Why do high profile blacks and black leaders avoid blackness, focusing instead upon more generalized constituencies, like people of color, minorities, women, gays , the poor, and Hispanics? What enables a constant stream of immigrant groups to politically, economically and socially leapfrog over and eventually dominate blacks? How is it possible that blacks are monolithic and loyal supporters of the Democratic party, yet our support does not translate to greater political influence?
All of these questions and more are directly tied to the ways in which African Americans have been conditioned to manage money. More specifically, we tend to experience the world of money and finance as problematic to the point of being an evil menace. The Agbole message seeks to transform that narrative, from fear and paralysis to hope and empowerment. We at the Agbole maintain that money is essential to our ability to realize our highest intentions and ideals, both personally and collectively.
THE SPIRIT OF GIVING
There are several different types of money transactions:
For the purposes of this Blog post, let's give special attention to the gift transaction. Here, the giver selflessly offers money so that something good can come into the world, usually something of cultural and spiritual value. The actual value of this kind of gift —for example, money to build a school—cannot be computed since it benefits all humanity for many years to come, even into the limitless future. In this regard, the Agbole conclusion about giving is completely in alignment with the traditional Yoruba philosophy of giving, which posits that the individual or institution accepting a gift is not the true receiver. The real receivers of any gift are those who benefit: namely, the whole of humanity for eternity. This is summarized in a portion of sacred text, taken from the Ifa corpus:
...Lo, the maker of this perfect order, Alasuwada, I beseech you
Please send a conglomerate of good essences
And bring abundant blessings to me
If one destiny is good
It will extend to 200 others
The destiny of Origun, the creator is blessed
And it affects me positively
If one destiny is blessed
It extends to 200 others
My destiny that is blessed
Has affected you positively
Your destiny that is blessed
Has equally affected me positively
If one destiny is blessed
It will affect 200 others.
- Holy Odu OsaOgunda
Human destiny is encoded with an innate generosity that seeks to protect the welfare of others and the world. The inspiration and actual motivation to give a gift, regardless of personal nuances, usually makes the donor a party to something that has deep spiritual significance. Thus, with respect to the fourth type of transaction—giving and receiving—the Agbole suggests that “whenever the spirit moves us” to make a gift we should donate money so that something that lives in the imagination, something that benefits and ennobles human life, will be brought into the physical world.
Our motto, "Making Money Work for the Good Condition", stretches and expands the ways we understand money and financial transactions. It provides each of us an opportunity to start to work with money in a way that is consistent with our truest ideals and with our concern for society and for the planet.