Aug 31 2011

Spirit-based Technology

Christopher Brown in Egypt

“Spirit-based technology” – that’s how Christopher Brown, a mathematician and scholar of comparative religion, describes Ifa and other sacred traditions of the Motherland. Christopher is one of several scholars that will appear in my upcoming film, Across The King’s River.

This native of Texas has degrees in both math and computer science and was once employed as a software engineer for the United Space Alliance, the leading contractor for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. But his life’s purpose, he insists, is to bridge the gap between science and spirituality.

Christopher firmly believes science and spirituality are not polar opposites – in essence they are really one. Religion, says Christopher, if properly understood, is really science in disguise. The ancients clearly understood this. The modern world, it seems, does not. In Across The King’s River, Christopher will share some of his insights on African spirituality, science, shamanism and the binary code, which is widely used in modern digital computing although it has its origin in African divination.

Although I knew for years that Ifa divination (and other African divination systems) is based on a binary code system, I didn’t realize that modern technology “adopted” this code from our ancestors. It all became clear when I saw a lecture on You Tube by Dr. Ron Eglash, a renowned mathematician and scientist who has done extensive work on African fractals. Eglash, who will also be featured in Across The King’s River, says audiences are always shocked when he reveals that the binary code can be traced back to African divination. “Every digital circuit in the world started in Africa,” says Eglash.

Scholars say the binary system has its roots in geomancy, a form of divination that was brought into Europe by African Muslims (Moors) who called their divination system “ilm al raml,” (the science of the sand). The modern binary code, however, was introduced by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a 17th century German mathematician and philosopher who is credited for inventing calculus.

It is an irony that baffles me to no end – the Western World widely demonizes and ridicules African spiritual practice, yet benefits from our genius (the binary code) every day. While the world is led to believe that African spirituality has nothing to offer, our indigenous science (and spirituality) is intimately interwoven with every day life.
This reality has been hidden from us for too long.

But it won’t be hidden for much longer. After “Across The King’s River,” the world will look at our spirit-based technologies and our “science of the sand” in a different light. That’s the hope, that’s the prayer and the mission. May it be so!! Ase!