© Edgar J. Ridley 2017

The movement to remove confederate statues and/or renaming university buildings is but the latest attempt to correct the wrongs of history.  The current dialogue around the symbolism of the Confederate flag reminds us of the general lack of knowledge about the role symbolism plays in our daily lives.  The media’s typical display of ignorance is compounded by racism.  Unfortunately, our educational institutions have supplied a learning that is, as was stated by anthropologist Cheikh Anta Diop, “the most monstrous falsification in history.”  [1]  Indeed, the falsification of the African contribution to history has impeded progress in all academic disciplines.  This has led to the failure of our scientific community and university humanities departments worldwide to develop solutions, leading to a crushing effect on every activity of human behavior.  Propositions that would solve the current problems that we face, from health care to scientific research in all areas of study, are being negated, mythologized and totally eradicated from use simply because we have not had the courage to deal with the real issues of racism and how and why it occurs.

It must be understood that the world is run on symbolic thinking.  That symbolic thinking produces mythology, ritual and superstition, which propels the symbolic behavior prevalent in today’s world.  Our universities do not prepare students to address the damage caused by myth and superstition, which renders us unable to discuss these issues.  Indeed, we live in a world of magic realism.  That is why when a tragedy happens in our midst we talk about it for a day, grieve for a week, and return to the same kinds of behavior that caused the tragedies in the first place.  Repeated bad behavior without a solution is a sickness within itself.  Removing Confederate flags and buildings are a start; but unfortunately, people will continue to practice the symbolic behavior that is the root cause of these problems.

When man began to think symbolically, that was a Neurological Misadventure of Primordial Man® that caused symbolic behavior.  This has damaged the relationships and fundamental behavior patterns of humanity since prehistory.  It must be underscored that racism is a mental illness.  Mythology leads to the classifying of people due to their color.  Although this activity borders on the insane, it has become natural to the peoples of the world.    The majority of the global population is colonized neurologically, which does not allow justice for all people to occur.

It has been proven without a doubt that there are only two possible ways of living in this world: symbolically or symptomatically.  [2]  Traditionally, scholars have opted for symbolic thinking and behaving, which was said to make humans unique from the animal kingdom.  They are wrong. That symbolic behavior has caused racism, superstition, and mythology – permanently damaging the thinking of humans.  (Science has even discovered recently that animals can think and behave symbolically.  That removes the assumption that symbolic thinking is what makes humans unique from other species.)

We must understand that symbolic behavior is a mental illness.  It is not well known that a group of African-American psychiatrists suggested that racism be deemed a mental disorder; the American Psychiatric Association declined, stating that racism is a norm in American society, hence it could not be deemed a mental illness.  This reality, whether illustrated by stopping healthcare initiatives that will benefit all people; or prohibiting people of color from voting, are examples of symbolic thinking.  Continuing to designate people of color as a minority when they are in fact the majority people of the world is a ridiculous misnomer.   The term minority as applied to people of color has got to be eliminated from our vocabulary by everybody, by blacks and people who classify themselves as white. We are all African.

[1] Cheikh Anta Diop, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality, Lawrence Hill Books, 1974, p. 43.

[2] Edward G. Whitmont, The Symbolic Quest:  Basic Concepts of Analytical Psychology, Princeton University Press, 1969. p. 20.


Edgar J. Ridley is Chairman of his own global consulting firm, Edgar J. Ridley & Associates.  He is the author of a series,  The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization – Volume 1, which is a study of symbolism and its impact on civilizations; followed by The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization – Volume 2 – Evidence of Symptomatic Behavior, which was recently published in 2017.   (Both books published by Africa World Press Books.)

