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Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 26.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (21)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,308

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Chef Craig Shelton has over 40 years of experience in science-based cooking and teaching in the hospitality business. He trained in eight of the world’s greatest restaurants, including “El Bulli”, “Jamin”; “Ma Maison”, “L’Auberge de l’Ill”, “Le Pré Catelan”, “Bouley”, “Le Bernardin”, and “La Côte Basque. Chef Shelton has earned countless awards as Chef-Owner of his own restaurants including a James Beard Best Chef medal, NY Times 4-Stars ratings on four separate occasions, a 5-Star Forbes rating, the Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef title; and Number One Top Restaurant in America in 2004 from GQ. Mr. Shelton is also an instructor at Princeton University in the Princeton Environmental Institute, where he teaches a freshman seminar on the interrelationships between public policy, agriculture, diet-related disease and anthropogenic climate change. Mr. Shelton began his expertise in this area while an undergraduate of Yale where he earned his degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. He is a co-founder of the think tank, Princeton Center for Food Studies, the founder of King’s Row Coffee, and a co-founder of Aeon Holistic Agriculture, Inc. He is recognized as a consummate business consultant with specialization in macro finance. He is known for his ability to generate excitement in his cooks and instill in them the drive toward excellence by connecting all aspects of gastronomy to the larger intellectual landscape – chemistry, ecology, literature, art and human physiology. His great passions are reading and ocean sailing. His full C.V. can be seen here. More about Aeon HospitalityMountainville ManorAeon Holistic AgricultureKings Row Coffee, and Princeton Studies Food (in the hyperlinks provided). He discusses: science; Aeon Hospitality; financial consulting; awards; and restaurant models.

Keywords: Aeon Hospitality, Craig Shelton, culinary arts, enterprise, finance.

Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, we were cut short due to time constraints yesterday around the subject matter, which you’ve devoted 20+ to 35+ years of your life depending on the metric. This is around culinary arts and business, and the biophysics infused into those, not everyone will do them. Because they take common sense and folk knowledge from centuries past into the current style of culinary art. When, in fact, the science may have some evidence contrary to what is considered wisdom from days past. Let’s talk a little more.

Master Chef Craig Shelton[1],[2]*: What is interesting too, there is so much pent-up demand. When you’ve allowed an entire century to pass, and have almost isolated a discipline like the culinary arts, you’ve isolated it from any and all advances made in the rest of the intellectual world.

Once that pin is pricked, it’s an intellectual prophylactic. Then there’s an explosion. So, it really came in the moment with El Bulli, so, it didn’t just like a light switch happen that one day; no one is willing to embrace or talk about or allow reading about kitchen science, then it became a little bit allowed.

It was like an absolute immersion. It went from nothing to everything seemingly in the top kitchens. It was laboratory-type equipment. People are pushing this thing on steroids. It was quite an extraordinary thing to witness. A deficit has built up over centuries, this intellectual deficit.

When the levy broke, it was quite a flood. It was really quite a beautiful thing to witness. To be in that picture for a while, to see it, it was important.

Jacobsen: Why the name Aeon Hospitality?

Shelton: So often, people and companies are consulting companies, economists. I did not use that because I wanted to emphasize an intellectual position rather than a personality. Most hospitality comes to a brand of a personality.

I was a very reserved, very quiet, very brainy human being. Then all of the sudden, it is my turn to be a sous chef. In those days, back in the mid- to late-80s of the last century, there was this presumption of a larger than life personality. I had to manufacture one, adopt my style.

It took a certain effort to get into producing a persona that I felt was required for the task. I think part of this explosion, which kept some out of the discipline. I think it levels off rather quickly. Then the notion of chefs was not so thoughtful.

It suddenly allowed for a much broader type of presentation.

Jacobsen: How do you build financial consulting into the expertise you have around hospitality and running restaurants?

Shelton: It is a question that deserves a question. In the sense, when you say, “Financial,” there is a whole suite of disciplines in finance. There’s expertise in raising money. There’s expertise in managing money.

The kind of expertise that would come into play when you’re running a restaurant have to do with general knowledge. It’s odd the industry has no exposure to financial concepts, time value of money, pricing of risk.

The most basic fundaments of the entire body of knowledge in our world. But it is most useful for people in understanding the basics: What do you mean by “present value”? What do you mean by “these things”? What do you mean by “return on”? What is the function of a business?

How many thousands of times a manager said to me, “Craig, how can you say this project is upside down when it profits?” They don’t understand the difference between an operating profit and a return on investment, even something as simple as that.

It completely can change the way people can understand their job, the management of labour. So, it’s kind of like this. You have studied a lot of high-range people. You become more – I’m sure – learned in a range of subject matters, which is quite expansive.

Here’s this person who experiences a similar thing, which he chose to stay current, he is reading the Harvard Business Review vigorously each month. Every year, these kinds of journals publish lists of the most important business books ever written.

You start reading some of the stuff. There’s absolutely no limit to how much it could improve your business, how much it improves your life, your inner life and relationships in life. What you find, in a lot of industries, this is a long-time standing observation.

Entrepreneurs are too busy to work on improving their business, more lives suffer, even more tragic on the lives on their employees who dramatically suffer for it. The businesses suffer for it. They are underperforming.

I have read so much. I have real-world experience, as I have CPAs in my companies, MBAs in my companies, who helped me along; I tried to get mentors for me, from an early age. One of my business partners was very, very, very, successful as a United States developer.

He allowed me to be his mentor, and an understudy of how he runs successful companies. Like you, when I was young, my restaurant was in the middle of the world’s most important pharmaceutical center, New Jersey.

One of the centers for telecommunications was there and for business products, e.g., insurance, financial services. So, the people who come to my restaurant every single day for 25 years are some of the best minds in the business world, in the entire world, I befriended many of them.

They were absolutely generous in sharing their insights with me. I was extremely fortunate in that way.

Jacobsen: You’ve had a number of awards. “#1 Top Restaurant in America” in 2004 from GQ, a 5-star Forbes rating, a number of distinguished titles or accolades for performance in your relevant area. What do you attribute most of the success at the highest to now?

How do you integrate that into more improvements still in the performance of a restaurant, of the consulting, while still keeping your feet on the ground while acknowledging individual and collective excellence either under the individual or business name?

Shelton: One of my taglines is “I never witnessed a business in my life ever working harder than us.” Every restaurant, generally, which I have seen fail, is people weren’t thinking deeply enough, certainly not deeply often enough.

Jacobsen: In what way?

Shelton: In every way, business models, the business model was broken 150 years ago, but there was more demand than supply. If you had 25 days, I could start talking and never repeat myself and not run out of new topics.

I’ll give you the simplest example. Every restaurant in the world punishes good customers and rewards bad customers. All of the incentives in restaurants reward things that lead to bankruptcy and punishes things leading to financial success.

Jacobsen: Is this where the restaurant models were broken 150 years ago?

Shelton: Yes, if you used to own a restaurant in Italy or France, you most likely inherited it from your father, who inherited it from his. Your pricing model did not need to include capitalization expenses, because you inherited it tax-free.

