HELP THE HOMELESS OF HONOLULU: HAPPY EASTER: Give a sleeping bag to a homeless of your choice or a sandwich.
(L to R) Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Mr. Gilbert Githere, President Honolulu Mombasa Sister City, having called on the mayor on a courtesy call. Gifts were exchanged as per sister city protocols.
(L to R) Former Mayor Ahmed Modhar, Mombasa City, handing over a check of $ 500, donated by Honolulu Mombasa Sister City, to Nyemuteka Self Help official Mr. Samuel Nyenyo, of Nyemuteka Self Help, Shanzu. Mr. Shadrack Nabea of Honolulu Mombasa Sister City looks on.
Heuristics, hermeneutics, belongingness, and decolonizing the mind.
This conversation is based on Ngugi wa Thiongo’s work and the idea of Decolonizing the Mind of the indigenous peoples of the world. He writes extensively of how important it is for these people to start using their own languages, to add their ideas to the on going conversations, between different groups that inhabit the planet earth. In this huge endeavor, Ngugi is not alone in emphasizing how important it is for the indigenous peoples to decolonize themselves socially, economically, and politically. The first president of Ghana, in the West African coast of Africa, the late Kwame Nkrumah, wrote a piece in 1956 entitled Consiencism. In this piece Nkrumah suggested decolonization of peoples’ minds, especially through languages as a categorical conversion. Now the West has joined the chorus, recognizing the mistakes the colonialists had done to indigenous values, downgrading them to the peripherals, they have suggested ways of inclusion of others into the global conversations of the 21st Century.
Organizational leadership, especially when it relates to education, has constantly and persistently emphasized the importance of team development, if an organization is to have a competitive advantage in the global village of the new millennium.
The internet has changed the market we knew during the industrial age (; Adler, 1986; Blanchard, et al, 1999; Goleman, 1998; Hofstede, 1980, Kotter, 2002). The structural law of value has taken over, all that has value has to have the ability to be digitized(Baudrillard, 1983; Cohen & Schmidt, 2013). Reproduction of models has taken over from production, and so the ways economic resources were defined has also changed, for example the importance of labor in production is not the same as it was in the industrial age.
So, what I am saying here is that organizations of today, operate across borders, and the teams that render services or work for these organizations come from multicultural and diverse societies (Abe, Okazaki & Goto, 2001; Ashkanasy et al., 2002; Barr & Strong, 1987; Bass & Avolio, 1990; Chao & Moon, 2005; Golden, 2003).
Then this is where decolonizing the mind comes into the conversation. Team building, which is done by leaders who have a vision to achieve, have to make sure that all team members are treated equally, as if they were members of one family. By saying this I don’t mean they are all remunerated the same, irrespective of different competencies, no, equals in the Kantian sense of categorical imperative.
The emphasis of this paper is going to be conversations that have been going on in the west on the subject of otherness, especially when it comes to the indigenous peoples of the world. There are thinkers in the West , led by Richard Rorty, who believe that global discourse between different communities should be held between equals (Derrida, 2002; Habermas, 1999; Focault, 1970; Rorty, 1997; Heidegger, 1954).
In 1997 Richard Rorty wrote a book entitled Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, and this piece of work revolutionized the way people look at philosophy and its role in knowledge acquisition. Rorty in this book refuted the idea that most of the philosophers of the West were always in search of objective truth in most of the materials they had written. Rorty believed in the idea of intersubjective agreement between different ethnic groups of the world. He held the belief that truth is ethnocentric and for that reason the West, due to its history and its philosophy, has a certain way it perceives truth, and this is true of other ethnic groups.
Hans-Georg Gadamer, another German philosopher and student of Martin Heidegger, is another scholar who agrees somewhat with Rorty, that language is very central in the human acquisition of knowledge. Gadamer perpetuated the idea of our already being in the world, which equated with language and tradition, and which he said we cannot escape, through method or technique. Gadamer like Heidegger, believed in this notion of our being- in -the –world, and this state allows understanding in humans, through events of meaning and experiences of truth, which are all mediated through language, traditions, and the concreteness of our everyday experiences.
These two scholars agreed that traditions make experience possible, meaning we perceive things through the prism of our cultures. For this reason they said one cannot step out of understanding, so that one can understand more, that is impossible. So critical abstractions, perceptions, conceptions, and rationalizations must always take place or happen within the realms and confines of language and historicity. Gadamer’s theory stems from the Kantian route and Hegel’s belief in universalism, existence of concepts a priori-a universal validity of pre-understanding –universal claims of positivism.
These inclinations that I mention in the above paragraph, have been known to open room for prejudices and corruption when it comes to accommodating others in the Western philosophy.
