DISSECTING THE CHARACTER OF DANDA THE ANT AND NEUTRALIZING THE PHILOSOPHY OF MISSING LINKS: AN EGBE N’UGO CONUNDRUM By JONATHAN CHIMAKONAM OKEKE

ABSTRACT

Asouzu attacks Aristotle’s metaphysics as the cause of the world’s problems. He insists that every being serves a missing link of reality and should derive joy from mutual complementation rather than being polarized. In this work, I have pointed out that Asouzu’s rather than Aristotle’s theory was problematic. I addressed this from a realistic and a logical point of view.

 

1.             INTRODUCTION

                The thesis of Ibuanyidanda philosophy or complementary reflection or the philosophy of missing links as Asouzu has variously described his thought is that emphasis is laid on human insufficiency while bearing in mind human determination to absoluteness and comprehensiveness in his future reference (Inaugural, 45). This philosophy takes rise against the Aristotelian metaphysical foundation of the dichotomy between essence/substance and accident as Asouzu shows in some of his works namely, “Progress in Metaphysics...”, “Science and African Metaphysics, and Ibuanyidanda” etc. Hence, Asouzu wishes to show that the essential and the accidental are both important-that being and its various modes of expression form an integrated complementary whole.              Here, rather than being isolated and hopelessly limited in their diverse modes, every being is conceived as a missing link in a web of reality. In this web, beings mutually complement one another’s insufficiencies   thereby deriving joy rather than rancour from their individual limitations. Asouzu suggests that problems abound in the world because men have failed to see this truth but however have chosen to interpret the world from the divisive, lopsided and dichotomising Aristotelian metaphysics. To remedy the situation, he earmarks three main principles, namely; noetic pedagogy or educating the mind, recourse to the transcendent categories of unity of consciousness (akara obi / akara mmụọ) and full personal autonomy through “ima-onwe-onye” (being-in-control).

                It is through these therapeutic principles that Asouzu hopes that the diseases arising from contamination with Aristotle’s philosophy of essence such as human ambivalent conditions, phenomenon of concealment, negative wisdom and hegemonic mindset can be cured.

                But the question arises, between Aristotle’s philosophy of essence and Asouzu’s Ibuanyidanda philosophy, which is the real problem? In this critique, we are going to show that Aristotle’s philosophy of essence is in tune with the design of Mother Nature and that Asouzu’s Philosophy is problematic at different fronts. For once, it is what we shall call perfectionist theory – the thesis that the world would be perfect if human beings were to do the right things. Again, it falls within the range of thought we shall describe as emotionalism – the thesis that one sees the basic evolutionary principles of the world as negative and accepts only those factors that supply pleasure. Also, it rests on a logic we shall call monistic or single-valued which is characteristically inconsistent. Further, it contains a higher order Russellian type paradox which altogether wrecks the foundation of this theory. But above all this, Ibuanyidanda philosophy is a good attempt, at constructing a world class philosophy using ingredients of a local culture.

2.             Philosophy of Essence and Us: From a Logical Point of View

                Aristotle’s conception of reality as constituting of essence or substance and accident (Bk 3,5) from early times is not mistaken. It still remains a modest and dispassionate interpretation of the design of Mother Nature. Asouzu in some of his writings viciously attacked this presentation as an unfair dichotomy and an unjust polarism (Inaugural, 16-27: Ibuanyidanda, 158-176; Ibuaru, 25-63). But is this correct? From an emotional point of view, maybe, but from realistic and logical points of view, it is not. Incidentally, it is on this rebellious foundation that Asouzu constructed his Ibuanyidanda philosophy.

                Asouzu sees philosophy of essence as exclusivist and absolutist where reality is perceived as lopsided and distinguishing between the superior and the inferior. In his words:

...we tend to perceive reality in a disharmonious, exclusivist, polarising mode and tend also to interpret the act of existing (Idi) or to be, most selfishly, as the capacity to be alone (ka s m di). For this reason, human co-existence is easily perceived as a ceaseless struggle between irreconcilable opposites (Inaugural, 31).