Secondly, who were your workers, all these family enterprises didn’t have to account for labour. It was your family. You didn’t need to pay for all the labour and made profits if you will. Overhead was generally diminished because there weren’t a lot of insurance costs, of marketing going on, etc.

These things were negligible to many of their costs. Primarily, it had not yet gone through the artificial asset inflation process of the 20th century in British banking and in Europe. So, what I observed early on, the fact of three macros in business.

The cost of the materials on the plate or on the glass if you’re drinking. Then you have labour, which is the second macro. The third is all the single line items. We call this overhead in business. It could be 500 things all related to this.

At any rate, the point is: If you think about it, if you do the thought experiments, you understand the labour or the overhead costs are, actually, fixed costs. That is, if you filled your restaurants with 100 diners, and if each dish sold might be a chicken dish, on one given night in the suburbs with a single seating (they’re not turning the tables in America in the suburbs), you’re selling chicken at 20$ per person.

On some other arbitrary night, it happens the same number of people, 100 people, came in and ordered the most expensive item. Let’s say the rack of lamb at 50$ a plate, would there be a penny’s difference in the labour between those items? The answer is “No.”

Would there be a penny’s difference in the overhead? The answer is “No.” Those things have to be considered fixed. The only variable thing is the cost of goods. There is not a single restaurant in the world pricing to that reality.

No one says, “I have a million dollars a year of the combination of labour and overhead. I have 100,000 customers in the year. Therefore, my pricing model should be 1,000,000/100,000 equals 10$ at fixed cost plus the variable cost, whatever it is that they choose to eat, plus some amount of profit.

There is not a single restaurant in the world, outside of my own clients, which have even the awareness of this. Then what happens, they are coached by the finance community into this faulty way of thinking, which is the way you price everything.

You only worry about the cost of goods. A 5$ cost of goods for this dish, mark it up times 3 for 15$. A 10$ cost of goods goes to 30$. A 15$ dish goes to 45$, and so forth. Then they’re told, “If you subtract the cost of goods from the retail price, then you get gross margin.”

In those cases, 15 minus 5 is 10, 30 minus 10 is 20, 45 minus 10 is 35. Now, we’re going to allocate a fixed percentage of the gross margin to account for labour in each of these cases, which is – let’s say – 50% of gross margin.

So, that’d be 5$, 10$, and 15$. The overhead may be 40% of those margins: 4$, 8$, and 12$. That is a mathematical representation. It seems to tell you. In the case of the first dish, you are making 1$ on the first, 2$ on the second, 3$ on the third.

It is like mainstream economics, but it excludes banks, credit, and money from their formulas describing the new economy. It may be beautiful mathematics. It may be stunningly beautiful mathematics. But does it have any relationship whatsoever to reality?

The answer in both cases is “no.” Hence, the almost perfect failure of prediction in economics. They resort to calling things black swans, as in unpredictable, rather than realizing the models are based on false assumptions.

Why did you exclude this money from the banking sector, when it’s the single largest source of money? Perhaps, 50:1 or 100:1 depending on the nation. Economics entirely omitted it. It is a similar kind of situation in restaurants.

The reality: Once you understand, it doesn’t matter what the customer orders once the labour and the overhead is fixed. “I am not making money on the chicken dish. I am losing 12$ on a dish, which I sell for 15$. I am overcharging the customer.” Not knowing this, not understanding things such as what the true cost of using your purveyors as your source of interim credit rather than using the financial institution for credit.

These are multimillion-dollar mistakes. I can keep going on, and on, and on, where the first assumptions, almost everything held to be true in the hospitality industry, are absolutely wrong. So, there’s lots of opportunity if you can get someone into a place of willingness to do something generally uncomfortable in our industry, which is this thing called “thinking.”

When you have mispriced your entire array of goods, it comes down to this: Not understanding, every restauranteur has been brainwashed into believing that they have one business, which is to sell food and beverage; the reality is quite different.

The reality: You have two different businesses under one roof, not even in the same industry. You manufacture food. You merely retail beverage. When you manufacture, you have to include the pro rata cost, fixed costs, per product or per customer.

In addition to the variable cost, now, the beverage component is purely discretionary. It’s purely incremental. Therefore, it should be priced as no proportion of the fixed costs in it. What ends up happening, in most restaurants, if you do the forensics correctly, you realize.

They are losing about 75% on the totality of their food sales. If you took away all the beverages, you would see that they are losing the food part at about a 75% loss. That’s the reason that they have to mark up their beverages for an average of 4 times. That’s how they stay alive.

It is two mistakes trying to cancel each other out. You are gouging on the beverage side because you are mispricing on the food side. It is not that they are overcharging or undercharging. They are doing both. You are overcharging on the expensive items.

You are dramatically undercharging on the cheaper items. You are turning your generic customers, unwittingly, with your improper use of math. You turn them into customers who lose money on the food side and aren’t even aware of it.

This terrible so-called solution is to gouge everybody on their beverage purchases, which especially punishes the people who want the finer things, e.g., the nicer bottles of wine or the nicer drinks. They really get gouged. That’s one small example.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Aeon Hospitality.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2) [Online]. April 2021; 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 1). Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A, April. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A (April 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 26.A (2021): April. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Science, Food, Farming, and Finance: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (2) [Internet]. (2021, April 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-2.

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Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 26.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (21)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,180

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Gareth Rees is a Member of the Canadian High IQ Society. He discusses: extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses; the greatest geniuses in history; a genius from a profoundly intelligent person; profound intelligence necessary for genius; some work experiences and jobs; job path; the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses; God; science; the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations); the range of the scores; ethical philosophy; social philosophy; economic philosophy; political philosophy; metaphysics; theology; worldview-encompassing philosophical system; meaning in life; meaning; an afterlife; the mystery and transience of life; and love.

Keywords: Canadian High IQ Society, Gareth Rees, genius, intelligence, IQ.

Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When you think of the ways in which the geniuses of the past have either been mocked, vilified, and condemned if not killed, or praised, flattered, platformed, and revered, what seems like the reason for the extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses? Many alive today seem camera shy – many, not all.

Gareth Rees[1],[2]*: I do not have a great answer for this. Negative reactions that lead to death likely threatened then current paradigms, positions of power or monetary inflows. Those mocked were probably poor communicators or their surrounding kind were of low mean intelligence, making it difficult to be understood. Reasons for the opposite ends of those reactions are usually the witnessing of whatever groundbreaking production. Seeing is believing, and in such cases, it is simply novelty (not seen before). It is a simple rule of deviating from the norm. Deviating enough results in getting noticed and that is sometimes inevitable. It can also get more complex than what I have mentioned though. There is also the social dynamics side of this phenomena but that is not as important. People simply enjoy having role models or heroes, there might be an aspect of divinity therein. The element of rarity is another ingredient for such reactions.

Not wanting to be in the spotlight is probably due to most geniuses being introverts. If nothing or little is gained from it or they find the attention off-putting then perhaps it is the way the media is framing such events. The media can be obnoxious, so I am not surprised.

Jacobsen: Who seem like the greatest geniuses in history to you?