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Edgar J. Ridley © 2017

On the day of Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration as President of the United States, a select group of Republicans conspired on how they would deny any legislation proposed by the President.  (Draper, 2012).    Fast forward to the 2016 election of Donald Trump whose very platform was built on delegitimizing President Obama by questioning Obama’s American citizenship.  Indeed, the global community has already ascertained that Trump’s politics are particularly centered around opposing anything authorized by President Obama, absent any dialogue or debate (Sheth 2017).  Although Trump has his own particular brand of racism, complete with witless idiocy, his behavior is only a continuation of the historical treatment of African people, not only in America but globally.  President Trump is following the racist and vicious behavior of academicians and pundits who have always been bent on erasing any achievements made by Africans on this earth.

Lest we develop amnesia about the falsification of world history, the practice of erasure began with a distortion of historical content and the total destruction of achievements that would become a legacy for Black people on this earth.    Although it is inarguable that African people were the first humans, as well as the first people to create civilization, academia from Oxford to Cambridge to Harvard has persisted in distorting and/or denying the achievements of African people globally.   The objective, to erase historical memory, paves the way for the notion that nothing was achieved until whites came into the picture.  President Trump is following that historical trend by erasing any achievement of the Obama administration so that his legacy will be erased from human memory.

This continuation of the destruction of Black existence has persisted since people who classify themselves as white came into the picture.  President Trump’s lies have become America’s norm, even though there have been tempered cries of indignation among some whites.  One of the most appalling acts is Trump’s leadership over the voter suppression nationwide, which has caused little comment upon the so-called white liberal establishment.  The refusal to condemn white supremacy following the Charlottesville tragedy is only the latest example.

White America produced a monster in Donald Trump.  His behavior has become the norm in American culture regardless of the outcries of indignation by some.  Several decades ago, black psychiatrists recommended that the American Psychiatric Association label racism as a mental illness during the revision of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM V).   The APA declined, stating that racism cannot be a mental illness because it is a norm of American society.  (Poussaint, 2002).  Any review of history will justify the creation of a Donald Trump, which in turn justifies the racist behavior of the American people.  The behavior of white nationalists is part and parcel of this pattern.  As I chronicle in my books, if we disregard these symptoms, this will surely lead to the destruction of America.



Robert Draper, Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the House of Representatives, Free Press, 2012.

Alvin F. Poussaint, “Is Extreme Racism a Mental Illness?”, Western Journal of Medicine, 2002, 176:1.

Sonam Sheth, “European diplomats consider Trump a ‘laughing stock’ who is ‘obsessed with Obama’,” Business Insider, 8/9/17.



EDGAR J. RIDLEY is Chairman of a global management consulting firm, Edgar J. Ridley and Associates, based in New York. He has published four books, An African Answer: The Key to Global Productivity, Symbolism Revisited – Notes on the Symptomatic Thought Process;  The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization – Volume I, and Volume 2 – Evidence of Symptomatic Behavior. His research interest focuses on cognitive semiotics and the effect of symbol systems on human neurological processes as well as the damage that symbol systems have caused to human behavior throughout civilization.

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Edgar J. Ridley © 2,016

Nous devons être prudents de ne pas ignorer les symptômes qui fournissent ces conflits – alors seulement nous pouvons éradiquer le comportement symbolique de notre existence.