 

What Asouzu means here is that his Ibuanyidanda philosophy frowns at the philosophy of essence which treats reality and humanity with segregation and discrimination. The implication of this thought is that reality however diverse should be rated at the same level and humanity’s children treated as equals. But this is an emotional look at reality as opposed to a realistic approach to studying reality. Am of the opinion that in studying reality from an emotional point of view, like Asouzu has done, one sees injustice, inequity, tension, ambivalence and unfairness not only in the structural organization of reality but also in the human interpersonal relationships. These form the characteristics of any theory I shall dub “emotionalism”. Whereas on the other hand, when reality is approached from a realistic point of view, one sees only “necessary dialectics”, i.e. interplay of world immanent forces geared towards higher evolution. Any such theory I shall call realisticism. Asouzu is therefore mistaken in assuming that the goal of humanity is to reach happiness, in his words: “All human actions are geared towards the joy of being...” Allow the limitations of being to be the cause of your joy” (Inaugural, 44). This will have a degrading meaning that men are simple instinctual creatures whose ultimate goal is to be happy. In this guise, there would be little difference between men and beasts. But we know this to be false. Men are not just emotional creatures, they are ultimately rational beings. It is this spark of rationality that marks them apart from the rest of world’s realities. Thus, realisticism sees the goal of humanity as reaching or aspiring for higher evolutionary status by overcoming her limitations and this struggle is essentially individualistic. It is nature’s design that men should constantly aspire to overcome their limitations in order to evolve a higher species of humanity and not as Asouzu has assumed, to accept and allow such limitations to be the cause of their joy. This is a thought most suited to beings without rationality e.g. for a billion years of world’s existence, animals still live in holes and bushes, go about naked, feast on filths happily and have done nothing to better their conditions. This is a quality example of “allowing your limitation to be the cause of your joy”. For how can limitations constitute joyous experience for rational beings and what is the essence of the nature’s gift of rationality to mankind? We have seen men move from lower stage of civilization to a higher stage of civilization; from the naked food gathering ancient man to a modern computerized man. This is the essence of rationality and constantly moving towards higher evolutionary status, remains the goal of all human actions.

Granted the above, the philosophy of essence is the philosophy of human nature. Mankind is in a constant evolution, this is a struggle against emotional forces and not all men keep to the pace. As a result, the only rule that matters is “survival of the fittest” (see Charles Darwin,(1861)).

Men who are very emotional, who always crave for the sweet side of life rarely survive this struggle, but realistic men always do. When we look around humanity we see the apparent difference in the level of evolution among humans. This does not mean however, that all men are not all humans (if that is what Asouzu conceives of philosophy of essence); what it implies is that some men are lower than others and some higher than others like we have some latter computing machines superior to some early ones simply because they have moved a lot more forward than others. This makes the human earthly sojourn a struggle and a competition without which men would still live in caves although very happy creatures. But better to be a modern man dissatisfied than the early man satisfied. Okeke (2011, draft) “On the Equality of Men: Chronicle of Igbo Humanism, from Dike to Ezumezu”, states that men by nature’s design are not equal, can never be equal, will never be equal and should never be equal. Were they to become equal someday, the history of human species will then come to an end, for there would be nothing else to live for. The goal of all human actions therefore is to sustain the constant human evolution. It is not an end but a means to an end which is not in view. No one and indeed, no philosophy know the end of this process, and by far, not even Ibuanyidanda philosophy!

This human evolutionary goal is a historical exercise and the history is a dialectical one where actors constitute historical agents who are diametrically opposed to one another in terms of the quality of humanity in them all. Yes, sometimes during human relationships it becomes necessary for humans to complement one another’s efforts but this is not done on the platform of convinced epistemological equality. This is because in any complementary relationship, each actor carries an intuitive factor which determines his epistemological commitment to the relationship – whether it is superior or inferior commitment. When for instance a poor farmer helps his wealthy neighbour to kill a snake which invaded his premises, the poor farmer no doubt is complementing the deficiency of his wealthy neighbour yet he carries the intuitive factor of inferiority to the relationship while the man who was at his mercy carries the superior factor. I shall like to spell out that there are three forms of complementary relationship: Up-hill form of complementary relationship in which the superior actor complements the inferior actor e.g. when a man of means provides shelter for a poor homeless family. In this type of relationship, inferior actors dream of someday evolving to the level and quality of humanity in the superior actor. Yet even though the actor is superior relative to his dependents, he too dreams of someday evolving to higher humanity which he sees in those superior to him. No one in the right mental state ever dreams of going down. The second form of complementary relationship is down-hill. In this type, the inferior actor complements the superior. Yet this does not make him feel differently because the intuitive element does not stem from actions but from the quality of humanity inside of one’s being. Supporters of Asouzu will most likely argue that my position here is deeply materialistic rather than humanistic but this would be a misinterpretation of my view. When I say quality of humanity, I mean both the intrinsic and the extrinsic. Intrinsic here however does include the inactivity, docility and general lack of will and competitive spirit which the consolatory philosophies of Middle Ages tagged virtues. It also means every trait that is in tune with the principles governing the sustainability of human evolution.

