Defining Life in African Igbo Cosmology

Vitalis Ugwu

Affiliation: Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Nigeria

Keywords: Africa, Culture, IGBO, Views, Values

Categories: Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

DOI: 10.17160/josha.8.3.755

Languages: English

A people’s cosmology defines their perception of the universe and their place in it. It explains their thought systems, values, attitudes as well as hierarchy of forces and their relationships. Thus African Igbo Cosmology explains the people’s perception of the universe and their place in it; their values, laws and very importantly their understanding of the purpose of existence. Igbo cosmology recognizes three ontological levels of existence in the universe where the inhabitants of these levels interact in some unique ways to give meaning to human existence. This cosmology also recognizes some elements of human existence which include life, offspring, truth, justice, wealth, love and peace as great values. But among all this values, ‘life’ stands tall as the greatest and most cherished value among the people. Undoubtedly, life is cherished in all human societies, but the value attached to life is not the same in all cultures. This paper therefore seeks to give a broad definition of the meaning and essence of life as a value among the Igbo and also show how the people’s belief system, attitudes etc are informed by their perception of life. Apart from seeking to clarify some misconceptions about the meaning and essence of life in Igbo cosmology, this work is also a premeditated effort geared towards encouraging good and moral life among the Igbo, as bad and immoral life is seen as worthless by the people.

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