagets theory of cognitive development in relation tothe valued process of "decentration," in which a prioriIn his theory of (hu)man and of the State Plato succeeds in exorcising human and social realityof its problematical and ambiguous character. He does this by creating his own reality in whichthe mathematical abstraction reigns. "Real" truth, he says, is what we do not experience. It isunchanging being. Our experience is not real, but constantly changing, becoming. What thisallows him to do is in fact to create an "unreal" reality in which ambiguity, creative imagination,and uncertainty of human truth is superficially eliminated. Of course, there is no such thing as"unreal reality, so in truth the problematical still exists. Platos Republic is a theoretical structure.His theory of the human is unrealistic. It leaves out some essentials of humanness and so as amodel to be imitated has a tendency to create Marcuses "one-dimensional man." Each of us issuited to one task or mode of participation in the State. The Philosopher-King and GuardiansProfessor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 10
  11. 11. RBG Blakademics November, 2010will be able to determine our proper place and so our destiny, very neat, very simple. TheRepublic is modeled after the "good," an abstract unambiguous, unchanging, monolithic reality.In order for it to work, people within it would have to be convinced of the theory of the human onwhich it rests. Stanley Diamond explains why the artist was seen as a threat to the State; The artist does not believe in abstract systems; he deals with felt and ordered emotional ideals and believes order is attained through the contradictions, the tense unities of everyday experience. Thus, the artist himself may be unstable, a changeling, and this is a threat to any establishment.42On the other hand, the mathematician would fair much better as Platos view of the ideal manfor the Ideal State. He emphasizes mathematics in the curriculum for the guardians. For him"mathematics" has the shape of truth and can provide the solution to all problems. Here again aparticular concept of human nature is implied. And if people were in fact not like this, he wouldmake them so. He would fashion their minds to think the way they had to think to make hismathematical equation." Because "numbers drag us toward Beingness."43 In other words therewere changes that he had to make in the cognitive habits (utamawazo) of the participants in theculture if he was to succeed in the creation of the new order.The New Dominant ModeThe birth of the archaic "European" utamawazo was accompanied and supported by theintroduction of the literate mode as the dominant and valued mode of expression in the culture.The written mode preserved communication in an ever-increasingly precise form in what was tobecome "Europe." Writing had been used much, much earlier in other cultures, but as in theKemetic MDW NTR (ancient "Egyptian Hieroglyphs"), it involved forms that symbolized muchmore than sounds or objects. The MDW NTR contains transformational symbolism thatembodies African conceptions of universal and cosmic truths.44 It is an indication of the natureof the European world-view and of course an example of the intensity of European culturalnationalism that European scholars so consistently characterize the MDW NTR of Kemet asbeing merely "concrete."45 This form of "reductionism" is an effort to oversimplify ancient Africanwriting, the earliest form of writing. It is an effort to make the MDW NTR appear conceptuallylimited and sometimes contradictory. In truth, the MDW NTR was too complex for Platospurposes. He needed a modality that robbed the symbols of their "symbolic," their esotericcontent. They had to be disengaged from the cosmos.It is important to understand the process by which the literate mode became dominant in theculture and to understand exactly what is meant by the "literate mode" in this context. Althoughfor many centuries to come it was inaccessible to most of the population, it still had a valuedplace in nascent, archaic, and feudalistic European society, and so greatly effected the shape ofthe culture. We are describing a process of development, and because the development had a"direction" does not mean that other characteristics were not identifiable. The poetic or, as Henriand H. A. Frankfort call it the "mythopoetic" continued to exist among the vast majority of thepopulation, but it was relegated to a devalued position, implying inferiority of intellectualcapacity. That is why "the primitive," defined Eurocentrically, is always associated with a lack ofwriting, and this is called being "pre-literate."In nascent Europe the literate mode had ideological force. Remember that according to Platonicepistemology we must achieve objectivity in order to know and that in his terms this is achievedby causing our reason to dominate our emotions, which in turn gives us control. We gain controlProfessor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 11
