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Sunday, 3 December 2017

Extended Project Qualification

In Sixth Form I did an EPQ and got a B for it, which naturally I was pretty happy about. An EPQ is an extended research project you can do where you pick a topic and research about it. I was so excited and pumped about mine I wrote the entire essay within a few hours, and then just spent the remainder of the sessions editing or working on other things. I did mine based around Philosophy because I was planning on doing a Philosophy degree (still not entirely sure why, but I didn't follow through so it clearly wasn't right). I was pretty proud of this piece of writing; probably a lot of it is nonsense and I probably don't agree with everything written now as this was written in late 2014 and early 2015 (aged 17). It's fiction based and probably not as academic as some others were, but then I wanted it to sound like me, you know? Something interesting and engaging as well as intellectually put. I'll put the full essay below if you fancy giving it a read, as well as the bibliography and appendices. It's written in a Socratic-dialogue form (I got inspired by The Republic) as opposed to an actual essay so yah hope you maybe enjoy it?

How does society stop us from fulfilling our dreams?

My aim in this text is to present a fictional, Socratic-style dialogue between two fictional characters, Zara and Denise. Zara is a well-read girl, with an interest in Philosophy. Denise is argumentative and seeks to challenge Zara’s concepts. I have used Zara as a vehicle to express my own viewpoints, and Denise represents the counter arguments.

Plato’s Republic inspired this dissertation. In this work, a discussion of morality, justice and virtue in society commences between Socrates and his acquaintances, such as Glaucon[1]. Zara takes on the philosopher’s role, whilst Denise takes on the student’ role.

The key theme is the nature of human power; used by some groups of people to control others, and how ultimately power reflects human nature - in the sense of their natural inclination to behave and think in a certain way. I suggest classifying humans into three categories: the elite, the dreamers and the practicals. The classification of humans into three archetypes was inspired by Freud’s theory of the id, ego and superego[2]. This metaphysical approach to human behaviour forms a philosophical basis for how we behave and think, and can be applied to Psychology, Science and Politics, as is the application of Philosophy. Marx theory of bourgeois and proletariat, and the division of labour between each class also influenced the classification of archetypes[3].

I have devised the dissertation into four sections which link to this primary idea of power, in order to clarify the entire dissertation.

Section 1: Dreams and ambitions
Denise begins with the question of somebody she knows going to university to study a subject that they do not particularly care for. This opens up the notion of people doing things out of duty rather than pleasure.
I use the metaphor of dreams as a basis for everybody starting off as a dreamer, and then a small group of people (called the fat cats) having their dreams turned to nightmares and becoming greedy, so wanting to control the dreamers. The fat cats then wish to use the dreamers for their own selfish desires of greed, so turn them into practicals, made to conform to their demands, and thus giving up on their primary ambitions and dreams.

Section 2: the class system
This section shows an application of my dreamer theory, inspired by Marxist Philosophy. Zara tells Denise about Marx theory; class struggle and exploitation of the workers and the relation this has to my theory of the dreamer.

Section 3: consensual reality
This discusses the notion of whether or not we can take for granted or accept whatever we see, as if the fat cats control everything, how do we know for sure that what we know can be valid?

Section 4: religion in Africa
Christianity played a major role during the slave trade in stripping the Africans of their native cultures and religions[4]. This is due to Europeans not giving credit to ideas from anywhere other than the West, by ignoring the role of Ancient African and Oriental myths. This links to consensual and subjective reality, as Western knowledge is subjective to the West.