On the other hand, extrinsic traits include all, especially affluence. Most of humanity’s problems are money–soluble and even those that are not, are no more soluble by an inferior man’s comeliness than his superior counterparts.

The third form of complementary relationship is that which I shall call the two-way-thing. Here, a scenario arises where both the inferior and the superior actors complement each other. In all of these three forms of complementary relationship, one thing is outstanding: actions do not determine actors’ intuitive commitment but always and at all times the quality of humanity in them. How Asouzu has come to ignore this stellar point, only he can explain. We can give these forms of relationships a logical formulation to make clear our position here:

    1. y (Ux Dy)
    1. y (Dx Uy)

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y [(Ux Dy) Λ (Dy Ux)]Proof:                    Let S be the set of all formulas and let T be a single formula of a single-valued logical system V. If T is derivable from S then T is consistent in V. If and only if, T is the only member of S, SvT. Therefore, if T is the only member of S, T is identical with S which is self-contradictory and autological.

 

Lemma:                If T is the only member of S then S is a set with a single-member T such that T = S; T ≈S and T ≡ S.

Corollary:            If T ≡ S or T = S or T ≈ S then T  T. Therefore from SvT we deduce TvT. Thus, a single-valued logic is implicational and or consequential and at the same time self-contradictory and autological. It is therefore, self-contradictory for T to be deduced from itself; autological for the element of T to be contained in S; and inconsistent for T to be an element of S and at the same time identical with S. QED

 

 

4.             Complementation Paradox Deduced

                Asouzu in (26-27) of his Inaugural Lecture claims to deduce “a paradox of irrationalism of reason” from the philosophy of essence. In this section, I want to take another look at that paradox and the method of its deduction. Thereafter, I shall move on to deduce what I shall call the complementation paradox from the philosophy of missing link.

                The term paradox is derived from the Greek “paradoxos” meaning beyond belief. It has two principal philosophical senses, namely: (i) an apparently sound proof of an unacceptable conclusion (ii) an unacceptable conclusion of an apparently sound proof. A synonym used mainly in logical contexts, is Antinomy and this can be defined in modern logic as a logically impossible conclusion, established by an apparently correct proof (Mautner, 29). What this means on the whole is that a paradox arises only when the conclusion negates the premises from where it was derived or vice versa. In other words, when an opposite of what is stated is derived from it even if the proof seems correct, a self-contradiction has arisen. A paradox therefore is the emergence of a self-contradiction in a line of thought, e.g. when ~A is derived from A. Let us now turn to Asouzu’s statement of his paradox:

... any attempt to monopolize reason by any person or groups of individuals leads invariably to the paradox of irrationalism of reason, where in our eagerness to claim reason for ourselves alone we negate the fact that reason is a universal attribute of all beings that are rational. Commitment to a philosophy of essence easily induces to paradoxes and contradictions of this type (27).

 

                First, let us not be carried away, there is no paradox in the above statement. A paradox does not simply arise out of a contradiction, it arises out of self-contradiction. If reason is an attribute of humanity as a whole, then the relativists maintain that the individual who constitute humanity has a stake. If also the humanity is simply the individual writ large – without the individuals, there can be on humanity, whereas the opposite of this cannot be stated, then it means that where the relativist position can be validly deduced from the Universalist position, the reverse is not the case. This is because, the relativist position is contained in the Universalist position and this is exactly what Asouzu has christened paradox of irrationalism of reason. But this paradox does not arise for the proof that deduced the individual reason is correct and does not amount to any self-contradiction. So much for the paradox of irrationalism of reason.

                Let me now turn to the real problem that exists here. Asouzu makes a claim:

If philosophy must remain love of wisdom and truth, it must strive beyond all paradoxes and contradictions. In this case, it must be a philosophy of complementation and not one of rejection and exclusiveness. Here, philosophy has the duty to demolish all forms of ideology and ethno-centric inspired understanding of the world that negate the idea of mutual complementary relationship between all existent realities (27).

 

                I have shown in the preceding section that the philosophy of complementation rests on a single-valued logic which makes it exclusivist and rejectionist. As a result, it negates the idea of complementary relationship itself, for such a relationship cannot hold if there are no diverse deficiencies, superiors and inferiors and vacancies of lack and need among the actors. If A and B need the same thing which they both lack, then they cannot complement each other. Self-contradictions therefore arise in the philosophy of missing links for actors who complement one another need and lack the same things. How then can they serve as missing links of reality? Let me then deduce the complementation paradox.