Tensions ethniques / religieux actuels du Nigeria sont symptomatiques des conflits qui semblent être un état permanent des affaires dans le monde entier. Il a été dit que tant que les humains existent, nous serons dans un état permanent de conflit racial et / ou religieuse. Dit autrement, le conflit est une norme de conduite attendue humaine. Ce qui manque à cette époque de troubles religieux, racial et ethnique est une recherche sérieuse pour les raisons pour lesquelles le conflit semble être l’escalade, ainsi que d’une solution. Le conflit théologique actuelle entre la communauté chrétienne et musulmane, qu’ils soient représentés par des attaques de Boko Haram, ou le ciblage des albinos en Kenya et en Tanzanie, sont des résultats découlant d’une dynamique facilement identifiable – celui de la pensée symbolique dans sa pire forme.
Comme les chercheurs ont étudié la racine du comportement humain pour susciter pourquoi les humains se comportent comme ils le font, il ya un consensus commun que le comportement symbolique est ce qui sépare l’homo sapiens sapiens de homo non. Cela a conduit à l’affirmation selon laquelle la pensée symbolique est la genèse de toute créativité humaine, l’innovation et la productivité. En fait, le grand savant américain, le regretté John Dewey, a déclaré que “La découverte du symbolisme était la plus grande découverte de l’histoire humaine». En outre, de nombreux chercheurs classent homo sapiens que l’homo symbolicus.
Toute religion et le racisme ont leur origine dans la pensée symbolique et, par conséquent, le comportement symbolique.
Si nous voulons comprendre la logique derrière les conflits mondiaux d’aujourd’hui, nous devons comprendre comment les hypothèses et les mythologies profondes informer innombrables cultures du monde. Nous devons tenter de résoudre ces conflits en aidant les citoyens à obtenir une compréhension de l’impact négatif de la pensée symbolique et du comportement symbolique. Cela permettrait une compréhension correcte de la religion sur le comportement humain ainsi que la façon dont le comportement symbolique entraîne les hypothèses mythologiques de soi-disant conflits raciaux et ethniques. La religion a été un véhicule pour alimenter la controverse, et une politique de liberté religieuse est conseillé d’éviter les conflits qui deviendra plus grave et prononcé à l’avenir.
Je suis favorable aux croyances profondes qui découlent du symbolisme et de la superstition qui a été implanté culturellement. Il est donc extrêmement difficile pour les gens à trouver un règlement pacifique. Ces conflits menacent de plus en plus la mort, de l’hostilité et de traitement injuste à l’échelle mondiale en raison des concepts théologiques émanant de religions qui ont, comme leur âme, la pensée et les pratiques symbolique.
L’oppression et les attaques sur les personnes de différentes origines ethniques et appartenances religieuses entrave clairement la productivité et la croissance économique. Nous avons besoin de gens instruits et informés pour comprendre ces faits et de fournir un leadership courageux. Nous devons être prudents de ne pas ignorer les symptômes qui fournissent ces conflits – alors seulement nous pouvons éradiquer le comportement symbolique de notre existence. La religion doit être enseignée et comprise pour ce qu’elle est: phénomènes mythologiques et superstitieux originaires de systèmes de symboles activés par un comportement symbolique. Si cela ne soit pas reconnu, nous aurons une pandémie continue de la violence et de la mort qui fera la croissance économique et la pauvreté répandue impossible, la création d’un état permanent des affaires pour le continent africain.

Edgar J. Ridley est un consultant en gestion globale en mettant l’accent sur la transformation du comportement en utilisant sémiotique cognitive. Il est l’auteur de The Golden Apple: Modification de la structure des civilisations – Volume 1 (Africa World Press). Volume 2 de The Golden Apple est sous presse. Twitter @ ridley69

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We should be careful not to ignore the symptoms that these conflicts provide – only then can we eradicate symbolic behavior from our existence.

The latest report on Africa’s governance has been released by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Much to no one’s surprise, there has been little if any progress in several years. Notwithstanding the location of the world’s richest background, 54 nations cannot find the key to true prosperity. Past award winners of the prize, Festus Mogae, Botswana; Pedro Verona Pires, Cape Verde; and Joachim Chissano, Mozambique, appears to have left a gap yet to be filled by today’s leaders.

Indeed, a major thorn in establishing effective governance has to be the ethnic and/or religious tensions, which are symptomatic of the conflicts that seem to be a permanent state of affairs worldwide. It has been said that as long as humans exist, we’ll be in a permanent state of racial and/or religious conflict. Said another way, conflict is an expected norm of human behavior. What is missing in this era of religious, racial and ethnic turmoil is a serious search for the reasons why conflict seems to be escalating, as well as a solution. The current theological conflict between the Christian and Muslim community, whether represented by attacks from Boko Haram, or the targeting of albinos in Kenya and Tanzania, are outcomes resulting from a readily identifiable dynamic – that of symbolic thinking in its worst form.

