What a paradox: They claim to have philosophy, we only worldview

What a paradox: They claim to have philosophy, we only worldview

By Ollantay Itzamná *

It is very common to hear indigenous people (professional or not) repeat with an air of pride about the worldview of their peoples, as the maximum intellectual and spiritual construction of their ancestors. But, do they know for what and who coined the concept of worldview? Do they know that by assuming / appropriating such a construct they “naturalize” the integral racism that damages us so much?

According to Dilthey, Schelling, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, Hegel, among others, the worldview is the primary (pre-theoretical) way of ordering and explaining the world, made by a cultural group, without further theoretical abstraction. Philosophy, on the other hand, is the deep and comprehensive explanation of the total reality. It is the theoretical and metaphysical abstraction to answer the transcendental questions that worries humanity.

That is why Heidegeer, at the beginning of the 20th century, will say: "The worldview exposes phenomena alien to philosophy." And in the best of cases, the worldview would be part of the primary philosophical task when trying to respond, in an elemental / limited way, to human concerns.

It is clear that the worldview (according to its coinage) does not have the category of philosophy because it is an elementary "effort". In other words, the backward or inferior peoples have a worldview (an almost magical vision of their reality). Advanced or superior peoples build philosophy (they have reason and will to theorize and abstract reality).

Why did the Germans coined this idea in the late 19th century? Ultimately it was with the purpose of justifying what Hegel and others had already affirmed before: "The supposed mental, spiritual and cultural superiority of them over the rest of the peoples." Hence it is assumed that they, being inhabited by a superior human spirit, have philosophy, and the rest (inferior / backward peoples) have only worldviews.

In the faculties of Western philosophy it is taught that the sociogenesis of philosophy is found in the Greek peoples of the fourth century BC. These peoples of navigators, surrounded by marine waters, recorded their questions and answers to their existential concerns (conditioned by their time, geography and other circumstances), and the Europeans assumed them as the basis of their civilization.

Since then, Western academia, and those who strive to be recognized as academics, have been spreading the questions and answers of the Greeks of the fourth century BC. as the only universal philosophical truth, capable of explaining and organizing reality.

It is important to indicate that in the Greek writings, phylosophia (love of wisdom) built by communities, under the guidance of wise men, had a comprehensive / holistic perspective on reality. Poetry, mythology, theogony, mathematics, astronomy, ethics, politics, metaphysics, etc., constituted this philosophy.

It was in the course of time that Europe selected only the Greek "abstract theories" as philosophy, and censored the rest of the documents as mere "literature." There the linear and fragmentary rationality was born, which will later give rise to the western “linear reason”. That is, to philosophy as we know today. The Greeks of that time never imagined the universalization of their thought.

Indigenous peoples have philosophies, not worldviews

Mayas, Aztecs, Chipchas, Quechuas, Aymara, Guarani, Mapuche, etc., we have our own philosophies with which we understand and explain our realities. And, there are as many philosophies as peoples or civilization coexist on the planet.

Whoever assumes that there is a single philosophy (the western one) and worldviews, does nothing more than externalize the mental and spiritual racism that inhabits it. And if some aboriginal or indomestizo assumes the thought / spirituality / rituality of their ancestors as a worldview, due to ignorance or poor training, they suffer and reproduce the coloniality of Western knowledge and power.

The West tried to impose its thought as universal philosophy. And that modern "superior" thought, in a matter of three centuries devastated and devastated life, its cycles, and even the regenerative and self-climatic capacity of our Mother Earth.

While this happens, we and others continue to despise what is ours: Assuming that they have philosophy, we only worldview. That they have art, we only have crafts. That they, religion, we only beliefs. That they speak languages, we hardly languages. That they, culture, we only traditions. And so it goes on and adds the "naturalized" semantic contempt.

* Ollantay Itzamná is indigenous Quechua. Accompany the indigenous and social organizations in the Mayan area. He learned Spanish at the age of ten, when he learned about school, the road, the wheel, etc. He has been writing for 10 years not for money, but in exchange for his reflections, which are the contributions of many and many without the right to write, to be known.


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