Volume 8, Issue 1, 2011
Rethinking the Individual’s Place in an African (Esan) Ontology
The paper challenges the dominant view of the individual’s place in an African (Esan) structure of Being or culture as one cast in the midst, and subject to the operations of (spiritual) forces, which are independently real and existent and can make or mar the individual’s existence based on the kind of relationship he/she establishes with them. The individual is expected to have reverence and awe for these forces; hence he/she is consistently striving to fit into the established structure of Being for his/her own good. The paper asserts that this is not a fair situation because it is the individual who conceptualizes and constructs such an idea of Being to account for his/her perplexing, multifaceted experiences and his/her ontological wonder; the individual is the fundament of Being; he/she
illuminates Being. Thus, though the structure of Being in which the Esan finds himself/herself playing important roles in his/her life and in the society, he/she must not always strive to fit into it, particularly when it outlasts its suitability for answering fundamental and baffling questions that keep confronting the individual in his/her existence. Since Being keeps unfolding and our knowledge of the Being-process is never complete, the individual must therefore consistently revisit, re-conceptualize and improve on the prevalent conception or structure of Being in order to account for current experiences that confront him/her.