Solar Religion: A Scientific Source of African Normative Ethics.
The word ethics is from the Greek ethos which means character. For Wilson Jose (n.d.), ethics can be defined as "the systematic study of human actions from the point of view of their rightfulness or wrongfulness as means for the attainment of the ultimate happiness." (1). Ethics as a long history in the Western philosophy; starting in the Grecian antiquity from the teachings of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, this history is continued up to the advent of the present postmodernist current.
However, to speak of African ethics is to face the same difficulties that scholars encountered when they began to deal with the debate about the existence of philosophical knowledge produced in traditional African culture. The absence of written documents in Africa south of the Sahara led researchers either to deny the existence of an African philosophy or to use various strategies in their attempt of evidencing the presence of the different branches of philosophy in Africa; one of these approaches is ethno-philosophy.
Ethno-philosophy focuses on African worldview to abstract the rationale of its mode of operation (Udefi, 2014). This trend was inaugurated by the Catholic priest Placid Tempels (1945) in his work titled la Philosophie Bantoue. Studying the worldview of ethnics of Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, this author explained his approach in these terms:
"After giving an account of the conception of the world of the [ethnics of Katanga and similar ones], their ontology and their criteria, it is important to review their philosophical ideas about man. It is only after that that we will be able to study their philosophy of human behavior, their ethics and in their philosophy of law." (73).
About the ethical consciousness of the people of Katanga, among whom he made his ethno-philosophical research, Tempels concluded that "it is simultaneously philosophical, moral, and judicial" (109). However it should be noted that the work of Tempels didn't meet the general approval of African scholars (Wiredu, 1998); some accused him of presupposing his work on Western views (Udefi, 2014).
Ethno-philosophy is the main approach used so far in the study of ethics in African. It is the method used by the Ghanaian philosopher Kwame Gyekye in his article titled African ethics. Starting from the Akans' ethics extracted from their discourse and conception of law and morality, he explains that the view of this ethnic can be generalized mutatis mutandis to explain the ethics of other African cultures. For Gyekye (2010) African ethics refers to "the moral beliefs and presuppositions of the [African people south of the Sahara] and the philosophical clarification and interpretation of those beliefs and presuppositions".
In this paper our purpose is to elucidate African ethics by starting from the solar religion, the religion that characterized the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Sumer and which has been preserved in Kongo culture. This new approach will entails the use of facto-deductive methodology to establish a cosmological argument that explains the main feature of solar religion, and the presuppositional use of this cosmological argument to prove the existence of solar scientific normative ethics which will be generalized to other African ethnics through the theory of "ethical devolution".
Our main assumptions in this new methodology of the study of African ethics are the following:
* There is a solar epistemology characterizing African indigenous knowledge.
* Solar epistemology naturally leads to solar religion, the religion of ancient Egypt, Sumer, which has been preserved in the Kongo culture.
* Solar religion is the original form of the African traditional religion (ATR); thus the various trends of the ATR are the devolutions of the Kongo religion, the Bukongo.
* Solar religion is scientific, as seen in its natural systematic theology, the kemetic cosmological argument (KCA), and the mathematical cosmology that derives from its conclusions.
* Drawn from the KCA, the African ethics is, like this systematic natural theology, scientific; thus African ethics is religion-based and normative.
However an ethics drawn from the KCA will not be really African unless it is demonstrated to be correlated by the perception of morality of a particular African ethnic. For this purpose we will evidence the equivalence that exists between the basic ethical principles drawn from the KCA and those of the Kongo culture, the Bukongo. Next we will generalize this ethics to the whole area of Africa south of the Sahara by showing the system of the various African ethnics to be the devolution of the solar ethics which characterizes Kongo culture.
Solar Naturalized Epistemology
The existence of an African naturalized epistemology was subject to debate; the difficulty encountered in this area was due because of the lack of a corpus of scientific traditional texts indigenous to Africa south of the Sahara. The research of the Institute des Sciences Animiques (ISA) solved this issue by showing that naturalized African epistemology must be drawn through an analysis of African initiatory educational frames and the presuppositional study of the KCA (Luyaluka 2016).
The naturalized African epistemology is called solar due to its focus of the divine, the God creator is symbolized by the sun in many African cultures (Luyaluka 2017a). The freedom of soul from the body is fundamental to solar epistemology. Ancient Egyptians sustained this nature of soul by depicting it as a bird hovering over a body or a corpse.