In order to accommodate others Gadamer wrote the book, Method and Truth, in this writing he introduces the idea or theory of ‘Fusion of Horizons,’ this meant a solutions to biases that had come in his philosophy through universalism. In simple language this meant at the point of intersection of the horizons, one gets room to negotiate or mediate understanding through experience, and this area allows criticism (which means fusion of horizons) and the ability to ask questions and give some answers.
In this literature review I am trying to bring out ideas perpetuated or argued out by different Western scholars, trying to create room for indigenous voices in the global arena of the 21st Century.
At this juncture I would like to introduce that other voice which does not support the Rortian idea of “intersubjective agreement,” between different world communities. This critique also touches on ideas that have been perpetuated by Jurgen Habermas and his contemporary Jacques Derrida. Jurgen Habermas has introduced the concept of communicative action-a mediated position, negotiated by equal partners on how to conduct a global conversation-an arena where everybody’s voice is heard. With Jacques Derrida his philosophy is called deconstruction, and is de-centering the traditional metaphysical stand point on how knowledge is acquired by us humans.
Jacques Derrida believes that words are meaningful against other words in a system of difference and contrast. He continues to expound on what he is saying by adding that meaning emerges only out of differential, arbitrary, and binary.
At this point it is important that we look at the shortcomings of Rorty’s “intersubjective agreement,” theory. To begin with it is fitting to let the readers know that the theories being discussed in this paper are very provisional they have not been proven beyond reasonable doubt that they are right or appropriate to be used in issues relating to moral norms of different world ethnic groups.
Rorty is blamed for introducing relativism in the conversation, the idea that, “anything goes,” when it comes to ethnocentrism or “intersubjective agreement.”
The western philosophers starting with Immanuel Kant, with his “categorical imperative,” arguments had been laid out showing how humans agree, on universal moral norms.
It had been agreed that there those moral norms, “thou shall not kill,” that were given from higher powers, the Supreme Being-and these came through the Spiritual route, which is considered, to be beyond our normal human understanding.
But having said all that Ngugi’s “ decolonizing the mind,” theory is the one I am going to pursue in this heuristic hermeneutic discourse to try and see whether it could work in bringing about belongingness, for indigenous communities unto the table of global market place of the 21st Century.
Themes, meanings and essences of the experience-of the investigation.
“The heuristic researcher is not only intimately and autobiographically related to the question but learns to love the question. It becomes a kind of a song into which the researcher breathes life not only because the question leads to answer, but also because the question itself is infused in the researcher’s being. It creates a thirst to discover, to clarify, to find and to understand crucial dimensions of knowledge and experience(Polanyi, 1962, Kierkegaard, 1965, and Moustakas, 1969).
Keen (1975) says that “ The goal of every technique is to help the phenomenon reveal itself more completely that it does in ordinary experience. This goal may be stated as to uncover as many meanings as possible and their relations to one another as phenomenon presents itself in experience.”
Heuristic hermeneutics is going to yield accurate and vivid dimensions of experience-situations, events, relationships, places, times, episodes, conversations, issues, feelings, thoughts, perceptions, sense qualities, understandings, and judgements.
In the 21st Century the way business is conducted has changed drastically (Cohen & Schmidt, 2013, Kouzes & Posner, 2002, Hofstede, 1980, Bass Avolio, 1990). The internet has revolutionized markets. Today markets traverse different continental and national boundaries, such that the world is interconnected, and referred to as the global village.
Due to the global essence, leaders of today have to be able to handle international teams, from different cultures (Adler, and Bartholomew, 1992,, Bass, Douglass & Moustakas, 1985, Hawka, 1986, Kotter & Cohen, 2002, Clark in 1988, , Potts, 1988). They need to have diverse knowledge, skills, experience and education.
The leaders of organizations have to be visionary individuals, they have to be endowed with emotional intelligence, meaning they have to be able to see things from the perspective of their team members.
M.J. Bennett & W. Bennis have written papers supporting the importance of global leaders being able to handle multicultural teams in their companies. Bennis goes further in his writings expounding on how diverse competencies in dealing with a cross-section of teams, will in future determine economically competitive organizations. Hebert Spencer, a behaviorist, wrote that pleasure benefits man and has contributed to his survival, so in most cases man strives to get that which gives humans pleasure i.e. food, shelter, and clothing (Maslow. 1951).
At this juncture it is very important to introduce belongingness and team building. Teams must feel wanted, needed, useful, trusted and feel that they are helping in improving production of the team. Belongingness is what has made humans survive, for it has allowed formation of communities, and communities have been core entities in the survival of man.
When individuals feel loved, wanted, valued, and cared for they build a natural bond for whatever is sending out and providing these vibes.