Rees: I believe I have answered this before. The ones that are also mystics are my favorites. Tesla, Einstein, and Newton are my favorites. There are so many geniuses that have lived as enough time has passed despite their rarity. Another one was possibly Walter Pitts, but he was destroyed by a certain someone’s irrationality and might not have been a genius but just one with an IQ >170 SD15.

There’s also Archimedes, Maxwell, Ramanujan, and da Vinci that I admire.

Jacobsen: What differentiates a genius from a profoundly intelligent person?

Rees: One must accept that a genius is more than one identified by IQ. This would best be answered on a case-by-case basis. A high caliber genius such as Ramanujan is extremely difficult to explain. He supposedly did not quite have the distasteful personality that has been most common. Such a personality is not static anyway, or at least is dependent on mood, therefore diet, health, social life, status, resources etc. States of mind change from minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day, week to week and so on. If Ramanujan truly received most of his insights in his dreams, then that is some very powerful unconscious noesis. It is almost as if he was given the knowledge as he claimed. This is extremely disturbing from an artificial intelligence standpoint. It implies a limit, but one can hope his interpretation of dreams are simply coincidental. In other words, Ramanujan was of divine being. More than just IQ, more than just being creative and more than just being in states of high creative output. It would take a super intelligence to deconstruct the algorithms of intelligence that he possessed.

There have been other models of genius that have been extended. Paul Cooijmans has two very well explained definitions that are necessary to grasp the concept. Starting from Eysenck, Paul has reiterated intelligence, associative horizon, and conscientiousness. I would like to add that conscientiousness is required to produce work over extended periods of time, it is not quite necessary to come up with the ideas required for the work. Conscientiousness also aids in learning, but it is not necessary to keep an interest in whatever one’s subject is.

Another important detail is awareness as outlined by Paul Cooijmans. From my understanding, being in a genius state, awareness is increased. This is highly important because not many discuss or reference it. I think this is probably the most common situation for one’s mind required for extreme breakthroughs. High awareness is not sustainable though. It requires a certain brain wiring/structure which is not neurotypical, and on top of that the amplification of awareness is regulated by dopamine/serotonin. Dopamine is the neurochemical driver of mania. There is some research that suggests being in a state of flow leads to genius, but this is something different that is not even that rare. Genius is the rarest of all. We can even stream a synthetic version which is by the pharmaceutical product, Adderall. This is something that is relatively new, released in 1996.

To sum it up, a profoundly intelligent person is much less complex than a genius. A profoundly intelligent person can be identified by IQ alone, if one defines an arbitrary classification as such. 160 SD15 is quite commonly used for this category, but that is just a score achieved on one test. Enough tests need to be taken to qualify one at that level.

It is usually said that Mensa accepts those in the top 2%, but really, they accept a score of 130 (should be 130.8) SD15 which leads to members not actually requiring an IQ within the top 2%. Paul has also mentioned this. This goes for any high IQ society though, including his own, Glia.

There’s more to be said about this distinction but this should suffice. Genius is extremely rare. It requires training of the mind, the necessary genes for the unique brain wiring and reception to neurochemistry. It requires intelligence and optimal personality characteristics. It requires time and isolation. It requires passion and conscientiousness. It requires luck of being born in the right era for whatever that genius is wired to do. It requires being in delicate states which are not sustained, but not all geniuses seem to require this. They are often molded by harsh environments, sometimes involving the death of a parent at an early age. A profound intellect mostly just requires a healthy upbringing. It also doesn’t hurt to have mentors and a strong intellectual social network or more.

Jacobsen: Is profound intelligence necessary for genius?

Rees: If 160 SD15 is a level of profound intelligence, then no, it is not.

Jacobsen: What have been some work experiences and jobs held by you?

Rees: Factory worker, door-to-door sales, IT support worker and software specialist. There are more but they are not anything special.

Jacobsen: Why pursue this particular job path?

Rees: I work best when I am at a computer. That will never change.

Jacobsen: What are some of the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses? Those myths that pervade the cultures of the world. What are those myths? What truths dispel them?

Rees: The fact that the word “genius” is overused, and still used as an IQ classification, whether that arbitrary cut-off is 140, 150 or 160 SD15. It is not important; it is just annoying. The researchers know the distinction, so no harm done really.

Harm can come from expectations though, so really if parents think their child is destined for greatness just by evidence of an IQ score, they are likely to be disappointed while at the same time torturing their child.

Jacobsen: Any thoughts on the God concept or gods idea and philosophy, theology, and religion?

Rees: Sure, if I were God and had to please both sides, I would design it so intentional belief with heart was enough to make it so. If one believes in God, then God exists for them in their reality. If they do not think God exists, then there is no existence of God for them. If one wanted to live in an afterlife and did not want it to be heaven, that would be granted too, from God though. This is quite like the CTMU by Chris Langan.

Other than that, I do not care much for it. Some people seem to require it; The need for support or a framework. Provided they are not trying to influence others too strongly then it is mostly harmless. The biggest problems seem to come from wars caused by religion, but there would be wars regardless I would think.

Jacobsen: How much does science play into the worldview for you?

Rees: I am typing on a computer and use electronics daily, and mostly listen to electronic music. The result of science is the biggest aid to my life bar none.

Jacobsen: What have been some of the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations) for you?

Rees: My scores worth mentioning are as follows:

DynamIQ (1st attempt) 150 SD15

FIQure (1st attempt) 150 SD15

WARP (avg of 1st/2nd) 149 SD15

LexIQ 152 SD15

CIT5 152 SD15

PIGS3 154 SD15

VAULT 162 SD15

GIFT III N 158 SD15

GIFT IV V 156 SD15

GIFT III V 160 SD15

GENE III V 146 SD15

GET (avg of 1st/2nd) 147.5 SD15

Verbatim 148 SD15

VerbIQ 150 SD15

Vortex 151 SD15

SymboIQ 158 SD15

WIT 148 SD15

Spark 142 SD15

Logica Stella 140 SD15

W-Test 148 SD15

Jacobsen: What is the range of the scores for you? The scores earned on alternative intelligence tests tend to produce a wide smattering of data points rather than clusters, typically.

Rees: My scores range from 115 SD 15 to ~160 SD15. My outlier scores are on homogeneous tests, so they aren’t that meaningful. My attempts are also quite brief as I am not that persistent. I am not the kind of person that is able to work on a test for months on end as I end up getting bored.

Jacobsen: What ethical philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: That is private for now. I will make it public later.

Jacobsen: What social philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: I do not really understand the importance of a social philosophy. People will do what they want to do, given whatever constraints they wish to abide by.

Jacobsen: What economic philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: This is dependent on the citizenry. Different systems work for different people, so I am not sure I would subscribe to one. I would divide the people up and optimize to tailor to their benefit and thus the system.

Jacobsen: What political philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: Same deal as above. Since not one works for everyone, it is best to divide people up. Existing philosophies could have their complexity increased as an alternative, but that’s messy, time consuming and might not work.

Jacobsen: What metaphysics makes some sense to you, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: My own of course. More detail on that later through other means of communication. I have a negative outlook on the utility of metaphysics. It is hard to transform it into meaningful use for everyone. Making a framework isomorphic to sensory experience is not only very difficult, but not even really necessary.