The same feature can be also observed in the Sumerian culture where, according to Noah Kramer (1981), "the soul flies from Dumuzi's body "like falcon flies against another bird" (297). In traditional Africa this concept is seen in Kongo culture where soul is affirmed to be immortal "moyo ke usuki" (Bentley 1895, 748); whenever, being perishable, the body cannot be otherwise than temporal. Thus, the Egyptian, Sumerian, and Kongo cultures shared the same solar epistemology whose presuppositions are:
Reality is spiritual, Any truth is revelation, Any truth is included in the knowledge of God, Matter is only a limited perspective on spiritual reality.
It must be stressed that, contrary to Western epistemology (called lunar due to its focus on matter, like the moon orbits around the earth symbol of matter) whose presuppositions cannot be demonstrated and are accepted a priori, solar epistemology is presupposed on basic truths whose validity can be evidenced through the KCA.
"Contrary to the lunar epistemology, the focal point of the solar epistemology is the perfection of the initiatory frame, the conformity of the initiate (the scientist) to the religious norm and the practical nature of the knowledge he produces >> (Luyaluka 2016 , 520).
The freedom of soul on which solar cultures insist implies the possibilities of its peregrinations toward higher planes. In the epistemological level, these peregrinations lead to a theory of thought marked by the use of oracles, dreams, and intuitions. The peregrinations of the soul imply also the existence of planes of existence higher than the visible one. This hierarchy of planes translates into a hierarchical monotheistic religion: solar religion.
Essential Nature of Solar Religion
Solar religion has been wrongly depicted a polytheistic, in reality it is a religion whose monotheism is hierarchical. Contrary to the Western monotheism, which is neither in accord with logic nor with the immutability of the Supreme Being dictated by the Bible, solar monotheism is a posteriori perception of theism (Luyaluka 2017b). The theism of solar religion includes:
A transcendent Supreme Being. A demiurgic creator symbolized by the sun.
The Verb, as the manifestation of the fullness of the Most-high in his manifestations, the lower Gods and human beings.
In a paper titled The Elucidation of Africanity in Christianity through Hierarchical monotheism and its redefinition of Black theology, the ISA exposes the essential characteristics of solar religion as including: (1) "The preponderance of the divine mystery over the civil and the martial. The preponderanceo of the civil mystery results in the erosion of the prerogative of the high priest in favor of the king (Welbourn 1968); while the preponderance of the martial mystery results in a martial religion like the Vodun; (2) "The hierarchical nature of its theism; (3) "The notion of the presence of the divinity in man and around man (the Verb), symbolized by the conjunction of the male and female elements. The Verb as the divine completeness of being is the nature of men and Gods (Fukiau 1969, 112); (4) "The existence of Spirits; and (5) "The belief in the necessity of the intercession of the ancestors" (Luyaluka 2017b).
As we said above, solar religion has been preserved in Kongo culture, so that all these characteristics can be verified by an analysis of the Bukongo. The existence and validity of all these characteristics of the solar religion can also be demonstrated a posteriori through the KCA.
Kca: A Systematic Natural Theology
Cosmological argument is one of the means used by philosophy to demonstrate the existence of God by starting from "the presence of the cosmos back to a creator of the cosmos" (Thompson & Jackson 2001, 2). The use of the cosmological argument in the Western philosophy started with Plato's Book X of The Laws; it is however restricted to the demonstration of the existence of an ultimate cause of this contingent universe, cause which is always supposed to be the Creator-Supreme-Being.
The ISA extended the KCA into a systematic natural theology demonstrating the essentials of solar theology. It starts from the empirical existence of individualities and particular circumstances in our universe and evolves deductively by using the law of causality and the principle of sufficient reason; therefore this approach is called facto-deductive.
The KCA can be summarized as follow:
* Our universe is composed of individualities and particular circumstances; thus our universe is individual.
* The possession of an individuality by our universe is a contingency.
* There is a necessary cause explaining this contingency; this cause is individual, being related to the causation of a contingent individual universe.
* The individual nature of this necessary cause implies the possible existence of other necessary causes whose causation is at least potential.
* There is an absolutely necessary cause including all the relative necessary causes and explaining their individualities.