Studies that have been conducted by different experts about the behavior of human beings have affirmed that human motivation involves the sensitizing of actions, thoughts, and feelings. These activities take place in the brain, they recognize that this ability has evolved with man since time immemorial
Heuristic, comes from the Greek word Heuriskein meaning to discover or to find (Moustakas, C.E. 1990, Heuristic research: design, methodology, and application CA; Sage Publications). This method helps one to discover the nature and meaning of experience and develops methods and procedures for further investigation and analysis. The Heuristic process is a way of being informed, a way of knowing.
According to Varani (1985) heuristics is “showing yourself so that others can perceive you.”
In heuristics research method there is so much latitude in what you can do with a concept, for example one can ask, “What is the color of sadness? What forms do different moods take in those bodies in which they are manifested?
Heuristic research is: 1. Self -directed 2. Self-motivated and 3. Spontaneous. It takes these formats as it pushes to the unknown, allowing self-disclosure.
In the heuristic research method, one is able to learn the phenomenon one is researching in more depth, there is also growth in self-awareness and an increase in self-knowledge.
Whatever presents itself in the consciousness of the researcher as perception, sense, intuition or knowledge, opens a window for more elucidation.
The great French thinker Descartes in 1977 said this about the self, “No one can convince me that I am nothing as long as I think myself to be something-I am, I exist.”
John Searle a postmodern thinker in his book, Mind, Language and Society Philosophy in the Real World, 1998 published by Basic Books, New York, equates the acquisition of consciousness with a biological action, it is like photosynthesis in plants. Not many scholars had perpetuated this concept before for it changes very much the subject of how knowledge is acquired by humans.
All humans have the ability to use language, just as it is natural for a tree’s roots, trunk, branches, buds, flowers, leaves, colors (especially green) textures, and bark to be able to communicate, through sharing information, acquiring knowledge becomes as natural as photosynthesis or breathing in all living organisms.
Heuristic research involves self-search, self-dialogue and self-discovery-the research topic or subject one picks in the end flows out of the inner self-the intrinsic side of one, simply from inner awareness, meaning and inspiration.
What does the word belongingness and decolonization of one’s mind mean, introspectively, meditatively, and reflectively in its nature and meaning? In the heuristic method, I am searching for qualities, conditions, and relationships that underlie a particular or specific question, issue, or concern.
In this journey of research, visions might creep into my consciousness and help in the elucidation of the topic, dreams cannot be ruled out, and last, but not the least, images, in these I might discover areas of myself that I never knew existed, hidden in my subconscious.
What is to belong? What makes one feel he belongs, when does one realize he belongs? What are tangible signs of that one belongs? What does one belong to? Being-in-the-world, humans need each other for survival, just like African Ants, for them to build huge ant-hills in the grasslands of East Africa they need each other. As they dwell in these communities they have to build institutions that will sustain them in these, at times hostile environments.
For humans like ants, where each member of the community specializes in the duties that they undertake, the game of survival is necessary if they are to exist. Most of the skills used in a habitat, may it be human or animal, have to be learned. What I am getting at here is that all living systems are endowed with software and hardware, which allow them to accumulate consciousness-which is the bases of all human knowledge.
Belongingness is the ability be participate in the activities of a given community, utilizing consciousness acquired from institutions of that environment, such that one is able to contribute in the day to day conversations on how to better the life of the inhabitants of that niche.
Decolonizing the mind is a subject understood very well by all indigenous people, whose countries in the 18th Century were colonized by Europeans and at times by nations of South East Asia like Japan.
The late Richard Rorty in his book Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), published by Princeton University Press based in New Jersey, started the idea or perpetuated a conversation that said most of our early thinkers or previously called Philosophers with capital p, were never in pursuit of truth in all their famous writings. Instead he went on to argue that they were just involved in a conversation with members of their communities, on how to live life.
What Rorty started helps decolonizing of indigenous people’s minds very easy, there is no relativism, in allowing other languages to participate in the global conversation of today, as equals in the league of nations of the 21st Century.
Another thinker who helps in this conversation is Jean Baudrillard, in his book Simulations (1983), published by Semiotext(e) this writer tells us that the real of the Industrial age is obsolete and it has been replaced by the hyperreal of the digital age.
Martin Heidegger in his books, Poetry, Language, Thought (1975), translated by Albert Hofstadter and published in Harper & Row of New York, and another of his books entitled Bremen and Freisburg Lectures (1994) published by Indiana University Press, in Bloomington, another famous philosopher from Europe, also contributed to the fact that most of western thinkers were involved in a conversation about existence-being-in-the-world. The struggle of past, present and future, was what concerned man most. The idea of searching for objective reality was not what humans were striving for, far from it.
