From the book: "A Return to the Afrikan Mother Principle of Male and Female Equality", by Oba T'shaka
"Human life on earth goes through the same spiral zigzag path of change and transformation that the cosmos follows. The movement from positive to negative, from Negro to Black; from civil rights to human rights from injustice to justice; from reform to revolution; from the lower self of “me first,” to the higher self of my family, people and humanity first; from the lower self of greed and egoism to the higher self of simplicity and selflessness; all of these transformations are part of the cosmic spiral—the Spiral of MA’AT (Truth, Justice, Balance, Wisdom, Love). The progression of consciousness, the progression of history, the progression of human character from a lower to a higher level occurs because, as we go through the cycles of life, as we learn the lessons of Maat, the lessons of the cosmos.
As we internalize these lessons, we transform our thoughts, words and actions to conform to Maat. We ascend the spiral ladder of transformation through the cycles of life, rising to the level of perfection where the body becomes one with the soul.
When human life goes through the same spiral zigzag motions of the planets, discarding the negative from the positive, the false from the true, the good from the bad, the eternal from the illusory, then one achieves a state of human justice, truth and perfectibility, which is the state of the creator who resides inside each of us. This is the eternal process of growth and development that is the true meaning and joy of life. This is the path of truth and justice that the despiritualized, materialistic, power-hungry West, and too many of us, who follow in their path, have departed from. The path of the West is the linear path, which Marimba Ani (in “Yurugu”) observes, is a despiritualized path, because it rejects a holistic integration of man and woman with the cosmos.
Linear movement is unnatural because it doesn’t reflect the movement of the cosmos and life, which has ups and downs, zigs and zags. Linear thought, as Marimba Ani notes, is logical, intellectual thought devoid of intuition.
Concentric thought, a term framed by Dr. Patricia Newton, is thinking that mirrors the path of the cosmos; it is emotion and reason combined, it is intellect and intuition, masculine and feminine, heavenly and earthly thought synthesized and guided by the higher ideal of Maat. Concentric thought unites the spiritual and the material together, with the cycles of life and the cosmos working interdependently. John Henry Clarke, our wise African sage, uses concentric thought when he says “I use the style of a Baptist preacher, I start with a point, depart from it, and come back to it.”
Concentric thought is the way a Black conversation goes, zigging and zagging, in and out of subjects. Polyrhythms in African and African-American music follow the path of concentric feeling and concentric thought, weaving rhythm and harmony in zigzag movements throughout the music.
Concentric thought never separates the feelings and thought from the activity it portrays or speaks to. Concentric speakers speak with their mouths, hands, hips, eyes, tone of voice and other gestures. This is the just state of mind, the mind of intuition and reason, intuitive thought and action, which is the path that must be followed if we are to become just people.
Concentric thought implies as much or more than it states directly, because feelings are spiral, they take us to unexpected, beautiful places. When feeling and mind are linked they become a creative duo, where the speaker, dancer, mathematician, scientist, artist, spirit person, never says the same thing the same way, twice.
Each concentric path is unique because the spiral does not return to the same place twice. Creativity grows out of the concentric, masculine-feminine spiral, that is prolonged to infinity. As Miles Davis observed,
“I wanted the music…to be freer, more modal more African or Eastern, and less Western. I wanted them to go beyond themselves. See, if you put a musician in a place where he has to do something different from what he does all the time, then he can do that—but he’s got to think differently in order to do it. He has to use his imagination, be more creative, more innovative; he’s got to take more risks. He’s got to play above what he knows—far above it—and what that might lead to might take him above the place where he finds himself right now—and to the next place he’s going and even above that! So then he’ll be freer, will know something different is coming down. I’ve always told the musicians in my band to play what they know and then play above that. Because then anything can happen, and that’s where great art and music happens.”
Miles Davis, one of the most creative Black classical (Jazz) musicians in the history of music, is describing the improvisational, creative concentric path that Black singers, musicians, dancers, writers, scientists, and speakers follow, where they sing, blow, dance, write or preach what they know, and then they cut loose and tale themselves, and go above themselves to a higher creative place. Miles makes it clear that the creative person doesn’t just seek to get to this place once in a lifetime, by rising above yourself, you are continually seeking to fly higher and higher to new levels of consciousness, creativity and action. You can only do this when you combine the intellectual, masculine known, with the feminine intuitive unknown. When the synthesis takes place between the known (masculine) and the unknown (feminine) a new music, a new dance, a new literature, a new philosophy, and a new people can come about. Miles tells us that this willingness to go above what we know is where we find true freedom.
Concentric logic, and the zigzag path is unique to each person and to each generation. Each person must be true to himself or herself and each generation must be true to the demands of its time, as the people of pre-dynastic Kemet (Egypt) were, or as those noble brothers and sisters, like Malcom X, Martin Luther King and Ella Baker from the Bolden Age of the sixties were. It is through becoming a part of the ever- ascending spiral of the universe and human history that we ascend the ladder of human perfection and growth. This spiral path of transformation and perfection is the path to the vision of my grandmother, Catherine Falardi. The spiral motion of my grandmother’s generation nurtured and passed on a vision to my generation, as my generation is passing on to future generations a vision of the just society.
As above, so below. The spiral, zigzag course of the heavens is the course of life on earth. Life is not a linear progression, with endless ups; it is a series of ups and downs. Life, like the cosmos, follows the zigzag, spiral, and elliptical path. Our hardships, sorrows and disappointments are the testing grounds of life, where we learn what we don’t know, and through trial and error come to transform ignorance to wisdom. Through life’s ups and downs, we have the opportunity to rise from the lower self to the higher self. Because perfection cannot be achieved in one lifetime, the process of transforming our weaknesses into strengths occurs over many life times. Gradually, as we learn and internalize the lessons of Maat, we ascend the Djed column or the spiral ladder."