* This absolutely necessary cause is the Most-high. Being without any contingence, the Most-high is transcendent, indivisible and absolutely infinite, all reality is included in Him.
* God, the Father, being indivisible, each relative necessary being, each Son of God, expresses His fullness, the Verb.
* The transcendent nature of the Father, implies the existence of a hierarchy of divinities at the top of which there is:
** The Most-high,
** The Demiurgic creator, a Son of God,
** The Verb.
Starting from an empirical fact, the existence of individualities and particular circumstances, and proceeding by deduction, the conclusions of the KCA are valid because in a deduction "it is not possible for the premises all to be true while the conclusion is false" (Ladyman 2002, 264). Moreover the KCA leads to a cosmology which explains the movements and stability of the bodies of the universe at the astronomic and subatomic levels in a single theory: a solar holistic "theory of everything". It should be noted also that the conclusions of this Newtonian deterministic physics are mathematically verified (Luyaluka 2014). Thus the KCA is a scientific valid approach of a religious truth.
Ethical Implications of Kca
Since the purpose of ethics is to "study ideal human behavior and ideal ways of being" (Rich n.d., 4), we will use the KCA to investigate, first of all, the nature of good and the nature of man.
What is Good?
Being the sum total of necessary reality, the Most-high is inseparable from every necessary relative being; since the indivisible Most-high expresses his fullness in each Son, the relation He has with the Sons is one of love. Therefore, expressing infinite love to an infinite number of Sons, the Father is infinite Love.
Being the sum total of reality the Father is inseparable from the Sons. The Father is absolutely without any contingency; therefore the Father is loyal to the Sons. Expressing the nature of truth, loyalty, to infinite number of Sons, the Father must be infinite Truth.
Since the Most-high is the ultimate cause of the celestial order, and being infinite Truth and Love, the Father includes infinitely the nature common to order, truth and love: good. Therefore God is infinite good.
The Nature of Temporal Reality
Though relatively, the demiurgic creator is a necessary being; therefore he cannot have simultaneously an eternal necessary consciousness and a temporal one, the created universe. Moreover, God being absolutely infinite, there cannot be a reality outside of Him. Therefore, the temporal order is only an illusory perspective of the spiritual necessary reality; however, the illusory nature of the perspective is not attached to the reality which is manifested in the temporal order, but to the limitation that the perspective tries to imprint on that good, because good is God.
It follows from this deduction of the systematic natural theology of the KCA that every being and every phenomenon in the temporal order is only a perspective of its eternal perfect reality which is in the necessary order. It results also from this natural systematic theology that evil is only the reverse perspective due to a bad use of the free will; thus it is essentially and ultimately subjective.
The Double Nature of the Verb
We have seen that the Verb is the fullness of Father expressed in every Son. Since all the Sons taken collectively around any Son are a relative necessary individuality, this one expresses the fullness of the Father, the Verb. Therefore, the Verb is the fullness of Father in and around every Son of God.
The Verb is the true nature of the Son, the spiritual ideal nature of the Son; therefore, according to the double nature of the Verb, as an individual consciousness, the Son of God is not only the good he is spiritually conscious within, but also the good he is spiritually conscious around him.
Nature of Humankind
The KCA revealed the temporal order to be a mere perspective of the eternal necessary plane. Creation is always preceded by the necessary order; thus it is not ex-nihilo. Moreover, since God is Truth, his love for His Sons is sincere; thus each Son is endowed with a free will. By using badly his free will, the Son turns away from the divine perfect true consciousness; therefore, he falls necessarily in a false consciousness: a self-deprivation of the divine consciousness.
The KCA demonstrated that the Father is absolutely without contingence; therefore even in his fall the Son of God is not deprived of the Verb by the Father, though this divine nature becomes only potential, due to sin, i.e., mortal man (the fallen Son of God) has lost his divine necessary consciousness.
These conclusions of solar theology imply that creation is only a soteriological plan for the salvation of the fallen Sons of God, mortal men. It follows also that man in the temporal order is only a perspective of his eternal reality as a Son of God. Therefore the ethical purpose of man is to regain his divine nature, in other words, to express in a manifest way his divine nature, the Verb, the fullness of good.
