The idea and arrogance of a universal truth is what has lead to, and continues to lead to, colonization and the genocide of Indigenous people.
Regardless of what people may think, there are no universal constructs, models, or laws. Constructs, models, and laws are created by humans to help human groups understand the great complexity of Creation. At a personal level, human subjectivity and our meaning making processes always mediates what is perceived as real; at the group level, community subjectivity and the meaning making processes always mediates what is perceived as real. This is so even in terms of entities that exists outside of human creation and cultivation. For example, a mountain is perceived, thought about, and known differently for different people and communities. In this way, while they are important structures of human creation and agency that help us move forward, these constructs, models and laws are really only representations of reality rather than being objectively “real”. My discourse here is exact; the conceptual shift identified is huge.
As you read this please do not jump to the cognition or thought that “a circle is a circle, is a circle”. First of all one needs to be able to see the circle. If you are blind, the circle is different and must be felt, and as such the relationship is therefore different. There goes the universalism. The same goes with a wall. Different people perceive the wall differently and will interact with it differently and have a different relationship with it. Their subjectivity will mediate “reality” and again, there goes the universalism.
Further, to root your analysis and to offer an argument that there is no such thing as a universal truth to an artifact one merely looks at – such as a circle – is an essentialist and questionable analysis. Our understanding that there is no such thing as a universal truth must move beyond the material. Although humans are prone to idolatry, humans are not archeologists who hold an objective universal truth. Rather, we are subjective-meaning-making beings. Again, what makes entities “real” for humans, both human made and Creator made, is the subjective meaning attached to them.
The reason people think a universal objective reality really does exist has more to do to with a “human cognitive error.” Humans can’t help doing this; we magically cognitively reify things into reality that are not “real”. We do this without even knowing we do it. This is why the Anishinaabeg philosophers and intellectuals say humans are pitiful. That said, it is best for people to understand subjectivity and objectivity as existing on a continuum and perceive this continuum as a representation of reality, rather than reifying the subjective end and objective end of the continuum as “real” entities.
In terms of what become a hegemonic construct, model or law? Power, resources, and charisma mediates.
To this end, although they may have similarities and they may converge, all Indigenous knowledge systems differ. To claim there is a universal model of IK is somewhat analogous to pan-Indianism and we know this is not true. Goodness.
The thought and practice that there are universal truths is the result of pitiful human cognition. This is Anishnaabeg Law.
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