Section 1: Dreams and Ambitions
Denise approaches Zara, puzzled by something.
“Yesterday I met somebody who told me that they were off to university to study Physics, yet had no interest in Physics or going to university. They felt that they were doing it out of obligation, rather than desire.”
“They feel as if studying Physics is their duty; according to Kant morality stems out of duty[5]. A person goes to university with the intention of getting a degree, in order to become well educated. Whether or not they have a raw passion for Physics does not matter in this instance.”
“But then what would be the point of going to university? Shouldn’t a person go in order to further their interest in something, rather than do it out of obligation?”
“Well again, this depends on how you view it. In a dutiful sense, they are doing the right thing. Physics is a highly respectable degree, and with that they will be able to get a very good job, and earn a decent salary.”
“But if Physics is not their passion or interest, would that not just make them miserable?”
“Well see, a utilitarian would say that the most important thing in life is maximising happiness, and that it’s better to be happy then to do something out of obligation. If studying Physics at university would make this person happy, then it would be the right thing to do according to a utilitarian[6].”
“But I said that they have no interest in Physics.”
“What do they have an interest in?”
“They are a keen drummer, and play in a band.”
“And they enjoy drumming?”
“Yes, very much, but they said that it won't make them any money.”
“This depends on one's principle in life. If your principle in life is to make money, then this would be the correct thing to do. If their principle is to be happy, and playing drums makes them happy, then this would be the correct thing to do.”
“Ok, so what if you wanted to do both?”
“How do you mean?”
“What if you are a dreamer and become showered with money? Like in mainstream culture, JK Rowling. Poor woman, with her own dream – but she has to pay rent.”
“See, when a dreamer pursues their dreams, the money will follow. Yes, Rowling and many like her became wealthy, but this is a result of pursuing their dream, rather than initially pursuing wealth. If you follow your dreams then wealth will follow.”
“What if the dream is to make money?”
“But you still must take actions in order to make money. You still have to use skills; the entrepreneur uses their silver tongue and cunning ability to get to where they are. Without a skill, a passion, or a drive, initially, you will not make any money. That is why is it always important to do something you love.”
“But what's the point of doing what you love if it doesn't make any money? Like Philosophy. I know you like Philosophy, but what can you do with it?”
“See, this is a classic question raised by someone with the nature of practicality.”
“When considering what will make you a living, you are automatically thinking about practicality. What will make me money, earn me a good salary and allow me to live a plentiful life with my family? This is how many people think, bound to duty. It stops them from pursuing something out of love and passion, because they are taught that they do not have any other options.”
“But isn't it good to be practical? What's the other alternative?”
“Let us imagine that there are three types of people in this world. The first is the dreamer. Everyone is born to dream. Not dreaming in the sense of the subconscious mind, but dreaming in the sense of ambition. Children have an inquisitive mind, eager to learn about the world around them. Wittgenstein said that 'Philosophers ask childish questions'[7]. This is true; the nature of the philosopher is to be inquisitive and open to the world around them, like a child.”
“So what happens when you stop dreaming?”
“You wake up and are forced to face consensual reality. Some people never wake up. They continue to dream, because they have the drive. This comes from self-determination[8]. Although of course, the situation and environment one is in also has an impact[9]. However, not everyone who is self-determined has positive intentions. This brings me on to the second type of person; the fat cat. The fat cat started off as a dreamer also, because all humans are born equal, as a blank slate[10]. Locke called this a tabula rasa[11].
The fat cat becomes greedy, and starts to yearn for power. Their dream becomes a nightmare, because it is clouded with greed and self-interest. They become jealous of the dreamer, and want to stop the dreamer from dreaming by waking them up. The fat cat is the one that rules the world. They influence the dreamers, making the vast majority of dreamers wake up and turn into the third type of person, whom the majority become: the practical.”
“And the nature of the practical is to perform tasks out of duty?”
“It's more complicated then that. The fat cats ask themselves, how do we stop these dreamers from dreaming? How do we give them a consensual reality that they can all agree on? Firstly, the fat cats are the greediest, which mean that they are the richest, and use money as power. The fat cats devise a set of rules that will enable the dreamers to stop dreaming, and concern themselves with the nature of making money. This will make the dreamers wake up, and stop dreaming, and be concerned with making money. The reason that money is the most important is that the fat cats love money. Remember, they are greedy. They need the dreamers to make money for them, in order to keep the system going on. If everybody is dreaming, no one will want to be concerned with the practical matter of making money, and so the fat cats will end up being broke."