According to the double nature of the Verb, man is in reality not only the good he is spiritually conscious within him, but also the good he is spiritually conscious around him. Therefore man in the temporal plane cannot find his fulfillment, the manifestation of his divine nature, if he doesn't care about the Verb as the fullness of the divinity expressed around him. Thus solar morality is a demand of responsibility vis-à-vis the individual as well as the collective good (the manifestation of divine good: God); the love of the I must be reflected in the love for the us. This conclusion is also sustained because to love good is to love God; now God is the sum total of reality, thus one cannot claim that he loves good if he doesn't express love for the divinity which is manifest around him.
Bukongo and the Ethics of the Kca
As we said in the introduction the normative ethical principles drawn from the KCA cannot be claimed to be African if it doesn't coincide with an established African opinion of the practice of morality. Therefore our purpose here is to demonstrate the resonance of the ethical principles evidenced by the KCA in the Bukongo.
At the basis of the notion of the solar ethics is the concept of the Verb, the presence of the fullness of God in and around any Son. The purpose of man's existence dictated by this ethics is to manifest his divine Sonship, the Verb. How are these features reverberated in the Bukongo?
Fukiau (1969) clearly shows that human beings and Gods are defined in the Bukongo as manifesting the completeness of the divinity, the Kimahungu; thus they all are male and female; a conjunction which symbolizes the divine fullness of being. This divine nature is inseparable of man, because, in Kongo language, the Kikongo, the right part of the body is called male while the left is female. Thus, in conformity to the transcendence of Nzambi Ampungu Tulendo, the Most-high, man is never deprived of his divine sonship, the Kimahungu, the Verb; though due to sin this nature become merely potential; hence the requirement of purification which is the cornerstone of the divine initiation.
The double nature of the Verb is also seen in the Bukongo as illustrated by the following song of the Lemba, one of the Kongo initiatory academies, where the initiate in the process of education is addressed:
"In the world of the living; "In the world of the ancestors; "Hey! MahAaAaAeA}ngu, "They gather around you! "Those who eat" (Fukiau 1969, 43).
In this song the candidate-initiate is clearly designated as a Mahungu, the one who is now expressing his completeness, the Kimahungu, thanks to initiation. Around him gather the ancestors who are alive in Mpemba, the holy world of the dead who are alive in the beyond, because "they eat"; thus these ancestors being holy are also the Mahungus and constitute collectively a Mahungu. Therefore man has the Kimahungu (the Verb) in him, and around him.
We can validly conclude that the conception of the human being and of his destiny in the Bukongo being the same as in the KCA, the normative principles of the KCA apply also to Kongo culture.
Solar Ethics: An African Standard
In the article of Gyekye we mentioned in the introduction, the author based his study of African ethics on the culture of the Akan, an ethnic of Ghana to which he belongs. Gyekye makes assertions that are basic to his conception of African ethics:
* The ATR is not a revealed religion; thus the claim that "African morality is founded on, or derives from religion cannot... be upheld".
* Therefore, "African ethics is a humanistic ethics, a moral system that is preoccupied with human welfare".
* "The values, beliefs, and principles of Akan ethics reverberate mutatis mutandis on the moral terrains of other African societies"; on this basis Gyekye generalizes the Akan's ethics to other African ethnics.
On the Revealed Nature of ATR
It is true that ATR is not a revealed religion in the meaning Gyekye gives to this concept, a "religion whereby divine truth is revealed to a single individual who becomes the founder". However the revealed nature of the ATR can be deduced from the very concept of reason as "a series of direct and/or indirect revelations" (Luyaluka 2016, 514). A Mwesikongo, a member of Kongo ethnic, sees thoughts as coming to him, rather than being conceived in his brain. Abioje alludes to the same conception of the reason among the Yoruba of Nigeria:
"At a more private level, it is not uncommon to hear an African saying: "My mind told me", "Something told me"; "I come to realize that ...", and so on. These type of expressions indicate that revelation is an ongoing activity by which God continue to guide His people."
We evidenced the scientific nature of the KCA, the systematic natural theology of the ATR, this implies that to the revealed nature of the ATR dictated by solar epistemology is added a scientific nature impressed by this cosmological argument (Luyaluka 2017a); thus the ethics which is drawn from the KCA is scientific and normative, it can be generalized to the other African ethnics as we will see below.
