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4 March 1988 Personal Correspondence on Alchemy and the History of Science

The enclosed article by Evelyn Fox Keller talks about the

Battle of the Sexes in which Alchemy as Feminine lost to Male-
Mechanist Physics. The battle took place in England 1650-1670.

Since then Alchemy became “superstition”. That Newton

(1642-1727 ) was a secret practitioner of Alchemy meant that

Alchemy went “underground”. But Newton invented the “Gold

Standard” and became the Director of Coinage. Perhaps, he

understood the magical power of Gold over people better than any

As to why Alchemy was considered “Female” and even

dangerous, please see Jack Lindsay; The Origins Of Alchemy In

Greco-Roman Egypt. [QD13 L54l Sample pages are included.

Another interesting source is C. G. Jung. ALCHEMICAL

STUDIES. (Collective Works vol. 13. Princeton U Press. 1967.)

It is noted that European Science was not much “advanced”.

It was from a religious reason that Atomism and Mechanism came

out. Even after Newton, European scientists could not understand

“Fire” (Heat, Energy) well. It was after 1850 that they came to

realize “Fire” is not a substance. Energy concept emerged in

1850s. That is to say, Marx did not know “Energy”.

I saw a transcript of a speech by Russell Means made at

Black Hills in 1980. In the speech, apparently aimed at Marxists

(and perhaps also for the political need of AIM to say he is not

a communist), Means says (if Indians follow) “We will all be

Industrialized Science-Addicts in a Marxist society”.

In one sense, I am sympathetic to Means and understand why

he said that. But I think Means overestimated the Intellectual

Power of Europeans. Germany, in the time of Marx, was barely out

of the “tribal culture”. They had a hell of a time adjusting to

“invasions” by “science”, “rationality”, “intellectualism” etc.

from the “west”. What Europeans and Means call “Rationality” is

not “rational” at all — it was an illusion, conceit,

superstition, arrogance —. Or at its best, it is a Language

It may be disrespectful to say this. But Means was fooled

by Europeans. He did not see through the superficial veneer of

“rationality”, “science” etc. It amounted to “surrendering before

the fight”. If Indians have such a weak intelligence that mere

contact with Marxism or Science makes them “Industrial Science

Addicts”, perhaps there is no point in fighting. The “Feminine

Scientists” have better guts in their declaration that they will

Of course, I do not know what was the context of the

circumstance in which Means’ polemics emerged. But I wonder if

such is the pervasive attitude of Indian Braves. And if so, Pam

The point is that every “Culture” is tribal. There is

nothing superior about euro American tribes relative to others.

If a Haida need not fear an Oneida, there is no reason for a

Lakota to fear a Marxist or a Scientist. Means could have said

that he can beat Europeans at their games, “intellectual games”

Interestingly, even P1ato distinguished “Noesis”

(intuition, intelligence ) and “Dianoia” (Rationality, Reason).

European Science is not “Intelligent”. And if you ask for

“Wisdom”, you would be disappointed even by Plato — Socrates

was not “Wise”, he was a skillful player of a fashionable

Intellectual Game of Greece of his time —.

The trouble is that, for survival, Native Americans need

something beyond the level of collective intelligence that the

European tribes have. For that, I would imagine every mistake

European Science made is a good lesson for Natives to learn.

Instead of being victims to the mistakes, Natives can become

“healers” of the mistakes. This difference in “posture” would

make a difference in the “overview” (Worldview). You might say

you are not the savior of the World. I don’t ask that. But,

Yours

Sam K.

Excerpt from “The Social Brain”; Chapter “On the Inevitability of Religious Beliefs”;

Pp. 166-167. Underlining and red italics are notes by Sam Kounosu.

In religious beliefs, as with any other belief we again see the

left-brain interpreter seeking an explanation for a series of life experiences. Just as it is

charged with delivering a running explanation of’ the behaviors of all of our independent

modules, it is similarly, charged with explaining real-life events and circumstances

existing in the culture. It is seeking consistency, and the left-brain interpreter module,

linked as it is to the special human inference system, works hard to construct theories

about the causes of perceived events, That our brains accept the theories this system

But how did the idea of religion start? Why did our species generate the idea of

deities? The nature and origins of religious beliefs has an intriguing and, I think,

interpretable history that underscores the centrality of the brain-based psychological

mechanism I have been describing. I will argue that religious beliefs were inevitable and

had to start once the left-brain interpreter was fully in place and reflexively active in

seeking consistency and understanding. Explanations were generated and institutions

created to manage and deal with the issues of human existence and cosmic origin. Once

launched, such institutions, given their intense coercive power, have a way of staying.

Alternative views like the ones now readily available from modern science and

those made available by Aristotle have played and continue to play a subordinate role to

beliefs involving revealed truths. And, in an effort to explain this fact, I will also argue

that the acceptance of these not-of-this-world beliefs is due to another special capacity of

the human brain, the capacity for magical thinking. Let me explain.

There is a region of the human brain that, when tampered with, causes profound

changes in the human psyche. A lesion in that region, which can come about for a

number of reasons, tends to cause a change in three behaviors. This “temporal lobe

syndrome” was first described in detail by the late Norman

Implication is that “Intellectualism” is a brain malfunction.