Denise ponders on this, slightly confused.
“Surely there must be a reason for the fat cats to turn the dreamers to practicals instead of a need for money?"
“The fat cats want to remain in power. Greed stems out of a desire for power, and in our system money is something which guarantees power.”
“How would this be put into practice?"
“The fat cat goes to the education system, where the dreamer, as a child, learns the basis of how to operate in society. As the child grows older they are taught that the most important thing in society is to get a job, to be financially secure[12]. This will result in them paying tax, paying bills, paying mortgage, paying all sorts of needs and necessities that result in keeping the fat cats in power, because most of the money goes to them. Your friend had a dream of becoming a drummer, but became swayed by the system of keeping the fat cats wealthy, and so abandoned their dreams and instead is becoming a product of the system.”
“But what of the dreamer?”
“The fat cats do not teach the masses to think for themselves, because this would equate to liberation from all that we take for granted, leading us to return to our dreams. The dreamer is the one that continues to purse what they want. But of course, this must be equated with being in a specific environment that will nurture the dreamer. If one dreams of becoming an athlete but ends up a financial advisor, or a manager's consultant, this is because they did not have the drive to pursue their dreams, but also did not have the opportunity.”
“But hang on Zara, what you're saying is highly flawed. What if someone does not know what they want? Or what if as they grow up, other things become more important, like having to provide for their family? Can’t their dreams change?”
“The nature of the human is to be different, hence why I have simplistically divided humans into three separate categories. As the dreamers grow older they forget the dreams that they had as a child and become uncertain of what they wish to do in the future, thus become practical and end up in a job, which may not be their true calling, but will financially stabilize them.
With reference to your other question; yes, as you grow older other things can become more important, I do not dispute that. And in a sense, these can be functional institutions that stop people from pursuing their primary ambitions. For example, for women, it can be said that the family was a type of institution that prevented them from pursuing higher careers, back in the 1970s and 1960s when feminism was just kicking off[13]. Yes, love is important, but can love also be a sense of imprisonment in this context, from pursuing a fulfilling career and being more than a house wife[14]? But in the wider context, yes, as someone grows older, their life choices can change, and may need a job for stability rather than passion, in order to make sure that they are financially secure and can provide for their families.”
“Are there particular jobs? What about a profession like a doctor? The child who has a love of science, and dreams of getting a job as a scientist? Doing a job that they love and making money?”
“When one pursues their dreams out of passion, money is no longer the objective. Passion is what drives somebody to pursue his or her dream. Somebody can have a passion for science, and pursues medicine. Another may become a doctor out of duty, because it is a well-respected position, or their parents wish them to become a doctor. When one makes money out of a sense of duty, it becomes a job. Many enjoy their jobs, but it may not be what they are truly passionate about. On the other hand, when one pursues their dreams, and makes money out of doing something they are passionate about, even if the amount is less, it will give them ultimate pleasure[15].”
“From what you are saying, you seem to dismiss practical people as merely passive to what they learn to be their duties, and dreamers as the only ones worthy of joy.”
“Not in the slightest. Humans are different, as I said, and we need everybody, because everyone has their own calling in society. The fat cats live in a nightmare, where their only pursuit of self-fulfilment stems from greed, holding on to money and power. But they are needed, because society needs leaders, no matter how corrupt, and it is not human nature to live without structure, and order, of some sort.”
“But on what basis can you propose that?”
“Even the anarchists follow a structure; even though they have no government, they govern themselves, and still follow certain rules and functions within themselves[16]. Thus they still function in society; still have hospitals and higher institutions, still carry out their shopping. Humans are naturally inclined towards some sort of order, as social psychology experiments like Milgram and Zimbardo have shown[17]. In the words of Milgram; obedience is as basic an element in the structure of social life as one can point to; Some system of authority is a requirement of all communal living, and it is only the man dwelling in isolation who is not forced to respond, through defiance or submission, to the commands of others [18].”
“I see. So you speak of anarchism as still requiring innate need for human order, despite being an order-less type of living. What about communism? That is a higher form of anarchism, essentially. Can Marxism not provide an explanation as to  why some abandon their dreams?”
“Yes, and this will bring us to our next topic.”

Section 2: the class system
Denise is curious yet still puzzled. So far, she has understood why many abandon their dreams. She learns that there are several functions in society, which become filled out by different types of people.

“So Denise, The purpose of government, as stated by Hume, is to keep people on the paths of justice[19]. In terms of class the fat cats represent the elite, the dreamers the middle class, and the practicals the working class. The workers work; they have abandoned their dreams in order to do a job. The dreamers make a living already doing what they enjoy. This is why the practicals earn money to be able to do what they enjoy, at their own leisure, but cannot make a living out of.”
"But Zara, aren't you just pigeonholing people into certain categories? How can one be defined as the role of their trade?"
"It is part of human nature to place each other into certain categories, give each other certain labels. We have labels for music taste, for jobs, for all aspects that concern human nature. Labelling theory is a psychological essence of human nature[20].”
“And how does this regulate within the class system?”
“The class system is about economics, primarily[21]. Who controls the money? The elite. The elite have fallen slaves to greed, which is one of the seven deadly sins. Like Lady Macbeth falling to her selfish desires of evil and wrongdoing. She is a perfect example of somebody with bad intentions whose dream did become a nightmare. She sought power. Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely[22]. Yet she ended up dead, because of her own vile thoughts and actions. It’s karma. This is why even if the fat cats’ dream is for money, because their intentions are selfish rather than virtuous, it does not work out positively. The elite need a system in which they can keep the flow of money going, and all they have are a set of dreamers-”
“Sorry to interrupt, but how do practicals relate to Marxism?”
“In Marxist philosophy, the workers are the ones who sustain the means of production, and the elite are the ones who own[23]. This works in a laissez-faire free market economy, as it keeps the money being produced as long as products are being sold[24]. The elite are happy, because they are staying rich. The practicals are happy, because they feel a sense of duty being fulfilled, and believe that this is all there is. Like in Plato’s caves, they believe that all that exists are the shadows, and that there is no need to turn around and see the sun[25].
Marx said that the workers, or the practicals, must not be content with 'so little', and resort to over-throwing the elite and ruling the land, resulting in all living as dreamers[26]. The problem with Marxism is that it goes against human nature as it imagines that human beings can live in a harmonious utopia, but this is not possible, as this would require human beings to be perfect beings with no flaws. In practice, Marxism has not worked to the fullest satisfaction, in the same way that capitalism has. Capitalism accepts that there are a few people who wish to control, and own, the means of production. Perhaps we need an improvement of capitalism, not an advocacy of communism.”
“I disagree. I don’t think capitalism acknowledges human nature at all. Capitalism causes inequality between the rich and the poor, and views people as commodities[27]. Communism and socialism are systems where people are more than just social commodities used to feed the system that is determined by the fat cats. Communism just hasn't been properly put into practice yet.”
“But why is that? Lenin had his chance[28]-”
“He died”
“Stalin had his chance[29]-”
“He was a tyrant, a dictator.”
“Like Mao, and Kim Ill-Sung[30]
“They're not proper communists though! A proper communist believes in the people. Like Fidel Castro. Is he not a good example?”
 “Arguably, Cuba is a socialist country with elements of capitalist ideology within it. Communism has not succeeded fully because it ignores human nature, and the fact that once someone holds a key position of power all morals fade away. This is because, as mentioned, power corrupts, and once somebody holds a position of power, exactly like in Zimbardo’s social psychology experiment or in terms of Stalin and Mao as dictators, they abuse that power. This is just human nature.”
“You keep talking about human nature. What do you mean exactly?”
“The nature of humans is not perfection. Utopia requires perfection, but human beings are creatures with flaws, hence why philosophers can only devise concepts of the human being. We all create our own subjective realities just by living, but in the broader scheme of reality there are no definitive answers.”

