“ON Monday (January 27th) morning, during our King’s Ely Senior Cathedral Service, I spoke about a book by Placide Tempels, a Belgian Missionary, called ‘Bantu Philosophy’.
“I had come across it when reading ‘The Fight’ by Norman Mailer, about the famous Ali vs Foreman fight in Zaire.
“Central to the philosophy was the relationship between “being” and “force”. Mailer, watching Foreman and Ali prepare for the fight, was mesmerised by how the two Heavyweight Champions carried with them an aura and “force” that pulled people with them. The idea, central to Bantu Philosophy, suddenly made sense; humans are not “beings”, they are “forces”.
“Although the idea of a generic philosophy for an entire continent has rightly received criticism, I do believe there is much to be gained from viewing us as human forces, not beings.
“In addition, to realise we are more than the parts of ourselves and that we carry with us the responsibility of the future and the actions of the past, enables us to see our actions as impacting on the many not the few.
“To be passive, to do nothing, is to have an enormous disregard to the power we have everyday to improve the society in which we live.
“To notice someone who needs help, to say hello to the person who walks past us, to hold ourselves to account for our actions, to say please and thank you – all these are opportunities to be forces for good. To just “be” is to accept nothing can be changed.”
“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” (John Stuart Mill, 1867)