         If all existent realities are to have mutual complementary relationship, then they each serve a missing link of reality (Postulate 1); but if they all serve missing links of reality then they must be in one-to-one correspondence (Postulate 2).

 

Lemma:                If every existent reality is in one-to-one correspondence with others, then, all missing links of reality cannot be in mutual complementary relationship. For only then every existent reality would be a member of the set of all existent realities sharing the same properties and lacking the same properties (Basic Law V).

 

                Let us call the set whose members are in mutual complementary relationship E and let us call the set whose members are in one-to-one correspondence F. Basic Law V through the principle of cardinality operator states:

NxEx = NxFx ≡ E ≈ F  i.e. the number of Es is the same as the number of Fs if and only if the Es and the Fs are in one-to-one correspondence. Postulate 1 states: “every existent serves a missing link of reality”, this places every existent reality at the same ontological level with others. Hence, for all men A, if they are existents then they serve as missing links of reality. For all animals B, if they are existents, then they serve as missing links of reality; therefore, all men are in one-to-one correspondence with all animals would mean that all men are identical or equal to all animals. This is equivalent to for all x, x is an element of A is equivalent to x is an element of B. This is called axiom of extention (ZF), and is stated thus:

AB [(A =B) ≡ x ((x ϵ A) ≡ (x ϵ B))).

Postulates 1 and 2 = Extention axiom  Basic Law V.

                Frege’s Basic Law V shows that if Es and Fs are in one-to-one correspondence, then they are identical by the principle of cardinality operator. If E is the set of all existent realities then F is a member of E if and only if all existent realities have mutual complementary relationship. If F is a member of E then E is a member of the set E containing E and F. Consider E, the set consisting of all and only those sets which are not members of themselves. That is, any set which is not a member of itself is in E, and any set which is a member of itself, is not in E.

                Now, let us ask, is E a member of itself or not? Suppose it is: then as we have just seen, it is not in E; i.e. it is not a member of itself. Suppose now, it is not a member of itself; then it is in E; i.e. it is a member of itself. Hence, E is a member of itself if and only if it is not a member of itself; and this is self-contradictory. This is a higher order Russellian type paradox.

                In a simple rendition, if according to Ibuanyidanda philosophy (Postulate 1), all existent realities say A and B have mutual complementary relationship with each other, it means that A have what B lacks and vice versa which qualifies them to enter this mutual complementary relationship where they each serve as a missing link of reality. However, according to Postulate 2 (which we deduced from the Postulate 1), everything that exists say A and B are in one-to-one correspondence. This means there is something that is in A which is also in B. This places in this case, the two realities A and B and by extention all existent realities foot to foot and shoulder to shoulder on equal scale and this therefore disqualifies them from entering this relationship of mutual complementation. This means that there is nothing A has which B lacks. Therefore, if according to Postulate 1, A has something which B lacks and vice versa; and according to Postulate 2, A has nothing which B lacks and vice versa, then this will satisfy what we mean when we use the term self-contradictory. Relating this also to the Egbe n’ugo conundrum of Igbo ontology; if there is no property or trait inside the egg of an ugo (eagle) that is lacking or absent inside the egg of egbe (kite) then the kite is the same as the eagle. If this statement is true, then it is false; if it is false, then it is true. Therefore, the philosophy of missing links is self-contradictory.

 

5. Dissecting the Character of Danda the Ant

                I wish to state here that I am probably one of the most qualified persons to make critical commentary on the philosophy of Asouzu because the work resonates from his cultural background which is my cultural background too.

