An Analysis of the Nature of Spirit in Ifa Literary Corpus
The dialectical orientations in world affairs promote zero tolerance or the winner takes all game. This challenge has perhaps been responsible for the deprived peace and progressive development, especially in Africa. In this direction, this paper examines the nature of spirit in Ifa literary corpus. Ifa is regarded as a compendium of knowledge and wisdom. The paper aims to unearth the essential qualities of spirit in Ifa’s philosophy. However, spirit, as it is used in this work, refers to mind. Mind in Ifa is holistic, consisting of the material and non-material aspects. Hence, the discourse on spirit in Ifa is dualistic not dualism but monistic duality. Mind in Ifa operates on the rules of symbiosis and complementarity. In Ifa, spirit has primacy but not superiority over matter. The nature of spirit in turn determines how the mind relates to the external world. In Ifa, the external world is not just an appearance, but co-exists with spirit. Ifa operates the methodology of hermeneutic analysis, which is further anchored on the principle of duality. The principle of duality states that opposites are equal and reciprocal, but for the purpose of convenience, one must be active while the other should be passive. This allows for symbiosis and complementarity. The objective of this essay, therefore, is to unearth the logic and epistemology of the metaphysical system in Ifa, which should set the stage for a philosophical analysis of Ifa tradition. On this note, the essay employs the hermeneutical analytical method native to philosophical inquiry as a process of investigation. The paper argues that the culture of a people forms the background for distilling pure philosophical orientations that affect the process of development.