Re-Imagining Our Reality (Part 1)
By: Pastor, Baba Derrick Jackson, Krst Universal Temple
“African people are indeed at a crossroads. Only clear thoughts and purposeful actions will determine if we will take the right road. But before we can successfully choose a road, we must solve our problems of spiritual and identity confusion.” - Dr. Asa Hilliard III
One of the major problems that has created our identity and spiritual confusion is that we have allowed the former enslavers to tell our story. Unfortunately, they have no interest in telling our story in a way that would empower us.
Surveying the landscape of public opinion and social media, one finds an absence of any dialog that illuminates and elevates American culture let alone Afrikan culture. In fact, what we find in American discourse is a burgeoning amount of social and political ignorance. America elected a president who is more ignorant than a third grader. What’s worst is the number of men of Afrikan ancestry who because of agnotology (culturally induced ignorance Proctor, 2008) find it difficult to separate themselves from their former enslaver (Kanye). It is time for the Afrikan story/experiences to be told in a way that empowers, illuminates and elevates Afrikan culture and makes sacred their experiences as a people. There must be a mass movement to end the effects of agnotology in our communities and there must be a telling of that story in a way that would help us end our spiritual and identity confusion.
To do this we must start our story from the beginning of recorded history. We must start from the time man became conscious of himself. Today, there is no argument among anthropologists that human history began on the continent of Afrika. Yet it is never asked what the first homo sapiens thought or how they began to communicate with each other? What did they do and when did they became conscious of themselves?
It is as if Afrika remained dark until Europe brought the light. Reality starts with understanding that human beings are social animals. Human beings exist in societies, they exist in groups, and are born dependent with extended periods of dependency. It is their social relationships-relationships with those who gave them life which governs their thoughts and behaviors as they try to resolve or solve the questions of life. (“KRST Universal Temple - From the Pastor's Desk: In the ...”)
According to western civilization, man exists as an independent individual. This is found in the works of Descartes “Cogito, ergo sum”/ “ I think therefore I am” and in Darwin’s idea of survival of the fittest.
Afrikans understood that the individual exists for the social unit not for himself/herself (Mbiti 1970, Gyekye 1996). Individuality (Genetic Variations Lipton 2016, Diop 1991, Bradley 1991, Bradley 2013) becomes important and critical in helping human beings solve or resolve the problems they face. These differences or genetic variations contribute to the survival of the species. A major problem facing any society is maintaining the balance between what the society needs and what the individual needs in bringing forth their creative spirit. Through trial and error, dealing with climate and environment changes, these early humans came to appreciate that human beings are social animals, and they respond more effectively and efficiently to these changes when they come together as a group. One of the many lessons early men learned was if it requires effort, it requires others. (“KRST Universal Temple - Article Archive”)
When a collective group of people come together to solve and resolve the problems they face, they create what social scientist call culture. Dr. Maulana Karenga once defined culture as the “vast structures of behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, habits, beliefs, customs, languages, rituals, and practices which give people a general design for living and patterns for interpreting reality.” Dr. Marimba Ani would add to this definition by saying “Human culture is defined by the shared or common experiences of a particular group.” (i.e., Biogenic, historical, and environment).” (“KRST Universal Temple - Article Archive”)
"The type of culture, consciousness (mind, thought) and conscience (heart, inner spirit), a collective group of people exhibit reflects the type of history and the type of environment they live in (Diop 1978, Bauval 2011, Assmann 2002) and experiences they have undergone as a people." (“KRST Universal Temple - Article Archive”)
Ultimately, one must see culture as a tool human beings use to deal with the world. It is the instrument humanity uses to confront reality and adapt to that reality. More importantly, it is the instrument that we as human beings use to attach reality to ourselves. Culture will determine the kind of consciousness and conscience we will have and the kind of consciousness and conscience we have will determine how we adapt to reality. In this way Consciousness becomes empowering. (“KRST Universal Temple - From the Pastor's Desk: In the ...”) Power is the ability to do something to change something. This gives human beings the ability to adapt to different situations and to make changes, as necessary.
Culture is not static, it is dynamic. Some people of Afrikan Ancestry see Afrikan culture as being stuck somewhere in the 13th century. Afrikan culture is not stuck in one time or space, it is constantly changing and evolving. What makes Afrikan culture empowering is it is designed to operate in the interest of Afrikan people.
Afrikan consciousness and conscience is measured by how it advances its people and maintains their survival. An Afrikan consciousness and conscience must be at the center of their cultural concerns and interest. Human history is the story of the experiences of a collective group of people from their beginning as told by them. "Human history starts with the inhabitants of the continents of Afrika." (“KRST Universal Temple - Article Archive”) Afrikans are the oldest living humans on earth and have the longest and deepest experiences in human existence. There is no human history prior to Afrikans becoming homo sapiens. At the Dawn of human consciousness and conscience, our ancestors-this first generation of human beings-created what social scientist call values. Values are those things we prefer, those things we see as right and those things which determine our behavior. Values, culture, Consciousness, and conscience are all types of power. (“KRST Universal Temple - Article Archive”)
If we let another group influence our values, culture, consciousness and conscience, they have power over us and use it to empower themselves. When we speak of Afrikan culture we must make sure it is not reactionary.
