The Way of Ma'at and The Pristine Pathway
by: Baba Derrick Jackson
Every once in a while it does the soul good to take time out and reflect on what has happen to us as people of Afrikan Ancestry. Since 1619 with the landing of the first Afrikans to the American continent we have suffered 396 years of Bio-psycho-social-spiritual trauma with no clinical treatment. No group of people in the history of the world has suffered for as long and as much as we have. Yet, still been able to contribute to the world, become heads of state, build, and construct societies and other structures.
In order to deal with the present conditions we find ourselves in, we have to research and identify a time in our history when we were healthy and learn what were we doing and saying at that time. As a people we have lost our way and we need to once again find our social and moral compass in order to be lead back to the path we once walked.
We once lived in a time when the way of Ma’at was the pathway we took. It was our moral and social compass guiding us in the direction of reaching heaven (Amenta) through desiring to be right in the sight of God. The way of Ma’at and the Pristine Pathway are one in the same. Pristine is a clear and clean pathway, a way of life and the way of God. This pathway stresses balance, impartiality and a commitment to correct governance as a way of life.
There are three components that define the Way of Ma’at or the Pristine Pathway:
1. Speaking truth
2. Doing Justice
3. Walking in the way of Righteousness
This leads us to engage in the works of compassion, caring, concern, altruism, unselfishness, devotion, veneration, reverence, and spirituality. The practice of these works allows us to leave a blueprint for future generations. This means that one's conduct comes from the heart and mind in the spirit of Ma’at, not out of conformity with some societal law. In other words, not because you may get locked up or sent to prison if you don’t abide by the rules of societal law.
In order to live a full and meaningful life according to Frantz Fanon three fundamental questions must be asked and answered.
1. Who am I – This is a question of Identity. On a deeper level it is asking who am I- in-Community? I know myself in relation to the community I come from, not in isolation. I am a place-holder in a definite community and tradition and from this context and the relations those contain, "I know myself". John M’biti informs us that “I am because we are; and since we are, therefore I am”. We have a communitarian concept of self. A person is not identified through their capacity to think as espoused by Descartes “I think therefore I am" but by a person’s relatedness to others. In Ma’atian tradition one always speaks of himself/herself in relationship and service.
2. Am I really Who I am – This is a question of Authenticity. On a deep level this question is asking “How real are my moral and social claims as measured by my practices?” In other words does my self-definition coincide with my practices and my community’s evaluation of me?
3. Am I All I ought to be? – This is a question of realizing one’s full social and moral potential. Given who I am, based on my rootedness in family and community and given the standard of ma’at by which I and others measure me, am I doing all that is worthy and required of me? Am I responsive and responsible to others? I am compelled by the way of Ma’at/ the Pristine pathway to be morally empathic to others.
The way of Ma’at or the Pristine Pathway is the path of life, the path of God. We must heal the wounds caused by over 350 years of pain and suffering because of untreated trauma. The Pristine pathway is our moral compass that will lead us back to the wisdom of our Ancestors and to the God we once knew at the foothills of the mountains of the moon. Ase!!!
References and Bibliography
Karenga, Maulana (1984). Selections From THE HUSIA Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt. Los Angeles, CA: The University of Sankore Press.
Karenga, Maulana (1989). The Book of Coming Forth By Day: The Ethics of the Declarations of Innocence. Los Angeles, CA: The University of Sankore Press.
Hilliard, Asa G. III; Williams, Larry Obadele and Damali, Nia (1987). The Teachings of Ptahotep: The Oldest Book in the World. Atlanta: Blackwood Press.
Hilliard, Asa G. III (1998). Sba: The Reawakening of the African Mind. Gainesville, Florida: Makare Publishers.
Mbiti, John S. (1969) African Religions and Philosophy. New York: Praeger.
Carruthers, Jacob H. (1984). Essays In ANCIENT EGYPTIAN STUDIES. Los Angeles, CA: The University of Sankore Press
Burns, William E. (2001). The scientific revolution: an encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 84.