The Evolution of Africa and Hip-Hop

6 08 2007

Pharaohe Monch

By Derek Beres

In his classic 1976 work on evolutionary biology, The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins writes, “One gene may be regarded as a unit that survives through a large number of successive individual bodies.” Our genes, he concludes, continue to exist after this casing of flesh expires. Compare this to Chapter Two of the classic Indian text, The Bhagavad Gita: “As a man abandons worn-out clothes and acquires new ones, so when the body is worn out a new one is acquired by the Self, who lives within.”

While India of yore did have an advanced systematic understanding of the body in Ayurveda, the concept of genes was still a few thousand years away. And while Dawkins, in his conceit, believes all knowledge of the human body and its relationship to nature prior to 1859 is useless, students willing to look into the sentiment of these like philosophies uncover a richer, deeper tale. Perhaps Gottfried Leibniz put it best in his concept of the monad, which is a force that remains the same as continual generations engage in constant change.

Philosophy is important, though if it remains speculation, it means little to the seeker. Hence, the need of applying these ideas to real, tangible examples of life, not by theorizing on what could be or once was. To gaze into the underlying themes of the present is to develop a sense of presence about what’s going on. If we need a concrete example of this evolutionary process, we need look no further than African music.

Click here to read full article on PopMatters.



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