As scholars have investigated the root of human behavior to elicit why humans behave the way they do, there is a common consensus that symbolic behavior is what separates homo sapiens from non-homo sapiens. This has led to the assertion that symbolic thought is the genesis of all human creativity, innovation and productivity. In fact, the great American scholar, the late John Dewey, stated that “The discovery of symbolism was the greatest discovery in human history.” Further, many scholars classify homo sapiens as homo symbolicus.

All religion and racism have their origin in symbolic thought and, consequently, symbolic behavior.

If we are to comprehend the rationale behind today’s global conflicts, we must understand how deep-rooted assumptions and mythologies inform countless world cultures. We must attempt to solve these disputes by assisting citizens in obtaining an understanding of the negative impact of symbolic thought and symbolic behavior. This would provide a correct understanding of how religion affects human behavior as well as how symbolic behavior drives the mythological assumptions of so-called racial and ethnic conflict. Religion has been a vehicle to fuel controversy, and a policy of religious freedom is advised to avoid conflict that will become more serious and pronounced in the future.

I am sympathetic to the deep-seated beliefs that stem from symbolism and superstition that has been culturally implanted. This makes it extremely difficult for people to find a peaceful settlement. These conflicts threaten increasing death, hostility and unfair treatment globally due to the theological concepts emanating from religions that have, as their core, symbolic thought and practices.

Oppression and attacks on people of different ethnic backgrounds and religious affiliations clearly impedes productivity and economic growth. We need educated and informed people to understand these facts and to provide courageous leadership. We should be careful not to ignore the symptoms that these conflicts provide – only then can we eradicate symbolic behavior from our existence. Religion must be taught and understood for what it is: mythological and superstitious phenomena originating out of symbol systems activated by symbolic behavior. If this is not recognized, we will have a continuing pandemic of violence and death that will make economic growth impossible and poverty prevalent, creating a permanent state of affairs for the African continent.

As noted in my forthcoming book, the world is colonized by symbolic thought, which makes superstition and mythology the core of all decision making.[1] Unfortunately, we have a total misunderstanding of how symptoms work. It cannot be overstated: it must be remembered that there are only two ways of thinking and living in this world today. We think and live symptomatically or symbolically. Those are the only two ways of thinking and living in the world. This is essential to comprehend if we are to understand how to live out our lives productively.   To solve the problems and the conflicts in today’s world, we must think symptomatically.

Due to this colonization by symbolic thought, we have been going about root cause analysis the wrong way. One of the major problems is that there is a total misinterpretation of root cause analysis. That error of interpretation of root cause analysis is evident in the literature that involves the dynamics of symptoms as cultural indicators.   We have to get rid of this feeling expressed by so many scholars that spending time on the symptoms will make matters worse because it is not dealing with the root cause. The root cause analysis concept has been misapplied and misunderstood across the board by scholars, business executives, and Presidents of countries who state that dealing with the symptoms is ill-advised, and the alternative is to deal with the root cause. That false assumption has led to tragic events that have cost lives. It’s impossible to get to the root problem without going to the symptoms that cause the root problem.

Once we think symptomatically, we behave symptomatically. We must eliminate symbolic thought and symbolic behavior if we are to survive as a people and indeed as a civilization.

The phenomenon that is rampant in civilization that has caused immeasurable harm is this intention to make the symptom into a symbol. Symptoms are innate to the neurological processes of the human brain, while symbols are not. This is important to understand.


Edgar J. Ridley, Chairman of Edgar J. Ridley and Associates, is a global management consultant focusing on behavior transformation using cognitive semiotics. Designated an ‘Expert Consultant’ by the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), he is the author of The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization – Volume 1 (Africa World Press). Volume 2 of The Golden Apple is in press.  email:   Twitter @ridley69

[1] The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization, Volume 2 (Africa World Press) – in press.