  12. 12. RBG Blakademics November, 2010over that which we wish to know, therefore creating an "object" of knowledge. The mode ofpreserved communication (which had characterized most cultures and which would prevail inGreece centuries after Plato), was the poetic, the oral, and to some extent the symbolic mode,although Greek culture was not nearly so well developed in that regard, borrowing from othercultures their sacred and religious concepts. This mode relied on the identification of the knowerwith the known. On powers of memorization, and familiarity of the listener/participant with thesubject-matter being used. The symbolic modes of the more ancient and developed civilizationsalso required apprehension of abstractions, but these were not the rationalistic abstractions thatwould come to dominate in European thought.In the analysis of Eurocentric theorists it was this memory, this emotional identification and"involvement" caused by the poetic, "oral," and "Homeric" mode that had limited "pre-Platonic"man. This characterization thrusts us into yet another "split," another dichotomy of invidiouscomparison. And with this another aspect of the supposed "superiority" of the European rears itshead. The "pre-Platonic" man (Havelocks term), whom Homers epics represented and whomthey addressed, was in trouble according to Havelock. He is described as being "nonliterate,"which of course has much more ideological force than just saying that he preferred the poeticform. It surfaces as a weakness and inability to conceptualize, a negative characteristic. Itdevalues him as a person. This "nonliterate," "pre-Platonic" person also picks up a host of thecharacteristics, which, in the European world-view, are either valueless or absolutely negative.Havelock describes the "Homeric man" as being a "sleeping" state, as though drugged. Hismind is governed by "uncritical acceptance," "self surrender," "automatism," "passivity of mentalcondition," "lavish employment of emotions," "hypnotic trance," "complacency." He uses "dreamlanguage" and is the victim of "illusion." He is in the "long sleep of man" and is even "lazy." 46Why is Havelock so hard on those whom he places in intellectual opposition to Plato? It is as ifthis stage in Greek history or European development must be destroyed; certainly thoroughlyrepudiated. We will see in subsequent chapters of this study why these are precisely the termsthat Europeans use to describe and demean other cultures, cultures that are labeled "primitive."And these are the terms they use to characterize the abilities of children of African descent andother groups who are seen as lacking cultural and racial value within the societies in whichEuropeans dominate. In fact, European academies "create" such nomininds.47 In each of theseinstances, including Havelocks critique of the mental habits of humankind "before" Plato, thestatements made have ideological significance. They are supporting a chosen way of life, a setof beliefs. The objective is to establish the "way of life" as superior to all which either preceded itor that is different from it. It is the ideological nature of Platonic epistemology that makes thispossible: an epistemology dictated by the European asili, carried in the cultural genes.For Plato, the poet does not appeal to the proper "principle" in the person or to the proper partof his or her soul. And so the poet would not be able to help in the task of lifting us out of thedarkness of the cave and correcting our ignorance towards the "light" of truth. The poetobstructs the proper functioning of reason and does not help us to gain control of our emotions. The imitative poet…is not by nature made, nor is his art intended, to lease or to affect the rational principle in the soul; but he will prefer the passionate and fitful temper, which is easily imitated…his creations have an inferior degree of truth…and he is concerned with an inferior part of the soul; and therefore we shall be right in refusing to admit him into a well-ordered State, because he awakens and nourishes and strengthens the feelings and impairs the reason. As in a city when the evil are permitted to have authority and the good are put out of the way, so in the soul of the man, as we maintain, the imitative implants an evil constitution, for he indulges the irrational nature which has noProfessor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 12