Religion as the Source of African Ethics
We have drawn ethical principles from the KCA and their religious bases have been shown to pertain also to the Bukongo; the Kongo religion. This perception of Kongo culture is sustained by the ethnography of Bittremieux (1956) who affirms of Kongo people:
"Moreover, they have some idea of moral obligations of man vis-a-vis to God and one's neighbor (...) They even have far away remembrances of some oral traditions called khongo, in which the Ancients taught commandments" (132-133).
Van Wing (1956) agrees with Bittremiex on the existence of divine commandements among the Besikongo; therefore, after affirming that destiny is not fixed by God but by the ancestors, he adds:
There are however expressions which indicates a certain link between the laws of the Anceitns and destiny. Because, among these laws there are the nkondo mi Nzambi: interdictions from God; whose violation constitutes a sumu ku Nzambi, and an ordinary sanction against these sumu is lufwa lumbi, a bad death" (147)
The Besikongo, people of Kongo ethnic, have two words for law: n'longo and n'siku; but each word has its own connotation. Fukiau (1969) sustains that the words longa (educate), n'longo (forbidden, sacred), kin'longo (sacred place), bun'longo (purity), an'longo (pure), n'langu (water) and longo (marriage) are related.
To break the law, as n'longo, implies a breach of spiritual law, the fact of trespassing on the divine fullness (Kimahungu), i.e., a violation of the purity (bun'longo) of the Son of God or of nature; thus n'longo is an offense against holy ancestors, ban'longo, the representatives of Nzambi Ampungu Tulendo, the Most-high. This breach necessary leads to a reprimand (bela) from the ancestors, reprimand which is the consequence of "bela, being wrong" (Bittremieux 1956, 270) for having walked contrary to sacred law, and the final result can be a disease (bela). For the Besikongo bela and bela are not only homonymous, but also synonymous (Bittremieux 1956, 270). Obviously the remedy for this situation includes the spiritual initiatory education (longa) whose corner stone is purification traditionally obtained through water (n'langu).
On the other hand n'siku comes from sika, i.e., to cause an explosion, a big noise. It can be said of a gun, n'kele (sika n'kele), or of a traditional orchestra, sikulu (sika sikulu), the noise of a sikulu attracts people around. N'siku is a norm relative to public order. To breach this norm (kulula n'siku, literary meaning to lower the n'siku) is to destroy the elevation of society.
In the conception of the Kongo, this act must cause a public outcry (sika nkuzu); otherwise the public is complicit of the offense against public order. N'siku is established by a civil authority. The remedy for breaching a n'siku is to pay the fine, futa n'siku, literally meaning to pay the n'siku, or to undergo a punishment. The mentality of Besikongo "kulula n'siku" must necessarily lead to a public outcry, an explosion of indignation, shows that the public has a great responsibility in the maintenance of public order. Therefore, contrary to the n'longo which denotes the religious aspect of the law, the n'siku is related to humanistic aspects of ethics in Kongo society.
Comparative Ethics: the Akans and the Besikongo
Contrary to the theory offered by Gyekye for the generalization of Akans' ethics in relation to other African ethnics, it is obvious from the demonstration we have provided above that, being essentially humanistic, the ethics of the Akans cannot explain mutatis mutandis the ethics of the Besikongo which includes religious and humanistic basic principles.
Moreover, explained through the KCA, the ethics of the Besikongo is scientific, like their solar religion which being scientific enables us to demonstrate mathematically the functioning of the temporal universe in the cosmological level through a solar holistic "theory of everything" (Luyaluka 2014). The scientific nature of the Bukongo and its matching the religion of ancient Egypt and Sumer enabled the ISA to show that the various trends of ATR in African south of the Sahara are the devolutions of solar religion (Luyaluka 2017a).
The solar nature of the naturalized epistemology of African indigenous lore added to this theory of knowledge results in the solar religion, from which is deduced the principles of solar ethics, implies that this later should apply to all African ethnic groups south of Sahara. Therefore, like for the generalization of the ATR through the theory of the devolution of religions (Luyaluka 2017a), we opine that the different ethics of traditional Africa are the devolutions of solar ethics. It should be stressed here that by "ethical devolution" we don't mean the moral regression of African ethnics compared to the Bukongo, but the displacement of the explanation of the ethical principles from the religious to the humanistic bases. However, both phenomena, the "religious devolution" and the "ethical devolution", are correlated.