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©   Edgar J. Ridley 2015

The 24th annual International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is faced with a dilemma.  At least 1000 members of the IJCAI have signed a letter expressing concern about the future potential of AI to colonize the arms race.

The question being debated is whether AI programs have the potential to destroy humanity.  Will future AI weaponry become capable of selecting and engaging human targets on their own, without human thinking?

Humans are the engine that runs all technology.   As expressed in my book, The Golden Apple Changing the Structure of Civilization- Volume 1, it is only by humans behaving symptomatically, i.e., using symptomatic behavior, will they unlock the key to all technology being used productively for civilization.  When AI is programmed by populations behaving symptomatically, rather than symbolically, that is the only way that it can be used in a humane and productive way.

Yes, if humans thinking symbolically create AI, then it can be the conduit to destroy humans.  However, those symbolic-behaving humans will ultimately bear responsibility for the shutdown of humanity.  If the creators of technology use it to further mythologize, then the fears and concerns of today’s scientists are warranted.  However, when a Symptomatic Thought Process® is applied in the development of technology, with human minds that have not been colonized by symbolism, then there is unlimited potential, from enhancing medical treatment to helping solve global conflict.

Artificial Intelligence cannot destroy humans. Only humans can destroy humans.  As noted in the closing paragraph of The Golden Apple Changing the Structure of Civilization – Volume 1:

As we look at the world around us, we see the destruction of lives and the environment in such a way that it is hard to envision its recovery.  However, a behavior pattern initiated by the Symptomatic Thought Process will allow us to experience every relationship in a qualitatively new way.  That qualitatively new way will eradicate the barbarism that we find ourselves in today; and instead would bring about a just civilization that will endure forever[1]


Edgar J. Ridley is Chairman of Edgar J. Ridley and Associates, an international management consulting firm, with a worldwide practice based in New York City.  His most recent book is The Golden Apple:  Changing the Structure of Civilization, Volume 1 (Africa World Press).  Volume 2 of The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization – Evidence of Symptomatic Behavior, is in press; and he is currently drafting Volume 3 of The Golden Apple:  Changing the Structure of Civilization – Symptomatic Behavior in Practice.

[1] Excerpted from Edgar J. Ridley, The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization, Volume 1 (Africa World Press) 2008.

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Copyright 2015 Edgar J. Ridley

It is a fact that the European myth of beauty and attractiveness caused the genocide in Rwanda between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes.  The 1995 genocide that took place in Rwanda, in East-Central Africa, was precipitated by European antagonists who created a mythology surrounding physical characteristics.  Although Europeans didn’t explicitly say to the Hutus and Tutsis to murder each other, English explorer John Henning Speke articulated the European point of view, when he stated that: The tall, elegant people with Caucasian features migrated from Ethiopia and are descended from King David.  The shorter people with flat noses are Negroid and come from the South.  The   tall ones have 5,000 years of civilization in their blood, the short ones, a timeless history of backwardness.[1] The “tall, elegant people” symbolize the Tutsis, and the “short, backward people” symbolize Hutus.  This mythologizing of people led to the tragic genocide of one group over another, perpetuated by a European, racist attitude resulting from mythological, superstitious behavior.  The European suggestion of the Tutsi superiority because of their high cheekbones, narrow noses and thin lips, as a symbol of European beauty and attractiveness, exacerbated an already fragile relationship between the Hutus and Tutsis causing the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people.

That European mythology is the same dynamic that informs today’s global fashion industry where the myth of color superiority and so-called European facial features are the rule of the day.  Black models are underrepresented in runway modeling, resulting in friction between models with so-called European features and models with so-called Negroid features.  (We must understand that the term Negroid was created by white anthropologists who were describing the beautiful facial features of sub-Saharan Africans.) It is true that Black Africans come in all colors and all facial structures and features.  What has to be understood is that the global fashion industry’s penchant for a European structure of beauty and attractiveness is caused by symbolism and its resulting mythology and superstition.  This dynamic causes a symbolic-behaving people to automatically mythologize the models based on their physical characteristics.