Geschwind of Harvard Medical School. I would have been most skeptical of his account

if I had not seen a case that exactly matched his description. This syndrome now has been

reported several times. In its basic form, the brain injury causes a deepening of religious

conviction, a desire to write extensively (hypergraphia), and the performance of bizarre

sexual activity. There is no a priori reason I know of why affecting one of these behaviors

The reality of the syndrome is not amusing. Of interest here is the religious

behavior aspect of the syndrome. Not only is conviction deepened, but the form it takes

becomes erratic and the person switches from one belief to another rapidly and without

apparent cause. The brain process that allows for nonrational and magical interpretations

of events that are usually implicit in stories of religious creation is readier than ever. It

seemingly doesn’t matter which belief is plugged into this process. In a way, the brain

lesion frees the patients from their personal histories and prepares them for any set of

beliefs. These clinical phenomena suggest that a dynamic equilibrium can be set up in the

brain between systems that generate hypotheses and systems that accept such

explanations as meeting rational criteria. The normal state allows for a certain degree of

nonrational and magical beliefs. The diseased and disinhibited state so lowers the criteria

for acceptance that rapidly accepting and changing beliefs become the rule.

If there are brain networks in our modern brains that do tilt us toward magical

beliefs, it would follow that there should be evidence for religious behavior in primitive

humans, at least in all humans who possessed the same brains as those we possess. That

means we could examine the prehistorical record back to approximately forty to sixty

thousand years ago and, if clever enough, find evidence of religious practice. It turns out

7 January 1989 Personal Correspondence on the History and Foundations of Science, Technology, and Worldview

Jan 7, ’89.

Dear Pam

So you finally pulled off the caper! That is good. I am

glad. Power be with you!

The following are a few comments and afterthoughts.

1. Leroy was saying, in my translation, that the word “Science”

tends to make people imagine “European Science”. We might have to

say something to avoid that.

We are not looking for “something similar to European

science” in indigenous cultures. There is nothing wrong in

identifying “similarity”, “commonness” among Native Sciences. But

the European one is too strong a “standard” for most people that

unless we exercise some care, there is a danger of defining

Science in the European “Fashion” and give recognition to it only

through identifying with the visible European Fashion. But that

is like defining the “dignity” of human beings by the European

Style Clothes they wear. The closer they dress like Europeans,

the more “human” they are!

By saying “foundation of science”, it is partly covered. By

mentioning “metaphysics”, we are implying that there is more to

Science than what is visible. But that might not be enough. So,

let me elaborate a bit.

2. “Science” in a wider sense is a “Matrix” (incidentally “Matr”

in the “Matrix” means Mother and “ix = ics” means a Complex of

Dynamics). It may be better to say that explicitly. The simplest

picture that I can draw about Science is something like below.

Foundation Expressions

Metaphysics Mathematics

Worldview Principles

Cosmic Vision Axioms

Will Knowledge

Love Theory/Theology

Etc. Ideology, etc.

(Textbook Science)

Aim Technology

Utility Application

Benefit Routines

Value Skills

Survival Performance

Progress Practical Arts

Happiness Policy

(Economy)

2

We call the whole dynamics in loop “Science”, not any one

of 4 elements depicted in the picture. Or, in Leroy’s language,

the whole “process” (going around the relations) is the Science.

In Rene Thom’s Language, “Science” is a Verb = “Science-ing”.

Science is not an object, but a “doing”.

[In relation to the picture (mapping of dynamics), I found

a diagram drawn for G. Bateson’s theory on Alcoholism. A

copy is enclosed. Please tell me what you think.]

The “elements” are in a mutually supporting Loop (network)

or “vicious circle”. That is the Dynamics that gives rise to

“Existence” of a science (culture) as “Living Organism” and keeps

it maintaining itself. It is the “Becoming” of the science as a

“Being” (not a Linear sense of becoming a Being, but Feedback

Loop. In Hegelian/Marxist jargon it is said to be “Reproducing

itself”.)

Unfortunate habit of European language is that the word

“Science” is used to refer only to the top-left element and being

understood as such. Actually, the situation is worse in that the

Matrix in different cultures has different media (stylisms) to

express that element. A particular “Medium” (stylism), however,

becomes the identification/identity of the particular science.

(McLuhan said “Medium is the Message”.) I called that “Fashion”.

[It is like naming and identifying a sickness by its

symptom, say like “Red Nose Fever”. How and Why such a symptom

emerges may be traced to the existence of a certain virus in the

sick person. That is like recognizing two elements in the Matrix.

When “medical knowing” comes to trace why the immune system of

this particular person fails and others do not, then it knows

three elements in the Matrix. If the medical science comes to

trace how the disease developed in evolution/history, then they

know the 4th element.

But the above is a Linear model. Only after the Medine has

come to know the “Meaning” of Life-Death,

3

perhaps it will have a view of the complete Matrix.

At the moment, European Science knows itself by its

“symptoms”. In general, scientists themselves do not know

(do not care to know) why and how its peculiar “stylism”

(medium of expression, visible appearance) has come to be.]

Native Science starts with a different “World View” (Cosmology,

Metaphysics) — say, for example, (1) it does not distinguish

(see) “Human Ego” and “Objects” —. (2) In expressing

“Knowledge”, therefore it cannot use Newtonian Language of

“Objects”. (3) In the Technological applications, it cannot be of

“subjugation/exploitation of Nature as an aggregate of objects”.

(4) it does not satisfy the aim of gratifying Ego. And therefore

(1′) it does not enforce Will To Power. That means, (2′) it does

not Develop the Language (theory/principle/knowledge) of

Force……..

That is, the dynamics that started with the Native World

View cannot go on the same “vicious circle” of the European

Science.

3. I sensed that Boniface wanted to talk about “Technology”

(Science in Practices). European thinking is very much “class

conscious” and discriminatory. It separates “Science” from

Technology. Science in the academic sense is the Superior

intellect. “Technology” is what lower class laborers do by Body.

Technology smells like soil and sweat (if not blood).

In the late 19th century, European scholars came to

recognize that “China had developed a high 1evel of Technology

before Europeans”. But they said that “China has never developed

Science”.