Section 3: consensual reality

Denise takes a minute to pause and allow this information to digest.
“So Zara, you propose that the elite tell the rest of us what to do. They control what we think and believe, and you use the analogy of them having fallen from their dreams into a nightmare? Is that correct?”
“That's right.”
“So what about the nature of reality? We perceive whatever we are presented with to be true, that is correct?”
“That is indeed.”
“Well how do we know what we are seeing is true? How do the dreamers know that they have been forced to awaken from their dreams, and turned into practical beings? You say they wake up and face consensual reality. What is that?”
“Consensual reality is whatever is believed by the majority. We can consensually agree that the sun will rise tomorrow, based on the principle of induction[31]. The elite create a set of guidelines for the masses to follow. The masses accept all that they are told which forms the basis for consensual reality. This can separate those who dream, and then rationalise and question, from those who passively accept. Practicals, or the working class, are too busy needing to fulfil their duties of making a living and taking care of their families that they do not have time to question what they are being told. And this is fine, because it just ties in with human nature.”
“Yes Zara, but you haven't answered my question. On what basis does reality become consensual? Surely we are just creating our own definitions of reality, due to perception? I mean what about the disease of Ebola? That has been in Africa for months, killing thousands, but has only been acknowledged recently in the West as being out of control[32].”
“See, perception shows us that different schools of thought exist in different parts of the world. This is why context is important. In the West, Western ideas and thoughts are most important. Eastern and African ideas become ignored.”
“But what about reality? Consensual reality.”
“Well consider this; reality doesn’t exist. It is an illusion.”
“That doesn’t make any sense Zara. How can you say reality doesn’t exist? Besides, don’t our senses pick up everything?”
“Well, that depends. Empiricism states that everything comes from sensory experience[33]. But I cannot experience your reality, so either one of us cannot know whether or not we really exist, or if we are just in our own realm of solipsism[34]. In rational metaphysics, reality is absolute[35]. The physical world exists, operating along the nature of causality[36]. This is where Hume and Descartes differ. Descartes said that we cannot be sure that anything exists, apart from ourselves, hence the famous cogito ergo sum, I think therefore I am[37]. Hume, on the other hand, dismissed this scepticism of the natural world by claiming that we create simple ideas of the physical world due to simple innate impressions, deterministically linked through cause and effect[38].
In a consensual reality, empiricism works, because humans possess the same senses, and so scientifically have been proven to have the same types of experiences. So if we get stabbed, we will die. If we cry, we will produce tears. Humans are biologically and chemically made up of the same sorts of materials, it is our experiences which change how we interpret our own realities. So consensual reality and subjective reality both run parallel against each other.”
“Hence why no one believes the same thing?”
“Of course. Within consensual reality, people have their own subjective beliefs. Take the illuminati conspiracy theory. The illuminati are essentially the elite, for want of a metaphor, and their purpose is to sustain power whilst the practicals produce. There is no large mystery to it really; all that I covered earlier on is pretty much what the illuminati theory is. The issue is, many who come up with these theories choose to be ignorant of logical matters. The illuminati being a devil worshipping group who people sell their souls to is a euphemism for the elite simply being the bourgeois class who care about money, and power. Yet for some this is seen as literal, rather than metaphorical.”
“So people believe whatever they are presented with?”
“When looking from a post-modern angle, ideas become a social constructs[39]. Consensual reality itself is a human construct. We are led to believe and follow certain truths, without question. For example, girls learn that sleeping around makes them sluts. This is an opinion, and since definitive truths don't exist, this can easily be questioned subjectively. It is simply the elite, who are predominantly male, taking an idea and using it to control a group of people, who are in this sense, women.”
“This is where feminism was born?”
“Feminism, sceptical enquiry – all essentially bore out of the 17th century Enlightenment in Europe[40]. We take social norms for granted without question, such as the concept of bad language. I am not going to ask you to swear at me, Denise, but consider why I didn't ask? Words are a string of consonants and vowels, and humans evoke positive or negative meaning onto words. Hence why I didn't ask you to say a 'bad' word to me, for the sake of this dialogue. But notice how in school, one can be penalised for using a 'bad' word, simply as a release of tension, and not to curse another person.”
“That never actually occurred to me, Zara.”
“Well now you know, and must consider. Socrates said that we don't know anything, and that it is important to examine your life. The difference between the dreamer and the practical is that the practical must get on with their duties, so they don’t have time to examine what is going on. Just like the working class in Marx theory are busy working, in order to sustain the elite, and have not got any time to question the world around them because they must feed their families. The dreamer is inquisitive, and eager to observe the nature of the world around them. They will not just passively accept something to be the absolute.”
“What about religion? Are religious ideas not believed to be absolute?”
“Ah, Denise, you have entered into one of the most controversial human constructs, and I am glad. This is definitely a subject worth discussing.”