People who mythologize others are behaving symbolically – this symbolism has caused enormous harm to the psyche of people throughout the universe.  Indeed, this event of symbolism in the human psyche has caused conflict and destruction throughout the world. The above is further explored in my book, The Golden Apple:  Changing the Structure of Civilization – Volume 1 (Africa World Press).  Available on

[1] Excerpted from Edgar J. Ridley, The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization (Africa World Press) 2008.
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 ©   Edgar J. Ridley 2015

An area of study, called Cognitive Semiotics, decides how people behave and make decisions.  When we study the different disciplines and ransack the literature of the world, it is obvious that symbols and their effect on the neurological processes of the brain are the deciding factor in people behavior.

Racism is a mental illness.  Several decades ago, a group of African-American psychiatrists attempted to have it so designated by the American Psychiatric Association, but were rebuffed.  The response from the APA is that racism is a norm in American society, and therefore cannot be deemed a mental illness.

Racism is terrorism. That has to be understood. The phenomenon of racial and religious terrorism have taken over as the most serious problems that we face in the world today. It has affected every discipline including the economy, the behavioral sciences, and every area and activity of human life.

We have to go back to prehistory to understand that Homo sapiens has undergone a neurological misadventure that was the beginning of symbolic thought and behavior for humanity.

UNESCO’s 1989 study of The General History of Africa chronologized the effect of symbol systems and myth on humanity.  Former Director General of UNESCO, Amadou Mahtar M’Bow, stated, “All kinds of myths and prejudice conceal the true history of Africa from the world at large.  African societies are looked upon as societies that have no history in spite of the important work done by such pioneers as Leo Frobenius, Maurice Delafosse and Arturo Labriola.” (I:vii) The study makes clear the effect that symbol systems have on the behavior of individuals – as noted by Volume 1’s Editor, J. Ki-Zerbo, “Myth governed history and was at the same time responsible for justifying it.” (I:16) He went on to state, “The mythical approach in fact is common to all peoples. Every history starts off as religious history, but sometimes the mythical current overwhelms a nation’s attitudes, opinions or ideology.  Under the Nazi regime, for instance, the myth of race, substantiated in rituals that went back into the remote past, led mankind into one of the most terrible periods of all its history.” (I:18)

The term race is a social myth, a social construct.  There is no scientific evidence of race at all.  The General History of Africa study concluded that the term race has done untold harm to populations around the world.  When we understand that race is a superstition and a myth derived from symbolic thought, it correlates with the fact that racism, a mental illness, is a symbolic behavior that must be overcome and replaced with a Symptomatic Thought Process®, which produces symptomatic behavior.  This concept is explained in my most recent book, The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization – Volume 1 (Africa World Press).  Mental illness is a refusal to face reality. Thinking symbolically is a refusal to face reality by mythologizing historical facts and events.  America has been a master of that activity.

For instance, when it comes to anthropology, American scholarship mimics the point of view of European anthropologist, C.G. Seligman.  When he realized that Africans were not only the first humans but also created the first civilization, he invented a mythical race called “Hamite”, which race was supposed to have created all the great events in Africa and were responsible for all great civilizations in Africa.  That is an example of mythologizing facts.  There is no such group as the Hamites.  It has been proven to be a meaningless term by scholars (see J.H. Greenberg). The term was created solely by Seligman and continued by people who could not face the fact of a Black, African population, not only being the first humans on the face of this earth but the progenitors of the first civilization.

This propensity to mythologize facts is caused by symbolic thinking and behavior that must be discarded.  Unfortunately, these anthropological misnomers have been embedded in the world’s educational systems.  These prejudices have been used to justify white supremacy overtly in America and generally in the rest of the world.   The result is America’s police forces murdering Black men, or the recent massacre in South Carolina.

