Thursday, October 25, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Kwame Nkrumah misfounded Ghana
By: AHUMAH OCANSEY
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6)
THIS essay has been prompted by an introspection of Ghana’s fortunes since independence and the celebration of the Jubilee this year. The writer seeks to answer the question why there appears to be “something missing” somewhere in the scheme of affairs in Ghana’s development.
Against the background of immense natural assets, a talented human resource, international goodwill and a relatively small population, Ghana is still bewildered with basic developmental problems, pervasive’ corruption which all the liberators, redeemers and revolutionaries have not succeeded in erasing. It is also has a future which is fine on paper but which neither the governments nor the people can talk about with certainly and with faith. In fact, Ghanaians are apprehensive about the future of their country. What is that “something missing”?
The major premise of this essay is that Kwame Nkrumah, the first President and Founder of the Republic of Ghana, in light of his philosophical and ideological interpretation of life, expressed in his writing. Consciencism, committed some radical errors in the foundation of Ghana and those errors have determined Ghana’s economic and political life till this moment.
Nkrumah founded Ghana on the negative polarity of materialism, as expounded in philosophical consciencism, an ideology that is Marxist and which interprets life from a materialistic perspective. By founding Ghana on such ideological principle, Nkrumah excluded the positive polarity of spirituality and thereby predetermined Ghana to a course of repeated failures, circumambulation and selfish, acquisitive materialism. Self first, tribe second, nation last!
It follows, as a corollary, that for Ghana to chart a new course a holistic ideology in which the spiritual and material polarities are made co-existent in their right proportions.
This essay is in two chapters. The first chapter analyses Nkrumah’s philosophical consciencism, in the light of Biblical knowledge and scientific findings bearing on Nkrumah’s thesis about the origin of life.
The first chapter looks at Matter as Causation, and Categorical Conversion – all from Consciencism. The second chapter looks at the application of Nkrumah’s philosophy within the context of nation events and its influence on the nation. The conclusion follows.
Matter as causation
In Consciencism, Nkrumah dealt with the age-old concern of the basis of creation. In philosophical discourses, we speak of monism and dualism. Monists (from the Latin, mono, means one) are those who hold that the world came into existence from one principal element. Thales, a Greek philosopher, said that the world came from water.
Plato postulated that the world of Ideals was the ground of reality from which creation emerged. Dualists like the British, John Locke (1632-1704) and French, Renẻ Descartes (1596-1650), held that the world comprised both spirit and matter (mind and body).
Nkrumah discards these view points as inadequate theories to explain the phenomenal world, and rather postulates his philosophical consciencism. What is this? Nkrumah says: “Philosophical consciencism is that philosophical stand point which, taking its stand from the present content of the African conscience, indicates the way in which progress is forged out of the conflict. Its basis is in materialism is the absolute imum assertion of materialism is the absolute and independent existence of matter) Consciencism, pg 79).
Nkrumah justifies his stance by saying that whereas he accepts the existence of spiritual realities, he does not accept contrary, they are secondary, and dependent on matter. He described matter as “a plenum of forces in tension” (plenum means space is completely filled with matter, there is no vacuum). Because it is a plenum of forces, matter is capable of spontaneous self-motion, that is, self-creative. However, matter does not exist alone; it exists alongside spirit, but matter is primary.
Philosophical consciencism does not asset the sole reality of mater (ibid pg. 88).
By Nkrumah’s reasoning, matter provides the ground for the emergence of mind. This is because, he adds, mind cannot exist independently of matter; its reality is secondary, and dependent on matter.
What Nkrumah meant by his statements is that the basis of life is found in the material world. The material is concrete. It is real. It is ascertainable in its constituents.
For example, common salt, sodium chloride, is reducible to sodium and chlorine. These two elements exist by themselves. They are primary. They have their own independent life. However, when combined, they form a different category of thing called salt, which is a secondary product. So, by this example, Nkrumah seeks to demonstrate the two components of life, the material and the spiritual, with the material (body) being first, and the spiritual (mind) being second.
In other words, for Nkrumah, the creature came before the creator!
Here, the battle begins. The antithesis of Nkrumah’s assertion of the primacy of matter is found in the Biblical account of creation. It says:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made (John 1: 1-3).
There are two fundamental principles here. The first is that the spiritual is the primordial ground of being: “In the beginning was the Word…the Word was God”, The Word represents the uncreated potency of God – the Divine Power. But God is a Spirit (Jn. 3: 19-21), and thus antedates all things Material life, as postulated in Consciencism could not, therefore, be absolute, independent, and prior to God, or the Word. In fact, the primary of God, as spirit is emphatically stated in Gen. 1:1: “In the begging, God created heaven and earth”.
The second principle is that creation – “all things” - came about through the causative spiritual force-the Word. The totality of its creative power is emphasized in “without him was not anything made that was made”. Since nothing exists outside God, and God is a spirit, it means the spiritual (mind) came first, out of which matter (body) emerged second.