Jacobsen: What is theology to you? Is this an important part of life for you?

Rees: Theology is an interesting development. People long for an answer and the popular one has seemed to be an easy way to deal with the inception of reality. It is not that important to me.

Jacobsen: What worldview-encompassing philosophical system makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Rees: That intelligence rules all and determines the future.

Jacobsen: What provides meaning in life for you?

Rees: Positive sensory experiences. Being on the computer, being with a woman or exercising. Daydreaming. I am a slave to dopamine as is everyone that is free enough to benefit from it.

Jacobsen: Is meaning externally derived, internally generated, both, or something else?

Rees: Meaning is determined by level of investment, which can be associated with low to high level attribution and time. It is obviously external mapped then internally processed, executed by a continuous process we call consciousness/awareness.

Jacobsen: Do you believe in an afterlife? If so, why, and what form? If not, why not?

Rees: An afterlife could be fun. I would not mind one. I also would not say I believe in it since it implies uncertainty. If it is a possibility then cool, sign me up.

Jacobsen: What do you make of the mystery and transience of life?

Rees: I have no idea. Life just is. If there is a higher order of being then it is not going to be easy to reach.

Jacobsen: What is love to you? 

Rees: A neurological, biological, and chemical process. It is a synergy of many things from awareness of the object, the experience, impact, and evolutionary bind that forms the bond. Pretty faces or beauty gives us dopamine. We cannot escape this constraint, but would we want to? The rest that follows is more complex, but the gist is that love serves as trust and survival for our species.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, Canadian High IQ Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2) [Online]. April 2021; 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 1). Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A, April. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A (April 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 26.A (2021): April. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Gareth Rees on Genius and Philosophy: Member, Canadian High IQ Society (2) [Internet]. (2021, April 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/rees-2.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 27.A, Idea: Land of Fire and Ice: Islandia, Snelandia, and Insula Gardari (2)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,686

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Terry Gunnell is Professor of Folkloristics at the University of Iceland. He is author of The Origins of Drama in Scandinavia (1995); editor of Masks and Mumming in the Nordic Area (2007) and Legends and Landscape (2008); and joint editor of The Nordic Apocalypse: Approaches to V†luspá and Nordic Days of Judgement (with Annette Lassen, 2013); and Málarinn og menningarsköpun: Sigurður Guðmundsson og Kvöldfélagið (with Karl Aspelund), which received a nomination for the Icelandic Literature Prize (Íslensku bókmenntaverðlaunin) for 2017. He has also written a wide range of articles on Old Norse religion, Nordic folk belief and legend, folk drama and performance, and is behind the creation of the on-line Sagnagrunnur database of Icelandic folk legends in print (http://sagnagrunnur.com/en/); the national survey into Folk Belief in Iceland (2006-2007); and (with Karl Aspelund) the on-line database dealing with the Icelandic artist Sigurður Guðmundsson and the creation of national culture in Iceland in the mid-19th century (https://sigurdurmalari.hi.is/english). E-mail address: terry@hi.is. He discusses: the conception of God within Iceland; reactions to catastrophes; and the national motto.

Keywords: þetta reddast, armies, Christianity, God, Iceland, Terry Adrian Gunnell, War, World War Two.

Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Interview conducted May 23, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: The one thing that stands out is God.

Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell[1],[2]: Yes.

Jacobsen: Even in a Christian context, Christians will mean different things.

Gunnell: Oh, yes.

Jacobsen: The mentioning of World War Two is important because countries that tend to go to war a lot or have war imposed on them a lot. They tend to have populations looking to something to rally around or to find some kind of comfort or consolation, or some unifying image they can build a community around in a life of chaos and destruction.

So, if you look at the developed nations, the most religious country is the United States. It is off the spectrum. It is a very war-like country. It is still embroiled in two major wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, which has claimed upwards of 500,000 to 1,000,000, or more, lives depending on the estimates.

There are many estimates. The fact that Iceland does not have army. I want to take this in two directions. On the one hand, a country without too much chaos can maintain and sustain general culture. This includes the beliefs.

The people’s ideas about Fylgjas, a Christian God, about having a sense that the land is alive, etc., will be consistent. On the other hand, things will, more or less, be the same in terms of the trajectories we’re seeing with more comfortable lives with healthcare, pharmacare, education for all or most at least.

We see a decline in formal traditional religions. Those religions with practices and beliefs connected to some kind of transcendent object of worship. So, how does not having an army affect Iceland?

When Icelanders think of “God” in a Christian context or otherwise, how are they conceiving this being?

Gunnell: [Laughing] What is particularly clear, Iceland has been living on the periphery for such a long time. First World War, Second World War, all of the European wars hardly touched Iceland at all.

Jacobsen: That’s amazing.

Gunnell: These are things that Iceland hears about, until the Second World War forces itself onto them and Britain invades Iceland. I’m still not really sure about the word “Invade” there. Yes, it was an invasion, but it wasn’t an invasion that had much affect on people except bringing a lot of money.

It was a flood of cash into the country, which had been up until that time poor. In that sense, war was a good thing for them. So, this is very deep within the Icelandic culture of not having an army. You haven’t got soldiers around all the time.

It is not part of the way that they view history. The soldier, the army, isn’t part of the way they look at the world compared to the way I do or you do. British history is war all the way through from the beginning to the end: French is; German is; American is. Canada is drawn into it wherever Britain goes.

We carry the blood of so many people with us. Iceland just doesn’t have this. It is non-existence. In a sense, to other cultures outside, they don’t really understand in the same way that I do from Britain.

People of a different colour are new. Icelanders will go abroad and stare and walk into lamp posts and say, “Look!” They are intrigued by this. Same way by Judaism and Islam. They are foreign. Nothing against it, but they find it strange.

There is this still island character, much more so than Britain. A periphery culture all the way through. So, armies, in Icelandic history, very recent with the arrival of first the Brits, and then the Americans and the American base, which forced itself onto Icelandic mentalities.

You couldn’t go abroad without going through the American base and get accepted every time you went out there. The influence on Icelandic culture of English-speaking soldiers who were coming into town and going to dances and whatever.

The Icelanders keeping black soldiers out of the base. There’s a fear. This fear of losing the pure Icelandic-ness, which is still floating around in terms of language. So, in a sense, war and armies are never part of Icelanders themselves in spite of the Sages with fighting and battles there.

You fight. You fight for your farm. You have arguments with other farmers, but you don’t have really armies. They know from the Sagas, the contemporary Sagas of the 13th centuries of the civil wars in Icelandic discourse caused trouble.

They haven’t got time for space or war. It’s about daily survival for a long time. It’s simply armies are not the way Icelanders look at things. They’re very different to the way you or I will, as Brits and Canadians. A very strong left movement against NATO, against the American base, and so on.

The right will be more open to it, but not in terms of sending your sons off to join. It brings cash with it. “Okay, come on America, we like you if you bring some money with you.” In terms of God, I think if you asked any Icelander, “Are you Christian?” They would look at you as if you were nuts.