Racism in the United States is the worst in the world due to the ability of those Americans who classify themselves as white to manipulate symbol systems that colonize the neurological processes of people of color.  A 2004 study by the National Research Council on the Critical Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health and Late Life stated that “African Americans are viewed differently than other racial and ethnic groups. They have the fewest options of any group in the United States.”

This shows how African-Americans, and indeed, African people generally, are treated worse not only in America, but are looked at differently but globally.  Having traveled worldwide, Africans and African-Americans unfortunately are the most disrespected people on the face of this earth. That is due to the symbolic stereotyping by people who classify themselves as white.

Because of symbolic manipulation, racism has gotten worse as the decades go by.   One of the reasons for this increased outward show of racism is because of the changing demographics, where shortly the U.S. population will be majority people of color:  African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics.  This demographic phenomenon has driven American to increasingly employ the methods used by apartheid South Africa, such as inventing racial categories and attempting to cause conflict among groups.



Edgar J. Ridley is Chairman of his own global consulting firm, Edgar J. Ridley & Associates.  He is the author of The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization – Volume 1 (Africa World Press), which is a study of symbolism and its impact on civilizations.  The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization – Volume 2 is in press.  It is a study of the evidence of symptomatic behavior.

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Edgar J. Ridley 2015

Church services were resumed today at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. church in South Carolina.  Unfortunately, we have yet to recognize the futility of metaphors that are typical in bible worship.  Emotionally, it may provide a short term feel-good for the parishioners.  However, the metaphor of Jesus is not going to solve the problem for Blacks.  There has to be a global behavior change. All religion is mythology and superstition.  Those superstitions that keep humans religious will continue to colonize the minds of humanity with continued racism and religious conflict globally.   We still don’t get it.  These metaphors have their origin in symbolic behavior.

With this faith in metaphors and magic, the population of people who classify themselves as white are provided more impetus to treat Blacks as less than human.  As such, the continual genocide on black people will continue.   We need only recognize how religion has been used as a tool to colonize the neurological processes of black people, and we feel saddened, knowing that the racist, terroristic attitude against Black people will continue generation after generation.

Symbolic behavior must be eliminated.

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Rachel Dolezal  and the Myth of Race

©  Edgar J. Ridley 2015

Rachel Dolezal’s identification of herself as Black or African-American has caused quite a firestorm.  That is not unusual, for there is a global obsession with race, certainly highlighted here in America.  Even Dolezal was too confused to properly articulate her rationale for self-identifying as Black.

The reaction among Americans, both Black and those who classify themselves as white, has been in line with the Western educational paradigm regarding population classifications.  It is striking that although Dolezal teaches Africana Studies in an institute of higher education, she does not understand the scientific dynamics of the classification of race among the world’s peoples.  Nevertheless, given the racism inherent within the academy, we should not be surprised at the outpouring of confusion to this incident.

Science has proven beyond doubt that the term ‘race’ is a social construct that has no biological significance.  In other words, there is no such thing as race.  Humans originated in Africa.  It is only the consequence of environment that has caused minute differences among the populations of the world.  Rachel Dolezal is justified by either calling herself African-American or Black, since everyone has African ancestors.

Indeed, people who classify themselves as white are appalled by Dolezal’s choices because of the ubiquitous practice of symbolic thinking.  The consequences of allowing Dolezal’s claims to stand unchallenged would mean admitting the African origins of humanity, at minimum.  Symbolic thinking, informed by ignorance, superstition, and mythology encourages denial of these facts.