                His, is called Ibuanyidanda philosophy. Ibuanyidanda in meaning is an Igbo aphorism which says that there is no burden or load which danda (a species of gregarious ants) cannot carry. Their strength residing not in the individual muscular build of each ant but in the collectivity of their abilities. Among danda, collectivity is a virtue while individuality is a vice. A point which resonates in Mbiti’s saying, “I am because we are… (108-109 )”. Ibuanyidanda philosophy thus becomes a recommendation of danda virtue for all humanity. How so practicable is this? Is there a reasonable proof that a philosophy that works for ants can work for mankind and indeed for all beings in their world immanent variations? The answer is No! But this line of thought is not shared by many. An objection that readily springs up is: Ibuanyidanda in figurative terms merely recommends an attribute found in ants not that men should become ants. However, this recommendation suggests that men lack such attributes. What this shows is that such attributes are what makes ants, ants. And ipso facto, the lack of such attributes, contribute in making humans, human. The drive to adopt what seems to work for ants which led to the creation of Ibuanyidanda philosophy can be traced to man’s silly and emotional tendency to value what he has. It is in this light that most emotional men abandon their beautiful, comely and lonely wives and run after old, fire-breathing harridans who eventually destroy them. The clarion call by Asouzu that men begin to relate to one another as ants relate among themselves is a humiliation of man’s dignity. If nature evolved man from her belly, she has reasons why she had made him the way he is. If on the other hand, God created man, He too has reasons for making man the way he is. If there are people who think that what is standing between man and perfection can be found among the danda, then such people should think twice, for why are the danda despite being in possession of such illustrious attribute are still nothing but danda, constantly under threat? Ibuanyidanda philosophy can therefore be linked to the “serpent’s solution” to perfection (Gen. 3:5). What I want to prove here is that character is a vital feature of beings. Beings are classified in diverse forms not necessarily because of their appearance but because of the uniformity of their character. This is why uniformity of character tends to imply uniformity of appearance. It is also obvious that the circumstances of beings’ lives determine their character and their character in a way tend to determine their circumstances as well. A man neither has the same character as danda nor shares the same circumstances, how can a philosophy that works for danda, work for man? Below is a table depicting the variance in the circumstance of the lives of danda and men; it is noteworthy that among the Igbo danda is a well-known creature.

 

Hence:

Fig. 1:

Danda

 

Man

 

Monotonous

 

 

Dynamic

High death threat

 

Low death threat

Live in closed society

 

Live in open society

Short life span

 

Long life span

Individual weakness

 

Individual strength

Gregarious

Instinctual

 

Egalitarian

Rational

 

Among the danda, there is only one life and that is the life of the community. There is no individual life and as such when an individual danda dies, or is killed, it is not just another bum that died but the community or colony that died a little. Thus it is not proper to talk of an individual danda as having an ambition, a desire, a goal. There is only one ambition, one desire, one goal i.e. the ambition, the desire, and the goal of the colony. There are simply no individuals, but just the colony, whereas among humans, the individual and all his appurtenances are primary. There can be individuals without a society but without a colony there simply is no danda. Any given danda that wanders from the colony simply ceases to exist. For these danda have to be gregarious, live in closed society and their life monotonous. This is because; they face high death threats, have short life span and are individually weak. What can a single danda achieve? And how can it survive for long given all these circumstances? This is why Ibuanyidanda is a vital philosophy that works for them. Here every danda serves a missing link of reality. In John Mbiti’s ontological dichotomy, danda says, “I am because we are” whereas humans say, “we are because I am” (108-109). Humans are dynamic; they do different things according to their changing interests. They live in open society where everyone pursues his own means, goals, ambitions and desires. And the individual destiny is not tied on collective destiny; this is because they are egalitarian. They are forced to pursue their individual courses in life with the hope of reasonable success. Other circumstances are in their favour so there can be no hesitation. They have long life span, low death threat and are individually strong. Everyman is the architect of his own destiny, therefore there is no way the philosophy of missing link can work for humans unless the individual ceases to exist; but without the individual there cannot be the community, so Asouzu’s philosophy is not practicable. If man were to have the circumstances of danda, the philosophy of missing link would be their philosophy; and if danda were to have the circumstances of humans, the philosophy of missing links would be impossible for them to practice only then we would understand that many are loads or burdens which danda cannot surmount (Ibunyiridanda).

                Understanding the impracticability of Asouzu’s Ibuanyidanda philosophy demands this dissection of the character of danda the ant. For this danda’s illustrious character of being the brother’s keeper, seeing one’s being in another, appreciating their common goal, common strength and common weakness, which crystallize into the Ibuanyidanda philosophy or the philosophy of missing links is determined by the generally unfavourable circumstances of danda’s existence. These circumstances of danda’s existence we have shown are different from those of humans. The circumstances of men’s existence Russell explains have done much to determine the philosophy of men (2). To substitute this individualistic philosophy for the communal philosophy of the ants as Asouzu advocates, he must first substitute the circumstances of men’s lives for that of the ants’ life. For there is no other reasonable way besides that, which a man being rational can be made to live like an ant which is an instinctual being, since a man cannot live like an ant without first becoming an ant. Humans sure have the ability to imitate and to learn, but not all traits are worthy of these exercises much less the seeming aesthetic glamour of danda’s communism.