One ought to think about this distinction/discrimination

between Science and Technology.

Let us, for example, take Time Measuring “Technology”.

European scientists would grant that Mayans had far advanced Time

Measuring Technology as evident in Mayan Calendars. But what

about the Science of Time?

It is easy to grant an advanced “Technology” of Number

Computation to Mayans. But what about “Mathematics”, “Geometry”

(Science of Space-Time)?

Salmons communicate by Electricity. They have sensors

running along their body lengthwise. They have a High

4

Technology in Radio Communication. That is the Technology of Love

Making. Salmons also use the same technology to communicate with

their Environment. The Science of Salmons, therefore, must be

based on the “way of Knowing” developed in their Love Making.

European culture developed the Technology of “Insulating”

individuals and actually retarded, repressed the Science of

Human/Social relations. The “separation”, “discrimination” served

European Aims (Value), and hence it became the foundation of

European Science. European Science was based on the Way of

Knowing developed in War Making. You note that the notion of

“Defense” is a part of the technology of Insulation/Separation.

“Sciences” are relative to Aims as such and their expressions are

shaped by the Technologies which serve the particular Alms for

each.

I imagine it is necessary and “educational” to have a

discourse on “Technology”.

4. Interestingly, once we get into “Technology”, we would soon be

talking about “Appropriate Technology” etc.

But, the phrase “Appropriate Technology” contains a

patronizing notion (paradigm). It is good that CIDA has learned

(from bitter experiences) that Transplantation of European

Technology does not work. But it seems that the European Aid

Agencies and Experts still think that they can teach “Appropriate

Technology” to the people in the Developing countries. Just lower

the standard. That will do.

[This kind of idea appears often in various contexts. In

science education, physics teachers often said to “make

science easy” for female students so that they would take

physics course.

I am afraid, but not surprised, to find some

“educationists” thinking like “make math easy for Native

Math Education”. That may be called “Appropriate Math”?]

What is “Appropriate” or not is relative to the “Aim”, or

“Value”. For what does any people wish to have an “Economic

Development”? Is it because Canadian Banks want to get Interest

paid? Or is it for European Trade to expand its market?

What if the Aim, Value, Utility of the Native Science,

Technology and Economy happened to be achievement of “Justice”

rather than “materialistic wealth”?

5

The Native might value Love Life to be of the Supreme Value (say,

the Tahitians). What then is the “Appropriate Technology”?

It ought to be noted that even the European Economy that

dictated Technology and, hence, Science was not purely

“materialistic”. Rather, it was “Pride”, in my view. There are

scholars who did “Psychoanalysis” on Capitalism. E.P. Thompson.

Fo1klore, Anthropology, and Social History. Indiana Historical

Review vol. 3. no. 2. (1977); Poverty of Theory and Other Essays

(1978); J. C. Scott. The Moral Economy Of peasant. (1976); F.

Braudel. Civilization Materielle, Economie et Capitalime. ( ); K.

Po1anyi The Great Transformation (1957); etc. are the examples.

If you like, I can present a meta-picture of the worldview

like below;

Value Knowledge

Ideology Science

Polity Law-Norm

Welfare Bureaucracy

Economy Technology

Utility Works

Unfortunately, Economists (Social Scientists) in general do

not pay much attention to “Peasants”. But, there are, however,

several publications on Latino American Peasant Economy, such as

Ernest Feder The people Of The Peasantry. Anchor Books 1971.

Florentia E. Mallon. The Defense of Community In Peru’s Central

Highlands: Peasant Struggle And Capitalist Transition 1860-1940.

Princeton U Press 1983. [See also Gerald Walsh. Indians In

Transition. McClelland 1971 for a comparison.] And studies of

Latino-American Peasantry give rise to Liberation

Pedagogy/Liberation Theology. It will come to Liberation Science,

eventually. In a sense “Science” is a Pedagogy, except it is

“self-learning” not “teaching”.

At this level of “Holistic View”, we come to see that

Native science is a part of Native Liberation. It has to do with

how the Native Community comes to Peace, and thereby leads the

entire World to Peace.

5. It may be my error in perception, but I sense a certain Fear

or Apprehension in going forward with Native Science. I sensed

Defensive Thinking here and there.

I understand and respect genuine Fear that we might

misrepresent Native Science and disgrace it in the public.

7

die. It comes to the question of accepting Death as a part of the

process/dynamics of Birth. That is the meaning of Sun Dance. We

die once any way sooner or later. If we die in Love

process/dynamics, like salmons do, We should be happy in that.

When you waved your hand, I had a moment of imagination

that I was sending off my friend who was taking off on a Kamikaze

mission. Actually, I had never sent off friends on a Kamikaze

mission. But that does not matter. I am sending off the Brave

Sou1s. They are to give away all they got. In a sense, it does

pain me and I feel something sad. I try to protect you, but in

essence, I cannot do anything for you in your love affair. That

is entirely yours to live and die.

