Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week Three- Omoluabi: Self Actualization and Communal Responsibility

Dr. Segun Gbadegesin discussed three key areas in his lecture: the story of Iwa, the distinctions between wisdom, intellect, and knowledge, as well as the concepts of omoluabi. In the story of Iwa, her husband Orunmila, the Yoruban god of wisdom, mistreats her, and as a result loses her. The remainder of the tale tells of Orunmila coming to a point of realization that without his wife, he is of little value. The true significance of the story lies in its symbolism, as Iwa represents good character, so that when she leaves her husband, his standing as a moral man with purpose diminishes. The stories moral supports the basis of many ancient African cultures, which are driven goals of self-actualization and communal response.

Secondly, Dr. Gbadegesin, distinguishes between the concepts of wisdom, intellect, and knowledge. In essence, he describes knowledge as being "factual information without insight into their supporting reasons", intellect as the possession of knowledge with appreciation to its relevance to broader society, but lacking the skills to use them harmoniously. Based upon these definitions, it is apparent that wisdom is upheld as being the most valuable, due to its ability to apply information and facts to reckon with the common good. Wisdom is among the driving forces in African cultures as it requires both insight and commitment to the common good of the community.

The all-encompassing theme of the word omoluabi can be better recognized when the word is broken down into syllables: Omo Olu Iwa Bi, meaning "a child begotten of the chief of Iwa." Someone in possession of the traits of omoluabi is self-disciplined, with great character, and in possession of "practical wisdom" that is they are able to put their knowledge good use, by supporting their communities.

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