Heidegger of all pragmatists had so much respect for language and the role it plays in the existence of man. In his lecturers in Bremen and Freisberg , he takes it upon himself to explain what a container Jug or Vessel is, whether it is because it is molded from clay and heated in a kennel.
But the container has a symbolism of humans and a state of being-in-the-world, the concept of Maurice Merleau Pounty the great philosopher from France, who said we humans are entwined with the world we live in, linked to it with umbilical cords-in a parasitic nature we depend on each other for survival.
Another philosopher who advocates globalization of belongingness (inclusion others/ the they), is Jurgen Habermas. He says people in the global village must be able to communicate freely as equals. In his book Justification and Application: Remarks on Discourse Ethics ( 1993) published Mass. Institute of Technology in Boston, Habermas introduces the conversation about communicative action-meaning there must be a point in the symmetry of different global languages, where a neutral ground can be found where world people can communicate as equals. Habermas holds the opinion that interpretation, or Hermeneutics could be an equalizer when it came to different languages, and communication.
In his own words, Habermas said this about the topic, “Communicative action, by its very structure, is oriented to discourse as the mechanism for repairing disruptions in the consensual basis of communicative interaction.”
In this research for the size of it, I cannot look at many facets of colonialized people, but instead will look at the role of language, and decolonizing the mind, basically meaning speaking and writing and texting over the internet using indigenous languages.
This method also incorporates a creative self-process and self-discoveries. Moustakas, in 1961 used the Heuristic method to study the subject of loneliness, in 1956 Maslow used it to study self-actualizing persons, and in 1968 and 1971, Jourard used it to investigate self-disclosure.
Many other researchers followed using heuristics and among these are Polanyi, and he dealt with elucidations of the tacit dimension (1964, 1966,1969). Polanyi went on to explore the subject of indwelling and personal knowledge (1962). Then came Buber (1958, 1961, 1965) he explored dialogue and mutuality.
In 1950, Bridgman researched on delineations of subjective-objective truth. Gendlin in 1962 explored analysis of meaning of experiencing. Rogers dwelt with individuality and encounter, then Moustakas came in with the subject of Rhythms, Rituals, and Relationships. Then he added another piece using the heuristic method, Phenomenology, Science, and Psychotherapy in 1988.
Craig in 1978, added Transforming self-doubt, Prefontaine dealt with Shyness, MacIntyre in 1983 explored Self-reclamation, Shultz 1983, looked into Being Sensitive, McNally in 1982 explored Being Inspired, Rourke in 1984, Return to Mexican-American Ethnic Identity, Rodriguez 1985, tackled , The Mystery of Everyday Life, Varani in 1985, looked into Feeling Unconditionally Loved, Hawka in 1986, looked at The Psychologically Androgynous Male, Clark in 1988, explored Synchronicity, Marshall in 1987, tackled Feeling Connected to Nature, J. Snyder in 1989 explored the subject Growing Up in a Fatherless Home, Cheyne 1989 Rejecting Love, R. Snyder 1988, Precognitive Dreams, M. Potts in 1988 researched on Interaction Rhythms an Intimate Relations, Shaw 1989, The Experience of Writing Poetry.
V.S. Mudimbe in his book Re-invention of Africa, states that Colere- in Greek means “cultivation,” and this happens to be the source or origin of the word colonization.
The colonizers in different countries of the world, and especially Africa, had a vision of cultivating indigenous people molded in European aesthetics, by killing the languages of these people.
Wole Soyinka a famous writer from Nigeria says this about language, “language is the embryo of thought and music. Ogun is the personification of destructiveness and creativeness.” Sango is the god of electricity.
Soyinka, in his book entitled, Myth, Literature and the African World published by Cambridge University Press in 1976, in the section headed “The Fourth Stage: Through the Mysteries of Ogun to the Origin of Yoruba Tragedy,” has this to say about gods in the Yoruba nation, “Tragedy, in Yoruba traditional drama, is the anguish, of this severance, the fragmentation of essence from self.”
Another African philosophy (philosophy with a small p) that I am going to introduce in this conversation is that of “Ubuntu( Mandela, 2006).
The African word Ubuntu comes from the word in Zulu that means “humaneness.” The context of the word comes from the phrase “umuntu, ngumutu, ngabantu, “ which is translated to mean that ‘ a person is a person because of other persons’ (Mandela, 2006).
Douglass & Moustakas (1985) describes it as the capacity to express compassion, reciprocity, dignity, humanity, and mutuality in the interest of building and maintaining communities with justice and mutual caring.
In this paper, the whole idea is basically to see that belongingness of indigenous people is achievable through decolonization of minds of the inhabitants of the global village-in the postmodern world of the 21st Century.