It is a lower level somewhere. This sense about superstition of the cross and a power out there. I would expect them to answer with a power in nature. They believe strongly in a sense of fate. What came out of this, it was a Christian God, which has somehow been brought in on the side.

But the two are very separate. To being Icelandic, that causes problems at the same time. In the sense, it has caused, to a large extent, the banking crash. Icelanders were brought up with the Sagas and their poems from the early 19th century.

The Sagas will tell them when you go to another country; the first person you meet is the King of Norway. Why? You’re an Icelander. It’s quite natural. You’re a poet. You go to Norway. That’ll do nicely. Thank you!

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Gunnell: It’s the equivalent of the American Express card. You have people in the 19th century. The romantic poets saying, ‘Iceland, what has happened to your fame of the past, the golden years…,’ and whatever.

What happened with the crash, they started fulfilling the dream that they’d been presented with for a long time. You have to go out buy a football team, buy a private jet, hang out with the royalty, everybody wants you.

It was a fulfillment of the idea that Icelanders are different than others. You could watch the news and people saying, ‘How could an Icelander in a country like this could buy a football team, could buy half of the main strip of Oxford St.? Because he’s an Icelander. They are different.’

The President says, ‘It is because they are Icelandic. They take risks better more than anybody else.’ It didn’t really bring out the risks that it would have on the economy. The Star Trek idea of going where no one else goes before.

“This is an Icelander. We’re better.” It is the ‘How do like Iceland?’ thing. When I’m teaching courses on Icelandic culture, again, these two sided elements of it. It expresses, on one side, a hope that the person is going to say, “Wonderful, perfect, better than anywhere else.”

“Why is it us?” Because there is an inferiority complex behind it. That you might not be. Then the rest is saved for the football clap. Suddenly, everybody wants Iceland again. Suddenly, I am being asked by bloody English journalists, ‘Does Iceland do so well in football because of their elves?’

Come on! [Laughing] Get over it.

Jacobsen: Who asked you this?

Gunnell: This was when Iceland was winning football games and it was an English newspaper wanting to know if it was their belief in elves. Basically, they know each other. They have grown up together. It is a stronger sense of a team.

Iceland has done some amazing things in terms of the strongest man in the world and the most beautiful. But only if they aren’t putting that in front of your face all the time, being the best. It is part of the, again, island culture: ‘We’re different.’ There’s something about the DNA of Icelanders.

The crash was a matter of shame, which they never had to deal with before. Of going to different places, like islands off Greece, the first question, ‘How are you doing financially? Poor Iceland.’ They went from being the worst in the world to not being the worst in the world.

The first to get over COVID. It is to be the first or the best. But there is a very strong sense of being Icelandic. That we are a little nation that has done so much. Different to the Brits, we’re just hobbits. Icelanders aren’t really hobbits. There’s much more dwarfishness about Icelanders.

Jacobsen: At the end of the 1700s, there was the catastrophe that took out 1/5th of the population. What does this do to people’s faith in lore? Does this look as if it’s, as you’re noting, just simply a matter of fate or the fates playing out?

Gunnell: No, the sense of fate is seen in people interpreting dreams for example. That there is something laid down. You can tap into it. There is a sense that your life is mapped out, a plan behind it, a higher power.

It’s not the Christian God. There’s a higher power that’s laid down. It goes back to the Sagas very much. You die and even know your fate/meet your fate.

Jacobsen: They sound like Spinoza.

Gunnell: Yes, there’s elements of this. It is very much a Scandinavian element. You go down bravely in spite of it. Things go badly. Okay, they go badly. We’ll survive. This wonderful Icelandic motto: þetta reddast. It’ll work out. [Ed. Literal: “It’ll all work out okay.”] Things go badly.

Okay, things go badly. We’ll survive. þetta reddast, people have begun accepting it as the national motto. It’ll all work out. It is both good and bad.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 1, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)[Online].April 2021; 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 1). Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A, April. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A (April 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)‘In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 24.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)‘In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 27.A (2021):April. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Professor Terry Adrian Gunnell on God, War, Lore, Armies, and National Motto: Professor, Folkloristics, University of Iceland (3)[Internet]. (2021, April 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/Gunnell-3.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

AFAW Welcomes Closure of Faith Healing Church in Uganda

Author: Dr. Leo Igwe

Numbering: Issue 1.B, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 30, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 587

Keywords: Advocacy for Alleged Witches, Africa, BBC News, COVID-19, faith clinics, faith healing, Leo Igwe, Uganda.

Witch killing: When Will Enough Be Enough in Malawi?[1],[2]

Dr. Leo Igwe is the Founder of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, the Founder & CEO of Advocacy for Alleged Witches, and the Convener of the Decade of Activism Against Witch Persecution in Africa: 2020-2030. 

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AFAW) commends the Ugandan authorities for closing down an evangelical church in Kampala where a pastor “treated” people with mental illnesses through prayer. According to a BBC report, the police in Uganda arrested the pastor and rescued many people held at the church. Nine of them were shackled to metal poles as part of the treatment process. There have been reports of similar ‘healing’ practices in NigeriaGhana and Zambia

In the quest to grow their churches and finances, many African clerics venture into faith healing.

Evangelical churches as well as Islamic centers across Africa operate faith clinics, prayer camps where they claim to provide healing services for persons with all diseases, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and even COVID-19. In the absence of affordable health care, many Africans go to churches to get “healed” by faith. But they end up suffering abuses and further health damage.

Unfortunately, for many people across the region, faith healing places are the first port of call whenever they fall ill. In the Ugandan case, most of the persons rescued had not been to any mental hospital. The reality is that many people cannot afford the costs of evidence-based medicine or treatment, even if there are hospitals to go to.

The mental health infrastructure is inadequate. Mental health hospitals are few in the region. Some countries have mental hospitals, but they lack equipment or facilities. In cases where the facilities exist, there are no health experts to operate them. And where there are equipment and personnel, the cost of mental health services is out of reach for the local population. As the case in Uganda has shown, evangelical churches are filling the personnel and infrastructural gap in the mental health sector in ways that leave much to be desired. And local authorities must rise to their duties and responsibilities.

AFAW urges African governments to explore ways of improving evidence-based mental health care in the region. Governments should make medical services available and affordable to the local population. Without a robust public health care system that most people can access and afford, these faith clinics will continue to operate and proliferate. Governments should devise innovative ways of stopping the brain drain and address factors that make African health workers migrate to work in the West. Brain drain has created a personnel gap, which these pastors and fake healers are trying to fill.

As was the case in Uganda, the police should arrest faith healing pastors/imams and close down their churches and healing centers. Although faith clinicians seem to be filling the gaps in the health sector, they are making the health situation worse because faith healers lack the capacity and competence to deliver effective health care services. Governments should prosecute pastors, imams, or anyone who pretends to treat people with mental illness through prayers and rituals because these medical impostors are harming, not healing people.

