Denial of All Things Unseen is Caucasity at Work
I think that to not believe in a higher power or the universe being connected or energy or spirits or whatever science says it cannot prove, is truly an Anglo Saxon trait and privilege (?). It’s eurocentrism. It’s Westernized blindness. It’s Caucasity at work.
I don’t think it is a privilege, though. I think it is a critical flaw, and the reason for suffering beyond measure and living without being able to tap into pure joy and wonder and the real magic of why we are here. Because to think all the world offers, is what our narrow human minds can see and comprehend and touch, is to miss out on how enchanting life is.
Across the world, various cultures believe in what we cannot see and quantify. Whether in Africa, Asia, South America, Australia. Shoot, even here in North America. For example, Yorubas, Japanese, Peruvians, Aborigines, Mayans, Native Americans. Separated by continents, and still believe in the connectivity of energy, karma, beings that are hyperhumans, reincarnation, conjuring, charming, dreams as manifestation. Across borders and languages, most of the world believes in the unseen energies of the universe. Whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Omo Ifa or whatever.
Spirituality is not just about believing in God (one or multiple) but about how what we are able to SEE is limited from what actually exists. It’s the reverence of nature, because the knowledge that plants can be medicine, and that healing goes beyond walking into a doctor’s office and that everything is woven together in an intricate system and it must all be honored. That everything has a soul, and life in it, from the trees that sway to the old dog to the baby just born. It must all be treated with care.
Hear me: this is not about whether you believe in God (or you don’t). This isn’t about practicing a religion (or not). This is about a refusal to be open to the fact that what IS, is bigger than what we can perceive. This is not about who we choose to worship (or not). It’s about whether we believe in a force more divine than humans. The simplicity of not thinking life starts, ends, and revolves around human perception.
What do communities and countries of non-believing, and lack of spirituality or skepticism of mysticism have in common? They’re often white or euro-centric. And the bad part is that when the belief is validated, it’s often the boxed in version of a holy being who looks like he leads a punk rock band. Everything else is then demonized.
All this is brought up for me as we see what’s been happening with water, lately. To some, water is H2O, a substance created through a scientific process. For others, water is a life force in itself, bigger than us, with the power to bring life or to destroy at will. It is not asleep.
There’s the debates about people being upset that the Little Mermaid (Ariel) was cast as Black. The loudness of white folks who were upset because their favorite Disney princess was no longer a white girl with red hair was LAUGHABLE to me. Mami wata is a BLACK and African legend. HER story was stolen to make Ariel. As a Nigerian, I’ve been hearing stories of Mami Wata since I was little. These stories of magical beings that live under water, can get legs to live amongst humans for a short period of time, and retreat back to their home when they’ve had enough, can be retold by countless of us. There are people in our lives who have first hand encounter stories. She was never white. Her story was told in a white washed body for profit to millions around the world. So her being Black for this remake was more accurate than anything else Disney has done.
Then we’ve been stumped by what happens in the mysteries of an ocean we know so little about (and the different types of beings that could exist there that we cannot even fathom). The fact that we know more about space then the bodies of water that take up most of this planet is telling. It’s more purposeful than we’re trying to give credence to. It is a “stay out” sign that we keep trying to go past, but learning that some locks weren’t meant to pick. Look at the way orcas have been letting us HAVE IT.
And there are some of the lessons I think we might be getting taught but refuse to listen to, as we hear news every day about some odd happenings happening on the water. We need to recognize that water is not our home and is not ours to conquer or discover. Water does not GAF about our money. Rich man, poor man, dead man. All the same on those waves. All susceptible to its grasp.
Yet we will still try it. The story of the Titan submersible that imploded is truly an allegory of mankind’s hubris. And it all takes me back to what I see as a white obsession with learning and proving and discovering and conquering. And it also takes me back to a lack of belief in things bigger than us, things invisible to our eyes being as real as anything we can touch, and the thought that humans, in all our stupidity and recklessness can control so much.
We don’t have control of much in this vast universe, as humans. And to believe we do is pure caucasity. It’s very eurocentric. The lack of respect and the arrogance we have for nature. The type that leads to us FAFO (fck around and find out) way too often.
We refuse to treat this land that feeds us with real respect. Then we impose ourselves in the parts its telling us to keep out of. Then we deny that its power exists in the real way it does. Then we wonder why we suffer. And why it reminds us that WE ARE VISITORS. Land is for humans (barely, because it’s really for trees and plants). Sky is for the birds. Water is for the fish. Space is for the beings beyond us. Humans, have somehow convinced ourselves, that all of it is for us. And that it will bend to our will. The unmitigated arrogance.
But this eurocentric world will laugh at us for daring to think that because science can’t prove something, it cannot exist. An unfortunate tiny mindedness so closed to a world that is so big and complicated that we want to constantly fit it into boxes. So closed to the STORIES. To the possibilities.
To be spiritual, is to know that all that is the world we live in is intertwined. It is connected, deeply. Allow me to quote myself, from Chapter 13 of my first NYT bestselling book I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual:
“When I look up to the stars at night and see them twinkle, I wonder if they were designed by a Master Architect who just wanted to give us something pretty to look at, even through the ugliness of life. When I see a diagram of the atoms that make up our bodies, and they look identical to those very stars, I cannot help but think it connects to how we’re all made from the same dust the universe is. When I see a scan of the brain and it resembles a map of the Milky Way, I am moved to believe that it’s because everything that exists is also a part of us.”
Ajayi, Luvvie. I’m Judging You (p. 149). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
Not believing in anything that science can’t prove enables people to be so callous and cruel. When you are connected to nothing, you are beholden to nothing. I’m clear about how we use spirituality to harm (so it’s not a cure all for life’s ills. I talk about that at length in my first book too). However, at it’s best, spirituality holds us all accountable for what we do on this 3rd rock from the sun, and without it, our actions are judged by nothing, and our conscience is tied to no one, and our actions have no consequence beyond human disappointment. To deny the divine can be a dangerous undertaking.
Caucasity is the minority design of the world, and the ways in which those minor ways of thinking become treated like the default harm us in more ways than one. When a thought system of non-belief is not reflected in the ways the rest of the world operates, shouldn’t we raise our hands and go “what’s the deal with y’all?”
So yeah, I find it QWHITE fascinating, when people don’t believe in energy, spirits, forces, beings. It takes hubris. It takes some deep arrogance. It takes denying that the universe we live in is truly beyond our understanding. And that we are mere specks in the grand scheme of things.