Africology: a theory of forces.

Author:Van Horne, Winston A.


Let us begin with the most basic question: What is Africology? This question is akin to asking: What is Physics? What is Chemistry? What is Anthropology? Concerning academic disciplines, the list could go on and on. In response to the questions just posed, one could say: Physics is the study of energy, matter, motion, force, and their interactions. Chemistry is the study of the composition, structure, properties, and interactions (direct or reciprocal action, effect, or influence) and reactions (reverse motion, or action in a reverse direction or manner) of various forms of matter and energy, and the transformations that they can be induced to undergo. Anthropology is the study of the origins and continuous planet wide evolution of the subspecies Homo sapiens. And what shall one say of Africology?

Africology is the study of the centrality of Africa in the emanation of Homo sapiens as sentient beings capable of constructing concepts of right and wrong (these terms are not used here as solely ethical-moral ones), which guide life-preserving contra life-destroying behaviors that have been and are transmitted trans-generationally, trans-millennially, and universally. It describes and explains the spread of initial Africans across the planet over millennia, and makes known forces that have occasioned the rise, persistence, interaction, and extinction of separate and distinctive groupings of Homo sapiens. By their respective subject matters, africology and anthropology bear a striking family resemblance, which also is true of physics and chemistry. In their work, both physicists and chemists engage, say, mass, matter, electrons, kinetic energy, and chemical energy.

Still, lines of demarcation obtained between physics and chemistry that are sufficiently clear to distinguish them as academic disciplines which are also true of anthropology and africology, especially as the latter two are now taught in institutions of higher learning as institutional disciplines.

Just as wherever there is electricity there is magnetism, and the obverse also is true, electricity and magnetism have different defining properties.

In like manner, wherever there is anthropology there also is africology; given the African origin of Homo sapiens and its planet wide significance, anthropology and africology have different constitutive attributes. The fulcrum of institutional anthropology remains Homo sapiens in planet wide existence across the centuries and millennia. Institutional africology, on the other hand, makes Africa and African-related derivatives over roughly the last five hundred generations (approximately ten thousand years being taken as one generation) of Homo sapiens with species-life across the planet its center of gravity.

As an institutional discipline, africology not only describes and explains congeries of phenomena and behaviors throughout what I elsewhere, in an unpublished manuscript entitled Africology: A Transmutative Hypothesis, have termed the Afrispora (I found it much too cumbersome to keep repeating Africa and the African Diaspora), which is also purposive and prescriptive in making plain patterns of behavior that stagnate, or make better or worse the species-life of individuals and groups. Africology, then, makes no pretense to being grounded in putative value-free inquiry and discourse. Instead, it calls out life-flourishing and life-enervating forces that act ceaselessly throughout the Afrispora with four forces: the leadership force; the educational force; the resource force; and the behavioral force. Hence, regarding these four forces, I have borrowed the concept of four fundamental forces from physics, namely, the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force, and gravity. I shall now turn to discuss each of these forces.

The Leadership Force

In Africology, A Transmutative Hypothesis, written almost a decade ago, I broached the leadership force, though I did not use the term then. Thus, I have restudied what I wrote, and have made only small, though important changes, and so I repeat here, in part, what was said:. "Societies that waste the energy and vibrancy of their youth never flourish. Unhappily, in society after society of the Afrispora, youth as well as adults are not usually afforded the sort of leadership that would bring out the best in them. Homo sapiens are in substantial measure an imitative creature, and anyone who has ever reared a child from birth through, say, aged [twelve knows this well, and imitation does not cease in the teen years, nor in adulthood,] though it is often masked by more lofty terms. Hence, self-aggrandizing leadership, for example, images itself in those who are led, and when individuals see their leaders fattening themselves at the public trough through exorbitant salaries, luxury houses, cars, boats, servants, body guards, obscene bank accounts, graft under the color of law, special favors for family and friends at the public expense as they lie, cheat, and on and on, they often say:

If so (whatever it might be), we can do it too, without generally considering the societal cost, and thus ethical-moral deficits are created, and the moral fabric of a society is frayed, sometimes to the point of tatters, and a truly nasty situation develops to suggest that it is alright as long as I don't get caught, and if I do get caught, I'll get away with it anyway.