 

6.             Neutralizing the Philosophy of Missing Links:An Egbe n’Ugo Conundrum

The philosophy of essence is in accord with man’s nature. Man’s relationship with his fellow men is not essentially a “dandaistic” (a necessarily equal complementary affair). It is chiefly an egbe n’ugo affair. Indeed, egbe n’ugo (kite and eagle) might find reasons to co-exist in the boundless sky but that cannot annihilate the differences between them. In the grand scheme of things, we can ask ugo to tolerate egbe mindful of the latter’s importance but we cannot on that basis ask ugo to regard egbe or treat her as equal. To do this among men, will be to stall men’s development and progress for if we pretend there are no differences then we must show it in our abilities. And since men with lower abilities cannot easily raise their game, it falls to men with higher abilities to drop down.

In the old days, Igbos unanimously say; “ugo gaa bere n’elu ugwu, ka egbe bere n’elu osisi maka ha agghi g notu l”, translated “Let the eagle perch on high mountains and let the kite perch on high trees for they did not take wives from the same home”, meaning that the eagle and the kite might both be birds capable of flight but they do not belong to the same class. It was the pacifists in later years who adulterated this saying to “egbe bere, ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebela, nku kwaa ya”, which translates to “let the kite perch and let the eagle perch, if one says no to the other, may its wings break”. But seeing that this does not achieve anything, the pacifists again, now in tune with the philosophy of complementation further watered down the aphorism saying, “egbe bere, ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebela, gosi ya ebe oga ebe”, which translates “let the kite perch and let the eagle perch, if one says no to the other, let him show him where to perch”. The injunction “if one says no to the other” refers to ugo and the instruction “let him show him where to perch” is calculated to reveal mutual equality which does not exist. Among humans some can be likened to the eagle while others can be likened to the kite and the challenge is this: if the kite claims equality with the eagle, let him sour! It is therefore false the aphorism which says “onweghi ihe di n’akwa ugo, ana acho-acho n’akwa egbe” which translates “There is no item inside the eagle’s egg which is missing inside the kite’s egg”. To lay this claim among men would be totally misleading and men only need to look around to see this fact speaking.

Everything that exists, exist because it has the capacity to be and this capacity is vital force. Vital force is the capacity to be but some beings’ vital force are active, others’ are passive and yet others’ inactive. Among men, some have active force others passive. Animals have active force but men’s active forces are superior to theirs. Trees have inactive force just like stones but the force of trees are superior to those of stones. Nothing that exists serves a missing link of reality because reality is not and can never be a perfect system. Beings merely complement each other, yet this complementation is not a necessary one. Were this to be a necessary affair then all beings would be equal in capacity but we have shown they are not. “Agwo nile toro ogologo ma enwere eke nwe ohia” (All snakes are long but python is the owner of the forest). “Mmanwu nile bu mmanwu ma enwere nke ka ibe ya ogologo” (All masquerades are called masquerades, but some are taller than others). “Ejighi ura atunyere onwu” (Sleep may look like death, but there is no comparison between them). “Ihe ugo ji eme ile di ya n’nku” (The strength of the eagle is in his wings). We can as well argue that men’s defining characteristics are in their nature.

Men are ambivalent and they suffer from the ihemkpuchi anya or the phenomenon of concealment (Asouzu, Inaugural, 28-36) but these are basic in their nature. Basic in the sense that they constitute what makes humans, human. Is it possible for men to alter these attributes and still remain humans? If it is not, then such attributes are fundamental. To be ridden off of their ambivalent natures would be to create a perfect man, but this common creed of all perfectionist theories is not only impracticable but nonsensical in this world of imperfections.

Asouzu boldly outlines certain measures that would enable man overcome his ambivalent natures (imperfections) and become a ridiculously perfect creature, to include: restoration of true personal autonomy through noetic pedagogy or training of the mind; recourse to the transcendent categories of unity of consciousness (akara obi/akara mmuo) and full personal autonomy through “ima-onwe-onye” (being-in-control).

First, let me clarify some issues. In the Igbo transcendental philosophy being or the universe is never capable of being determined towards perfection. Being or the universe can be better but never perfect. The additional idea which makes the philosophy of missing links seems to push towards a perfect world where all individual limitations would be extinguished in a collectivist and absolutist harmony is purely Asouzu’s own construction. Hence, we say in Igbo, “uwa ezu oke” meaning being/universe is never complete or perfect. It keeps getting better but never will be perfect or expected to be.