The Biblical account of creation overthrows Nkrumah’s assertion of matter as the primary causation of life. In other words, by failing to factor in the reality of the Divine, Nkrumah failed to explain satisfactorily the very basis of the material foundation of creation.. That is to say, what gave birth to the material? The problem which confronted Nkrumah could be described as the Gordian knot of philosophers and scientists: How to account for the creation of the world. Nkrumah perceived the problem as a philosopher, not as a scientist.
The scientific world was awakened from its slumber with the shattering declaration by Charles Darwin that life evolved from simple life forms, through the transition of incomplete bones and organs, till, over several millions of years, man evolved from higher apes. His book was The Origin of Species, published in 1859. Extensive scholarship and scientific investigations of Darwin’s hypotheses in the book were made. And the conclusion was that evolution does not, and cannot, explain the complexity and perfection of life on earth.
Evolutionist, Francis Hitching, in his book, The Neck of the Giraffe, 1982, wrote:
“In three crucial areas where the modern evolution theory can be tested, it has failed. The fossil record reveals a pattern of evolutionary leaps rather than gradual change. Genes are a powerful stabilizing mechanism whose main function is to prevent new forms evolving. Random step-by-step mutations at the molecular level cannot explain the organized and growing complexity of life”.
Other scientific attempts to explain the world have been postulated on the emergence of life from a chemical soup of primary elements, especially hydrogen and nitrogen, and others, forming increasingly complex molecules out of which life emerged. And yet other scientists talk of the world merging from a Big Bang, when some tremendous explosion from a centre of density and intense heat led to the universes being created.
The scientific literature on the origins of life is immense, and very fascinating.
Whichever scientific theory of the universe is chosen is bound to suffer from the limitations of materialism: How did the very first cause come about for all else to follow?
Nkrumah overcomes that problem through logical reductionism, in which he reasons that since an endless progression of causes cannot terminate in a causeless cause (uncreated creator), as some philosophers hold, it is more plausible to deny an ultimate cause for the world. In other words, the world is its own genesis and finality.
The day logic is fine for purposes of intellectual discourse, but it must be said that an empirical justification of the world is illogical and question-begging, because that is the very problem raised in the question. How did the world come about?
Nkrumah’s materialistic ideology leads to the preposterous conclusion that since proof of the world’s creation can be found within the world, and not outside it, God cannot, and, therefore, does not exist, as God is not empirically verifiable. Hear him.
Some people say that it is improbable that nothing should exist, that the statement that nothing exists cannot he conceived as true. But it cannot be inferred from the non-vacuity of the universe that some given object will always exist. It is therefore impossible to infer the existence of God from the fact that something must always exist (ibid. pg. 9).
Incidentally, the British biologist, Thomas Huxley (1825 1895), coined the word agnostic from the Greek, agnostoi theoi, (unknown mate cause (God) and the essential nature of things are unknown or unknowable”. Nkrumah could therefore be called on agnostic!
The issue of first cause and God’s existence had arisen inevitably from the several scientific enquiries into life, and discoveries knowledge of the universe. And when all the literature has been reviewed, the common denominator is that scientists realize there is a mysterious factor in creation which their scientific knowledge cannot fathom. The literature available is copious.
British Astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle, who spent decades studying the universe, came to the conclusion that rather then accepting the fantastically small probability of life having arisen through the blind forces of nature, it seemed better to suppose that the “origin of life was a deliberate intellectual act” (Lecture at California Institute of Technology). That “intellectual act” was an act of God!
Former American astronaut, John Glenn, contemplated the awesome beauty and orderliness of the universe, the predictable movements of the galaxies in their orbits, and asked”: “Could this have just happened? Was it an accident that a bunch of flotsam and jetsam (the several bodies floating in space, like goods thrown out of a ship, floating on the sea) suddenly started making these orbits of its own accord? I can’t believe that … some Power put all this into orbit and keeps it there”. That “Power” is God!
German-born American physicist and rocket expert, Wernher von Braun, stated in laws of the universe are so precise that we to the moon and can time the flight with the precision of fraction of a minute. These laws must have been set by somebody”.
That “somebody” is God!
Last example, Scientists who have studied the nature and functioning of the human brain are equally stunned by their discoveries. Says Henry F. Osborn, an Anthropologist: “The human brain is the most marvelous and mysterious object in the universe”.
And American Neurosurgeon, Dr. Robert J. White, remarked:
“I am left with no choice but to acknowledge the existence of a superior Intellect, responsible for the design and development of the incredible brain-mind relationship-something far beyond man’s capacity to understand…I have to believe all this had an intelligent beginning that, Someone made it happen”. (Reader’s Digest, September 1978). That “Someone” is God!
These declarations by scientists point incontrovertibly to the existence of God and, placed against Nkrumah’s philosophical tenants in Consciencism, serve to define Nkrumah as an atheist!
The atheistic outlook of Nkrumah springs from his inadequate comprehension of the totality of created matter. If he had reasoned as a scientist, whom he was not, it would have impressed on him that the tools of scientific enquiry have been unable to fathom everything in creation because the Intelligence behind creation, God, by its very nature, is not reducible to scientific analysis and to empirical proof.
