Monday, August 4, 2008

Metaphysics For The Masses

Having explored systemic failures within global society for a while now, it becomes abundantly clear that it can turn into a depressing exercise. When faced with 'big picture' issues, the average human being tends to shrug the shoulders and mutter words to the effect that: 'it can't be solved by little old me'. Well, we all know that simply doesn't ring true. Yet it contains an important element that promotes, and entrenches, apathy. The knowledge that most of us go along with the establishment view and, too often, unquestioningly follow conventional wisdom. This way we can avoid the stark reality, that, we play a major part in our own continued powerlessness.

The obvious question, of course, would revolve around our voluntary participation in this state of affairs. Why, frankly, would anyone willingly go along with any situation that's clearly detrimental to their interests? This has puzzled great thinkers throughout the ages and one of the pioneers, Aristotle, formulated the concept of metaphysics in reply. Sometimes described by the ancients as 'the queen of sciences', metaphysics is a philosophy which studies that which is beyond the physical, but not necessarily the spiritual. Metaphysics, as a discipline, was a central part of academic inquiry during this time; and it's issues were considered no less important than the other main subjects of physical science, medicine, mathematics, poetics and music.

Personal power, in all it's manifestations, has been derived from this philosophy ever since. This despite the fact, that, metaphysics has been described as 'vague' by empirically driven scientists and rational philosophers. And, yet, it's driving a renewal of interest in issues beyond the physical. This includes the fundamental questions that arise about the nature of time, religion and spirituality; necessity and possibility or the way the world could have been, abstract objects and mathematics, cosmology and cosmogony, determinism and free will, identity and change plus mind and matter. In short, the sort of study that frees individuals from entrenched thought patterns; that have been imprinted from childhood and constantly produce involuntary actions.

Already the short 8 years of this century have produced scientific revelations, that, have stunned scholar and layman alike. Mapping the human genome, animal cloning, planetary discovery, private space flight, a universal blood type and transparent steel to name but a few. But its anthropology that provides the most personal reference, as usual. Early in 2007, an international team of scientists announced that analysis of a skull discovered in South Africa in 1952 revealed the first fossil evidence that modern humans left Africa between 65,000 and 25,000 years ago. Scientists determined the age of the skull, unearthed near Hofmeyr, South Africa, by testing the levels of radiation in sand that had filled the braincase. They figured it was about 36,000 years old, give or take 3,000 years; and matched skulls found in Europe, eastern Asia and Australia, in age and appearance, which supports the theory that modern man originated in sub-Saharan Africa and fanned out from there.

This stunning announcement stands in stark contrast to the present state of Africa. The cradle of humankind's present inhabitants no longer displaying the spirit which drove the evolution of the human species. However, by going back to the level of metaphysics such a state can be re-created again. All it would take is the re-adjustment of perception and the acceptance of an alternative future. Perhaps it would be fitting that such a turnaround, is engineered where few would give it any chance. In our ancient history we'll find the tools for personal transformation; and we'll build a new society, one human being at a time. It will require the acceptance of personal responsibility and accountability, but Africans are nothing if not socially driven. Given the grace to do so, they will benefit all of they did millennia ago.