Skip to main content

Originally posted by kresge:
Originally posted by Fagunwa:

Huamns are we not I.Our individuality is an illusion of western invention. We have lost our reciprocity, we have lost our "way". I like this quote "we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience". Our earthly experience is supposed to be making this a better place than we found it for our families and our communities...

I think that there is no hierarchy that all is one and the attempted seperation is what has humanity in this state. It is bad for africans to think of themselves as outside of the community/family. We see the product of our enslavement in all we do. We as a people have fallen a long way.

This is quite interesting. The direction of my research deals with challenging the modern notion of "the subject", the autonomous self, "the human."

Ironically, I have gotten more flack from African American scholars of religion than at least some white scholar's who are informed by postmodern theory and methods. AA's are invested in the modern conception of the self, because it is still the dominant one perpetuated by our society as well as I believe they think that it is the basis of power, and the means by which liberation will be achieved.

But I have become more and more convinced that human beingness is social, not private. One of the things that might make my line of argumentation more compelling to this community is to show that such an understanding is consistent with certain African traditions. While AA religionist are often thoroughly modern, they are often simultaneously and ironically suspicious of European postmodern theory. It is often stated that "at the point when we as oppressed people want to claim our subjectivity, subjectivity is being deconstructed." IMHO, they do not see that the kind of subjectivity that is being deconstructed is part of a fiction that arose during the European Enlightenment.

I am always building my proposal bibliography. If you have any titles, I would greatly appreciate them.

I was speaking to a colleague of mine whose area of research is Orisha worship. She referred me to the following texts and I was wondering if you have any familiarity with them or other suggestions. She also concurred with resonances between Yoruba traditional religion and postmodern understandings of the self.

One of the things that is particular interesting in our conversation was her reference to the Yoruba understanding of multiplicity of self/souls. Is this what you mean by our higher self. She asserted that depending on the particular community, Yoruba believe that they have a minimum of three selves (souls). Would you agree? Here is her e-mail to me....

Here are the texts in question:
Gbadegesin, Segun. 1991. African Philosophy: Traditional Yoruba Philosophy and Contemporary African Realities. Vol. 134. New York: Peter Lang.
This is the best description of the idea of multiple souls among the Yoruba:

Bascom, William. 1960. Yoruba Concepts of the Soul. In Men and Cultures. Selected Papers of the Fifth International Congress of Anthropology and Ethnological Sciences, edited by A. F. C. Wallace. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

You might also be interested in this article on the "big man" ideal among the Yoruba. Most Yoruba status is acquired rather than ascribed. This is how one gains one's own reputation in a community. If you're familiar with Achebe's Things Fall Apart, the main character, Okonkwo is a perfect example of someone who starting from nothing (extreme poverty) rose to being one of the most important men in the village, a "big man." (Even though the setting is Igbo rather than Yoruba.)

Barber, Karin. 1981. How Man Makes God in West Africa: Yoruba Attitudes Towards the Orisa. Africa -- London 51, no. 3, 1981. pp. 724-745. (3):724-745.

Truth is undoubtedly the sort of error that cannot be refuted because it was hardened into an unalterable form in the long baking process of history... Michel Foucault Hope begets many children illegitimately and prematurely. Allie M. Frazier Beware the terrible simplifiers... Jacob Burckhardt

Original Post

I have read very few things that actually reflect the Ifa I was taught to be honest with you. I love Wande Abimbola and Prof. Segun Gbadegesin. Roland Abiodun Is another person I've read.

As for the three souls, this is a way of understanding the Ori's; Ori,Ori inu, iponri. It's really about uniting heart, head and higher mind in order to live a healthy life. It's about seeing Oludumare's ase (activating force?) in creation. It's about seeing earth in a particular way and respecting it.

The religion is very simple on one level "Good character is beauty". Even better "Iwa Lesin" (character is religion).

I've never read Bascom. I'll check itmout and get back to you.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.