Devoid of moral authority and the moral legitimacy that accompanies it, self-aggrandizing leadership in the public sector of a society often finds it nigh impossible to elicit voluntary sacrifices from the populace at large, and comes to rely ever the more on the coercive apparatuses of the state to secure compliance with its policy directives issued under the color of law. Self-aggrandizing leadership in the private sector is equally nasty. And so, debilitating tensions tend to develop in a society, as individuals, many of whom may well be involved in criminal conduct, come to believe that they should not be held responsible and punished for their behavior by leaders who are out for themselves, and simply use the instrumentalities of their respective offices and roles to cover their own crimes. Self-aggrandizing leadership thus corrupts both the state and civil society by the spread of criminality among the haves and the have-nots, the well-to-do and the less well-off, [criminality from which it perversely and shamelessly absolves itself, even as it excoriates wrongdoers.] Wherever criminality abounds, crime is an issue largely for show. And accordingly, these utterances form a moral bankruptcy, self-aggrandizing leadership wherein criminality generally has no resonance in the populace.

This state of affairs pervades much of the Afrispora, and as the potential creativity of the vigor and vitality of youth is wasted in vastly overcrowded ghettos, slums, and prisons, societies become the poorer for the losses they incur. Many of these are the societies that have been impoverished by the excesses and criminality of self-aggrandizing leadership in the Afrispora. Thus, all self-aggrandizing and criminal leadership is bad leadership.

However, not all bad leadership is self-aggrandizing, nor criminal, and it may simply be incompetence fostering a range of undesired and undesirable outcomes, particularly for individual impoverishment.

Impoverishment is incommensurate with innovation, which is additive to a society in the context of wealth, income, and leisure time. Idle-time and poverty, on the other hand, are subtractive concerning the growth and development of a society. Persistent idle-time is especially pernicious. It:

(1) wastes intellectual capacity, and a corollary generation of idea-power, thereby reinforcing images and stereotypes of Africans and their descendants as suited more to labors of the body than works of the mind;

(2) conduces toward laziness, which weighs heavily upon the productive capacity of a society;

(3) makes individuals readily available for recruitment into all sorts of nefarious activities;

(4) engenders severe doubts in individuals concerning their own personal value and worth, and in doing so undermines their self-respect, self-esteem, and dignity;

(5) tends to enervate the wills of individuals, and thereby trap them in states of hopelessness and despair regarding any sustained and substantial improvement in the lots of their lives;

(6) provides fertile ground for the germination and growth of envy, jealousy, animosity, and even hatred of those who are perceived to be the efficient cause of their lowly social state, thus exacerbating preexisting societal cleavages or opening up new ones; and

(7) saps the creative and productive energy of a society by dissipating what the ancients called the striving purpose of human beings.

The noxiousness of idle-time is felt most acutely where there are large, young populations. Demographically, in the Afrispora the young aged twenty-five and under constitutes the largest segment of the population in most societies. All too many of these youths become ensnared by idle-time, regardless of whether they have much, little, or no schooling, since the societies produce neither enough jobs, nor income, nor wealth to absorb them in legal, legitimate activities, and engender in them morally legitimate behaviors. For middle-aged individuals and elderly persons, idle-time represents the nadir of their lives, especially if they have been accustomed to work and some leisure-time. And so, idle-time is a bane of the Afrispora, insofar as it is a contributory factor to the continued powerlessness, marginality, and irrelevance of Africans and their descendants to critical decision making processes pertaining to the framing and implementation of agenda vis-a-vis the global political economy. In Africology: A Transmutative Hypothesis, I spoke of trans-generational lags. I shall not repeat here what I said there. Suffice it to observe that though...

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