Recall the story of the Tower of Babel, the mighty edifice our ancestors built to reach up to heaven so that they could know God? Look now at theIvory Tower that is the university, and how it has the audacity to claim that it can ultimately know everything. Are the two really one and the same?
The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun… It also speaks of the Tower of Babel. Once upon a time, we are told, humankind decided to build a mighty tower that would stretch all the way up to heaven, so that they could know God. As they toiled, the Bible says, God became angry, and struck them with a “babble of tongues” such that no two individuals could understand each other…
Today rockets pierce the heavens. Men walk the moon. And we communicate, mind-to-mind, instantaneously, projecting our voices through the ether, our images onto the screen and our thoughts over the net. We “make” babies in test tubes, and toy with the idea of recreating, that is, cloning our selves. Our scientists are hard at work attacking every secret of the universe, including that of its genesis. So is it any wonder that religion, and real faith in God, are waning. If, after all, we can know it all, do it all, have it all, what need have we for God?
But as we rise, so too we fall. We pollute the planet with nuclear refuse, the burning of fossil fuels, and with every throw away fork and plate we use. We know this, but nonetheless we cannot stop. And if we don’t, certain destruction looms. (Did we go this way before?)
A “Renaissance Man” is one who understands the connections amongst the branches of knowledge. We are told, they may have been prevalent in the past, but today there is so much to know, that no one person can have a grasp of even the outlines of all human knowledge. The thing to do, young scientists and thinkers have been told, is to pick a field and stay in it. And find a tiny little area, or subspecialty, therein that you can master. And so what’s happened, increasingly, is that each field, and sub-field, and even each expert, is largely ignorant of what the others are doing. It’s as if they each speak a different tongue.
No one sees the Big Picture. No one is minding the store. Each is a clerk in their own little aisle, or portion of an aisle. The environmentalists are on the right track. The protestors at the international summits fighting against the rape of the earth, and its peoples, are moving in the right direction. As do those, all around the world, who refuse to give up their beliefs in a power larger than themselves. The final piece in the counter movement against blind faith in “Progress” is the rediscovery of the ancient African truths that originally set science and civilization in motion.
Black Studies and African Studies are not just about countering the distortions of history long fostered by the Western academy. They are also about ending the incoherence that reigns in the Ivory Tower by re-injecting ethics and morals in the scientific enterprise and grounding it firmly in the source, the African Source…
by Dr. Arthur Lewin, www.ReadLikeYourLifeDependsOnIt.com, www.BlackStudies.net, www.AfricaUnlimited.com