I’ve spent a few weeks studying the philosophy of causality in relation to the odu of Okana. In facebook and elsewhere I’ve made notes about some of the things I’ve studied and pondered. So, I thought I’d post up some rough material of my work. Here are some random writings:
I’m still stuck on Okana and the following “flash” patakí: There was a time when the cause said to the effect, “You cannot exist without me.” And to this the effect replied, “And you, you would not be useful to humanity if I did not exist.”
Keep in mind that it’s almost 4:00 A.M., so my logic in all this might not be very clear. My divination students, however, will understand exactly where I’m coming from with this.
The relationship between events (the cause) and their second events (the effect) is known as the study of causality, where we understand that the second event is a direct consequence of the first. I’m convinced that causality is a huge part of Okana’s ashé, and its study can help us as diviners when navigating the family of Okana, or any composite that includes Okana (such as 7-1, 8-1, etc.).
Okana as an olodu has other proverbs in addition to the brief patakí already mentioned that hint at causality:
• From a good thing was born a bad thing, and from a bad thing was born a good thing.
• The world was created by one.
• Because of one the world began.
• If there is nothing bad, there is nothing good.
I’ve been reading about the metaphysics of causality. No, not the metaphysics of the New Age mentality; I’ve been studying metaphysics as a branch of philosophy. And with it I’ve been studying Aristotle’s 4 types of causes:
1) Material Cause: the raw material from which an object is made. This speaks of an object’s physical matter. The material of which an object is made causes its functions, basically. I’m not convinced that this form of causality has any bearing on Okana.
2) Formal Cause: such as the form of a statue. What a thing was meant to be or do; what it was planned to be, or be used for. The form an object takes causes its functions, basically. I’m not convinced that this form of causality has any bearing on Okana.
3) Efficient Cause (also known as mechanical cause): a present event causes a future event. Note that efficient causality is the only form of causation considered by modern science, and we have the work of Newton and Newtonian physics to thank for that. This is the connection between events, such as the cue ball hitting the 8 ball, making the 8 ball fall in the corner pocket. From the patakí already mentioned, it’s easy to see that this form of causality is vital to Okana’s ashé. For reasons my basic divination students will understand, I think the concept of efficient cause might be exceedingly helpful when discussing the implications of the following composites of Okana: Okana Meji (1-1) in iré, Okana Oché (1-5) in osogbo, Okana Obara (1-6) in osogbo, Okana Odí (1-7) in osogbo, Okana Osá (1-9) in osogbo, and Okana Owani (1-11) in osogbo. Working to identify the present causes of future events foretold in those odu will help clients avoid misfortune.
4) Final Cause (also known as a goal or purpose): a future event (possible or actual) causes a present event. It is our human mind and our intelligence that makes this a viable form of causation. Modern philosophers also know this as the intentional stance, and while final cause is rejected by scientific thinking, it is impossible to understand human motivation without it. From the patakí already mentioned, it’s easy to see that this form of causality is vital to Okana’s ashé. Also, for reasons my basic divination students will understand, I think final cause would be a concept especially helpful to use when clients come to the mat with the following entoyale in Okana: Okana Meji (1-1) in osogbo, Okana Oché (1-5) in iré, Okana Obara (1-6) in iré, Okana Odí in iré, Okana Osá in iré, and Okana Owani (1-11) in iré. By helping the client envision a better, safer future, and establishing a path to that while odu is still in effect on the mat, one can change the future of the client.
Of these 4 types of causes, I believe that 3 and 4 are appropriate to the ashé of Okana. They are also appropriate to consider in our role as diviners. Efficient cause and final cause and wonderful ways to help a client unravel the often meaningless and random events in his life; and final cause is an excellent tool for helping clients create new realities. It can lead to the often overlooked behavior modification; something more diviners should counsel their clients about.
There is something called “The General Formula of Causality” and it is used by scientists; it also expresses very well the philosophical concept of cause and effect. In my opinion, this formula also expresses the truth of the olodu Okana:
(A) (B) [h (A) ———-► h (B)]
For every (A) and (B) [the happening of (A) causes the happening of (B).
For every A and B the happening of A causes the happening of B. “h” stands for happening. The arrow stands for “causes”. This is the general scientific formula, in which the logical symbols can stand for different variables. Let us understand A as temperature and B as pressure of a gas. Thus, if you increase the temperature, then you will cause the pressure to be increased too. This is called Boyle’s law; it was discovered by the theory of causality in scientific terms. This formula is also a wonderful expression of “Efficient Cause.”
If we understand Okana as the law of cause and effect, Okana equals cause and effect. They are both wrapped up as dual poles of Okana. Therefore, to express this equation as a spiritual emanation of Okana, we could write the formula thus:
Okana = (A) (B) [h (A) ———-► h (B)]
Okana equals that for every A and B the happening of A causes the happening of B.
Let’s take a look at what Iyanla wrote and apply it to the formula: “As mind is Cause, it has a vibration. Nothing in the universe is stagnant or still. All things are energy in motion at all times. As mind vibrates there is an effect, equaling in meaning that the energy emitted from mind (cause) will produce in kind (effect.) The Law of Cause and Effect states that for every movement of energy such as in a natural occurrence, or a human thought that takes the form of an image, feeling, desire, belief, expectation or action there is a corresponding effect. For this reason the Law of Cause and Effect influences every aspect of your living experience. This is where I believe Okana comes into play. She continued with, “From a good thing (mind) was born a bad thing (undisciplined thought) , and from a bad thing (undisciplined thought) was born a good thing (the need for correction/awareness/conscious connection to thoughts, words and actions. This need is probably what brought the client to the mat.”
Let’s see if we can find a way to fit that into the formula we just worked out based on the philosophical concept and the scientific formula of causation:
Okana = (A) (B) [h (A) ———-► h (B)]
Okana equals/says that for every A and B the happening of A causes the happening of B.
We define (A) as a good thing and (B) as a bad thing.
Okana says that for every (good thing) and (bad thing), the happening of a (good thing) causes the happening of a (bad thing). The proverb on which this is based is “From a good thing was born a bad thing.” We find that the proverb Iyanla mentioned fits in with the formula perfectly; it is almost as if that proverb was written with this formula in mind.
Now, let’s redefine our terms: Let’s say that Okana, in this instance, is mind. A mind is one thing; and I, like Iyanla, believe that Okana references the mind as a primal cause. Of course in macrocosmic terms we’re talking the mind of Olódumare, and on mundane terms, we’re talking about the minds of humans. Let’s define (A) as Iyanla did in one of her examples, an undisciplined thought. Let’s define (B) as the need for correction. We have this:
Olódumare’s mind = (A) (B) [h (A) ———-► h (B)]
Olódumare’s mind says that (A being an undisciplined thought) (B being the need for correction) [the happening of an undisciplined thought creates the need for correction].
And again, with a formula we have demonstrated a spiritual truth.
Pretty awesome stuff, no? THESE are the types of issues that keep me awake at night!