The problem of God’s existence, along with creation, had long been anticipated in the Bible, and an answer provided:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all who hold the truth in unrighteousness. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, been understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20).
Nkrumah’s views, as stated in Consciencism, derived their coloration from the teachings of Marx and Lenin, which he described as “the most searching and penetrating analysis of economic imperialism”. Marxism was, however materialistic, and by embracing it as an ideological weapon in his relentless attack on Western imperialism and colonialism, Nkrumah rejected almost all the economic and Christian principles that the West stood for. Nkrumah dumped their “God” into a philosophical dust bin!
Christianity, for example, suffers from both miscomprehension and interpretation from a Marxist perspective, as the ideology reduces spiritual and non-material matters to the level of empiricism, and finding it full of unanswered questions, rejects the Christian world view as absurd. Thus, for instance, Nkrumah sees as unsound and impractical Jesus Christ’s admonition that we “lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matt 6:20).
Nkrumah comments as follows: The contradiction rakes effect when with the gaze steadfastly fixed upon things “outside” the world, the requirement of earthly life which, in fact, conditions existence of every human being, suffer neglect.
Nkrumah went on to say that the dialectical contradictions between the “inside” (the world), and the “outside” (the spiritual), explains Marx’s condemnation of religion as an instrument of exploitation in the hands of the colonialists and imperialists, because it operates as an opium, which takes the mind off the things of life.
It makes sense to say one must be concerned with practical considerations of life, as religious extremism and unrealism are foolish and self-destructive. Nkrumah was, however, too mundane to understand the finer and deeper meaning of Christ’s advice.
Was it not the same Christ who fed five thousand people, and produced wine at a wedding reception? Jesus was a realist. He fed people. He paid his taxes. He healed the siek. What Jesus Christ was laying emphasis on was the ephemeral or transitory nature of materialism, as distinct from the permanence of spiritual realities. This is so because spirit is the basis of the material. Nkrumah could not, and did not, accept this truth.
That was his problem!
Our next consideration is to discuss a vital plank of Consciencism: Categorical Convention. You would recall that Nkrumah admits the existence of matter and spirit as components of creation, though matter has primary in his philosophy. This dualism of matter and spirit, says Nkrumah, are convertible from one state to the other. He writes:
“By categorical conversion is meant the transforming of one category into another: The production of one category by using one or more categories which are different from the one produced”. By way of elaboration he says again: “By categorical convergence of self-consciousness from what is not self-conscious, such a thing as emergence of mind from matter”. (ibid. pg. 20).
I must confess a singular inability to fully understand categorical conversion, as formulated by Nkrumah. If Nkrumah had been content with the first definition of categorical conversion, as stated, it might be possible to substantiate his assertion by scientific principle, but immediately the second definition comes in, we begin to flounder in a whirlpool of improbabilities.
Let’s take the first definition. Back in 1905, Albert Einstein had established the pivotal scientific principle of the relationship between matter and energy, in the famous expression E=mc (Energy equals mass multiplied by the speed of light squared). By this formula scientists could calculate that every second the sun converts about 564 million tons of helium. This means some 4 million tons of matter are transformed into solar energy, a portion of which sustains life on earth.
The atomic and hydrogen bombs are also illustrations of the transformation of matter into energy.
Scientists have also succeeded in converting energy into matter. Under the Swiss mountains, and in underground laboratories in the US, huge particle accelerators have been installed in which subatomic particles collide at fantastic speeds, creating matter, heavier particles, in the process.
Remarking on the great achievements of science in this field of quantum physics, Nobel laureate physicist Dr. Carlo Rubbia, said: We’re repeating one of the miracles of the universe-transforming energy into matter”.
So, in effect, Nkrumah’s categorical conversion is a reality within quantum physics; but this is in the realm of matter only. Nkrumah admitted this in his statement that “matter and energy are two distinct, but, as science has shown, not unconnected or irreducible categories The interreducibility of matter and energy offers a model for categorical conversion” (ibid pg. 21).
However, by going further to advance the theory of self-consciousness merging from the non self-conscious, or the emergence of mind from matter, Nkrumah put us to great task trying to comprehend what he meant by that conversion.
This position is so preposterous I don’t know who will aid Nkrumah to explain himself to the world. How could that which is not produce that which is? I should say that Nkrumah’s stance is so untenable we should dismiss it without further ado.
In conclusion, let me restate the essentials of our discussion. From Nkrumah’s Consciencism, I have sought to establish that the ideological matrix from which Ghana emerged was rooted in materialism, and that Nkrumah’s outlook discounted God as a factor in the affairs of men. By upholding matter as the basis of life Nkrumah contradicted Biblical account of creation, and its Christian ideology, and lay himself upon to a materialistic interplay of forces in the development of Ghana.
Daily Graphic - Thursday, October 25, 2007 Page: 23
Monday, October 29, 2007 Page: 23