CHARLOTTESVILLE, CONFEDERATE STATUES AND THE DEEPER DIMENSIONS OF SYMBOLISM

 

 © 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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