Tuesday 4 August 2009

Stumbling upon philosophies

Browsing, like switching channels in a television, never fails to surprise the curious mind. Recently while browsing for a definition, I accidentally stumbled upon the philosophy known as Ubuntu. I have heard of Ubuntu as an open source software distributed by Linux. Finding the name fascinating, I repeat it to myself, sometimes soft and sometimes loud - U BUN TOOO, UBUN TOOOO, UBUNT OOOOOO. Some words are like that. They are nice to repeat out loud. Some samples: Checkoslovakia, Madagascar, Boutros Boutros Ghali.

Well, now to Ubuntu. The word is derived from the Buntu languages from Africa. Like the name, the philosophy also sounds very interesting: My Wikipedia says, "A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed." How nicely put! The six letter word says it all: Self esteem, Respect, Everything is connected to everything else (This is the first law of Ecology).

Relecting on the word, one thing strikes my mind: Death of the Self. The supreme ego which tends to rule over the individual has to be completely negated. At the same time Ubuntu also holds a strong sense of the individual's worth which comes from a self realisation. This self realisation is knowing oneself and accepting the known rather than trying to change or alter it. I'd like to quote again from my Wiki. This time its what Nelson Mandela quotes of the philosophy: "A traveller through a country would stop at a village and he didn't have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not address themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?"

A nice philosophy to reflect on where we stand in the egocentric scale. I can't stop myself from thinking about another simple thought along the same lines: "Love thy neighbour as thyself." Any guesses as to who said it. You know it, I know.


  1. never thought you could look at UBUNTU that way! nice post and great though to start a morning with :)

  2. Sojo, thanks for your nice comment. I jsut came across Ubuntu while random browsing. So the credit goes to the world wide web which says that there is a philosophy like that in Africa.



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