Section 4: religion in Africa
Denise is intrigued by what she has learnt so far, and Zara too is learning, about articulating her opinions. As no ideas can ever be definitive, all one can do is critically analyse the previous argument, and from this create their own concepts.

“So Denise, as religion is such as large subject, I will focus on Christianity, namely used as a form of enslavement in Africa[41].”
“How could Christianity and Africa possibly be linked? Did Christianity not come from the Middle East?”
“Now it is interesting that you say that, Denise, because that is widely believed. However, pick up that Bible over there, the King James Version[42]. Now turn to Genesis 2:13, and read it[43].”
Denise picks up the King James Bible, English in its translation. She reads.
“And the name of the second river is Gihon, the same it is that compaseth with the whole land of Ethiopia[44].”
“Where is Ethiopia, Denise?”
“Does this not show that the Bible is based in Africa?”
“But it's a King James Version, and King James was an English Monarch!”
“Turn to Genesis 12:10 and read[45].”
“And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt[46]-”
“Stop there Denise”
“So how could the Bible have been based in Africa if it is European?”
“Europe did not produce a religion[47]. In 1482 Leonardo Da Vinci was commissioned to paint a picture of Jesus and the 12 Disciples, and that picture was carried on the slave ship to Africa[48].”
“But if earlier on you were describing the illuminati as a conspiracy theory, how do I know that what you just said, from whichever source you took it, is too a conspiracy?”
“Well, if we apply my theory of dreamers, fat cats and practicals to this context, we can say that the West are the fat cats and the Africans are collective dreamers. As the West control whatever is perceived to be the consensual knowledge of the Africans, then the West can deceive the Africans in even the epistemic of their own History!”
“Yes, but how does this relate to your prior Theological example Zara?”
“The Africans were the first people to walk this Earth; the first bones originated 1.8 million years ago in Tanzania[49]. Thus they could have created all of our initial concepts concerning Philosophy, Religion, and Science. This was then taken from the Greeks, after the conquering of Egypt by Alexander the Greek in which Egyptian texts became re-written as Greek, and were found later by the Arabs[50].”
“So what the Africans thought to be true, has been tainted over time by the Europeans due to Western Imperialism since the fall of previously existing African empires[51]. Thus in terms of slavery, the Europeans used skin colour to show a higher status. They wanted to be associated with being God-like, as when God and the oppressor are one, the two cannot be distinguished[52]. We can apply this to feminism as well; when it was consensually believed that men were superior to women, women would associate themselves with being of a lower social status and thus saw men as superior to them and women as being inferior. Simone De Beauvoir made the claim that women are ‘the Other’, inspired by Hegelian Philosophy[53].”
“So in the context of Imperialism, Africans are ‘the Other’ and become dominated by the Europeans, hence the information that is known about them will be largely incorrect and seek to subordinate them as below the Europeans?”

