All human knowledge, concepts and theories about the nature of reality (whether it is visible or invisible) only can be construed and measured by “comparison”. They all must have a “reference point”. For example: in order for us to know what is right, we also need to know what is wrong, in order for us to know what is rock, we also need to know what is not rock, we know when is raining because we also experience days that is not raining, we only value light in the dark and if there is no darkness then, light has no value and meaning.
Human experience’ on this planet and in this reality, all based on this dichotomy, unless we tap into other dimension governed by different sets of cosmic law. Another example: if the colour of the whole reality is blue, then do we know what blue is? I don’t think so, we only know blue in reference to other colours. Do the fish know that they swim in the water? Or how do we tell when they are drinking water and when they are not drinking water? It is indeed a difficult task.
Similarly, we cannot decolonize our mind and spirit unless we know what it is that we need to decolonize from? The idea of decolonization only become an issue because we recognized that we have been colonized, so the realization we have about us being colonized is our first reference point?
Some questions that we may need to consider: Colonies by who, when, how and WHY? We must answer these questions? otherwise, why do we need to decolonize in the first place, we do not need to decolonize our mind and spirit if we have not been colonized. To explain “who we are”, we also need to explain “who we are not”, the value of who we are only can be explained and measured by knowing who we are not? All conflict in human society derived because every single one of social, cultural and religious group established their own boundaries within “us” versus “them” or vice versa. We just need to be careful that we do not fall into this trap. Our own reality has been colonized, this is why we are talking about the need for decolonization, if our reality is 100% not being colonized, then we do not need to talk about decolonization. We are not wasting our time; we just have started by joining the global Indigenous movement for intellectual decolonization. We are aware that this is not a band-aids solution, we are establishing a foundation for the next generation.
Therefore, the way I think for us to decolonize our mind and spirit is not just by telling the world who we are without providing some frame of reference. For example: Since the Issacs Newton’s theory of mechanical universe – the ultimate reality has been reduced to mere brain activities. This is the fundamental worldview of the Western’s secular thinking.
According to this worldview, the ultimate metaphysical questions can be explained by physic and then physic will explain chemistry, then chemistry will explain biology and biology will then explain psychology and psychology will eventually explain the most important things that define human values such as love and beauty. But what they have done is that they have reduced the mystery of existence into a mere chemical activity in the brain. This is why most people in the West are either depressed or on the suicidal mode because they have disconnected themselves from the earth – The earth is conceived as material object that need to be destroyed for human’s benefits. They do not realise that earth is not an object – it is living organism with different beings and creatures.
In Melanesia, we never used to think like this, we never blame our brain when something went wrong because our worldview was so interconnected with the whole of cosmic phenomenon. This thinking is deeply rooted in the depth of the earth itself- our knowledge and wisdom are not found in human brain only, but through earth (Earth and stars and everything that is within and beyond all are teacher- they provide direction). The whole of creation talks to us and we talk to them in many ways. We only recognising this amazing ancient Melanesian cosmology in reference to wrong perceptions about us created by the European and Indonesian colonial people. our young people cannot value this amazing gift of our teacher – earth, unless we tell them about the dark and broken colonial worldview used in creating this dysfunctional system that inflicting suffering to our lives and our earth. To know “wone obelom”, we also need to know “ wone maluk”. by Yikwanak, Yamin Kogoya