It is important as one reads this paper to take note of facts like the one I introduce above about the self in the Yoruba tribe. The recognition of the state of the self, which Wole Soyinka speaks about, is all done in the Yoruba language.
The colonialists, in all the countries they confiscated and put under their rule or power, had one main vision, of converting the indigenous people of those lands into a people acculturated to the ways of the colonizers.
In this extensive research which I intend to undertake in order to be awarded a doctorate degree, in Organization Leadership in Education, I intend to use the Heuristic method to converse on the topic hermeneutics, belongingness, and decolonizing the mind.
Many problems are solved by chance, this can be traced to Jean Monod, a French Laureate, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Biology, but who had earlier come up with a theory that the universe we inhabit happened by chance, but according to Perkins(1981), problems are solved through a heuristic method (heuristic means find, and discover), process which while reasonable, lacks the comprehensiveness of effective strategies.
If colonization means a cultivation of a new people, from indigenous folks of the colonies, is it possible to reverse this policy, and by de-cultivating (decolonizing), the minds of the same people some years later in the 21st Century, be able to create a sense of belongingness?
In this extensive study research I intend to use Hermeneutics, which means interpretation of literature, to see how colonized people have been depicted in the writings of the colonizers, after which I will involve my readers in a journey, to see whether the literature of the colonizer, can be replaced by a literature of the colonized, and as such create a sense of belongingness in the psyche of the formerly colonized people( Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Sheikh Anta Diop, Chancellor William, Molefi Asante, Kwame Appiah, Amie Caesar, and W.E.Dubois, Wilmont Blyden, V.S. Mudimbe, Edward W. Robiinson,Jr., Jochannan, Josef-Ben, Wole Soyinka.
It is important right from the start to state that colonization was basically a philosophy of exploiting the resources of indigenous people, for the economic benefits of the Europeans (Walter Rodney: How Europe underdeveloped Africa).
Purpose of the Study
The 21st Century has brought new thinkers into the picture of how people view western philosophy. Right from the beginning I want to introduce Richard Rorty, who has changed how people view philosophy. Rorty believes philosophy is not there for proving western knowledge is always seeking for truth most of the time, rather he believes philosophy is just a tool for fostering conversation within the global communities. (Jurgen Habermas and Michel Focault).
At the same time I would like to introduce Jean Baulrillard, author of the famous small book entitled Simulations, who believes reality as we have known it is no more, so this gives us a reason of allowing the people of former colonies of the west, to start building their own realities of the new millennium.
Limitations and Delimitations
Immanuel Kant in his book The Critique of Pure Reason brings out a very universal paradigm, humans are born with a wired software called apperception, and this software allows them to start intuiting, and from there they start conceptualizing about themselves and that external to them.
W. W. Hegel in his book the Phenomenology of Spirit, seems to concur with Immanuel Kant, for he starts by using dialectics to perpetuate the origin of human species and he almost goes the route of Jean Monod, who said man is on this earth by a very slim chance. Hegel has it that we developed from the joining up of the positive and negative elements (Self-creation: as perpetuated by Margaret Wheatley, 2002) in life itself, which concurs with Charles Darwin in his book entitled The Origins of Species.
Now at this point I would like to go back to our topic hermeneutics, Belongingness and decolonizing the mind. I started hermeneutics-interpretation of western literature right from the beginning of the giants of western philosophy Kant, Hegel and Rorty.
So, if the fathers of western philosophy have opened a leeway for the former people of the colonies to be analyzed using a different measure fit for the 21st Century, I am going to try and extend the conversation a little more, to add just a little of what Rorty, and Baudrillard have done.
Pallaside Tempels, a catholic priest working in the Belgium Congo, wrote a book entitled The Bantu Philosophy (1945). Tempels was among the first Europeans to start accepting that Africans had contributed to human conversation.
He was followed by thinkers like Alex Kagame, who wrote Source of Progress ( Isoko yamajyambere). Alex was among the first indigenous thinkers to add to the conversation of positive thinkers about the contribution of African nations to human civilization.
In his book The Book of the Dead, Wallis Burgess, a famous Egyptologist, studying the ancient hydrographic left behind from the eulogies, of ancient Egyptians, Wallis was able to discover that Egyptians used the word Ma to mean truth.
Kagame in his book Source of Progress confirms the Wallis findings, Yama-means that of truth, of the beginning (yambere). This piece of Wallis also proves that the people of Ma, who had lived and built the great civilization of the Nile are the ones who occupy Africa South of the Sahara, especially East, and Central Africa.
In his book Philosophy of History, W. W. F. Hegel, whom I have identified as one of the fathers of western philosophy, had in this book ridiculed African people as having contributed nothing, when it came to the world of sciences.