Denise ponders on this thought for a moment.
 “Back to what you said earlier; who were the 12 disciples and where did they get the name Jesus Christ from?”
“The 12 disciples were 12 criminals from a local jail asked to sit in as disciples[54]. The story of Jesus being born on the 25th of December is derived from the story of Horus, the Egyptian God, born of the virgin mother Isis[55]. Krishna was also born of the virgin Devaka[56]. The Greek demigod Perseus was born of the virgin Danae (12). The god Attis was born of the virgin Nana[57]. In Ancient Kemet, known today as Egypt, there was a story of the God Osar whose spirit impregnated his virgin wife Aset, and gave birth to the sun God Heru on December 25th 4000 years ago[58]. All the virgin births I just mentioned giving birth to Gods are just re-telling of stories told coming from the same date about the same thing. Thus the story of Christ is not a unique one, and has been repeated constantly in varying cultural mythologies.”
“Are you posing the largely controversial question of Jesus not being a real person at all?”
“Not quite, just that the prior knowledge believed by the Africans about their ancestral heritage was tainted by the Europeans hence there is no way of knowing who is telling the truth. Though we can look at the provided evidence and make inferences. Turn to Matthew 2:13[59].”
“And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord apeareth in a dream, saying Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and fleeth into Egypt[60]-”
“What colour were the Egyptians Denise?”
“There’s no need to be patronizing. Dark-skinned, because they were African.”
“So would this not make Jesus a person of dark skin, if he had to blend in with the Egyptians?”
“Well yeah but-”
“Turn to Revalation 1:14[61].”
“His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were a flame of fire, and his feet unto fine brass as if they burnt in a furnace[62].”
“What happens, Denise, when you burn something?”
“It goes darker.”
“So according to The Bible, which the Europeans pre-Enlightenment worshipped as a holy text, what did the characters look like?”
“They would have been dark skinned.”
“Does the Bible not say that God created man in his image?”
“Well yeah.”
“So would this not make God of the Bible a black man?”
“Based on that case of deductive logic, yes. But we still don’t know for sure.”
“Is this not an example of the European elite pretending that Jesus was white, in order to enslave the Africans, who are in this sense collectively dreamers? If God and the oppressor appear to be the same?”
“Ok, just because the Bible says that Christianity came from Africa, why should I believe that? Since when was the Bible a valid source of information?”
“The Roman Emperor Constantine was actually wondering how to create a religion which everyone could follow, and when he suggested using the story of Heru, the African priest Aryas criticised this by saying no one would believe an old story from Egypt[63]! What they did was take the sun God from the West, Hesos, and the sun God from the East, Kristos, and create the name 'Jesus Christ'[64]. They based his character on an old healer in Kemet, called Appolonius of Tyana[65].”
“But how on earth did this become widely believed?”
“This story ended up being the one followed by the Catholic Church. King James in 1604 commissioned 50 men to pull together all existing biblical references[66]. That is probably why they all have African origins; all of the texts would have come from Africa[67]! Judaism was founded along the river Nile, which is actually representative of Moses separating the river in the Bible[68].”
“But surely people would not have believed this? How can someone just believe something that they have been told?”
“Weren’t we just talking about consensual reality being controlled by the elite? Anyway, before the European Enlightenment, all sort of stories were used by the people in order to make sense of the world. In Psychology there is a term used called conditioning; anyone can be conditioned to produce a response[69]. In this instance, the response produced was viewing religion as a sacred canopy[70] the Europeans and the Africans were both conditioned to believe that Christianity was a doctrine in which to base their ethical virtues and livelihood on. In terms of Philosophy; Socrates travelled to Egypt, and Aristotle went to Egypt and said that 'Egyptians and Ethiopians are black' and that they had woolly hair, like Jesus in the Bible[71].”
“Ok Zara, but how does this all tie in with the initial idea, of how society stops us from fulfilling our dreams? I understand that the fat cats here are the Europeans…”
“And the Africans are dreamers as a whole, a collective. European society and the values of that society, stemming from Christianity, took away the values and customs of traditional African society[72]. Europe is the elite, thanks to the work of Imperialism, one can argue that the Africans have become the practicals, in the context of having their core values and beliefs taken away from them, and replaced with new ones. (This is not to be confused with the Marxist class struggle explanation discussed earlier on.) Such is the work of Imperialism; in France the Algerians fought for a right to independence and self-determination[73]. The colonies each strove to have their freedom from Western rule, and using Africa wholly as an example, the dreams and ambitions that the people had has become reduced to poverty, corruption and a lack of education, to the point where they do not even know their own God.”

Denise, though somewhat sceptical, is fascinated by what she has come to learn. A discovery that Western Philosophy could originate from African regions such as Egypt, that even the Bible itself was set in Africa, and the Europeans had not even realised!


