AfricaPersonhood And Morality
Personhood and individuality are recognized in the context of a communitarian ethos. In Yoruba religion, Olodumare creates people and gives each person the opportunity to choose his or her destiny. Individuality is also spelled out in names and in the concept of ori (head), which indicates not only the physical head but also an important part of an individual's nature and character (iwa). The psychological aspect of the person is inu, and a sense of self is conveyed by the word emi. Yoruba thought stresses the need for individuals to carry out their obligations in order to fulfill their destiny. Such responsibility is not necessarily a set of rules, but entails living one's life in such a way that one's goals and destiny are accomplished. However, there are prescriptions. People are often advised to avoid witchcraft and shun polluting symbols. Evil is seen as any action that distorts interpersonal relations and brings about harmful social developments. Evildoers misuse magic and witchcraft and inflict violence on others, but that does not mean that witchcraft and other forms of powers are necessarily evil. Ritual specialists, such as diviners, help individuals to determine not only the course of their destiny, but also how to act in a way that will allow them to fulfill their destiny.
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