In his great books Sheikh Anta Diop, the great Senegal scholar proved beyond reasonable doubt that the great civilization of Egypt was built by the African people who today occupy Africa South of the Sahara.
Importance of this Study
The importance of this study is going to correct misinformation that has been going on for hundreds of years that Africans did not participate in or add to the conversation of building the world civilization.
Personal Connection to the Study
I myself was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1948, I then migrated to the United States in January 1988. I have taught young people both in Kenya and the United States, in Hawaii especially. During my interactions with different age groups in my lifetime, especially in institutions of higher learning, I came to realize how misinformed foreigners, especially westerners are about Africa.
The correction of the misinformation about Africa has been helped a lot by a change of direction by many western scholars, especially in the field of philosophy. Another very important change has been brought by time, especially the postmodern era of the 21st Century and the coming of the global village, which has been made possible by the internet (Cohen, 2012 ).
In every culture when somebody screams, it usually signifies one is in danger and needs immediate help. Rorty says this action calls for communal responsibility, it does not need, the objective reality label, for it to be attended to.
At this point it is important to tell the reader why Rorty and his philosophy are introduced in a subject which has Africa as the core of the research, trying to see how decolonizing of minds of its inhabitants can help bring them a sense of belongingness, and so allow them to be participants in teams doing business in the global village.
In 1979, Richard Rorty wrote a paradigm shifting book entitled Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. In this book Rorty introduced a new way of saying that something is true, which he termed intersubjective agreement. Ludwig Wittgenstein said this about truth, “ truth is a compliment we pay to an idea,” so there is nothing really important about truth.
“Truth can be replaced by intersubjective agreement,” with a stroke of a pen, Rorty, changed how the west perceived indigenous peoples of the world, and especially of Africa.
Rorty went on to say that truth is necessary for the justification of belief. Wittgenstein also a great philosopher, wrote vastly on the subject of language, and its importance when it came to knowledge acquisition. He wrote that truth is a property of a sentence, and a sentence is a property of vocabularies, and humans make vocabularies, and so it follows humans also make up truth.
At this point before I go deeper, I will discuss how western thinkers have opened the door for the indigenous people to come into the global village as equals, by justifying that language is the only requirement when it came to thinking, and since the indigenous peoples have language, they have the ability to acquire knowledge.
Ngugi wa Thiongo a great writer from Kenya is going to be the one representing Africa in this conversation of language and thinking. Thiongo has argued constantly how important it is for Kenyans to speak their languages and write about their experiences using their languages.
But for now let me use what the western thinkers have said supporting what Thiongo has held all along. To continue with Rorty’s argument, intersubjective agreement, should replace truth in the global village conversations. Rorty writes about object of experience, meaning object of thought, one that is conceptualized. Then he turns to experience of an object, by this he means an object he has encountered physically, during his travels in the environment.
Rorty is concerned with relations of communities, being able to work together harmoniously, in the global village, while he does that, the opposite camp is concerned with foundationalism of the western philosophy as centers of truth, reality and objectivity.
This other camp is concerned with getting local measures, in indigenous communities, that can be equated with those of western communities, and allow synchronization of concepts of thought, reality, and objectivity-in form of life around us.
The Global Village has for many years been divided into two camps, one camp has always claimed to be custodians of truth, while the other camp has always been another. What postmodernists are trying to do is finish this division and instead, have one global village.
Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermas, and Charles Pierce have been at the fore front of the fight against the label others, for those people, outside western civilization. These three philosophers believe that the rest of the world should be allowed to join the conversation, of how to uplift the life styles of the netizens, or simply global villagers.
For many years the concern of western philosophers has been, who is genuinely seeking for truth, in all their activities, to acquire knowledge. As they went about seeking knowledge, especially in their higher institutions of learning, they made sure they pursued this knowledge, through reality, objectivity, reason and lastly truth.
Rorty has castigated western scholars for not admitting that they were just torch-bearers of very successful methods advancing their people’s form of life, using knowledge they had acquired collectively, over the years, and admitting that it was not because western scholars were better seekers of truth.
Ngugi wa Thiongo in his book Decolonizing the Mind, writes about how the British colonialists introduced laws that forbade the use of indigenous languages. In order to cultivate citizens with British values, the destruction of local languages became a priority in the colonies.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1921) a western scholar of repute says this about language, “ It allows us to get to meaning and coherence in our conversation.”
So, Kenyans who could not converse in their indigenous languages, all of a sudden could not get to any meaning or coherence in their daily interactions.
Languages help us depict the world the way it is. In this conversation of the importance of language and a people’s form of life, Rorty is trying hard to correct the past injustices of the west to the indigenous people. To do this he suggests the end of Philosophy with capital P and instead turn to philosophy with a small p, while its center will be based on a people’s ethnocentricity.