“So Denise, let us summarise all that we have discussed. Going back to your friend, how would you apply what we talked about earlier to that?”
“Well, it seems that my friend represents a number of youths who have dreams, yet as they grow older become suppressed by the fat cats, due to the nature of our economic system. This is also sociological; in society we are told what is acceptable and what isn’t, such as using bad language or dressing in a certain way.”
“And what of your friend?”
“They chose the path that society had planned out for them, rather than following their heart and choosing to fulfil their full potential.”
“Exactly. And why would you say that this is?”
“We are presented to believe whatever it is that we perceive to be consensual reality, in terms of societal norms of beliefs. After all, it was once believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth, and that the Earth was flat. I’m sure a hundred years ago Africans never would have dreamed of the discovery that the first human beings came from their home.”
“Indeed Denise.”
“Our perception changes with whichever instance or situation that we’re in, or whatever information we have access to. Somebody from a working class background may never be able to experience the kind of life that the elite will experience, and may never possess the kind of power that involves controlling what the masses believe, and how they think.”
“But of course, the best thing a person can do is to think for themself, due to self-determination[74].”
“Yep Zara, thinking for yourself gives you the power to continue to pursue their dreams. So even though society does have the power to stop us from fulfilling our dreams, because of whichever position we may be in, and because a lot of our fate is decided for us by whoever is on top, if we are in the correct environment, with encouraging parents and a driven mindset, we can still achieve what we want.”
“That sounds like a clear verdict. The fat cats determine the information we are presented with such as the origins of religious ideas and philosophies, or media information. But just because this is the case, it does not mean that you should abandon your dreams. If whatever we are presented with may not be true then we can get to the bottom of things, as has happened throughout History. Men and women have fought for civil rights, and freedom, and reason, and striven for a better life. Just because those in charge may exploit those at the bottom, it doesn’t mean things will always be that way.”
Denise then pulled a solemn face.
“What is it Denise?”
“Well, when it comes down to it, it’s essentially society, situation and context that determine our accomplishments – living in the affluent West provides more opportunities for accomplishment, but when money is valued more than dreaming, dreamers can find this difficult.”
“Well yes, that is true. But with the right encouragement and mindset, a dreamer can accomplish what they want, because they have their place in society. If there were no dreamers we would just have fat cats and practicals, and then they wouldn’t even be that, they would be called something else. Everybody and everything is important, and has a role to play.”

[1] The Republic
[2] Pennington, D. and McLoughlin, J.
[3] Phillips, S.
[4] BBC Atlantic Slave Trade
[5] Warburton, N.
[6]  ibid
[7] Efird, D.
[8] Frostburg University, faculty of Philosophy
[9] Pennington, D. and Mcloughlin, J.
[10] Gaarder, J.
[11] Ibid.
[13] Greer, G.
[14] ibid.
[15] Warburton, N.
[16] Philips, S.
[17] Pennington, D. and Mcloughlin, J.
[18] Milgram, S.
[19] Williams, D.
[20] Pennington, D. and Mcloughlin, J.
[21] Rodney, W.
[22] Acton, J D.
[23] Rodney, W.
[24] Philips, S.
[25] The Republic
[26] ibid.
[27] ibid.
[28] ibid.
[29] ibid.
[30] ibid.
[31] Warburton, N.
[32] BBC News Africa.
[33] Gaarder, J.
[34] Warburton, N.
[35] Landauer, J. and Rowlands, J.
[36] ibid.
[37] Descartes, R.
[38] Hume, D.
[39] Appiganesi, R.
[40] Williams, D.
[41] BBC UK, Reddie, R.
[42] Holy Bible.
[43] Ibid.
[44] ibid.
[45] ibid.
[46] ibid.
[47] Hidden Colours 2.
[48] Ibid.
[50] Asante, MK.
[51] Rodney, W.
[52] Hidden Colours 2.
[53] Beauvoir de, S.
[54] Hidden Colours 2.
[55] Hitchens, C.
[56] ibid
[57] ibid.
[58] Hidden Colours 2.
[59] Holy Bible.
[60] Ibid.
[61] ibid.
[62] ibid.
[63] Hidden Colours 2.
[64] Ibid.
[65] ibid.
[66] ibid.
[67] ibid.
[68] Hidden Colours.
[69] Pennington, D. and McLoughlin, J.
[70] Berger, P L.
[71] Asante, MK.
[72] Rodney, W.
[73] ibid.
[74] Frostburg university, faculty of Philosophy.

Appendix 1


Appiganesi, R. and Garrat, C. (2004) Introducing Postmodernism, New edition, UK, Icon Books Ltd, Asante, MK. (2004), An African Origin of Philosophy: A Myth or Reality? Available from:

BBC News Africa, Available from: [date accessed: 11th November 2014], Reddie, R. (2007), The Atlantic Slave Trade Available from:

Beauvoir, Simone de. (1949) The Second Sex New edition, Vintage classics, 768 pp.

Dawkins, R. (2006) The God Delusion, Bantam Press, Great Britain, 463, pp.

Dawkins, R. (2011) The Magic of reality, Bantam Press, Great Britain, 270, pp.

Descartes, R. (1996) Meditations on first philosophy, revised edition, edited by Cottingham, J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom, 115, pp.

Efird, D. Department of Philosophy, University of York, 20th September 2014

Frostburg university, faculty of philosophy, available from: [date accessed: 10th December 2014]

Gaarder, J. (1994) Sophie's World, Berkley Edition, Phoenix Publishing, London, 436, pp.

Greer, G. (1970) The Female Eunuch, 21st Anniversary edition, MacGibbon & Kee Ltd, Great Britain, 397, pp.