By their training, traditional, Christian, and Islamic clerics are religious, not medical experts. They have no business with mental health work. Churches, mosques, and shrines are worship centers, not hospitals. They are not established or equipped to treat the sick. Clerics who claim to treat people with mental illness through prayer are quacks and charlatans. They pose a danger to public health. They spiritualize ailments and attribute the causes of diseases to demons and witchcraft and then subject the sick to violent exorcism and abuse. Other African countries should borrow a leaf from Uganda and rein in ‘faith doctors’ and stamp out faith-healing practices.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Humanist Association of Nigeria; Founder & CEO, Advocacy for Alleged Witches; Convener, Decade of Activism Against Witch Persecution in Africa: 2020-2030.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 30, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/afaw-welcomes-closure-of-faith-healing-church-in-uganda.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Ask Takudzwa 15 – Political Influence, Political History: Zimbabwe’s Governance Heritage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 1.A, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 30, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: One Time Per Year

Words: 340

Keywords: Humanist Society of Zimbabwe, Lazarus Dokora, Takudzwa Mazwienduna, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean Secular Alliance.

Ask Takudzwa 15 – Political Influence, Political History: Zimbabwe’s Governance Heritage[1],[2]

*Interview originally published November 16, 2019, in Canadian Atheist.*

Takudzwa Mazwienduna is the informal leader of Zimbabwean Secular Alliance and a Member of the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe. This educational series will explore secularism in Zimbabwe from an organizational perspectiveand more. 

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If we examine the history of Zimbabwe, and its modern leadership, who have been bright lights of science, cosmopolitanism, and the like?

Takudzwa Mazwienduna: The former minister of Primary and Secondary education Dr. Lazarus Dokora has been the most progressive force and he has faced backlash from the ultra-religious Zimbabwean population because of it. He banned religious prayers and proselytizing from public schools. He also introduced a program that enhanced science education in schools.

Jacobsen: Has anyone identified as a humanist, freethinker, atheist, or something akin to simply rejecting the religious beliefs of the general public without accepting them?

Mazwienduna: There hasn’t been a public figure that has come out as a Humanist or Freethinker in the history of Zimbabwe. It is political suicide considering that Zimbabwe is ultra-religious.

Jacobsen: How is the inherited political legacy of past generations holding some aspects of Zimbabwe back from progress? How is this bringing Zimbabwe forward in its efforts to modernize?

Mazwienduna: Patronage is the biggest problem in that regard. Liberation war credentials are the ultimate golden ticket for Zimbabweans to benefit from the corrupt, totalitarian system. The system of patronage impacts everything to do with progress.

Jacobsen: How can the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe utilize these heritages of national governance to bolster the efforts for humanistic progress in Zimbabwe?

Mazwienduna: The Humanist Society of Zimbabwe finds itself in a tricky position in this situation. Its mission is not a priority for the totalitarian government hence unlikely to receive any genuine support. Some government ministries have been welcoming however, since they had the same goals and initiatives, such as the ministry of education under Dr. Lazarus Dokora. The government is obliged to respect secularism as the constitution dictates, but they do otherwise very often and opposing them almost always ends in death. As long as the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe stand for secularism without crossing the government or countering its interests, they are safe.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Takudzwa.

Mazwienduna: It’s always a pleasure Scott.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, In-Sight Publishing.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 30, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/ask-takudzwa-15-political-influence-political-history-zimbabwes-governance-heritage.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Witch killing: When Will Enough Be Enough in Malawi?

Author: Dr. Leo Igwe

Numbering: Issue 1.B, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 29, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 619

Keywords: Advocacy for Alleged Witches, Africa, Leo Igwe, Malawi, superstition, witch persecution.

Witch killing: When Will Enough Be Enough in Malawi?[1],[2]

Dr. Leo Igwe is the Founder of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, the Founder & CEO of Advocacy for Alleged Witches, and the Convener of the Decade of Activism Against Witch Persecution in Africa: 2020-2030. 

Some days ago, an advocate against witch persecution in Malawi shared this report on a WhatsApp group: “Mother Killed Over Witchcraft Allegations in Karonga, Malawi“. The report says that “An angry mob in Karonga, Malawi yesterday Sunday (December 27) killed a 67-year-old woman Esinala Mbowe over witchcraft allegations that she bewitched her 37-year-old son Patrick Chitete”. I checked online and discovered that some media outlets in Malawi had published the story. The story states that Mr. Chitete was ill, and later “passed away on December 24, 2020, at Atupele Mission Hospital where he was admitted”.

According to a local police officer, some people in the village accused Mbowe of bewitching and killing the son. Following the death of the son, Mbowe’s accusers mobilized and lynched her. Police authorities in the area are conducting investigations. They are trying to apprehend the suspects. The Police have urged the general public against mob justice. There have been many cases of witch persecution and killing in Malawi. Alleged witches have been stoned to death or murdered in districts across the country including Dedza, Karonga, Ntchisi, Chitipa, Rumphi, and Dowa.

These tragic incidents follow the same pattern. Cases of illness or death are linked to persons, the alleged witches, in the communities. Mobs attack or kill these suspected witches. In some cases, alleged are heavily fined or abducted by witch hunters who detain them until they pay up. In cases where alleged witches are murdered, the police usually arrive at the scene after the mob had meted out jungle justice against the accused.

The police claim to be conducting investigations or to be looking for the suspects, who are usually at large. Witch persecution and killing happen too often in Malawi. The authorities are aware of these tragic incidents. But Malawian authorities seem to lack the political will to tackle the problem. They appear to be taking no effective measures against witchcraft allegations and witch killing. So when will Malawian authorities rise up to their duty to protect all Malawians especially the alleged witches? When will the government say: Enough is enough? When will they say: Enough of this bloodletting and show of shame?

When will Malawi take a firm stand against this savagery and barbarism? When will Malawi declare: Never again? Never again will any alleged witch be attacked, killed, or abused in the country? Malawi must take a strong stand against witch persecution otherwise these horrific abuses would not stop. For instance, there is virtually no program in place to reorient the minds of people and get Malawians to understand that witchcraft is a form of superstition.

There is no mechanism to educate and let Malawians know that witchcraft allegation is baseless, mistaken, and absurd; that witch hunters are charlatans who should be exposed and sanctioned. Now, what is stopping the government of Malawi from initiating a nationwide program to dispel witchcraft fears and anxieties? What is preventing Malawi from setting up an awareness campaign to combat superstitions and promote scientific thinking and critical inquiry?

Look, Malawians need to know that there is no link between witchcraft and illness or death as popularly believed; that witchcraft is an imaginary crime and alleged witches are innocent. Simply put, Malawians need to realize that they are lynching and stoning innocent people to death. Malawi has no reason to allow witch bloodletting to continue in the communities of this age. It is evident that the reactive approach to combating witch persecution has been ineffective; it has not worked.

So a change of approach is needed and has become necessary. Malawi must adopt proactive measures to eradicating this social disease. The government should firmly and categorically say Enough of witch killing and persecution in the country.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Humanist Association of Nigeria; Founder & CEO, Advocacy for Alleged Witches; Convener, Decade of Activism Against Witch Persecution in Africa: 2020-2030.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 29, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/witch-killing-when-will-enough-be-enough-in-malawi.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Ask Mubarak 6 – Et Tu?: Punishment by Religious Believer

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 1.A, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 29, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 856

Keywords: Boko Haram, Mubarak Bala, Nigeria, religion, secular.

