Defining the African Personality.


Khoapa stated that "what defines the African personality is his [sic] 'worldview,' i.e., his own conception of existential reality, his own view of his collective being of existence" (1980, 1-2). At once, transpersonal ontology deriving from centered African asili is reflected in his definition. It follows that collectivistic ethos will be a defining factor of African personality, to wit: African personality, a term that may be used interchangeably with psychological Africanity and subsuming of all statements about ADP's racial identity, can be defined as forfending ADP's life chances by an African descent person's self-conscious prioritization of the defense, development, and maintenance of ADP's lives and culture with a resolute orientation to neutralize any force that may be harmful to ADP. Incorporating Allport's definition, a theory of African personality as just defined must also account for the dynamic organization within the individual of those determining psychophysical systems. Knee-jerk rejection of Allport's definition because it is Western would be childish, culturally chauvinistic and imprudent. In general, Eurasian conceptualizations of anything--including African personality--may be rejected out of hand as inappropriate and likely contradictory anathema for centered African analysis, but only when it is incongruous with African thought. A moment's cogitation reveals that there is nothing in African thought going all the way back to the nature of human nature mythos that rules out as a meaningful consideration "the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment." Therefore, incorporating Allport's definition and Mischel's observation about personality--not their theories per se--will be shown to be indispensable to the theory of African personality presented. Still, starting with ADP's own view of the nature of African human nature is essential as doing so will bring out several constructs useful for explicating African personality's structure and dynamics. But, first a note on myth and personality will be helpful.

Eurasian Myth and Personality

Sigmund Freud's work exemplifies how myth figures prominently in Eurasian psychological thought. He stated "I believe that a large part of the mythological view of the world... is nothing but psychology projected into the external world" (quoted in Grubrich-Simitis, 1987, 85, original emphases). In...

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