(First Draft completed on April 12, 2011; to be revised.) Part 1 of 10 – By Ozodi Thomas Osuji – For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to know why the other races of mankind, especially the white race abused and degraded the black race. I have considered this question from every possible angle and yet did not seem to answer it satisfactorily. It was only recently when I forced myself to grapple with the implications of Quantum Mechanics that I seem to get a handle on my question. It simply did not add up for the universe to allow one particular race, black folk, to be insulted in every which way human beings could insult each other if there was no reason for it.
Before I get to the answer let me first address another question that preoccupied my mind when I was a student. I am an African. The Egyptian civilization was in North Africa. Egyptian civilization depended on the Nile River. Egyptians were noted navigators. I asked: Why didn’t Egyptians sail the Nile southwards to its source, Lake Victoria in South Africa. If they had sailed south and gotten to the source of the Nile they would have brought Africans into contact with their civilization and the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilizations that they interacted with; they would have brought Africa into the stream of world civilization long ago rather than as it happened in the nineteenth century. If Africa had been exposed to ancient civilizations their cultures would have diffused into African cultures thus making African cultures not so cut off from the rest of the world’s cultures.
Alexander the great conquered Egypt in the 300s BC and the Greeks established their presence at Alexandria, in Egypt. The Greeks, too, were excellent sailors; they sailed all over the Mediterranean. Now, while in Egypt they could have explored the Nile to its source and opened Africa up to the ancient civilizations. Why didn’t they do it? What prevented them from opening Africa up and bringing her people into the stream of ancient civilizations? If they had explored the Nile and consequently interior Africa African people would not have been isolated from the rest of the world.
Upon conversion to Islam by Mohammed, in the seventh century, Arabs spread from their Arabian peninsula to Europe and Asia and, indeed, reached as far as China. Africa is right across from Saudi Arabia (only the red sea separated them, there was still a land bridge between the two continents before the construction of the Suez Canal). With a little effort the Arabs would have been all over East Africa and all the way to South Africa (perhaps they could not have penetrated the jungles of the Guinea coast and Congo where horses were not particularly welcome…tsetse flies are said to be inimical to horses;) so, why didn’t the Arabs enter into interior Africa and caused it to become part of their civilization in the seventh century (Arabs civilized Germanic Europeans by returning Greek civilization to Europe; they could easily have done the same to Africans.)
In the 1400s the Portuguese sailed around the coast of West Africa and eventually got to South Africa in the 1480s and thereafter rounded the cape and reached India and explored the Asian countries. The Portuguese had some trading posts on the coasts of Africa where they bought African slaves but really did not go into the interior of Africa. Many reasons have been advanced for European disinterest in going into interior Africa including climate (that interior Africa is hot). West Africa is not hotter than Brazil or for that matter the eastern coast of the USA; New York and Washington DC, in the summer, is hotter than my home town, Owerri (in Nigeria).
The presence of mosquitos is advanced as another reason why white folk did not penetrate Africa until the nineteenth century, that mosquitos killed them in droves. Have you been to Central America and or Alaska? In Alaska mosquito swarms would literally blacken the day during the summer months. I have heard it said that African mosquitos are different from Alaskan mosquitos, that African mosquitos killed white folks; well, Alaskan mosquitos could kill you if you did not take protective measures yet white folks from Russia were in Alaska from about 1741 onwards. The type of mosquitos in Central America is certainly not different from those in Africa yet Europeans settled there before quinine was discovered in the nineteenth century.
So why did folks from Europe, Asia and elsewhere not bother to penetrate Africa thus leaving it to itself until the nineteenth century when finally there was a rush to take over African lands. I have scoured the reasons given for this phenomenon but they were not satisfactory to me. There got to be other reasons why Africans were meant to be the last to join universal human civilization. I suspect that the reason old civilizations did not penetrate interior Africa hence brought Africans into their consciousness was because nature and nature’s God did not want Africans to be part of those types of counsciousnesses. As it were, nature was preserving Africans for a different type of civilization, the one that Africans are best suited for and the type they would lead the world into, a civilization based on love. Nature did not want to corrupt Africans by making them behave as the other races of mankind behaved, hatefully.
Before we get to the thesis of this paper let me quickly dismiss the nonsense that the reason why Africans are backward is because they are less intelligent than the other races of mankind. Africans are certainly not less intelligent than white folks and the other races of mankind. All human beings, white, black and oriental are the same and are coequal. Intelligence is distributed in the same pattern in all the races. There are a few with superior intelligence (IQ over 132), some with above average IQ (from around 120 to 130) and many with average intelligence (from about 85-115). As everywhere else a few Africans have superior intelligence, some have above average intelligence and most of them are average and a handful are mentally retarded (IQ under 70). If Africans are the same as other people so why were they backward? I grappled with this question from my late teenage years when I came into sustained close proximity with white folks (at the university dormitory where I lived there were only a couple of blacks and the rest of the students were whites so I had no choice but to observe them at close quarters). I think that I now have the answer to my question. That answer is rooted in the following observation of mine.
In the main, white folks are interested in science. They want to understand physical phenomena as it is without asking why questions; they are not interested in trying to figure out the meaning of the world they see. This accounts for their seeming tendency to do well in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and their applied forms in engineering. White folks live with their world as it is without bothering their heads with vexing why questions. (This is, of course, generalizations for not all white persons are physical scientists and not all of them are disinterested in ontological and metaphysical questions.)
Africans, on the other hand, are intrinsically interested in understanding the meaning of the world they see. They want to understand the implications of their living in matter and seem of matter and yet have consciousness that they are more than matter (Indians seem to have the same interest in spiritual matters as Africans). That is to say that they tend to have interest in real spirituality. To the extent that white folks are interested in such matters it is in religion; religion is not the same as spirituality.
As an axiomatic generalization it is my experience that white folks want to describe their physical world and use technology to make the most of it and black folks want to understand the meaning of their world. Again, these observations are broad generalizations; there are Africans who are as spiritually dense as white folks appear to be; like white folks such Africans are only capable of mere religion but not spirituality.
Given these putative axiomatic differences between the races, black folks could not make much headway in a world where survival required science and technology as the dominant approach to it. Interestingly, it is white folk’s findings of quantum mechanics (physics) that finally gave black folks the opportunity to actualize their penchant for seeking meaning.
The next phase of human civilization is going to focus on trying to figure out whatever meaning there is in our lives. I believe that this higher level of civilization is an opportunity for Africans to show the world what they are good at. Since white folks are spiritually dense obviously the new phase of human civilization is not going to be Europe centered; it is going to be Africa centered. Civilization is passing to Africans, to black folks. As it were, nature left it to the last for Africans to come and round up human civilization and take us to higher spiritual levels of being. Europe has exhausted itself and it is now time for Africans to take over the reins of human civilization and take us to a higher phase of civilization. We must be grateful to Europeans for what they have done for all of us but the fact is that their mental set is no longer appropriate for what human civilization now demands; Africans are best suited for what civilization now demands.
(Now I understand why since I was a child I had this nagging feeling that white folks are like children, literally children to be taught by Africans; I know that this may sound grandiose but the fact is that whereas Africans do not feel superior to white folk they literally feel more mature than white folks. In my experience Africans generally treat white folks as adults treat children; they seem to know that they are spiritually more advanced than white folks. It is probably because of their spiritual advancement that they were forced to be degraded by the other races, as in racism and discrimination; from that oppression they learned more about spiritual matters than whites could have from their abusive behaviors; they learned what spirit means; spirit means love. Love means union with all beings. To be truly human is to love all people. Black folks do love; they love white folks despite white folk’s abuse of them.)