Yours

Sam K.

preview

Ideas That Matter: The Fetzer Dialogues on Cultural Diversity

 

CULTT]RAL DIVERSITY

It is difficult to live in these times and not feel a sense of impending transformation. In light of
thg vast upheavals ofthe century, this statement may segm a bit trite ofthe obvious. Nonetheless
a momentous shift seems to be in the olfing, one quite unlike anlthing that has happened before.
in it. Join us
It has to do with the way we look at things, the way we see the world, and our plac€
for the next hour as we explore the yr’isdom aod healing powers oftraditional medicins ard
indigenous science. My name is Mark Walstlom, I’ll be you. host. You’re listening to Ideas
That Matter The Fetzer Dialogues. Ginger Floyd:

Moderalor: There is worldwide expanding interest in the area oftraditional and altemative

medicine, More and more people axe seeking first the services of traditional
health care providers. Our panel today is composed of experts ftom fwo
contirents who are working in this important field. They are Mr. Hale Makua,
who is the elde! ofthe Spiritual Wariors, the first seat, the big island Hawaii, a
native Hawaiian Kahuna “the guardia[ ofthe s€c!ets.” Dr. Pamela Apela
Colorado is a member of the United Nations, Dircctor of the Tiaditional
Knowledge Program, Califomia Institute of Integral Studies – San Francisco and
Maui. Dr. Erick Cbodossou is the Director ofthe Afiican-based Association for
the Promotion ofTraditional Medicine – PROMETRA. A modem hained
physician and an iniliated taditional healer, he is from Dakax, Senegal, West
A&ica. Welcome, Today’s topic is traditional medicine and indigenous science.
We would like to begin in the way oftmditional people by asking our Elder, Mr.
Hale Makua to olfer a pByer.

[PRAYER]

Moderalor: Hale Makua we thank you for that blessing in your native language. We begin

our discussion today by asking the important question. Dr. Colorado what is
indigenous science?

Answer: IDdigenous science is a way ofknowing, it’s away oflife. Indigenous science

means being electri$ing alive in the moment. Indigenous science is carried
through the generations, and it’s a science that is concemed with grounding. In
other words, all of naturc the entire universe is alive and because it’s alive we do
not study it from afar, but we engage in dialogue with it, we communicate with it.
And because we are a part ofthe whole, we can hear what nature is saying to us,
we cal! talk with natue, we car be intimate with natue. And fiom this comes
passion, dre passio[ ofthe indigenous mind, and it’s the frecdom ofthe eagle, it’s
the meaning ofthe word ”
Turtle Island.

“, land of the wind, the home we call

Modemtor:

Elder Makua in your native tradition ofHawaii, what is indigenous science?

Answer:

lndigenous science has to do \ rith beiry intimate with all elements. It has to do
with you being sovereign. A sovereign spirit is free, versus the illusions that we
Iive in. To be intimate with all things, one must undelstand compassion, and feel
compassion, for compassion creates allialtce. Alliance, therefore, will move you
to a level of rcciprccating, giving back to &e bowl oflife, to the water of life,
therefore, appreciating where you’re at, appreciating all things surrounding you,
becaus€ you are the center of all things. Therefore, understarding that all is one.
Therefore, becoming altruistic in yourself, and serve your other selves, your
fellow man. Therefore, completing yourselfwith love.

Moderator:

Dr. Gbodossou, our guest from Senegal, West Afiica. Indigenous science,
traditional medicine in Afiica is what?

Answer

Moderalor:

Answer:

Indigenous science in West Africa is the way ofknowledge. Knowledge is
different fiom leaming. Leaming is what we what we leam in school. Leaming
is what we read, what we leam in books. So without the knowledge is the way to
know what is all and what is a continuation ofa particular way and what isn’t that
way into the circle, the circle of life.
h 1990, over one-third of all the visits to medicine in this country were to
altemative healers, 425 million visits. Why are people doing this? And why is
this important now in the 2 I st century Dr. Colorqdo?

People arc tuming to traditional indigenous science in medicine because the
healing that we’re getting ftom medicine is not complete. It doesn’t address the
spirit or the psychologr, or the family, or the life we retum to when we leave the
doctor’s omce. And although we can get a partial cure from westem science, we
may not be able to get a cure at all beasuse the price of westem science and
medical care is beyond the reach ofmost the world’s population.

Moderator:

Elder Makua, you are a Elder and a healer. Patients come to you seeking what?

They come to fmd themselves. By finding themselves, they heal themselves
because they bring themselves together, the positives and the negatives of
themselves. They make choices. Choices that they lever thought they had, and
thes€ choices is all that you have.

Moderator:

Do you b€lieve
medicine is in fact the answer to the problems of the 2lst century Dr. Colorado?

that this altcmative mediaine, indigenous science, traditional

Well I believe it is an answer. There may be olher alswers. But the answer that
indigenous science offers is the answer that can heal the earth and can heal the

family. For example, in Alaska in the Exxon oil spill area, scientists have asked
me to help them in their researchs. What they’ve asked for is something very
interesting. They’ve asked for help in leaming how to do inter-species
commuication. Why? Because if the communication with the species that are
being studied could be facilitated thrcugh dialogue and communication with that
species, the science would be less expensive and more efective. Furthermore,
traditional knowledge, which is whole, offers a way in techlological disasier sites
which brings together many many different disciplines of science studying the
prcblem area. lndiSenous science offers a process for integrating often disparate
researches. So on the level ofenvironment, indigenous science has a great deal to
offer. In addition to that we’re talking about medicine. And finally, in the area
ofconsciousness, indigenous science offers humanity the possibility ofrcgaining
the ability to think and use their whole mind. In using this whole mind, solutions
become imminent. Solutions that, in an exclusively linear way, we may not be
able to conceive of. What do I mean by that? ODe of the things about indigenous
mind is that when we are in the whole, we are not working alone. Through the
love that ]r,ft. Makua was talking about, we have a tremendous ercrgy that is
available working to us and through us, and with that we can do things which are
called extraordinary, such as psychic phenomenan, movilg things with our minds,
healing other people, healing our own lives wilh our minds. Speaking in a way
that words cause things to happen. These abilities are not extraordinary in the
indigenous world, in fact, they are normal. It’s normal for all humanity to be able
to do these things. But the excess ofrationalization and linear thought that’s a
part ofneutoniatr cartisian science has constrained and limited the humar mind,
which camot be limited.

