Massey Lecture #4 in Vancouver: Ubuntu

Massey Lecture #4 in Vancouver: Ubuntu

Wednesday October 22 – Vancouver, BC
The Chan Centre – University of British Columbia, 7 pm

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“Several million years ago, in the Great Rift Valley, one of our earliest ancestors sat by a fire, shaping humanity’s first tool, a hand axe. These exquisite objects are the first utterance of a new emergent consciousness: dig, cut, scrape, chop, pierce, hammer; actions that speak of social organization, extended families living and working together to secure their survival. I am what I am because of what others have been in the past, and what I am now in the present will be a part of me in the future. This sense of connectedness, this symbiosis of all humanity, is the very essence of what we can be for each other and how we belong to each other.”

Adrienne Clarkson

From South Africa, a concept of reciprocity: that living in society demands that we take care of each other – that as it goes for one, so it goes for all of us. Ubuntu, reciprocity, is a statement of family cohesion and coherence that accommodates all living things. It also implies our connectedness – that we truly exist as individuals only when we take responsibility for each other, and that this responsibility goes back to our earliest beginnings as well as deep into the future.