Even though Afrikan Culture on the continent and in the diaspora has gone through two thousand seasons of death, destruction, domination and deception caused by white narcissism in service to white savagery, this cannot be the determining factor of who we are as a people. If we are to change the conversation found in public discourse, then people of Afrikan ancestry can no longer adopt those things that do not illuminate and elevate our culture.
Afrikan stories of creation/genesis are the first stories and the longest running stories. With the birth of humanity, we find Afrikans were the first humans that brought moral ideas and ideals into existence. When we study Afrikan thought and behavior we are studying the first thoughts and behavior of humankind.
Afrikans established their collective thought and behavior around four major concepts that social scientists (Wright 1976, Mills 1999, Berger & Luckmann 1966) have deemed important in the development of civilization:
1. Social Theory: determines the destiny of a people by establishing guidelines for life.
- It defines their relationship with other living things,
- Values and rituals
- Methods of education
- How enemies are dealt with
2. Social Order: Fundamental way in which the various components of society work together to maintain the status quo
- Social order is an on-going human production
- It is produced by man/woman in the course of his/her on-going externalization
- Social structures, institutions, social relations, social interactions
- Cultural features such as norms, beliefs and values acceptable thought and behavior
3. Social Contract Theory: it is a way a group of people who are equals agree to establish civil society and or government.
The Social Contract is several contracts in one:
a) “Contract” an agreement between two or more people to do something.
b) Political Contract: is an account of the origins of government and our political obligations to it.
c) Moral Contract: is the foundation of the moral code established for the society, by which the citizens are supposed to regulate their behavior.
4. Ideology: The body of concepts and models reflecting social needs and aspirations of a group or a culture
- forms a System of ideas and ideals
- forms the basis of economic or political theory
- forms society’s beliefs, ethics, doctrines, creeds, faith, teachings, theories and philosophy
It was our Afrikan ancestors who conceptualized and conceived Ma’at (Truth, Justice, Righteousness, represented as the Feminine principle of creation) as an interrelated order of existence in human functioning and human development (Karenga 2006, Assmann 2002, Diop 1978, Obenga 1992). Ma’at became the central element in what was meant to “be human.”
Dr. John Henrik Clark, once said “it is the duty of the social, the political and the economic scientist to answer the question: how will my people maintain, sustain and perpetuate themselves on this earth?” In other words, how do we solve or resolve the problems of food, clothing, shelter, safety, and security needs (Maslow, Diop) as a collective group of people.
In another situation Dr. Clark said this: “History is a clock people use to tell their political time of day. It is a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. History tells a people where they have been and what they have been. It tells a people where they are and what they are. Most importantly, history tells a people where they still must go and what they still must be.”
When one takes a look at the landscape of America today, we find that the compass that has given America its sense of direction is disintegrating. The map that gave America its place in the world has been turned upside down. The clock it has used to tell what time of day it is has been so broken that it finds itself only correct twice a day.
What we as people of Afrikan ancestry who must live and work in this anti-Afrikan reality must begin to understand is that once again White America will be asking us to be the compass that gives them a sense of direction. They will expect us to lay out the map that will give them their place in the world. They will once again expect us to be that clock that gives them a sense of what time it is. Because any time America gets in trouble it looks to us to bail them out. The question I raise this morning is what will we demand if we can save them from complete destruction.
Before we can save anyone else, we must save ourselves. This calls for self-preservation first and then we can consider others. We must see how much trouble we are in as a people and move with “Conscious Intent” being fully aware of what we are doing and move with intentionality.
We, as people of Afrikan ancestry, in order for us to survive will need to re-imagine what our reality shall be going forward. What is called for is what our most ancient ancestors the Kemetes called Whmy Msu repetition of the birth. I am calling for us to reimagine Whmy Msu in an anti-Afrikan reality.
The Whmy Msu: wake, woke and work. In other words: We must become awaken to our power, our authority, and efficacy. How do we bring forward the best of ourselves, what is going to be required of us in order to get it done? We do not need everyone but what we do need is a critical mass of people who move and create with conscious intent. A critical mass of people fully aware of what they are creating and doing and why they are creating and doing it.
We must see the relevance of our history and tradition. The significance of Afrikan and Afrikan American high-story (History) and tradition lies in “Re-imagining.” its relevancy in our development. In a book written by Benton, Brice, Gallman and Jackson, they make the claim that Afrikans on the continent and in the diaspora were once Members of a great society or ethnic group. (The Ausar/Auset story) Because of the trauma caused by colonization, enslavement, oppression, re-education and re-socialization, we became dis-Membered. To “Re-Member” is to reconnect Afrikans and Afrikan Americans to their former greatness. This must be done through accurate Memory or knowledge of the past and what King and Swartz in their book “Teaching for Freedom” calls emancipatory pedagogy.
According to the American English dictionary the word tradition is defined in two ways:
1. an inherited pattern of thought or action
2. a specific practice of long standing
Continue to Part II