Moderator:

Dr. Gbodossou, in Senegal 85% ofthe population rceived thei. health care fiom
traditional healers, not ftom modem medicine. What is the role oftraditional
medicine in the future ofSenegal?

Answet:

The role ofhaditional medicine in the future ofSenegal is assured, because we
notiry that in ou. country. On our continent the modem science gets a little
weakness. For example, we need to eat for our life, but we can live 50 days
without eating. We need waler to live, but we can live 12 days without water.
We need oxygen to live, but we can liye seven minutes without oxygen. But we
cannot live a fraction of a second without energy. So in modern science, we
notiry that we need to
a whole. In tradilional medicine, we try to
nodry, promote in Senegal, and we organized a Traditional Association which
contains 450 healers, and we also built a traditional experimental center where we
learn the traditional way to promote this science.

Modelator:

Lasr August, we joined 650 people in the Sea Island of St. Helena, South
Carolina, dancing around trees to the beat ofAftican drums, having a spiritual
ceremony called Coumba Lamba USA. How did we get there? How did we all

end upthere? Who are we
joumey that took us there?

and why were we there? What’s the

Answer:

Apela Colorado

Well for me thejoumey b€gan as a child when I was four and five-years-old. My
grandfather, who was the only traditional indigenous practitione! in our family,
told me that he wanted me to go to a Univelsity, although no one in my family
lo one. If my grandfarher asked me rhat, in the love that he shared
had ever be€n
with me, I knew I was going ro do it. Theo before my grandfather passed away
when I was a young girl about 12 or 13, he came to visit me in a sDow storm one
day, my grandmother drcve him. He ammened his earlier inshuctio[ to me.
What he told me that day was, remember the pipe, remember the pipe, remember
tlrc pipe. For me those words werc my path, and that path carded me all tbe way
through Universities, through my Ph.D. program, and while I was studying and
getting my doctorate, I began to research the relationships between human beings
all over the world, because I wanted to understand what had happened to my
people, to Native people, American Indian people, and, as well, I wanted to
understand the interplay between my own American Indian people and also my
French ancestors, because there had been a war between my skin that was raging
for a long time. And when I began my research what I found out is that tribal
people, including European tribal people in the very eady days, used to remember
that we were related, altd it was remembered throught migrations and through
gatherings, and one ofthe points lhat we used to gather at was near Mexico City.
When I found this out in my rcsearch, both by talking with elders, ard by
University library type researches, I had this amazing feeling come over me.
What if, I wondered, what ifthe peoples ofthe world that know how to live with
the earth, and know how to keep families together through this love and intimacy.
What ifwe could comc together with each olher. What might happen then?
Could it be that the lost knowledge of our peopies for the last 500 years would be
restored? Could it b€
that some spirit would go out across the land and that a
great healing could occur? I wondered that, and when I got to Coumba Lamba
this last August I saw my drcam ufold b€fore my eyes. It was so beautiful to
hear the sounds ofthe drums, lo hear the different voices, to hear the dances. And
the most part for me was a conversatio[ I had with Mary Jones, a Chocia\,/ elder,
was that she rcmembffed her people, the Choctaw p€ople, used to do ceremodes
with Aftican people who were enslaved in the south several generations ago, and
Mary carried this oral history through three or four generations of her family,
despite inc.edible piessures and cultural disorganization ard disintegation, she
remembered when she head the drum and she shared that story. What she told us
is that her people saw African people and joined in wirh Afiican p€ople
in doing
vadous things to keep our minds whole and intact under enormous stresses. She
said that back then people would walk across buming coals and press their faces
to sharp rocks or stones or glass to keep their minds whole and complete so that

4

Moderator:

Answer:

they wouldn’t break. I feel in a sense that Coumba Lamba was remembering that.
We reinact€d what we used to do, and thrcugh that our minds are strong and
whole.

There were people there ftom 26 states and six countries at Coumba Lamb4
South Carolina, this past year. Dr. Gbodoussou you led the Senegalese group that
rcally came to Coumba Larnba, because Coumba Lamba is a Senegalese ritual.
Tell us about thatjoumey for you.

Thank you. To understald this joumey for me, you must understand a liule about
myself. At birth in a small village into a caooe, and my family is also a family of
knowledge. Eaxly, since my infancy, I know a lot ofinitiation, and when I went
to medical school, I think that the best walk for human being must be healing to
help suffering. When I went to medical school, I knew that medical school was
very short, aod one year before I frnished my M.D., I wanted to stop my studies.
said don’t be foolish. Ifyou
One ofmy teachers. his name is
stop your studies tomorow, in the fuhrre if Mr. Cbodossou were to speak lobody
would come. And ifyou say Dr. Gbodossou want to speak, a lot ofp€Nons cafl
understand you. So don’t be foolish. I continued to study for my M.D. and also a
lot of knowledge in _,
physician, and I can say that fo! 20 years I have neve. taken a modem drug
because I know why. And when I finished my studies, I think it is time lo
organize traditional healers in Senegal. What I did was to go to each village, one
the healers. The time to go to Amedca for Coumba Lamba USA
by one, to s€lect
is for me like dream come reality, and what I saw at Coumba Lamba ard what is
unique and rcmindful for me is no cultwe, no civilization has the truth. The truth
is like a cake spilled through the world, each culhfe, each civilization gets a little
part, and to bring together all cultures at this site on the Atlantic Ocean is for me a
beginning ofthe way that call help us to know the wey. The way to go to the
tuth, because we meet therc, indigenous people, Amercian people, Aztec, Maya,
a lot of civilizations, ard we move all together in the rhythem, in the danciry, all
so necessary to go in the spiritual way.

psychic, and so on. And so I am a doctor, a

Modentor:

At Coumba Lamba there was music and dancing and teaching and drumming.
There was a yowrg Native Hawaiian student ofthe ancient ways, Mr. Makua, who
knelt before Madame Fatou Seck, a Senegalese Fiestess, and prcsented her with a
lai, and gifts ftom Hawaii, and sang a song in his native language. Tell us, is this
the answer?

