As a boy, Mother often mentioned John Milton's statement: "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for." Society is set up so each member can grasp its Standards ('that which stands') because, by representing what has already been done and accepted, they are attainable. However, in African Tradition ones duty is to reach passed Standards--beyond the beyond--for the Ultimate, which is presently unattainable. This striving for Perfection beyond the physical embraces being up on ones "toes" in order to mentally "stretch" every day and in every way. Whereas Standards--despite being raised toward the ideal or the absolute or the perfect--can only settle somewhere short of that, the Ultimate is never reached, in the way tomorrow never comes. There is nothing to work toward beyond the Ultimate. Yet, along the way is the by-product called Happiness. The Carrot and Stick analogy illustrates why the Ultimate pursuit is significant. After the hook on a fishing pole is baited with a carrot, the pole is tied to a donkey's head. As the donkey pulls the cart and cart driver forward to the destination, this stick keeps the carrot dangling just in front of the donkey's face and thereby leads the donkey to believe he will catch up to it with the next step. In applying this concept, Ancient Africans designed their daily living so as to keep striving to reach the Heaven Afterlife. Tools for achieving these ends is to do what is Certain and Central, for that is what Knowledge in African Tradition is about. Partnering with these tools are ones Real Self Tool of Feelings (which come naturally) and ones acquired skill of Critical Thinking (CT). These enable one to know what to look for in order to acquire Knowledge and then to know it when Knowledge appears.
An Ancient African Geometric CENTER, like the center of a circle or the Bull's eye of an archery pad, is equidistant to all that is involved on the points of the circumference. Being mathematically unchanging gives it Certainty. They considered a "Metaphorical Center" of Certainty to be the core of a sphere; of ones Selfhood (e.g. the "Heart"); or whatever has an extreme density or concentration of things of great magnitude. This was because it is around the center that other things revolve or rotate or from which lines of activity or paths radiate (like spokes from the hub of a wheel). Ancient Greeks borrowed this concept to denote a goad (point) to prick or stab animals while being driven to pasture. Then it was applied to the stationary sharp point of a compass positioned in the middle (center) of the circles it drew. In 1866 it added the sense of "a main point," especially where people go or come from. Such a figurative idea of a point without the precision of mathematical calculation is extremely important for the CT of abstract subjects. For example, CT is quite different when something is headed away from a philosophical center as opposed to something being away from the center, headed toward the center, is around the center, or is in the center. To "Center" is to focus upon/in something and that is fundamental to CT.
The keystone of CT is to have Certainty of the topic at hand or get as close to it as possible. One must be free of Emotional Junk (e.g. anger, revenge), Illusions, and Delusions so as to fully realize the Spiritual Elements. CERTAIN signifies having existence, not merely in thought, but in fact. Facts can be Circumstantally Certain if their Referent (things to which ones words refer) is Certain. For example, one can know God by God's manifestations because nothing is capable of doing the same things the same way with Coherence, Consistency, Compatibility, Balance, and Harmony everywhere in and throughout its internal structure. Consequences of Certainty are: it evaporates all doubts; fulfills ones "Heart"; and imparts the "5Ss" (Safety, Security, Self-Confidence, Strength, and Stability) in moving forward on the Truth-Track. Certainty can only be recognized when whatever is being assessed successfully passes the filter tests of ones unclouded Spiritual Elements.
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