Haley, A. (1968) The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 3rd edition, Penguin Books, USA, United Kingdom, 501, pp.

Hidden Colours (2011) documentary, King Flex Entertainment, USA

Hidden Colours 2 (2012) documentary, King Flex Entertainment, USA

Hitchens, C. (2008) God is not great, paperback edition Atlantic Books, USA, Great Britain, 283, pp.

Holy Bible, Authorized King James Version, printed by Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. For Marshall, Morgan & Scott, Ltd. London and Edinburgh

Hume, D. (1748), An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 2011 Edition Simon & Brown, Milton Keynes UK, 144, pp., ‘Author Louise O'Neill tells students to follow your dreams’ Available from:

Landauer, J. and Rowlands, J. (2001), available from:

Mill, J S. (1859) On Liberty, 2011 ebook edition, Walter Scott Publishing Co. Ltd

Miller, J. (2012) The Philosophical Life, One World Publications, USA, 345, pp.

Moore, M. (2001) Stupid White men, Penguin Books, USA, London, 260, pp., Osahon.N (2013), Aristole, A graduate of the African School, Available from:

Nietzsche, F. (1886), Beyond Good and Evil, Penguin Books Ltd, UK, 240, pp.

Pennington, D. And McLoughlin, J. (2009) AQA (B) Psychology for A2, British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data, London, 426 pp.

Plato (427-347 BC) The Republic, 2nd edition translated by Lee, D. and Lane, M. (1974), Penguin Classics, London, 372, pp.

Phillips, S. (2009) Edexcel GCE History A world divided: Superpower relations, Pearson Education Limited, Britain, 194, pp.

Rodney, W. (1989) How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, 2nd edition, Heinemann Kenya, English Press Ltd, 316, pp.

Tutu, D. (2011) God is not a Christian, Ebury Publishing, USA, 237, pp.

Warburton, N. (2013) Philosophy: The Basics 5th edition, Routledge, 176, pp.

Williams, D. (1999) The Enlightenment, 1st edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Vu, M. (2014) [Personal Communication] 26th September 2014

Appendix 2

Summary of philosophers that were used as inspiration:

Immanuel Kant was a German Philosopher born in 1724, and had a pious catholic upbringing. He was a product of the Enlightenment and influenced by Rousseau. He was a lecturer by trade at the University of Konigsberg, teaching topics such as logic, metaphysics and ethics. His categorical morality stressed duty as the reason for all of our actions, and proposed a universal morality for all to follow – thus absolutist morality. He believed in freedom of the will, and that human reason alone could not comprehend total reality, highlighted in his most acclaimed work the Critique of Pure Reason.

John Locke was a British Empiricist Philosopher born in 1632. He was one of the early figures of the Enlightenment, and proposed the idea of the human mind being a blank slate, or tabula rasa. Thus all thoughts and ideas came from sensory experience, and it was through experience alone that we formulated our ideas about the world. He claimed that through our senses we perceive simple sensations, which he distinguished into primary qualities and secondary qualities. His most acclaimed work was An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. He was a large influence for David Hume.

David Hume was a British Empiricist Philosopher, born in 1711. In his work An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, published in 1748, he stresses the importance of ideas and impressions derived from sensory experience. He explains the nature of cause and effect using the billiard ball example; if you roll a black billiard ball against a white one, you experience the movement of the white one, but not the primary cause of it beginning to roll. Thus we experience what we expect; 'who will assert that he can give the ultimate reason, why milk or bread is proper nourishment for a man, not a lion or a tiger?'
He also described miracles as a 'violation of the laws of nature'. It can be said that he was the first openly-atheist Philosopher.

Karl Marx was a German Philosopher, Economist and Revolutionary Socialist born in 1818. His political philosophy criticised capitalism as a system which exploited the workers and only attended to the ruling class, or bourgeois. He stated that the workers must unite against class struggle and overthrow the ruling class, in which a one-party utopian state ruled by the workers would exist and everyone would live each according to his ability and own need. In 1848 he and his friend Friedrich Engels published a Communist Manifesto, which would later influence the Russian Revolution and future European revolts against the ruling class.

The Enlightenment was a period of time in Western Europe taking place from the late 17th century to the 18th century, and is also known as the Age of Reason. Descartes was the first philosopher to place an emphasis on human reason, which challenged traditionalism and the dogma of the Medieval Catholic Church. This influenced a chain of philosophers; Locke, Hume, Berkeley, Rousseau, Kant, Burlamaqui. It also bore the idea of revolution; in America, in France, later in Russia. Feminism also developed out of the Enlightenment, with Mary Wollstonecraft writing A Vindication on the Rights of Women in 1792. The abolition of slavery came from the Enlightenment, although slaves were not regarded as people in the eyes of the American Revolution. The principles of the Enlightenment were about freedom, and liberty, and free thought.

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