It’s part ofthe answer, but it’s sharing himself, sharing all ofHawaii. The Aloha
begins with this compassion and this is what he is sharing Madame Fatou Seck,
his Aloha, his compassion, We are all coming together now, because in Polynesia
the wo.d has gone out that we are on the sixth level, and being on the sixth level,
it has to do with integrating, reconnecting all things. Therefore, being intimate

Moderator:

with all things. Yes, I would say he’s coolecting.

we missed you at that healing ceremony Mr. Makua” but we’1l be sule that you’re
at the next one. You know we talk about indigenous science, and we talk about
modem medicine and they’re oftentimes compared. Now, there apparently is a
difference in this concept from what we’ve described here today, and what we see
everyday in modem medicine. Can you give an example ofthe difference
between modem medicine and indigenous science and traditional medicine? One
ofthe things that we’ve offen talked about is that difference as it relates to how
we react to man, the description ofman. Dr. Gbodossou, I’ve head you talk
about the five levels of malr in a traditional sense. How does that compare to how
we look al man in modem medicine?

, we see in the small parts ofa human being five

Thank you Dr. Floyd, Ginger. We klow Aftican science has its own reality, its
own rationale, and its own truth. So when we consider this modem science, this
taditional scierce. what is the meaning ofhuman beiag. In modem science,
human beings are made with oryan tissue cells. So when we speak about the
meaning of human being in taditional knowledge, African mind, African thought,
we consider a human being as an all, always in contact with traditional things,
extraterrestdal things, and cosmic things. When we want to put the man in the
simplest form of
elements, The first element is the physical element, the seaond is the psychic
element, the third is the moral element, the fourth is the soul, and the fifth is the
spirit. So the physicai element himself contains two elements, the physical
biologicat way known by modern medicine, and an energetical element, which is
not well known by modem medicine. The second element, the psychic element’
is
is the moral. Human beings arc the crcation which is able to do bad things
-_,.—.=-
without rcason. So we need something to coDtain thess agglessions, which is why
we need religion. It is also our difference between animals. Th€ fou(h element is
traditional healers to be t\ryo places at the same
the soul. The soul is
time. The fifth element spilit cortains the top level of spirit. The first level is the
spidt of our gandparents that is not there in Aftica. The second level is those
who go around the world. The first level is like the universal knowledge, no
scienie is able to prove that in ow world ofman. Itis the center ofknowledge, so
our knowledge is outside of our body and in the top ue notiry 256 spirits well
knoun in Afiican science, we call FA. It is also the reason why my Aiends say
that there is a 1ot ofdifference between healing and curing.

for it’s size more than science. The third element

YoU,RE LISTENTNG TO IDEAS THAT MATTER| THE FETZER DIAGLOGUES
Moderator: Two ofyoq Mr. Makua and Apela Colorado, are involved in the recreation of
authentic double-hulled Polynesian canoes, and all ofus have had the blessirg
and the privilege and the honor of actually riding in this canoe as it caressed the

sea. What is the role ofcanoes in ancient Hawaiian/Polynesian culture, and why
was this so imponant for us to do?

Answer

Hale Makua

First ofall I’d like to stad this way. The canoe is part ofour spiritual essence of
where we come ftom. It is our vehicle, and in the days of old, we would take our
newbom babies and they would grow up in the canoe. By growing up in a canoe,
they would acquire the rhythm ofthe ocean, it would rock them to sleep, and
when they went into & diIIelent ses, they would recognize the different rhythms.
Therefore, acquiring this rhythm in their own sea, they would know when they
have arrived home. Therc were navigatiotr _
The navigation
leam about the stars. Now, it’s important for us to rctum to the canoe for the
simple reason that it is our life, and the canoe has connected us as a vehicle with
our family membeN that are scattered tkoughout Polyaesian, over 2,000 miles.
We have kept this communication with the canoe up until 800 yea$ ago, and it
stopped. There were reunions every four years. Now we are retrieving this one
more time, and we started this in 1995, when there was the meeting ofall ofthe
canoes m

are coming back into folm once more on the big island ofHawaii.
is wbere all navigators that were selected went to

built. These navigation

at the Temple of

and

. The caqoe itself is maoled by people that serve all seven

different rcles. These seven diferent roles follow the navigation, the

They will follow the

because he is the
senior on the canoe, and no one questions that. So, thercfore, it c.eated discipline,
or self discipline among each crew member. The key to the whole thing is about
tust. It generated the trust, not only with the navigation, but it generated a t ust
iII the intimacy that you were having with the sea, with the sky, with the wind,
wirh the stars, sailing on the breast of mothet, the oldest mother we ever had, the
ocean. And looking up at the sky aDd looking at the backbone of Sky Fatha, and
following the ribs of Sky Father, the stars. One day soon, Maui will lower his
fishhook to connect all of us.

Moderator:

Dr. Gbodossou 8nd I had the opportunity to visit oo Maui the rcstoration project
ofthe double-hulled Polynesian canoes. How is this project litked to traditional
medicine and indigenous science.