  13. 13. RBG Blakademics November, 2010 discernment of greater and less, but thinks the same thing at one time great and at another small he is a manufacturer of images and is very far removed from the truth. 48Platos argument with the poets is that they do not foster the view of the State and of the "good"of which he wants to convince people; of which they must be convinced in order for them to playtheir parts well. The Republic is perfect because it is absolute. But what if human realities arenot absolute? Suppose there are ambiguities endemic to human existence? Plato solves thisproblem by simply "eliminating" the ambiguous nature of our existential reality, by pretendingthat it isnt there. Who, after all, is creating "illusion" and who is dealing with "reality?" Thephilosophy underlying the Republic says that human beings fit into neat categories, that they areeach suited to specific tasks by nature, and will be happiest doing that for which they are bestsuited and that such is best for the order of the whole. Isnt that convenient? Plato doesnt needthe poets "messing" up this picture—they wont help him sell his myth.If the poets and the poetic in us is bad and backyard, certainly the other side of the coin is thatour better, more rational natures are brought out by the literate mode, the substitution of objectfor symbol. When the literate mode dominates, we nurture a new and different mindset. That isthe important thing. That is the significance of Platos work. Contrast Havelocks characterizationof this "new" man with that of the "old." The new man is governed by "self-conscious criticalintelligence," "individual and unique convictions," a "critical psyche," "inner stability," "innermorality," and "calculated reflection." He is "self-governing," "emancipated," "reflective,""thoughtful," "self-organized," "calculative," "rational," "self-generated," "awakened,""stimulated," "thinking abstractly," and "autonomous." In the rhetoric of European value the deckis clearly stacked. This "new" person is smart! What we see is the epistemological basis of theconviction that literacy renders progressiveness and that when the literate mode becomesvalued and finally dominant, we have a "higher" form of culture in terms of Europeancivilizations, since that is where human being learned to be "critical,""indeed to think."But the European is certainly not very "critical" if that means questioning the European world-view as Plato inspired its configuration. The world of literacy, it is believed, is a world ofobjectivity, a world of "impartial" truth. Oral media is "subjective." In it personality is merged withtradition. How do we change this? "The fundamental signs enabled a reader to dispense withemotional identification…."49 Plato urged a move away from "emotional involvement,""unquestioned precepts," and "imitation." (Today Habermas urges us away from predecisivevalidity claims based on cultural tradition.50) Plato supposedly introduced "technical" learning"on the highest level of consciousness."51 So while Plato is seeking to produce minds capable ofthe "highest" form of thought, "nonliterate man" emerges as being barely able to "think" at all.Indeed, we cannot be sure that he is even "conscious." And, what is more, this epistemology isseen to have moral implications as well. The literate participant of the ideal state is more moralbecause his ethics are subject to questioning, criticism, and analysis, while the earlier Greekethic was not. (Of course, once the "questioning" takes place in the Socratic dialectic, not toomuch more "questioning" is necessary.) Within the logic of European nationalism these ideaswere to be later echoed in nineteenth century evolutionary theory where Victorian culture wasjudged as the "highest" form, representing a more objectively valid moral state, the assumptionbeing that European values were arrived at "critically" and "rationally" and were thereforeuniversally valid. This was legacy form the "enlightenment," so-called.Plato had set the stage for important ingredients of the European self-image. He sees himselfas a critical being, rational and in absolute control. His mission is to control and rationalize theProfessor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 13
  14. 14. RBG Blakademics November, 2010world, and this he achieves through the illusion of objectivity. Plato himself must have beensomething like this. Stanley Diamond draws a portrait: He was it seems, a man of a certain type, incapable of tolerating ambiguity, intuitive in his conviction of an objective, superhuman good…. He believed in logic with the cool passion of a mathematician, and he believed, at least abstractly, that the perfectly just city could be established, through perfectly rational and perfectly autocratic means.52The desacralized written mode allowed the object to be "frozen," reified into a single meaning;Kemetic MDW NTR is not of this nature: The ordinary consideration of the Egyptian symbol reduces it to a primary, arbitrary, utilitarian and singular meaning, whereas in reality it is a synthesis which requires great erudition for its analysis and a special culture for the esoteric knowledge that it implies.53R. A. Schwaller De Lubicz characterizes