When it comes to science in the news, it is a rare occurrence and it should be acknowledged. When the story of Theia went viral, I couldn’t help but feel like our species was finally starting to appreciate the immense wealth hidden behind the veil of boredom that so many people struggle with when it comes to the physics of our natural world. Captivated by the drama of religion and politics, it’ll be a gradual shift for a lot of people BUT, a paradigm shift must occur nonetheless.
What really excites me about science is its ability to rewire the imagination for a better world. A world designed and built for people who understand that actions have reactions and this rule applies to humans as well. With a “scientific imagination”, we might begin to see things in a different light. By things, I mean our environments and circumstances as a group of young hominids, stranded on an abandoned life raft (Earth)
The idea of two worlds colliding used to belong to of a genre of fantasy novels and comics but now we know that this might actually have happened at some point in the history of our planet. This compelling theory provides a plausible explanation for our sole satellite, which regulates us in ways we still don’t feel comfortable admitting. Though the collision may have been violent and utterly destructive, taking practically forever (to us) to regroup and heal, the final result was this planet. Two separate worlds, forced together by a mutual and inevitable attraction only to destroy each other before giving birth to something new. It isn’t a short stretch to add a few anecdotal witticisms and pry out a dramatic love story from the Theia theory. In fact, that might even be the best way to lure sensationalists into the science agenda.
We could also juxtapose the idea of two worlds colliding against the idea of colonialism in South Africa. More specifically, the dominant philosophies that the cultures involved share. After reading Rethinking Our World, it became obvious to me that two major world philosophies have collided and both are currently still trying to dominate the South African mind-set over the other. We are the lucky ones, dealing with the aftermath. Western Empiricism and African Ubuntuism both have their fair share of faults and strengths. The ‘excessive individualism’ from the West and the ‘excessive communality’ from Africa; both threaten modern day progress and quietly disrupt the healing process this country needs. It doesn’t have to be this way at all. The exciting thing is, when the two philosophies are conceptually combined, a new one is created. The principles that strengthen Empiricism also strengthen Ubuntuism and vice versa. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? So what’s the problem? The weaknesses have to be accounted for…confining truth to one set standard and ignoring greater human values (Empiricism) is a violent attack against the traditional method of group mysticism and the repression of individuality (Ubuntuism).
What needs to be done? In my humble (Ubuntu given) opinion, an initial acceptance is required. An acceptance that white people are here to stay and black people in other countries are really not African at all anymore. White people in Africa are more African than black people in America, for example. Individually, we need to take a long hard look at our situation for what it is and realize that all this talk of war and bloodshed is nonsensical. With a looming drought, HIV and other blights destroying most of Southern Africa, ill-equipped leaders with aggressive self-interest; war would only destroy this country and everything she has become.
As an individual, look around you and your community. What do you love about it? Your family, the neighbours and the life experience you have? Are we willing to lose all of this so we can say that we fought and killed our brothers for money? War comes at a heavy price. South Africa is a young country and we don’t have the time to repeat the mistakes that other countries have. Focus on what you love about being here and build from there. Love grows but it has to be watered with patience, acceptance and compromise. The state of the nation is just a reflection of the state of the hearts that live in that nation.