ADswer;

Ap€la Colomdo
On Maui, we’re building (By we, I mean a group ofpeople, a multi-cultual gloup
or the medicine man of
ofpeople, and my husbaad is the
canoes.) a 62 foot double-hulled voyaging canoe. This c8roe, elthough in a
westem way! we would lhink ofit as a boal has all of the teachings of
cosmology, of spirituality, of history, mathematics, astronomy and logic i, it. As
this canoe is being built, the ertire community is partioipaiing. It witl be 62 feet 2

inches long when complete and at this moment, in one year’s time, we have more
than 8,000 hours ofvolunteer time into it. Where we’re building the canoe is also
imponant. We’rc building it on one ofthe most ancient spiritual sites oo the
island of Maui, and it’s a site that has an old pond that has now been fi1led in, and
formerly had a 40 foot black lizard rhat would appear in this pond from time to
time. Now what does that mean, and what does that have to do with spirituality?
Metaphorically one could think ofthe pond and the lizard as the womb, the bag of
wate$ and the fetus. But h reality, that lizard rccalls to our minds the genealogy,
like the vertebrate oIr the spine, the generations. For me, I went to a ceremony in
Navajo land in 1985, and in that ceremony I saw this lizard. I was given a story
about how the lizard came to be important in Navajo teachings because there was
a sacred woman who had twin sons, and this Mcred woman,
,
looked at the d€vastation of the earth, ofcourse we don’t know when that time
was, if it’s now or back then, or in the futue, or all times, but this sacred woman
looked at the eaah and saw the damage, the destruction, that was caused by too
much sun enelgy, maybe too much male energy, and she went on ajoumey west
to the ocean, and her two sons traveled with her, but they had strict rules about
how they had to behave on this spirituatjoumey. Ofcouse, orc boy broke a
taboo and he ate so&ething along the way. By the time they got to the ocean he
was changing and he asked to be put into the water. This boy turned into a lizard
and this woman accompanied by her son, the lizard, traveled in a canoe, they say
to the farthest west island. By the way, because I went thrcugh this ceremony, the
Navajo people said that I could say this much ofthe story. So this woman and the
lizard made it to the fadhest west island, and today when the rains come into the
desert refreshing the parched earth, they say it’s that woman over there, she’s got
that power and she’s serding it back ro us. That life. When I got to Maui, I found
out that the pond that I had come to, this baseball park today, was the home of this
lizard, and I felt as ifl had truly come home. That experience what’s happened to
me is happening to evcryone working on the canoe. The canoe is causing us to
grow. As the canoe is constructed, so arc our lives alld our spirituality coming
together. This canoe is a time machine, ifyou look into its deeper meanings. It
has a rcpresentation ofthe Tropic of Cancer in Capricom, the Equator, and the
leachings of what it means to live within those boundades within the

or the Breath oflife. What happens to us when we cross that

Equator where thi[gs are identical, yet opposite, Hawaiian people and Hawaiian
culture, the indigenous scielce there, teaches us to move in accord with the
heavens as Hale Makua has said. But more tltan that, it teaches us how to move
in accord with each other, and with the hemispheres of our brains like the double-

hulls ofthe canoe, to work in balance.

Moderator:

The time when I first had the privilege ofbowing my head and kneeling al the site
ofthis double-hulled canoe and e[teriog it and being taken to sea to feel the
warmth of the sun upon my skin and to close my eyes and say my prayers, and to
be wrapped in the spirit oftlE Mother of the OceaD, was also the weekend Mr.

Makua that Dr. Gbodossou and I had the opportunity to meet you, and we are
etemally grateftrl for that opportunity. But you axe the Elder ofthe Spiritual
Waniois, the first chair. In tradilional medicine and indigenous science you are a
leader ofyour people. How did that, yourjoumey, getyouto this place?

Well, I was asked to accept the position ofElder, and I was asked in 1990 to
come. By accepting this position, I had moved up a level. By moving up a level,
I stopped in actuality teaching. I advise now. I thought it woutd be easy,-I fooled
mysetf, it beca-” h””tic, it becarne unending. Everyday is another {1f of1ot”
oarients. Thev come from all over. Some come as far as Scodand. l’ve had
carholic priesls fiom New York. nuns ftom Canad4 you name them and they’ve
come. What they’re seeking is sacred places or spiiitual places that still exist for
themsqlves, because a lot of other places has beeo bulldozed over and removed’
So, hopefirlly hnding these places to rcconnect with themselves. My position in
this first chair just oicurred recently, and we’ve been foltowing this spirituat
whisper so to ipeak, and it’s all about trusting. The prophecies that were given by
the ancestors 2b0 and 300 years ago, are falling into place now, and it takes a full
arm trust to follow it, and that’s atl it is, because tlust belorgs to spirit’
I wish that we could really shaxe with our listening audience the aue feeling of
what ]ve’re trying to describe. Of how one feels when one becomes a part of
nature, when onJ communes with the spirit, when orc is able to be wEpped
withinthe wind and the sea and the sun and the ground ofthe four directions’ It’s
a jomey that all of us take collectively and individually. I trust that we arc all on
the joumey going to the same place. Dr, Gbodossou you rode on this canoe, what
does it mean to You?

, and when wQ go to

The canoe means to me the beginning of life because the way ofthe canoe is the
sea. the water. The water is the source of life, Also, the canoe is made with the
wood. In the African mind, alt ofthe regions think that we corlle ftom the tree’
When we go to the Dogon region, we know that the first human b€ing come ftom
. culture, we se€ also the
like the origin of life. When we go the Serer
the tree is the source. In the Wolof region we speak
so the

“”me
.”gion in S”negul, *e
about
canoe ard the sea is the symbol of life.
Sailing in those canoes was a wonderful experience, and this summer there will be
a launihing ofthe new canoe that is being made in Maui, and we invite all
listene$ to come.