Ask Mubarak 6 – Et Tu?: Punishment by Religious Believer[1],[2]

*Interview originally published November 10, 2019, in Canadian Atheist.*

Mubarak Bala is the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria. We will be conducting this educational series to learn more about Humanism and secularism within Nigeria. Here we talk about Humanism.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You were punished by religious believers. How long, and in what ways? Why is this permitted by the culture in Nigeria?

Mubarak Bala: Well Scott, I was punished not just with the dumping in a psychiatric asylum, I was out a year plus, having been closeted half a decade. I was sanctioned and counselled, carrots mostly, in hope, but I also stayed, hoping to normalize relations and my secular life.

When my replies always became same, bold, blasphemous and sincere, they now sought prayer and psych analysis, this is what religion demands, after which, you have a 3-day ultimatum, die, or recant.

As I was drugged and put in that hospital, my father picked my phone and recanted, apologized and posted to the public, my reconversion back to Islam. He hoped by the time I woke up, I would be back to normal sense, back to their normal. I woke up angry.

It was 18 days, and was allowed visitation by govt. officials, clerics, family, and lawyers, all due to your action online. I thank you.

Before long, even the leader of Boko Haram has heard, and threatened me, raining curses, that this is what education entails for the northern Nigerian elite… leaving lovely Allah, an Allah so dear to both Boko Haram and northern Muslims.

This is all permitted by the culture in the north, because the region is unique, operates outside of the world system. We were never colonized, just a contact by the British mostly to our emirates as an indirect rule, they never wanted to disturb much of the system and stability built by the Usman danfodio Jihad, a century earlier, the region is too far from the coast, too vast, and too many people to rule without a possible mob action, we still are too many, a century later, the largest despondent human concentration in the world, largest uneducated, largest number of poor, largest fanatical populace, largest unemployed, this is why even today, the federal govt. has to look away, when parents, husbands, and males own their kids, and determine their lives, even in adulthood. Emirates still hold slaves. Too much conservatism. A 12-year-old will marry a 53-year-old, just as the best life is to copy the best of mankind, dare make an arrest, and Nigeria may be no more…

Jacobsen: You were punished by the state. The state endorses religion in several countries, explicitly and implicitly. How long, and in what ways? 

Bala: I was never punished by the state, the governor had a Federal ambition, so cannot be seen by southern voters as an Islamic zealot, and rightly so, they mostly see sharia as a political liability, for the poor, uneducated, which meant deep down, I relieved them.

I was however left unprotected, unhelped, forlorn, left for picking, either by mob or by poverty, I was an IDP with no friends and no help, running around from place to place. But it is my life, my land, my region, I made sure I survived, because I anticipated worse, and devised ways to survive over the closet years. I still am alive today, normalizing humanism, a thorn they hate, but unhindered.

There are only 12 states of 36 in Nigeria that implemented the Sharia in 1999-2002. Others are secular. I live in Kano (home) and Kaduna (work) and visit Abuja, (the safest), and eke out survival tactics everyday. I plan to be President someday in future. It is going well, even in the Sharia states.

Jacobsen: What were the justifications for the punishment of a nationally leading humanist with some international renowned?

Bala: If I had died, by family punishment, a committee may be set up, paper work and money would pass around, and no one would go to jail, none may die.

If sharia had acted on me, I will still be tried shoddy, though the clerics would spew it just so the mob behead me lawless, in court, or in police custody, or in prison, it has happened before.

If the mob did it, no one would be arrested, politicians would only make noise, you from far away Saner Climes, would write, fuss, blog, spew and haggle, but I will stay dead, life will go on, and I am not even a Khashoggi, so I would be forgotten far sooner.

If poverty had killed me, it is only natural they’d say, but is it? When friends left, family absconded, help ceased, I went hungry alone in my room, licking dry pepper, sugar and water, just to balance the electrolytes in the blood, no one knew… I would even post funny jokes on facebook… Those were hard times, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, with some respite time to time, with help from Saner Climes, individual and Organizations… I thank all.

I am very comfortable now, with a job and contingency plan. But the government did not help. I was mostly alone, still mostly alone, the internet is my lifeline, my small zoo gives me happiness, and made a few friends here and there. Times have changed.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Mubarak.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, In-Sight Publishing.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 29, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/ask-mubarak-6-et-tu-punishment-by-religious-believer.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Ask Takudzwa 14 – Soft Spots in Legislation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 1.A, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 29, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: One Time Per Year

Words: 307

Keywords: Canada, churches, Humanist Society of Zimbabwe, Takudzwa Mazwienduna, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean Secular Alliance.

Ask Takudzwa 14 – Soft Spots in Legislation[1],[2]

*Interview originally published November 11, 2019, in Canadian Atheist.*

Takudzwa Mazwienduna is the informal leader of Zimbabwean Secular Alliance and a Member of the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe. This educational series will explore secularism in Zimbabwe from an organizational perspectiveand more. 

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If we look at a Canadian context, one soft spot is the possibility for removal of the tax exemptions for churches or the creation of a single, secular, and public school system for all children and adolescents.

Roman Catholic Christians acquire privileges in society through public taxpayer monies due to the dominance of the faith at the foundation of Canada. Any comparable cases with Zimbabwe?

Takudzwa Mazwienduna: Such cases in Zimbabwe have been dealt with, the government is very secular and as from 2015, churches were taxed. Taxing churches has however posed a threat to secularism because they have now acquired a legal voice in political issues as taxpayers.

Jacobsen: Any possible starting points for these efforts? Any radical ideas or notions from not just the leadership but the membership of the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe?

Mazwienduna: We have raised our concerns when we have seen something like that happening and the government knows better than to repeat the same mistakes. Current threats to secularism from the political establishment are nothing more than stunts to get votes or scapegoat the government’s incompetence, corruption and violence, such as the recent National Prayer against sanctions.

Jacobsen: Could there be risks of violent reprisal on the part of the religious against the humanists and the secularists?

Mazwienduna: The religious stunts by the government are something we could speak against, if it was not for the fear of violence. We know just as well as everyone that religion is not at the core of the issues, rather political scapegoating. The government has a record for abductions of activists or opponents that contest them on any issue. The religious stunts are clearly not to endorse Christianity however, but an advancement of government propaganda.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Takudzwa.

Mazwienduna: It’s always a pleasure Scott.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, In-Sight Publishing.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 29, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/ask-takudzwa-14-soft-spots-in-legislation.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Ask Mubarak 5 – African Freethought

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 1.A, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 28, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 878

Keywords: Africa, Amadioha, freethought, Hausa, Humanism, Kwarankwatsa, Mubarak Bala, religion, Sango, Yoruba.

Ask Mubarak 5 – African Freethought[1],[2]

*Interview originally published November 5, 2019, in Canadian Atheist.*

Mubarak Bala is the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria. We will be conducting this educational series to learn more about Humanism and secularism within Nigeria. Here we talk about Humanism.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What defines African freethought?