We have seen above that the normal trend of solar religion is characterized by the preponderance of the divine mystery over the human; this later includes the civil and the martial aspects of the initiatory processes. Thus, "The southward migration of Africans was operated in an orderly way; the [agriculturist ethnics] were the first wave characterized by an initiation dominated by the divine mystery. The western migratory wave was marked by the preponderance of the martial initiation. The last wave with its preponderance of the civil initiation brought the Eastern pastoral ethnics" (Luyaluka 2017a, 181).
The preponderance of the human mystery which characterizes the western and eastern ethnics led to the trends of the solar religion marked by the preponderance of the martial initiation in the western part of Africa, as can be seen in the Vodun through the presence in it of Gods of war (Hounon 2001), or of a God of witchcraft whose "home is believed to be in Abomey-Calivi" (Houessou-Adin 2009, 413); witchcraft can be taken as a weapon of war. While in the eastern part of Africa the later migration of the pastoral ethnics brought a monotheism akin to the Western one, a proof that they started their migration after the invasion of Egypt by Alexander the Macedonian and the lunar epistemological trend it brought in the Middle East.
The preponderance of the human mystery that marked the eastern and western part of African led to the "ethical devolution", the displacement of the explanation of the religious aspect of African ethics into the human side. Therefore by capitalizing on this devolution we can explain the ethics of the different African ethnics through the solar ethics. The ubuntu is defined as humanistic African ethics, but using the theory of ethical devolution we can show below its original religious explanation.
Solar Ethics in Ancient Egypt and Sumer
The freedom of soul advocated by Egypt and Sumer implies that they were immersed in the solar religion; therefore the destiny of man in the religions of these civilizations was necessarily inscribed in the expression of the immortality of life which is the corollary of this freedom.
This conclusion is sustained by the Egyptian book of the dead where the Osiris Ani, having a pure life on this temporal plane, claims the right to be an Osiris in the beyond: "that I may be an Osiris greatly favored of the beautiful god". This craving of the Egyptian initiate implies that he was an Osiris, as his name indicates, only potentially. Now the sacred Egyptian book attributes the name, or title, Osiris to:
* Ani, the dead initiate.
* The solar demiurgic creator Ra.
* The Lord of eternity, King of the Gods
* Chief of Amentet.
* The Fathers of the initiate.
Seen in the context of the Egyptian hierarchical monotheism (Luyaluka 2017a) these different uses of the word Osiris unite in one meaning: a Son of God. This implication is obvious as the Osiris Ani claims the right to be "one of the Osiris". This craving of the Egyptian initiate for immortality is also seen in Sumerian religion where it is affirmed of Enkidu: "It is tangible, physical immortality which his tormented spirit now craves. He must seek and find the secret of eternal life" (Kramer 1981, 185).
Moreover, the ISA has demonstrated (Luyaluka 2017a&b) that both civilizations advocate the same hierarchy of divinities:
* An, the God of heaven
* Enki, the creator
* Enlil, the creative Logos or the Verb, the God governor.
For ancient Egypt:
* The unnamed Most-High
* The creator, the sun God Ra, called here Atom
* The Verb, Ptah, the God of order
* The God of the nome, the "dead God" or the primeval ancestor.
All these features show that the civilizations of ancient Egypt and Sumer were characterized by solar religion. We can conclude that, like for the Bukongo, the KCA is the natural systematic theology of the Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations; therefore solar ethics applies to both civilizations.
Therefore, solar ethics can be the explanation of the origin of the Egyptian principle of the maat. The main meaning of the maat is "to be true"; the concept of truth is central to this Egyptian notion. In a paper titled Maat notre ideal this Egyptian concept is defined as "justice, order, and righteousness. It is the infallible judge dispensing his qualities for the good functioning of the universe". This clearly shows that the concept of order, truth and love are central to the maat.
The KCA has evidenced that God is the source of order, and is also Love and Truth; it was demonstrated also that man's ethical responsibility is inscribed within the necessity to render manifest the presence in him of the fullness of the divinity, the Verb; i.e., to live the manifested Truth and Love.
However, it has been seen also that man cannot succeed in this endeavor unless it translates into the expressed care for the community, the I must be reflected in the us. This clearly rejoins and explains the religious origin of the philosophy of the maat, which can be understood as "being true to one's divine self".