“ay

in Benin region, we speak about

trr”–,

-,

Answer:

Moderator

Answer:

Modemtor:

YoU’RE LISTNNING TO IDEAS THAT MATTER: THE FETZER DIALOGUES

Moderaior:

We’ve been talking about the importance oftraditional healing and indigenous
medicine. We’ve been talking about the increasing number of people who are

9

Answer:

Modemtor:

AJrswer:

seeking their health care though these allemative means. Who and how are we
actually training traditional healers and people who are knowledgeable in
indigenous science. We are rcal excited because Dr. Apela Colorado is the
director ofthe only Ph.D. granting program in the entire world in indigenous
science. Parn can you tell us about this particular program?

The traditional knowledge program came fiom my grandfather’s dream of
remembering the pipe, and becaus€ ofthat the traditional knowledge program is
open to all people from all mces who want to rememb€r or regain their whole
mind, the ability to think in an indigeflous way. For people who arc actively
living a tribal life, we have a cohort called the Traditional Kaowledge Cohort,
For Euiopean American people, !,e have the recovery ofthe indigenous mind
the African-Americar/Aftican Cohod.
cohort. As ofthis past year, we b€gan
The idea of the traditional krowledge program is that here is a place, a sacred
space, where we can come together and do the healing and the recovery of our
indigenous ways and life. I’m not promoting a return to a distant tim€. What I’m
promoting is two-fold, one the remembrance ofthis whole mind, and two,
creating a synergistic relatioNhip with the westem mind.

I’ve had the opportunity to sit under a Bow-Bow tree in Fatick, Senegal, with
traditional healers, keeper ofthe ancient wisdom. Traditional

healers who serve the majority ofpatients in Senegal, West Africa, and these are
elderly gentlemen and womea who are leamed probably beyond space and time.
Dr. Gbodossou, how does one become a haditional healer in Africa?

To become a traditional healer in Africa, there are a 1ot of way. In our meadng.
we think that it is diffrcult to be good doctor without good pfiest. lt is also
difficult to be good pdest or pdesless without being a good doctor. To be a healer
is to be altogether good doctor and good priestess. The \ray to knowledge, to get
this knowledge, we can be healers aftera lot ofyears ofapprenticeship. We can
only be healer fiom a lot ofinitiation. Like to be able to leam thrcugh the dream,
You can also begin to have the knowledge ofhealers from your father. You can
also be traditional healers during your initiation
– that means before
you are able to cure a foolish mar! you know yourselfa foolish way. You must
be foolish to know the foolish maII and to b€ able to cure a foolish man. Also,
you can be a healer when you are able to learn about the way of life of other
human beings, To know the plants will cure
the _.
So to leam to be a aaditionalist, we oeed the tough way of
knowledge. And this way before leaming, we need also a lot of quality. That
means forget yourself and open for others.

.IleamitOIIough

Moderatori

Dr. Obodossou has told me this story of warching a bird fall ftom the nest, and
climbing the tree aad finding another bird in the nest who was not able to fly yet
because the bLd’s eyes were closed with infection. And he watched the mother

10

Answer:

Moderatofl

and father bird bring the same plant to the nest everyday, and within a few weeks
the bird’s whose eyes were closed with infection had been cured of the infection
and was able to fly away. And this is the plant that he says he uses now for
conjuctivitis in his medical pmatice. So there’s a lot be learned ftom all parts of
mtue. I’m sure this is true in Hawaii Hale Makua

Yes, it is tlue. There arc many plants in our culture that heal. First the healer
must be intimate with all things, and by being intimate, there are a few platts that
would be comeoted to this individual healer. And, ell he has to do is consult with
the plant and the plant would telt him what plant to go to. Ask that plant to allow
you to pick its leaves or whatever it may be so that you may do the healing. ln
my family there are a few pla s that we are connected to and, therefore, these arc
the plants that we go to. By going to these plants, they suggest other plants.

Being young and foolish in one part ofmy life, I thought that I too could learn of
plants and go pick a plant. The elders then told me there is much to be done, one
must offer sacrifice and prayers. One must know enough about the plant to know
what season it is the shoEgesL What time of the day to pick it. So there is much
to be leamed in this traditional knowtedge system, and we can obviously say that
it comes from years and years of haining and initiation. We are quickly runniog
out of time and I would like for each ofyou to give a pa.rting notice to our
listeners out there thrcughout the courtry. What would you like them to know,
the one thing that you would like them to know or think about in terms of
traditional medicine. Ard then we’ll ask Dr. Gbodossou to close with a prayer in
his native Afiican language as we close our program for the day. Dr. Colorado
what would you like our listeners to know altd to think about?

Answec

When we Wisconsin Oneida were talking with an elder several yean ago, we
were lanenting the loss of our cultue, the loss of our identity, the loss ofour
spirituality and he told us this. The power’s not lost, you are. We can rcmember
our indigenous mind, and I encourage the listeners in this audience to take steps to
regain this beautifirl way oflife.

Hale Makua:
I would leave with you of loving everything. By loving everything, you would
have to be intimate. And by being intimate, you would have to be humble.

Moderator

Dr. Gbodossou, what words do you leave to oul listeners?

Answer:

The time is now for me to walk together. The thing that is here in this world, we
are only in transitioD, only we’ve got a mission to do, aDd we need to forget a
little bit oursetves to help each other.

Moderator:

I close by saying that each ofus are on an individual and a collective j ourney to

1l

to find the spfuit to become with God. I ask each ofus to look and

find ours€lves,
in our individual way because this relationship is possible.
to begin tbatjoum€y
Dr. Gbodossou, wlro is tom Beniu and Senegal, in the way ofancient peoplc we
ask you to close our program today with a praycr.

AlswEr: Ilale Makua, you are the first seat ofthe elder,I beg your pardon aDd I ssk your

pqmissiotr to do this prayor.

Aosw€r: Please-

PRAYER

t2