My Talks With Ex-Slaves by Dr. Joseph Bailey


As a boy, some of my newspaper customers were ex-Slaves with whom I deeply enjoyed having lengthy discussions. What most impressed me was listening to their real, plain, and simple Common Sense principles of “Right” living they gained through observation, trial and tribulations, and reflection.


Despite being semi-illiterate and lacking much awareness of the kind of technology so popular today, they had profound understanding of “Right” conduct which they customized into right behaviors towards and meaningful relationships with people’s various layers of presentation. From them I received the most vivid images of Manners-i.e. being sincerely concerned about the feelings of others. They emphasized how to avoid hurting people’s emotions by the absence of self-absorption (e.g. caring only for ones own personal gains and “what’s in it for me?”) as well as how to make people (including me) feel better from having been in their presence. Yet, neither of these prevented them from guiding me when they saw me veer “off-track.” From thereafter thinking about them, my present assessment is their possession of wisdom in everyday experiences came from an innate ability to decipher attributes of life.


Based upon the preconditions of sound Ancient African philosophy, they were living examples of moral conduct being governed by both knowledge and intelligence-conduct in all people’s best interests, as opposed to a privileged subgroup or leader. Its “Seed” principle is the Law of Sympathy-i.e. all God’s creatures and creations are Spiritually Related no matter how remote in time or space-a relationship constituting the Cosmic Organic Organism. This is directly opposite to a prevailing European concept that all creatures are “Mechanically” made and thus are separate “Individuals” in the sense of “every man for himself.”


Notice, for example, how many times the English language uses “Mechanism” to describe biological organisms which cannot conceivably be realistically divided into pieces. Nor does it make sense to describe what biological organisms (e.g. humans) do; or describe what happens to them by using “Mechanical” terms, like “Defense Mechanisms” and “Coping Mechanisms.” For those Common Sense concepts and practices having withstood the test of time, Ancient African society elevated them to being accepted as “true” and sufficiently meaningful for fashioning into a “tradition.” Societal Common Sense meant standing inside that tradition’s structure in adhering to its contents in order to make their choices, decisions, solutions, and certain work products.


The processes that went into establishing the “Mother Wit” form of Common Sense originated from Very Ancient African Sages establishing Spiritual Evidence of God’s existence. This was done through their Revelations + African Priest-Astronomers (with astro-mathematics c20,000 BC) to confirm those Revelations + Subjective Science and Objective Science to prove their Mathematics + observing the Law of Correspondence (all God-made things throughout the Metaphysical and Material Cosmos are of the same Spiritual Elements). Together, these established Circumstantial Absolute Truths.


From the resultant accumulated Spiritual Evidences of observation and research, African Sages inferred the original form of the Spiritual Elements emanated out of the Cosmic Mind as the Substance of God. By their inferences showing agreement, harmony and cohesiveness, African Sages arrived at knowledge from which conclusions were imparted for guiding African people. They said although God is unknowable, God’s existence is knowable by God’s manifestations (Amen, Maat, p28). Thereafter, what became foundational to African Tradition is that God (a Big Mind) can be known as the Intelligence behind all the laws of Nature. What evolved out of these “Root” concepts is what gave rise to Common Sense in African Tradition. And I had the benefit of learning this first hand. [Ref: Bailey, Leadership Critical Thinking In African Tradition].


About Dr. Joseph BaileyJoseph A. Bailey II, MD, FACS, was reared in Wilson and Greensboro, North Carolina where he became an Eagle Scout (twice). Then he attended the University of Michigan, Morehouse College, and Meharry Medical School; interned at Los Angeles County General Hospital; and as a USA Air Force captain in the Philippines was chief of the Family Practice Clinic in charge of 10,000 troops and their families. On off-duty hours he helped care for wounded soldiers flown in from Viet Nam.


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