Mubarak Bala: Africa, the cradle of homo sapiens species, and one of the earliest of civilizations, along major rivers and valleys sparring the continent, allowed for the development of humanity from the crudest hunter gatherer families, to settled agricultural communities, which naturally, inquired about how we came about.

This is interesting because, back then, pre-organized religion, priests were not yet ordained, and so, every family, community and civilizations, divided by contours, watersheds, hills and forests, developed their own unique stories that best explained the world to them, and passed it down through generations.

It may interest the reader to know, that these wide variety of free inquiry, free guesses and unhindered thought patterns, aided the development of languages, tribal and cultural diversity, as well as provided later generations a way of tapping into the experiences and lessons learnt over thousands of years, which still manifests today beyond the continent.

Physically, the African thought process, grew from storytelling, to legend, mythology, mysticism, magic, spirituality and nature worship, which best fits the people and the threats they faced at any particular time.

Do not be surprised, Thunder, scared and rattled the primitive man, which then created many myths around it, becoming one of the main pillars of their belief, Sango in West Africa among the Yoruba, Amadioha, among the Ibos, Kwarankwatsa, among the Hausa, are all thunder and associated mythology of lasting impact on the psyche of people to this day. Thor has cousins you know.

So, thunder, rivers, fire, rains, fertility, organs of fertility, death, air, animals, disease, and strange looking residual mountains, all became part of the deified nature, to which Africans found meaning and purpose, and the will to inquire more, then came Jesus on a Chariot from the sky, and Muhammad on a flying winged pegasus, and everything turned upside down…

Without the freedom to think and inquire, since everything became blasphemy, heresy or apostasy, Africa lost its roots, lost its pandora-tree of sapping information from ancestor avatar, and became zombified by religions and modes of thinking of mostly, singular phased brains whose source of information was mostly dreams and whims.

Without such intervention, African free inquiry might have led the continent, into a more nature-friendly, sustainable, and better economic and social diversity, with enough resources to also tame the natural environment, and shape their destiny, not losing a single child or gold to ships sailing to far worlds…

Jacobsen: How can Africans remove colonial baggage and traditionalist superstition to emancipate both mind and body for themselves?

Bala: Luckily, the same colonial conquests that destroyed African superstition for Abrahamic superstition, also came along with science and education, albeit with adulterated means and methods of dissemination of such, as well as disregard for diversity and history, so education became premium.

These unforseen circumstances, gave the continent a chance to reawaken and start over and pick up the pieces. Although many societies still lag behind others in the pace of rational awakening, the internet is doing wonders among the youth, unconventionally.

African youth have now set the tone that even political leaders, hardly ever stand on the way, talk less of trying to regulate the massive reawakening of the populace, effectively exposing lying pastors, abusive priests, murderous turbans, and purging poisonous texts away from curricula, imported to create as many minions as possible for desert perverts.

Africa is now being put back on track, not by the governments and the incompetent politicians, but by rational voices bypassing the conventional media, to set the tone, and set the agenda, for rational and empirically viable discourse that spills over to even beyond the continent. The next generation, I assure you, would not be as hopeless as this one, nor as wretched as the past few!

Jacobsen: How can humanism provide a language and tradition for this?

Bala: Humanism, inculcated in not just children, but all free rational minds, have the power to turn around the continent, from mostly slumbering old giants ruddering the people to a clueless oblivion, back into the path for cohesion, freedom, compassion, education, free-inquiry, freethought, as well as sure footed political, social, economic, and sustainable, stable today and tomorrow.

Education is the key. Tolerance is the mechanism. Communication is the baton. Internet is the power.

Good news everyday so far, amid the appalling bad news. Nigerian government promising to lift 5m out of extreme poverty in 10 years. Also promising to put 10m children in school in 5 years. Also breaking 100s of chains from legs of adults and minors incarcerated in slavery, in Islamic torture centres in north Nigeria. Same government merging uniquely taught religious subjects to pupils in schools, into one course, which sees Islam and Christianity as well as a sprinkle of other paganisms into one course for all, does all the good we could hope for… Teach all the religions at once to kids or none at all, this would neutralize the radicalization and general delusion by growing minds, we always suggested, a decade into an endless war with terrorists and tribal hate.

We advocated all these and pressured the government to act, and yes, they did, and promise much, much more. There is hope!

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Mubarak.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, In-Sight Publishing.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 28, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/ask-mubarak-5-african-freethought.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Ask Takudzwa 13 – Pump Up the Volume: Dealing with the Media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 1.A, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 28, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: One Time Per Year

Words: 405

Keywords: Christianity, Humanist Society of Zimbabwe, London Missionary Society, Sunday Mail, Takudzwa Mazwienduna, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean Secular Alliance.

Ask Takudzwa 13 – Pump Up the Volume: Dealing with the Media[1],[2]

Takudzwa Mazwienduna is the informal leader of Zimbabwean Secular Alliance and a Member of the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe. This educational series will explore secularism in Zimbabwe from an organizational perspectiveand more. 

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When you’re writing to these newspapers, what is their attitude or orientation?

Takudzwa Mazwienduna: The newspapers are usually indifferent to our plight. They are obliged to include us as national newspapers in the name of diversity because they get religious contributions too.

Jacobsen: What are the acceptance rate of articles and press releases submitted for distribution to these newspaper and media services for secular and freethought – humanist – content in Zimbabwe?

Mazwienduna: The Sunday Mail is Zimbabwe’s biggest Sunday newspaper, and Shingai Rukwata Ndoro has had a column for Humanist and secularist issues entitled Chiseling The Debris since 2014. It has gained a committed audience over the years.

Jacobsen: What have been the main messages other than “we’re here, we’re near, get used to it”?

Mazwienduna: We have helped in sensitizing the public to get up on speed with secular policies, raised our concerns over violations of secularism by government officials and the response was generally positive.

Jacobsen: Why do they portray the community of humanists as Satanists?

Mazwienduna: The nature of Christianity in Zimbabwe is totalitarian amongst the public. You are either for God or for Satan, a rigid belief that was established during colonial times by the London Missionary Society. I always ask people who accuse me of Satanism if they believe in Horus, and if they worship Seth because they don’t.

Jacobsen: When the community grows, or as the community develops, would an internal survey of demographics and attitudes help guide 5-year plans?

Mazwienduna: The nature of Christianity in Zimbabwe is totalitarian amongst the public. You are either for God or for Satan, a rigid belief that was established during colonial times by the London Missionary Society. I always ask people who accuse me of Satanism if they believe in Horus, and if they worship Seth because they don’t.

Jacobsen: How can technology be a means by which to self-publish content? Young Humanists International has a platform called Humanist Voices if they would like to contact me: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.Com. I am more than happy to publish and polish their content.

Mazwienduna: Internet is not as widespread as it is in South Africa or other well off countries in Zimbabwe. People seldom read online publications and the majority of the population lives in rural areas where they don’t even have electricity. National newspapers and radio have been the main platforms for us.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Takudzwa.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, In-Sight Publishing.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 28, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/ask-takudzwa-13-pump-up-the-volume-dealing-with-the-media.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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