Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Are We Culturally Congruent?

Are We Culturally Congruent?

     Based upon my experience of formally having KOS [Knowledge of Self] almost 20 years this September, one of the biggest misconceptions I've seen people have about Five Percenter culture is that growth and development happens over night. In this fast food microwave society people often have the unrealistic expectation of "instant results." The reality is, nothing happens over night but the night and it takes years, months and days to unlearn and learn things that will improve our way of life and make us resourceful to others. Culture is not something we add water to, stir up and bake for 45 minutes. Culture is not something we simply read on this blog, nod our heads to in a cipher or listen to on Instagram clips. Culture is the sum total of all of our people activities which includes everything from our diet, language, the way we behave in private/public, our perspectives on education and economics and even how we define our sex life. Culture encompasses every aspect of our way of life.
     When I first got KOS I wanted 120 Lessons. That is what I thought and believed was what it meant to be a Five Percenter; to know your lessons. While this is an integral part of learning the core values, principles, chronology, social norms and etc. of the Five Percent, I learned over time through walking with my Enlightener/Educator that lessons were not the sum total of this way of life. Over the course of our journey I also learned the Supreme Mathematics, our Nation's chronology, the Supreme Alphabet, Twelve Jewels and other sciences of life. Still then, these components which comprise our cultural curriculum were still not the sum total of this way of life. It took me years, months and days of experience to realize that regardless of our personal growth and development or individual accomplishments, they mean very little without the context of family and community -the cultural building blocks of any nation. In other words, in order to have a culture or sum total of people activities we must have a group reality; people. That sense of collectivism provides the context of culture because in order to improve, tend to, raise or grow anything it requires interdependence. In our physical environment that interdependence or network of organisms interacting together is called an Ecosystem. When it comes to us personally, without that sense of collective consciousness and sensibility, our way of life begins to reflect more of an Egosystem.
     What inspired me to write this are the experiences of different people reaching out to me for support. One of the common things I hear is that Five Percenters in certain areas are not actively involved in their communities or doing anything for others. Aside from putting pictures and video clips on Instragram or being universal flagged-out on Facebook, many of these people are simply going to work everyday, if they are employed, and possibly attending a nation function once a month dressed in their Sunday's best. That is disappointing. That was not what the Father or his companions did. If that would have been the case none of us would be here because nothing would have been shared. I met my Enlightener unenrolled in a semester of college still going to physics, sociology classes and etc. to learn. That wasn't a typo, I said "UNENROLLED" meaning; he did not have to be there yet he was there to teach others. Some of us only take a class or training when it's necessary or we're getting paid. There are some Five Percenters who only engage the public, and other Five Percenters, monetarily. The only things they're ever involved in benefits them personally, including their own household, and they don't facilitate anything that solely helps others. That is a problem. Why? Because imagine where we would be if the Father had that kind of self serving mentality. Imagine if the Father and his companions' main platform was to monetize their relationships with the youth, their peers and anyone who looked towards them for guidance and support. Consider how it effects the lives of those in need today when the only time some of us are willing to do something, or ask others for something, is when it personally benefits us and ours?

     This year I became an active member of a grassroots organization in my city called Niagara Falls Forward; a group of like-minded citizens invested in enhancing the quality of life for citizens in our city. Some of the things we've done are information sessions, a voter registration drive, food/clothing giveaways and we recently held our First Annual Niagara Falls Forward Family Festival on July 4th. Everything we've done has been made possible by the community, for the community. A couple of weeks ago we participated in a local event called Pints4Progress. Pints4Progress is an event held once month where citizens come together to eat, drink, socialize and vote on a project that will help improve our city. Each new attendee pays $5 and former attendee pays $10 to attend. With their entrance fee they get a meal/drink and after everyone has had a chance to socialize, several attendees are invited to present a five-minute project idea to the group. Once all those interested have pitched their ideas, each attendee votes on the project idea they favored the most, with the highest vote-getter taking home all funds collected at the door. The week we attended there were almost 150 people, seven presenters and I did a five-minute presentation about our First Annual Niagara Falls Forward Family Festival. We won the pot and walked away with about $1,300. One of the things I emphasized to the group is that although we would like their vote to help us secure a couple of bounce houses and other things for the children during our festival, we came to offer our help as volunteers for any of the businesses/organizations who were in need, and we came to ask if any of the attendees were willing/able to be a Niagara Falls Forward volunteer at any of our events/initiatives. We actually accomplished all three goals! One of the things I realized from this experience, that reaffirms some of things I've written about in this article and have reiterated over the years in my writings/videos is that people are often more willing to help you help others than help you help yourself. Let me repeat that, "people are often more willing to help you help others than help you help yourself." Some of the other presenters who didn't win wanted people to vote for them to take the money to support their [personal] business. Yes I'm a strong advocate of localism, supporting black businesses and etc. yet that approach is no different than asking someone to take money out of their pocket and put it in yours. There's no magic, marketing scheme, bells and whistles website or infomercial to it. All it takes is the willingness and ability to do for others, period. This is something I consistently strive to communicate to others, especially my Universal Family, who are genuinely committed to successfully assisting others. Our First Annual Niagara Falls Forward Family Festival was very successful as well; we were able to serve over almost 400 people, had a basketball tournament sponsored by the WNY Elite Basketball Club, had three bounce houses for our children and gave away free ice cream and food -all which was made possible via sponsors and volunteers.

     In closing, keep in mind that 'you are because we are.' Without the contributions of others, even the invention of something as unassuming as toilet paper, there are choices and opportunities we wouldn't have right now. The survival of any culture hinges upon it's ability to cultivate human beings into a group of people who forge unions/units that share common attitudes, interests and goals. These unions/units become communities; the cultural framework for all of its people activities. The more we're willing/able to look out for each other, the less we have to lookout for each other. As Five Percenters, we should expect more of ourselves than functioning like a social club. Handing someone supreme mathematics or getting them to recite lessons does not make them an upstanding member of their family or productive member of their community. Our primary role as civilized people is to teach civilization, which is not just knowledge, wisdom, understanding, culture, refinement and not being a savage in the pursuit of happiness. Civilization is a group's advancement process in all aspects of their people activities. To grow and advance as a collective this means its people are tending to and raising each other up. The reason there are any positive advances or growth amongst any group of people it's because there are those, often small in number, who know and understand this. Our culture is not about what we can take to advance ourselves personally. Our culture is about what we're actually giving, each and every day in each and every way, to advance the lives of others.