"At least once a week, I am thankful for having studied psychology. A few years ago, I was introduced to a documentary called The Century of the Self, which outlines the relationship between psychology and marketing. More precisely, it defines how Sigmund Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, used Freudian concepts of group consciousness to promote consumerism in the guise of democracy. Women were especially targeted, but nobody has been spared the effects. The technique was simple:
1. Stimulate the irrational, all-consuming self by manipulating hidden irrational impulses.
2. Make her feel more powerful and independent by linking products to her personal desires. Satisfy a pain, hunger or a yearning by offering up some product as a symbol of freedom. Here, it is important to note that completely irrelevant objects can symbolize how you want to be seen and perceived by others.
3. Turn EVERYTHING into shopping. Marriage, religion, and children become no different from shopping for phones, shoes or clothes. Ultimately, more than purchasing a product or service, shopping engages a part of the self by sending the message 'You will feel better just by having this product or service.'
Today, Orisa Lifestyle is fast degenerating into a spiritual mall experience for many men and women in the USA. The pursuit of global identity, local activism and spiritual destiny survive in name but they are quickly disregarded when the consumer feels like 'I DIDN'T GET MY MONEY'S WORTH.' When I consider the African American experience, the situation becomes even more intriguing. Once upon a time, we integrated lunch counters and department stores for the purpose of DESEGREGATION. But instead, we got seduced by the idea of INTEGRATION, which has degenerated completely into conspicuous CONSUMERISM. Service is not even an after thought.
And so, in a single generation, the brilliant political, cultural and social activism and commitment of great pioneers like OBA ADEFUNMI, BABA MEDAHOCHI and BABA ISHANGI have been all but lost. The Holy Odu OturuponMeji says:
It is now a pitiful play
The Iyere is now a dirge
When eyes are two, they watch events unfold
When legs are two, they walk with heavy treading
The rumps are two, they sit on a mat
One hand does not jingle
Also, one leg will not walk with fast treading
How can one refuse to answer a call from responsible people?
I am asked to kneel and greet those before me
I knelt and greeted those before me
I am asked to kneel and greet those behind
They ask, “who are those before one?”
I say one’s paternal ancestors are those before one
They ask, “who are those behind?”
I say it is the Orisa in one’s paternal household that are behind me
When the Swallow Bird builds its nest
It is suspended in the sky
Looking at Olodumare
Looking at human beings on earth
Atangegere, divined for Odusola, child of Arannase
Whose father died when he was a little child
Without the knowledge of how to cast Ifa
Without the knowledge of how to print the Odu
And not having been to Ile Ife to witness Ifa festival
When all ritual elements were assembled for Odusola to start propitiating, he broke into tears.
Saying he did not know if water was to be offered first
Heavenly spirits, descend to make this ritual a success for us
Whether it is gin that should be offered first, I do no know
Whether it is obi that should be offered first, I do not know...
- Holy Odu OturuponMeji
And herein lies the painful reality: WE DON'T KNOW. Too many of us have gotten completely carried away with the idea that, because we have purchased Ifa, we know Orisa Lifestyle. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is still much to learn and even more to UNLEARN."
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | www.ObafemiO.com
Live the Medicine
Obafemi Origunwa, MA
Thought leader, Ifa priest and author of four definitive books, Obafemi Origunwa inspires metamorphosis through living the medicine that will heal your life and heal the lives of the people you're destined to serve.