It does not help that the scientific community continues to mythologize reality.  Dr. Francis Collins, currently Director of the National Institutes of Health, delivered a lecture at the University of Virginia Medical School.  At the time of the lecture, Collins was head of the National Human Genome Research Institute.  In an unusual opening, Collins prefaced his lecture with multiple confessions of trepidation at his pending message:  that all people in the world have their origins in Africa and are in fact African.  Evidenced by the question and answer period that followed, the audience, primarily consisting of those who classify themselves as white, did not receive that information well.   When I asked Dr. Collins his opinion on the request by the Association of Black Psychologist to consider racism a mental illness, not only did he express irritation, he had no cogent response.  In subsequent interviews, Dr. Collins has underscored that even though race does not exist scientifically, the continual practice of racial classification should remain intact for now.   It is not surprising then, that the NIH under Collins’ leadership was accused of failure to provide African-American researchers grant funding.

The late French scholar, Jacques Barzun, stated “Race is a myth which all intelligent people should discard. Yet the quarrel about race is certainly not between the uneducated, on the one hand, and the cultured elite on the other. Intelligence and education do not prevent a man from holding fast to race-prejudice” [1]   Indeed, the word Black has far-reaching superstitious connotations for those who insist on thinking symbolically.  Most recently, we now have something called a Black Dog Syndrome suggesting that black dogs are negatively stereotyped as overtly vicious.   The symbolic view of black, as applied to people, persists in science.  As noted by no less than the National Research Council of the National Academies, “Americans still see African Americans as somehow different from other racial and ethnic groups. African Americans have the fewest ethnic options of any group in the United States.”  [2]

When explaining her self-identification, Rachel Dolezal should have positioned her decision in scientific reality.  There is an ignorance in the racist attitudes of individuals who classify themselves as white who want to maintain this absurd superstitious attitude of racial classification.  Our educational institutions perpetuate this myth of race, which only continues to cause friction, confusion and unrest among the world’s populations.  It is time for people to get over this myth of race that has caused so much damage in the world today and has denigrated civilization as a whole.

[1] Jacques Barzun, Race: A Study in Superstition, p. 5.  Harper & Row 1937.

[2] Norman Anderson, et al., Ed., National Research Council of the National Academies, Critical Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health in Late Life –2004, P. 48


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The Key to Solving the Ebola Crisis: Behaving Symptomatically is the Key

Edgar J. Ridley ©2014

 It is generally asserted that Africans’ superstitious thought processes and behavior patterns make it difficult for many diseases to be controlled. However, the Ebola crisis presents a special danger because of its potential high mortality rate and the danger of global spreading. It is important to note that this propensity to think symbolically extends beyond Africans to other populations, who also display that symbolic thought process that initiates superstitious behavior. The symbol systems that produce symbolic behavior also produce superstition and mythology, which has caused widespread inefficiencies in solving not only diseases but business problems as well.

Our research suggests that the historical treatment of root cause analysis by medicine, non-medical academia, and business is incorrect. Recent research compels us to note that the labeling of a patient as asymptomatic is a misnomer. The common belief that focusing on the symptoms of any problem distracts us from getting to the root cause is inaccurate, leading to a delay in analysis and treatment. As is consistently being noted in the handling of the Ebola crisis on the African continent, medical experts are confusing signs and symptoms by suggesting that some patients are asymptomatic, until it’s too late.  Indeed, due to our latest technological discovery systems, we can detect symptoms long before the patient presents physical evidence, but it requires an avant-garde awareness by the medical establishment. We call this a willingness to employ symptomatic thinking (see Basch). [1]

The general assumption of the superiority of the symbolic over the symptomatic has caused considerable human error and needless delay in diagnosis. This is an attitude that posits that dealing with the symptom actually makes matters worse. This is a misunderstanding of the phenomenon of symptoms.   All scientists agree: we either behave symbolically or symptomatically.  The problems of the world come from symbolic activity, leading to the wide misuse and misinterpretation of symbolic interaction over symptomatic interaction.  If we are to survive as a population in today’s world, we must change our behavior from symbolic to symptomatic.


[1] Ethan Basch, M.D., The Missing Voice of Patients in Drug-Safety Reporting, The New England Journal of Medicine, March 11, 2010, p. 865-869.

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