THE CONCEPT OF ULTIMATE REALITY AND MEANING AND
CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN REALITIES: THE RELIGIOUS VIEW
Certain realities stare contemporary Africans in the face, whether they have any view(s) on Ultimate Reality and Meaning (URAM) or not. I shall refer to these as Contemporary African Realities (CAR). These are not conceptions; they belong to the class of experienced reality, which in a sense, give meaning to conceptions and, therefore, seem to be prior. These CAR may be explained by appeal to certain principles, according to particular views of URAM. Such fundamental principles may then be taken or conceived as the ultimate reality that underlie the contemporary reality and provide its explanation. It seems to me that three such views can be identified in contemporary Africa. These may, for convenience sake, be referred to as the Religious view, the Cultural view and the Ideological view. The consequence that is normally drawn from such analysis, then, is that any adequate approach to understanding CAR must come to terms with the nature of their ultimate ground already identified. In what follows, I attempt an analysis of CAR and the various principles that have been appealed to for understanding them. These CAR may, for the sake of discussion, be grouped into three: economic, political and social. It is obvious that this division is artificial - there is no clear dividing line between them. But again, it does not really matter as long as we take this division as dictated by our analytical objectives. Finally, in my discussion of CAR in the following brief remarks in this chapter, I am only presenting a picture of the situation that I refer to as CAR. An elaborate analysis, together with views on the causes and solution, is the focus of my attention in the remaining part of this book.