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Understanding the way of the Wu Ju Man

Understanding oneself and being able to sense our implicit impulses is a useful tool to have in one’s personal arsenal. When we understand the invisible energies that dominate our subconscious world and latently motivate our actions, we then have the opportunity to gain greater control over our lives and shape our destiny.

Hakim Gordon, the eldest son of E.F. Gordon, spent a lifetime trying to uncover his own latent motivations.

Hakim Gordon

Hakim came to Bermuda with his father as a young child back in the early 1930s. He went to the Berkeley Institute having obviously benefited from his mother’s homeschooling, and was perhaps the youngest and top student in his class.

He went on to study anthropology at the University of Edinburgh and the Oxford University. In his young adult days, he loved music and played in a band performing in London pubs. At some point he made a dramatic and even radical change in his life. He adapted a Bohemic lifestyle with a self-imposed asceticism. He walked barefoot and grew locks long before they became a trend, and was adamant in informing anyone who asked that he was not a Rastafarian.

He grew his hair, which touched his ankles, because he wanted to see what psychic powers it derived. Hakim was a natural mystic and there may be a few people still alive that witness some of his psychic phenomena. On one such occasion at Fort Hamilton, at night with a gathering of men on what was a clear night, he performed a ritual and that clear sky erupted in thunder and lightning. I could go on, but it’s not the point of this discussion.

Hakim used his own body as his study: at one time he walked around the cities of England barefoot with just a blanket as his sole piece of clothing. He did that to see how it must have felt for the African slaves who came to the cold climates. He also travelled to Africa and immersed himself in the various cultures. As he would say, he dived in rather than stood aloof as many explorers did — those who looked and wrote about the cultures by observing from the outside. For Hakim, you had to mix, taste and absorb the culture to understand it. He was so assimilated, the Africans called him the “Wu Ju Man”.

The biggest question for which he had sought an answer was to decipher the difference between what he termed the southern hemispheric people from the northern hemisphere people. This is why as an anthropologist he had to dive deep into the cultures to understand the base of their tendencies and attitudes to appreciate what drove them.

His principle conclusion was that the two environments, and how they affected survival, created two distinctly different tendencies that became genetic coding. In the colder climates, people needed to huddle for warmth and use teamwork to catch prey. Food was harder to come by, so storing up for the cold like the squirrels did was common. This caused a predisposition for collectivity where individual effort is seen as weak but collective effort strong.

In the southern hemisphere, there was opulence and heat. Where there is heat, there is the tendency to separate because it is too hot to cuddle. There was deep horticulture and abundance of fruit and wildlife. Males gained their testicles by individually capturing an animal. This environment produced strong individuality but collective weakness.

Hakim would depict a young African man walking home with a deer stretched over his shoulders, naked without a care in the world because he got his kill. If environment is not enough evidence, then there is the pattern of the Bantu people, who tended to gather into communities but after they grew to a certain size, separated and started another community. The Bantu are the majority population making up Africa; thus Bermuda.

What could this mean to a global picture? Well, we see it the northern hemispheric people in spite of wars are very collectivised with strong parliaments, unions and agreements. The southern hemisphere is still heavily vested in strong leaders almost everywhere with few nations, if any, that act co-operatively.

Unfortunately, Bermuda is not dissimilar: the “I am the king” syndrome is a latent force that operates almost instinctively against broad collaboration.

What do we do about these polarities, as neither are absolutely good? There is an axiom that says the secret strength of everything lies in its opposite. In order for people of the southern hemisphere to be stronger as a collective, they must fight an internal battle and go against the grain of their own natural tendency not to reach out for consensus.

There is much to be said about this topic that space does not permit, but in the meantime look at the churches and isn’t it true that splintering is a norm. Did we ever stop to consider why?

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Published November 25, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated November 24, 2021 at 7:28 pm)

Understanding the way of the Wu Ju Man

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