Consciencism: Philosophy and the Ideology for Decolonization by Kwame Nkrumah

By Kwame Nkrumah

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The two philosophies ofLeibniz and Descartes provide further illustration of the way in which this happened. Leibniz believed that the universe consisted of an infmite number of units, which he called monads. Each monad was a spirit, but monads enjoyed different levels of consciousness. And matter, in his philosophy, was a collection of spirits which were in a complete state ofunconsciousness. He was an idealist. But that was not what constituted his contribution to democratic capitalism. For this, we must turn to his remarks about the nature ofmonads.

One can illustrate this in various ways. In the Medieval Age ofEurope, when religion was considered to be the main pre­ occupation of life, all other concerns were subordinated to the religious, and actions tended to win approval to the extent that they supported religion, or at least were not in conflict with it. In the second chapter, I illustrated how economic activity was sub­ ordinated to the religious concern. Art, too, became infected by SOCIETY AND IDEOLOGY 65 this idea. It accordingly specialized in Biblical illustration and apocalypses of paradise.

Each monad was a spirit, but monads enjoyed different levels of consciousness. And matter, in his philosophy, was a collection of spirits which were in a complete state ofunconsciousness. He was an idealist. But that was not what constituted his contribution to democratic capitalism. For this, we must turn to his remarks about the nature ofmonads. According to Leibniz, every monad is completely self-contained, and is completely windowless on every other monad. Every monad is, furthermore, invested with a private law of its develop­ ment, a law which provides sometimes for the dimness of other monads at a time when a particular monad luxuriates in well-being.

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