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Our Cultural Views


Our views of the Black community to help inoculate it from the Social Illswe've incorporated the views of ancient Egyptians, Ma' at symbolized the highest ideals of living. Indeed, they often referred to their way oflife as "Ankh nejer Ma'af': "living in the beauty of Ma'af' (Adams, 1979). Ma' at was the normative standard or criterion for governing human conduct and measuring the appropriateness of human actions-. the means and ends by which human well-being (Le., righteousness, happiness, peace, and prosperity) could be achieved and by which the individual could be supported and sustained by the community (Adams, 1979; Carruthers, 1995; Hilliard, 1989; Obenga, 1992). 
 Within this cultural framework, "living" meant living from the heart. However, because life was seen as continually presenting opportunities and challenges for deeper and more refmed expressions of M a' at, living also meant accepting "the way of M a' af' as a lifelong process. Indeed, Ma' at exemplified to the early Egyptians the irrevocable relationship between the human and the Divine, between man and woman, state and society, order and chaos, time and space, and finite and infmite. It also embodied the then-inseparable relationship between what was deemed individually appropriate and what was socially beneficial. The Ma' atan ideal was grounded in three critical elements: 
 (1) Perpetual Veneration-seeing oneself as representing a vital part of a supreme "system" that included all life everywhere; 
 (2) Interconnectedness-viewing life as a historical, dynamic, ongoing, interconnected process of complex causality; 
 (3) Spiritual Oneness-acknowledging the spiritual dimension of the human experience. 
 ORDER:'cohesiveness, integrity and propriety in every realm of activity (cosmic, natural, social, personal, spiritual, etc.). The Egyptians believed that nothing was possible without order. Its modes of expression are formality, dynamism, and virtuality. 
 BAIANCE: the state at which all of the elements and functions of a system or individual are in equilibrium: or experience equivalent degrees of quantity, force, value, and meaning. The qualities of balance are stability, equanimity, and modesty. 
 HARMONY: an existence characterized by a special rapport and unitY which characterizes the encounter and the engagement of the form and function of relationships. The qualities of harmony are resonance, beauty, and peace. 
 COMPASSION: the recognition that the most fundamental and universal aspirations of human beings are happiness, affection, and the avoidance of suffering, and that, as such, all humans should strive for the attainment of these goals for all. The qualities of compassion are empathy, joy, and patience. 
 RECIPROCITY:' the harmonious complimentary and interdependent relationships of all things in life. Reciprocity was seen as the appropriate form of exchange for the movement of energy, goods, and services from one person to another. The qualities of reciprocity are fairness, flexibility, and protection. 
 JUSTICE: the reconstitutive, retributive, and generative nature of the universe to resolve conflict and restore order. The qualities of justice are fairness, flexibility', and protection. 
 TRUTH: the coherence, consistency, and correspondence of an entity. To the Egyptians, truth was neither absolute nor timeless. It was seen as both relative and reflective as well as consciousness- and context-dependent and situation- and occasion-bound. The qualities of truth are openness, authenticity, and trust. 
 These virtues were viewed as the exemplars of good character and proper conduct for Egyptiar (Kemetic) society. No single virtue was seen as standing alone; each virtue was believed to coexisl in an interdependent, dynamic relationship with each and every other one.