Noetic pedagogy or the education of the mind which will help the ego as Asouzu says, to eliminate the broken unity and to help restore the subject to true self such that it can affirm insightfully that to be is to be in mutual complementary relationship with all missing links of reality is treated as a magic wand. If this is going to work, it must be based solely on the thinking of Asouzu because in the Igbo transcendental philosophy, the ego contains a trait of imperfection or incompleteness which can never be overcome. It is a major character in the categories of the mind and is designated in Igbo transcendental philosophy as akara onwe n’akara udi or identity and difference. This is what Asouzu on his part refers to as the transcendent categories of unity of consciousness.

There are two things Asouzu failed to do in his analysis of the categories of the mind according to Igbo conception: he failed to mention that these categories are conceived to be permanent and unalterable; he also omitted from the list the reverse sides of other categories and the most basic of those categories namely, the tenth category akara onwe n’akara udi or identify and difference. For the benefit of a new reader on Igbo transcendental philosophy, let us list the ten categories: absoluteness or exceptionality, relativity, historicity, wholeness and fragmentation, universality, comprehensiveness and exclusiveness, unity and diversity, totality and singularity, identity and difference and future reference. These determine the movement of being, within space/time continuum. A being can move downwards (decrease) or upwards (increase) but first must be conceptualized within space-time or history. If it becomes relative, fragmentary then it is decreasing or getting worse; if it becomes comprehensive, absolute then it is increasing or getting better but it can never become perfect because of its identity and difference. Note that to be absolute does not mean to be perfect. Perhaps an Igbo transliteration would be helpful. This category is called ituru ugo i.e. acquisition of eagle feather which literarily mean “to be exceptional”. I do not know why Asouzu has chosen to translate it as “absoluteness”, but the likely reason is theoretic convenience. The category of identity describes what makes a being what it is (peculiar properties) while difference describes what makes each being different from others. When a being pushes closely towards comprehensiveness and totality, it begins to get exceptional through the category of difference and even in its quest to universalize or form unity with other beings; it does so as a unique entity with peculiar features. Now mindful that these categories are unalterable, the ambivalence and the phenomenon of the ihemkpuchi anya which vary from being to being can never truly be overcome. As a result, the third measure recommended as Asouzu which is ima-onwe-onye or being-in-control can then translate into the determination of a being towards exceptionality. Because all beings can never become simultaneously exceptional, universality will give birth to relativity, unity will yield diversity, totality would lead to singularity, comprehensiveness would bring forth exclusiveness and wholeness would throw up fragmentation. Now compare the list presented above with the following by Asouzu: absoluteness, relativity, historicity, fragmentation or world-immanent predetermination, universality, comprehensiveness, unity, totality, and future reference (Inaugural, 50). It is clear then that Asouzu intentionally omitted some parts of the categories of the mind according to Igbo conception so as to push through his own ideas of a perfect world of beings. But the question is: Is such a theory feasible? We have already placed it among what we categorized as perfectionist theories which have as their main weakness, the impossibility of reducing such easy-looking theories to practice. Hence, the philosophy of missing links is neutralized. Nothing serves a missing link of reality because reality is not a perfect system. Things merely complement each other yet this is not necessary, it is chiefly a contingent process depending on ever changing conditions.

 

 

7.             Conclusion

                One of the numerous justifications of my critique of the philosophy of missing links is the challenge: if it is true, go out there and demonstrate it! Apostles and proponents of the philosophy of missing links now have to overcome this challenge among others to justify their theory.

