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Submitted by Maya Chakravarti on Saturday, 11/5/2011, at 4:15 PM
L. Senghor: What the Black Man Contributes
Senghor seems to describe religion here as a "sensibility" rather than an
established order or mode of conduct. He mentions an "anthropopsychism" which
is where mental facilities or characteristics similar to those of human beings
are ascribed to a Divine being, including agencies at work in nature, by
contrasting the spiritual with the physical. He identifies the monotheistic god as love. Here love dominates the religion
and love provides the energy for action.
“What the Negro contributes is the faculty to perceive the supernatural in the natural, the sense of the transcendent, and the active state of abandon that accompanies it-love’s abandon” (290)
“All of nature is animated by a human presence. Nature is
humanized, in the etymological and current sense of the word. Not only animals
and the phenomena of nature-rain, wind, thunder, mountain, river-but also trees
and stones are made men-men who retain some original physical features, as
instruments and signs of their personal soul" (289).
"But this God, say the well informed, has vague attributes, and is uninterested in men. Proof of this is that he is not worshipped, and sacrifices are not offered to him. Indeed. He is love. one does not have to protect oneself against his wrath. He is powerful and happy; he does not eat nor does he need libations” (290).
“No, neither fear nor material cares dominate the religion of Negroes, though they are not absent from it, though the Negro likewise feels human anguish. But love-and charity-which is love-makes the action” (290).
“The feeling of familial and community communion is projected backward in time and into the transcendent world, to the ancestors, to the spirits, and unconsciously to God. The logic of love”(290).
“Morality consists in not breaking the communion in God of living beings, the dead, and the spirits, and in maintaining this communion through charity. And he who ruptures this mystic bond is properly punished by isolation” (290).
“It is indeed, as Maritain says, following Scheler, a matter of “concentrating the world in man” and “expanding man into the world.” The Negro achieves this by negrifying God and by making man-whom he does not deify-participate in the supernatural world” (291).