Solar Ethics and Ubuntu
Ubuntu is defined as "an ethical concept and expresses a vision of what is valuable and worthwhile in life" (Dolamo 2013, 2). For Chuwa (n.d.), "as an indigenous culture ubuntu presents an ethical worldview (referred to in this work as Ubuntu ethics) with three constituent components" (33): (1) The tension between individual and universal right; (2) The cosmic and global context of life; and (3) "the role of solidarity that unites individuals and communities within a cosmic context" (33)
The concept of the ubuntu is not limited to African ethnics who are south of the Sahara. According to Ifeanyi Menkiti, quoted by Gyekye (n.d.): "The various societies found in traditional Africa routinely accept this reality that personhood is the sort of thing which has to be attained, and is attained in direct proportion as one participates in communal life through the discharge of the various obligations defined by one's stations".
That the concept of the ubuntu applies to other African ethnics is also affirmed by the Ghanaian philosopher Kwame Gyekye who writes about the ethics of the Akans of western Africa: "Used normatively, the judgment, "he is a person," means 'he has a good character', 'he is generous', 'he is peaceful', 'he is humble,' 'he has respect for others.' A profound appreciation of the high standards of the morality of an individual's behavior would elicit the judgment, "he is truly a person," (oye onipa paa!)."
Now the KCA revealed the double nature of the Verb which results in the double ethical demand placed on man: the care for the fullness of the divinity which has to be manifest in him, and the care for the divinity which is to be expressed around him.; therefore the divinity of the I cannot be fulfilled without a concern for the divinity of the us. And according to Broodryk quoted by Dolamo (2013): "The notion of botho/ubuntu started in Egypt as far back as 1500 BCE. He indicates that seven cardinal values in the Netchar Maat culture were truth, justice, propriety, harmony, balance, reciprocity and order" (2).
The ethical principle of the ubuntu was imbedded in the Egyptian notion of the maat, whose origin we demonstrated to be in the solar religion, implies that the ethics of ubuntu finds its origin in solar religion as the original nature of the ATR. This confirms the theory of the "ethical devolution" as the displacement of the explanation of the ubuntu, at least as applied among the Akans (oye onipa), from the religious to the humanistic side.
Solar Ethics and the Grecian Philosophy
In the Western culture Plato's ethics of forms, according to Jose (n.d.), "could be seen as the first attempt at defending moral realism and offering an objective ground for moral truths" (4). For this Helenian philosopher everything in this temporal plane is the mere appearance of its perfect reality (the form) which exists in the word of perfect essence. The Platonic theory of ethics implies that "the underlying purpose or goal of imperfect phenomena in the world of appearance is to emulate their associated essence and perfect form" (Rich n.d., 10).
With Aristotle, a student of Plato, ethics became "the study of correct human action" (Perkins 1992, 652) he believed that "ideal behaviors were practices that lead to the end goal" (Rich n.d., 4). This end goal is the eudaimonia, a high level of happiness. The means for attaining the end goal was seen by Aristotle as education.
It obvious that there are similarities between Plato's theory of the forms and solar ethics; however the theory of the "forms" of Plato is the result of a philosophical intuition, it stands as a presupposition, i.e., it is a priori; while the existence of the necessary realm in solar ethics is evidenced logically thanks to the KCA through the facto-deductive approach; i.e., it is a posteriori. Aristotle's end goal had to be reached through secular education; while in solar ethics the manifestation of the divine completeness of being, the Verb, is reached through the purification of thought which is enshrined in the spiritual initiatory education into the divine mystery.
In this paper our purpose was to elucidate African ethics by starting from the solar religion, the religion that characterized the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Sumer and which has been preserved in Kongo culture. And while the study of the African ethics has been so far cornered to the use of ethno-philosophy; we advocated a new approach which entailed the use of deduction from an empirical base to establish the kemetic cosmological argument (KCA) and the presuppositional use of the KCA to prove the existence of solar scientific normative ethics.
For this endeavor, we first demonstrated that there is a solar epistemology characterizing African indigenous knowledge, the basic tenet of which is the freedom of soul from the body. This freedom was shown to be sustained in the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Sumer and in Kongo culture. Solar epistemology naturally leads to solar religion, the religion of ancient Egypt, Sumer, which has been preserved in the Kongo culture, the Bukongo.