                Let us suppose that a nuclear melt-down occurs and 99% of world population are annihilated, technologies lost and with them all of the world’s libraries. There were no governments, no laws, and no boundaries. However, a Chinese monk arose as the new emperor of the whole world. Mindful of how the world has come to such devastation, his greatest preoccupation became a quest for a theory that would eliminate the identity of the individual man, the differences among humanity, selfishness, etc., from the human ego. One day after a very long futile search, this comely ruler of the world bumped a foot against what seems to be the only surviving book in the world as he strolled in his garden in meditation. Behold; let us assume that this book is written by Asouzu describing the theory of the philosophy of missing links. The emperor took the book home and spent months carefully studying it over and over until he has fully understood the principles explained by Asouzu. At last, the emperor fully satisfied, concluded that Asouzu’s book contains a perfect match to the theory he has been looking for. And he resolved to apply it convinced that when the mass of surviving mankind and the generation to come are tutored to imbibe such perfect principles, that (to quote Asouzu’s concluding statement of his Inaugural Lecture) … actor(s) acting in full self-consciousness as being-in-control (onye-ma-onwe-ya) and under the guidance of the transcendent categories of unity of consciousness can never err culpably (56). The world obviously does not need divisive and self-centered men who would rather than see the unity among men, choose to see the diversity in them, the result of which was the nuclear war that led to the nuclear melt-down. Let us also assume that as the emperor was putting together his plan, an American farmer dug up my book in which I criticized and warned of the dangers of Asouzu’s theory. Quickly, he sent the book to the emperor who after scanning through retorted with vehemence, “that is exactly what I’m saying”, and then gave orders and the book was burned. Now he has only Asouzu’s book and his theory and he pushes for implementation. First, all humans on earth must go to school (noetic pedagogy) where they teach nothing else except the philosophy of missing links and how to allow the limitations of being to become the cause of one’s joy. All living humans were not simply taught for knowledge sake, they were taught to practice. And having been witnesses to the devastation man’s selfishness caused the world, every human being we shall assume was willing and determined to do anything that would bring everlasting joy to mankind. Further, Asouzu’s book became the only code of conduct that any who would stray from it broke the law. Children were raised by both the parents and the state. They were taught to love one another, mutually complement one another’s weaknesses without having to be paid or begged to do so. They were also taught to see no differences among themselves. The only law they must constantly obey is that of the missing links. Asouzu’s book was to be their daily companion. The only religion that exists is the state religion and Asouzu’s book is the holy book.

                Now, assuming twenty-two years later, the aging emperor took ill at work and had to return home from work by mid-day. And to his shock, he met some of his young wives in bed with a twenty-two year old man who works in the palace as his pageboy. In a feat of anger, he ordered the arrest of the young man and gave orders for his execution.

                Assuming on the day of his public execution, the young man cried out to the emperor to spare his life for he has only been doing his duties according to the law. Since age and matters of the state prevent the emperor from performing his duties as a husband, and since he (the young man) had time and youth, he felt it would be wrong of him not to complement the emperor’s weaknesses and thereby allowing the limitation of being to be the cause of joy.

“You complement me by taking ‘my own’ wives?” The emperor supposedly growled.  “But we were taught that we are all one,” replied the young man”.

                Now the older generation who lived in the world before nuclear meltdown understands the emperor’s feeling but the younger generation cannot. Assuming the young man cries out again that for three years he has dutifully complemented the emperor’s limitations among his wives without asking for pay or waiting to be begged to do this onerous task, how would these two sets of generation and the emperor react? Now, that is not only the danger therein, for when every other thing else pans out, the way of the individual would sometimes seem right.           Let me finally concede a few points. Asouzu has in his philosophy brought alive the power and the dynamics of African ingredients at constructing a world-class philosophy. Like an architectonic structure, he has laid every brick on top of another, careful to seal every hole and patch every crack. His dream for the world, one that a meticulous reader would not only see but almost taste in his tone seems to be the basic representation of his works, Rarely does one come across these days, philosophers who earnestly write what they sincerely believe in. A handful of philosophical literatures of our times suggest an arching quest to join the league of the immortals of the philosophical world rather than a passion and a desire to change the world. The regularity of such abstract theories never intended for any practice justifies over the years Karl Marx' comment on the work of Feuerbach that philosophers have interpreted the world differently, the problem however is to change it. I find in Asouzu's works, discussions, articulations and conceptualizations that one seeks in vain in the works of other philosophers in this part of the world.  Whatever criticisms I have leveled on the work are strictly intended for a better construction of Ibuanyidanda philosophy. Basic among them is my discovery of the complementation paradox. I wish to suggest to the author that underlying his philosophy is western thought system and an impossible single valued logic. It is probably suggestive that a western two-valued logic would not give an adequate interpretative paradigm or framework to the theory of complementary reflection-the author has devoted an ample space in his works showing how the Aristotelian framework and indeed every other typical two-valued system makes a poor interpretation of a non-hegemonic theory. To this end, the author proved his point. But a little problem, one that would threaten the foundation of this humanistic theory was allowed to emerge. Asouzu like a perfectionist goldsmith has without knowing it fashioned into his theory a warm that would eat it up, a single valued logic! It was the only type of logic that can admit and sustain such a perfect theory, a logic where everything imaginable is possible. My candid suggestion is that the author should consider moving the substrate of his theory completely from western thought system to African thought system, his mere use of African signatures does not suffice. Again and most importantly, he should move his theory from the problematic single-valued logic to a three-valued logic of African thought system. In these I think, the theory of complementary reflection shall find a suitable interpretation.  

 

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