Ancient Africa: Inner Peace and Living a Fulfilled Life of Nature

2011-12-19 18:55

One key issue that has always been a persistent preeminent cultural attribute in Africa is the age -old African people’s harmony and closeness with nature and their subsistence reliance to it. The cultivation of African development, advancement or progress has been about obsession and curiosity to learn more from nature and how to use nature to better themselves.

Advancement that was aspired is quiet the opposite of what you think in the modern days - when we talk about advancement in these modern days most often we talk about advancement in technology, machines and mechanical devices. Advancement for the ancient African was about how to get acquainted with nature; how to open bit by bit the layers of nature to discover more about nature, more about life.

When we talk about nature we refer to the manifestation of life. Life is simple and invisible but it manifests itself through nature, for example in the form of a marula tree, a lion, grass, diverse kinds of fruits and vegetables etc. Life in its native nature is delicate and simple yet powerful. The civilization (progress, not outwardly progress in technology and machines) of the ancient African was simple yet it persisted for longer generations until even today the African people are still the most simple natured people amongst the rest of the world’s population.

Those ancient African  attributes are still there though more and more we see the total erosion by the western way of living on reliance on machines - technology and all kinds of sophisticated mechanical devices. Technology, mechanical devices and similar things are by their nature outside the natural life - this kind of civilization we have seen with it more people becoming lifeless, depressed, suppressed, lonely, stressed and out of place. We have all the technologies like cell phones, Internet and so on, all geared to facilitate closeness and connectedness but yet we are living in an age of deep loneliness and sadness and emptiness as no other age that has passed. An increasing number of people, are either attempting or committing suicide in South Africa. At least one suicide is committed every hour in South Africa, and 20 more unsuccessful attempts are made in the same time span. Suicide has risen 48 percent over the past 10 years in South Africa.

These are just some illustrations of the multifaceted bad negative attributes of modern living of technological revolutions. Sometimes many people will brag and tell you that as humans we have progressed but sometimes you wonder whether the opposite is true.

So yes, machines, technology all these modern day mechanical devices like computers, internet and cell phones are powerful are now a way of life. But one may still want to know in what way has these things advanced us spiritually and morally? As humans we are spiritual beings and technology has done nothing to develop us in our true essence of the spirit. In fact during this age of technology we are seeing immorality and perverted lives of people out of tune with natural living.

Jean Jacques Rousseau was the French philosopher who lived during the 18th century. It was Rousseau who provided Europe with slogans for return to nature during the times of the industrial revolution when everybody was excited about machines and the power of them. Rousseau argued for a shift from reliance on the head, (that is reason) to a shift to the heart and pure nature and the simple life.

Rousseau called for the human beings that are genuine in a genuine world. He advocated and kindled a novel appreciation of natural beauty, wild life, forests, landscapes, mountains and valleys. Natural life, argued Rousseau, is spiritually fulfilling, enchanting and cultivating people. Rousseau found the dominant culture and philosophy of Europe too cruel and materialistic. His idea of happiness was sentimental, peacefulness, social and private.

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