the MDW NTR in the following way, distinguishingthem from the merely literal mode: "symbolism," which is the application of a "state of mind," or,again, a "mentality." "Symbolism is technique; the symbolic is the form of writing of a vitalphilosophy."54 "The symbol is a sign that one must learn to read, and the symbolic is a form ofwriting whose laws one must know; they have nothing in common with the grammaticalconstruction of our languages. It is a question here, not of what might be called "hieroglyphiclanguage," but of the symbolic, which is not an ordinary form of writing." De Lubicz is concernedwith describing "the principles that govern the symbol and the symbolic in the expression of avital philosophy, not a rationalistic philosophy." He says that there "exists no hieroglyphiclanguage, but only a hieroglyphic writing, which uses the symbol to lead us toward thesymbolic."55 The significance of these passages is that it affirms my belief that the MDW NTR ofKemet does not represent a "primitive" form of secular or profane script and is not therefore"pre-European." Rather, it represents a quite different view of reality—a mindset that sought tounderstand the universe as cosmos, therefore careful not to attempt the separation of spirit andmatter. So that when we speak of the literate mode as championed by Plato, we mean to stressa unique definition and use of that mode: one devoid of the "symbolic" in De Lubicz sense. Thiswriting lacked something. It was only able to deal with "one-dimensional realities," and asDiamond says, It reduced the complexities of experience to the written word…with the advent of writing symbols became explicit; they lost a certain richness. Mans word was no longer endless exploration of reality, but a sign that could be used against him…writing splits consciousness in two ways—it becomes more authoritative than talking thus degrading the meaning of speech and eroding oral tradition; and it makes it possible to use works for the political manipulation and control of others.56It was not that this literal mode represented or led to higher truths, but that the claim was madethat it did and that it gave the illusion of having done so, making this medium useful. It worked! Ithelped to control minds, values, and behavior, just as any media does, but in a new and forsome a "desirable" way. The written language was more impressive than speech. Platonicepistemology achieved this once it was valued. Then speech came to imitate this writing, whichwas no longer "magical," sacred, and truly symbolic. The permanence of the written word gaveit ideological strength. The permanence of the written word gave it ideological strength. Writtendialogues, written laws, and strangely enough, written prayers—the sacred reduced to profane"scriptures"; all of this became evidence, for the European, of the superiority of his/her culture.Professor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 14
  15. 15. RBG Blakademics November, 2010Marimba Ani, Ph.D., is a veteran scholar, activist, and trained cultural scientist. She is a longtime associate of the legendary world-renowned Egyptologist and African scholar Dr. JohnHenrik Clarke. She is a professor at The City University of New Yorks Hunter College and theauthor of Let The Circle Be Unbroken.References: 36. Havelock, Eric. Preface to Plato, Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1967, p.197. 37. Bradley, Michael. The Iceman Inheritance, Warner Books, New York, 1978. 38. Sagan, Carl. The Dragons of Eden, Ballantine Books, New York, 1977. 39. Frankfort, Henri and H.A. "Myth and Reality," in The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man, Frankfort et al. (eds.), University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1977, pp.14, 20, 21. 40. Habermas, Jurgen. Reason and the Rationalization of Society Vol. I, Beacon Press, Boston,1984, p.70. 41. Ibid, p.74. 42. Diamond, Stanley. Searching for the Primitive, Transaction Press, New Brunswick, N.J., 1974, p.192. 43. Havelock, p. 230. 44. Levi, J.B. The Ancient Egyptian Language: Pathway to Africa, unpublished paper, 1984. 45. Frankfort and Frankfort, H.A. pp. 3–27. 46. Havelock. pp. 120–210. 47. Wilson, Amos. "The Mis-education of Black Students," lecture at Hunter College, New York, April 29, 1988. 48. Plato. Republic, Bk X:605. 49. Havelock. p. 208. 50. Havermas. p. 70. 51. Hall, Edward T. and Brown, J. "Platos Republic as an early Study of Media Bias and a Charter for Prosaic Education, "in American Anthropologist, 1973, Vol. 74., No. 3. 52. Dianond. p. 192. 53. De Lubicz, R. A. Schwaller. Symbol and the Symbolic, trans. Robert and Deborah Lawlor, Autumn Press, Brookline, Mass., 1978, p. 55. 54. Ibid, p. 44. 55. Ibid, p. 27. 56. Diamond. pp. 3–4.Yurugu Dr. Marimba Ani - DVD - $20.00Professor Marimba Ani Yurugu WorkshopPage 15

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