THE ROLE OF CHI IN SELF-ACTUALIZATION IN TRADITIONAL IGBO COSMOLOGY
Keywords:Chi, Role, individual, Self-actualization, Identity, Igbo, Destiny, Cosmology
The need for a critical examination of the role of chi,the guardian/ personal god in Igbotraditional religion believed to be responsible for the successor failure of a person in life is very important. This is because central to this belief is the question of choice of one's destiny, which is a subject of debate among Igbo scholars as there emerge different but interrelated interpretations of this phenomenon. While some scholars argue that the choice of destiny was made by the individual in co conjunction with his/her chi before birth, after which the child suffers total amnesia after birth with regard to the destiny package earlier chosen. Others are of the opinion that chi whom Chinaeke/Chukwu the Igbo Supreme Being created with the individual was assigned the role of dispenser and guardian of destiny already allotted by the Creator. Hence, the chi the personâ€™s guardian spirit takes over to direct and guard the individual to live and act in accordance with his/her chosen destiny; which if altered could have severe consequences. The above belief generates some questions when critically viewed from the Igbocosmological and ontological background namely: If the individual's life lot is totally dependent on his/her chi and the destiny package earlier is chosen, does it mean that the individual has no role to play in the accomplishment of this destiny? What is the implication of this belief in the individualâ€™s journey in life especially in relation to self-actualization, bearing in mind that the same culture encourages hard work and sets no limit to individual achievement in life. This paper will thematically, through conceptual analysis, evaluate the Igbo conceptual understanding and meaning embedded in chi and related function of being the guardian and dispenser of destiny package, as well as how it influences identity construction and self-actualization in the Igbo world.