The Philosophy with capital p was the one which, “ sets logical requirements to be satisfied in our belief, (including propositions that express them), so to give an accurate representation of reality.” Here Rorty is saying this philosophy has always asserted it had, in its possession the right ingredients, or tools, called reality, objectivity, reason and truth to unravel all problems in our form of life.
But Rorty a pragmatist (syncretistic in inclination), post-modernist was of the belief that “intersubjective agreement,” should replace the truth. He believed that this stand would bring about solidarity in the global village.
Rorty is calling for a self-conscious ethnocentrisim, and doing away with the issue of human nature. He also proposes doing away with the destruction of essential humanity which has been happening since the enlightenment to the present.
In the post-modern era language has been identified as the most important thing when it comes to the formation of human consciousness. Language creates conceptual space in which reality is beheld. Grammar is the yardstick that measures all values in our form of life (Wittgenstein, 1927).
Habermas concurs with Wittgenstein and most of the pragmatists i.e. Rorty, Heidegger, Pierce, and Derrida, in viewing meaning as inseparable from the role of language in structuring practices and social interactions.
Habermas agrees with the Kantian concept that truth, is put in the status of normative rightness, by deductive assertions, based on evidence and intuitions, and can be rectified or set straight by a public discourse, of equal partners.
This middle position, will be arrived at using accepted facts and shared norms found in discourse ethics. All these will be made possible by conversations and arguments, utilizing broad agreements on perceptions of the basic features of the national and social worlds, as this is done there will be constant checking of the accuracy of truth of assertions or the rightness of norms( Habermas, 1990). This is done because there has been known to be faults in truth and normative agreements, this basically has been as a result of missing evidence, improper use of language, and ignoring of relevant opinions.
Pierce’s notion of truth as, “ the opinion fated to survive critical examination in an unlimited community of researchers –to elucidate validity in terms of the conditions for an ideal speech situation; that is, the condition that would ideally have to be satisfied by a form of communication free of the kinds of distortions that impede the argumentative search for truth or rightness.”
This course that I am taking is called leadership organization in education. This being the case, then it is a categorical imperative that this paper tries to entwine this concept in the conversation it undertakes.
For that reason I have found two key concepts that will help us tie together belongingness and decolonizing of the mind, leadership and the global village, the future market place. The two concepts are transformational leadership and its situational entities.
Transformational leadership allows a leader to adapt to the surroundings one finds oneself in, i.e. if one was doing business in Kenya, then one had to try and practice local business ethics or local moral behaviors. Also when it comes to motivating teams in a company, the leader has an array of organizational strategies and competencies to fall on.
The reward systems don’t have to be necessarily centered on monetary value, they can include a part on the back of a team mate; this can also include thanking a whole group for a job well done.
Habermas in his writings, using “transcendental pragmatic” arguments, (indubitable and indisputable) continued to remind readers that humans are social beings, and for survival they had to work as teams, or communities.
According to Habermas personal identity can be achieved through socialization, so moral concern with autonomy and equal respect are all bound up with the preservation and promotion of intersubjective relationships of mutual recognition, and hence of forms of communal life which can be realized.
Universal principles of justice, state that rationally motivated mutual understanding is to be found in the very structure of language. Argumentation can generate rational conviction concerning the validity of norms of interaction, but it cannot ensure that they will in fact be acted upon.
It is important at this point to introduce the opposing concepts intersubjective agreement, perpetuated by Habermas. In Kant’s arguments of categorical imperative and Hegel’s consciousness arguments in the way knowledge is formed in humans, there are proposals for creating harmony among individuals in the moral discourse and truth concepts.
Kant’s moral theory involves an ideal of public reason that strives for unlimited transparency in human life by demanding that all evaluative commitments be understood as voluntary commitments that are publicly justifiable.
There has always been a scrutiny of public norms for getting these values addressing otherness in society. The just norms of social interaction-even to date in the postmodern communities, still continues-adapting impartial perspective on the needs and interests of those considered different in the community.
For example moral motivation has its source in the affective psychological development of individuals, which is contingent on socialization into forms of communal life that foster and reinforce sensitivity and openness to the claims of others.
In Habermas’ words, “any universalistic morality is dependent on a form of life that meets it halfway.” There has to be a modicum of congruence between morality and the practices of socialization and education. The latter must promote the requisite internalization of superego controls and the abstractness of ego identities.
Now at this point I will introduce an indigenous voice, in our conversation, and this is the late Kwame Nkrumah. Nkrumah was the first president of the country of Ghana, located in West Africa.
Nkrumah was also a philosopher of repute, and he was involved in trying to bring the indigenous people into the global conversation. In trying to do this he wrote a piece in philosophy covering this subject and he titled it Consciencism.