Thanks to the KCA we demonstrated the scientific nature of solar religion; this allowed us to evidence the nature solar ethics as being anchored in the double aspect of the Verb which dictates man's individual and universal responsibility. Solar ethics was also shown to be embedded in the necessary for lower entities to emulate their reality in the eternal spiritual realm. And while Plato's theory of the forms has similarities with the solar ethics, its a priori nature exposes its difference from the a posteriori existence of the necessary realm in solar ethics; compared to the secular ethics of Aristotle, the end goal in solar ethics has been shown as based on a religious initiatory education.
Being based on a scientific solar religion, solar ethics has been demonstrated to be scientific, normative and applying to all African ethnic groups south of the Sahara. Therefore the ethics of the different ethnics of Africa has been explained as the result of the devolution of the solar ethics; however this devolution in not a moral regression, but a displacement of the explanation from the religious to the humanistic side.
Bentley, H. 1895. The dictionary and grammar of the Kongo language. London, England: Baptist Society.
Bittremieux, L. 1936. La Societe secrète des Bakhimba au Mayombe. Bruxelles: Librairie Falk fils.
Chuwa, L. T. 2014. Ubuntu ethics. Retrieved from http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/9789401786249 -c1.pdf?SGWID=0-0-45-1445113-p176425415.
Dolamo, R. 2013. "Both/ubuntu: the heart of African ethics." Scriptura, 112(1) : 1-10.
Fukiau, A. 1969. Le Mukongo et le monde qui l'entourait. Kinshasa: Office National de la Recherche et du Developpement.
Hounon, M. V. D, 2001, Vodun. Retrieved from http://ipoaa.com/Vodun.htm.
Jose, W. n.d. Introduction to ethics. Retrieved from http://www.insightsonindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/introduction-to-ethics.pdf.
Kramer, S. N. 1981. History begins at Sumer, Pennsylvania: University Press.
Ladyman, J. 2002. Understanding philosophy of science, London: Routledge.
Luyaluka, K. L. 2016. An Essay on Naturalized Epistemology of African Indigenous Knowledge. The Journal of Back Studies. 47(6): 497-523.
Luyaluka, K. L. 2017a. African Indigenous Religion and its Ancient Model Reflections of Kongo Hierarchical Monotheism. The Journal of Black Studies, 48(2): 165-185.
Luyaluka, K. L. 2017b. The Elucidation of Africanity in Christianity through Hierarchical monotheism and its redefinition of Black theology. Accepted for publication in Black theology an international journal.
Maat Notre Ideal. Retrieved June 7, 2017 from http://fulele.unblog.fr/maat/
Maspero. G. n.d. A history of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia and Assyria, Vol. 1, Part B. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org.
Noah, S. Kramer. 1981. History begins at Sumer. Pennsylvania: University Press.
Perkins, P. 1992. Ethics: New Testament. Anchor Bible dictionary, Vol. 1, edited by D. N. Freedman, 652-665. London, England: Doubleday,
Rich n.d. Introduction to ethics. Retrieved from http://samples.jbpub.com/9781449649005/22183_CHO1_Pass.pdf.
Thomas Houessou-Adin. 2009, Mawu-lisa. Encyclopedia of African religion, edited by Molefi K. Asante & Ama Mazama, 411-413. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
Thompson, B & Jackson, W. 2001. The Case for the existence of God. Montgomery: Apologetics Press Inc.
Udefi, A. 2014. The rationale for an African epistemology: A critical examination of the Igbo views on knowledge, belief, and justification. Canadian Social Science, 10: 108-117
Van Wing, J. 1956. Etudes Bakongo, 2nd edition. Bruxelles: Librarie Falk fils.
Welbourn, F. B. 1968. Atoms and Ancestors. Bristol.
Wiredu, K. 1998. Toward decolonizing African philosophy and religion. African studies quarterly, 1 (4): 17-46.
Kiatezua Lubanzadio Luyaluka
email@example.com Institut des Sciences Animiques. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Author:||Luyaluka, Kiatezua Lubanzadio|
|Publication:||Journal of Pan African Studies|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2017|
|Previous Article:||The Interaction of Law and Religion in Central Nigerian Societies.|
|Next Article:||The Entanglement of Shari'Ah Application in South-Western Nigeria.|