In simple language this meant philosophy of categorical conversion, instead of having categorical imperatives as Kant had suggested Nkrumah thought there should be categorical conversion, which meant the conversion of Cartesian Dualism of the parallel nature of mind body theory.
Nkrumah went on to prove that matter was a living system, which had parts which were in constant tension with each other. This is what Hegel in his theory in Phenomenology of Spirit, referred to as dialectics-the positive and negative energies being in constant struggle.
Nkrumah in his theory of Consciencism, said that matter was in constant self-motion, which he equated with a natural reflex, the ones humans produce when they tap their knee area. Matter to Nkrumah was a living material.
So in the Cartesian theory of body/mind Nkrumah says that mind is surrogate to body, this is where his theory of conversion came in to change what people thought about body and mind.
Nkrumah like many early philosophers Leibniz included had said this about the body/mind issue, “rudimentary minds are nothing but active matter,” this belief broke the categorical ice between matter and mind.
In categorical conversion (philosophical consciencism), that Nkrumah perpetuated, body and mind are one and the same thing. Before Nkrumah wrote of this idea, a 17th Century Ghanian Philosopher. Anthony William Amo, a professor at Berlin University, who taught Karl Marx, who went on to write the famous book on Capitalism and Socialism, Des Capital, had said that the body and mind issue was like the light wave lengths and the colors of the rainbow, were one and the same thing(Eze, 1998).
In Consciencism, Nkrumah wrote that “out of tension being is born,” he went on to say that “becoming is a tension, and being is the child of that tension, of the opposed forces and tendencies (Nkrumah,1964: Consiencism: Philosophy and Ideology for De-colonization: African Philosophy: An Anthology: Edited by Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, 1998).
W. F. Hegel in his book Phenomenology of Spirit, where he discusses consciousness (we open our eyes, and perceive objects as they are supposed to be) -which in his case is the basis of all knowledge that we human possesses, starts with sense-certainty. Sensory experience (a phenomena), is heralded as the clearest, truest, and most immediate form of knowledge.
This research paper has found out that decolonizing the mind is an idea in the right direction, especially when one takes into consideration that the goal of colonialism (which comes from a Greek word Colere-which means to cultivate), had a main goal of eradicating all the cultural values of the indigenous people. When this was achieved through replacement of indigenous languages, with foreign languages, then next will follow destruction, or replacement of indigenous governance systems, techniques of agricultural sustenance, and destruction of indigenous belief systems.
Ngugi wa Thiongo in Decolonizing the Mind, suggests a reclaiming of indigenous values by making the indigenous language the center education system in all the former colonies of the west. This idea seems to have gotten huge support from postmodern western thinkers among them Richard Rorty, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Jurgen Habermas, John Searle, Michel Focault, and Edmund Husserl.
It is important at his point, to take note that we are nearing the conclusion of this never ending conversation on the importance of language and acquisition of knowledge by humans. It gets even more controversial when indigenous languages want to be put on equal footing with languages like English, French, and Portuguese. The difficulties arise as a result of the contribution the West has given the world through its languages and its archives of written materials.
In this conversation of accommodating others on the table as equals, there has been the issue of what l contributions from different indigenous groups. It even got more problematic when areas of commonalities were sorted by experts, there were some areas which could be thought of as perpetuating same ideas, but there were also grey areas.
Organization leadership is very much a postmodern concept, which is tied together with the globalization of the market place of the 21 st Century.
Leaders in this new market place controlled by the structural law of value, whose control is digital in nature. This market which operates across national borders requires that leaders visions, for improving the competitive stance of their organizations globally must be accommodative to multiculturalism and diversity in this environment.
This market place leaders must who is served well by leaders who take up transformative/ situational type of leadership or that kind of leadership that is based on values of all global communities.
Value based leadership allows participation of team members in decision making, change is approached from group point of view, development is approached from a communal perspective, this type of leadership allows free flow of passion in the work place, , sense of belongingness and take organization goals as personal responsibilities (Hickman, 1998, Mumford, 2006).
Decolonizing the mind will allow belongingness, by introducing a state of Metonia which, “is the process of changing one’s mind and embracing thoughts beyond the mind’s present limitations or patterns.” In a world where leaders must lead with civility, respect and trust one has to be ready to accommodate change of mind in which one starts to perceive their environment diversely and multiculturally.
Jacques Derrida in his writings constantly reminded us how language how some facts in things can be omitted, and it is a responsibility of we human to bring back those that have been left out, and this could be achieved by the technique of associating texts in general. He continued to emphasis how truth and fiction can entwine, and same thing with our reading, and unconsciously meanings formulated under this confusion read as truth, but with the aid of deconstruction they can be deciphered.
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