“The goal of all scientific investigation was not only to discover new ideas, but also to find the motions upon which all changes in nature are based and their corresponding motive forces.” ~ Mohammed Bagayogo.
Long before recorded history—before Kemet, before Kush and before Nubia—men had learned to use simple machines such as levers and wheels, for lightening labor and accomplishing otherwise impossible architectural and industrial feats.
Afre Akufu’s (Khufu) Pyramid was well constructed with various advanced levers and pulley systems still mystifyingly complex to comprehend. In any event, our ancient Egyptian ancestors accumulated much information about mechanics either through shrewd observation or trial-and-error methods.
The explicit formulation of mechanical laws based on systematic analyses of pervasive mechanical relations took place under the classical periods in Kemet. One branch of mechanics, mainly statics, reached an advanced status stage of development by the time of Djoser. Notable scientists who worked in this field include Imho-Tef, Hesi-Rah and Meri-Tah in the 27th Century B.C.
Many centuries on, the scholars of Sankore would lay emphasis on the idea that, since life changes, the motive force of life itself must be determined in order to understand the diversity of life on the planet and beyond. A useful hint concerning the actual subject matter of mechanics is implied. To understand the motion and to resolve the motive forces underpinning changes in any natural event is to fully comprehend the system under study.
The etymology of the word mechanics has a long history. The word is derived from the Ancient Egyptian expression for a contrivance, where the contrivances are devices—such as levers, inclined planes, wedges, and the wheel and axle—used for making changes, lifting and moving weights. The study of such machines, with a view of not only discovering the various advantages they possess, but to understand and resolve the motive forces employed in their workings, was in Sankore and still is in general science, regarded as a distinctive task of the science of mechanics.
Even the attempt at the proof of the existence of God, or Intelligent Design, has come to be more acceptable to scientists who view the existence of a mechanical unicellular organism more as a sign of God than the mere presence of biological systems.
Mechanics have come to dominate a large portion of scientific explanation in this regard. No dilettante of science can escape the confines of the flexibility and rigidity of the laws of mechanics and in tandem the mechanical explanations of the universe around us.
Scholars in Nubia, however, attempted a slightly different approach in explaining away the motive forces behind change.
In one broad usage of mechanical explanations, any answer to questions such as “How does it work?” or “How is it done?” was apparently a mechanical explanation, whatever may be the determining factors of the processes under discussion to which the answer called attention.
Although the words mechanics and mechanical are used too ambiguously in many popular and even technical discussions, they are at best only loosely defined terms. In Nubia the roots were employed by Meri-Tah and his successors in a fairly precise sense–the explanation of the machine and its motion.
But in many ways, Mechanics have come to imply the existence of a maker, or even a user. Thus any complex organism, especially one that demonstrates a mechanical appearance or a mechanical way of locomotion, is quickly identified as an organism with a maker, that is, not a result of evolution. Some ancient Egyptian scholars reckoned that if human processes could be mechanically explained, if changes in the environment could be mechanically understood, then a resolution of the motive forces behind the human (as a locomotive) will only go to prove that a maker exists – that is Amen-Ra.
In this way, the Sun (and ideas of the Sun God) held sway. Since humans needed sustenance from plants, animals and from their environment—the energy of the Sun—the mechanical processes of photosynthesis and decomposition became dominant schools of thought in most temples across Nubia and Kemet. Further, a few scholars figured that the energy of the Sun alone could not fully address the resolution of the motive forces behind life. Water was needed. Hence the rivers, the oceans and in general all water bodies became a constant source of scholarship in finding a universal mechanical explanation of the universe in many temples as well.
And there is no doubt, they said, that life begun in water with a lightening strike of Amen Ra. But what is the mechanics of such an event?
At this point there were several attempts to extend such analyses to cover the motions of bodies not in equilibrium. A long line of subsequent engineers and scientists including the Moors, the Arabs and various scholars at the university in Timbuktu, such as Ahmed Baba and Modibo Mohammed Al Kaburi, finally recast and elaborated the fundamental principles of the science and applied them to surprisingly large numbers of diverse domains.
One would ask, what then is a mechanical explanation?
In modern science, the words often occur in discussions of levers, pulleys, and pendulums clocks, but these words are not less common in accounts of the modern automobile, electric clocks, and the photographic camera. Again, innumerable books take for their explicit subject matter the mechanics of such diverse processes as hearing, eating, and breathing, along with the transmissions of hereditary traits and the operations of political organizations.
Even modern researchers in the natural sciences, like their predecessors in Nubia and Kemet, also proceed on the assumption that biological organisms are physiochemical compounds, frequently characterized as illustrations of “mechanical materialism.”
Moreover, the perfunctory responses of human beings to various social situations are sometimes described as mechanical. Some theories of music and poetry, as well as their compositions, are often described in the same manner.
As the above examples make plain, mechanics are commonly employed not only in analyses of problems studied specifically by that science, but also of thermal, electromagnetic, optical, chemical, physiological, and social processes which are not usually explained in terms of the characteristic notions of that discipline.
There are various alternatives to the explanation of the universe around us–especially African rhythms and musical compositions. And with those, there are various explanations of life. None deviate more from the mechanical explanation as the Rhythmical Explanations discovered in the 6th Century A.D. in Timbuktu.
Given the broad usage of terminology, it is indeed obvious that the sense of mechanical when used in judgments evaluating human performances is quite alien to the sense of the word in contexts of theoretical analysis in the social and natural sciences.
Except to capture the meaning of the world in step-by-step explanations, there is no core precise meaning common to these various usages of the words mechanical and mechanics. From Kemet to Kush to Nubia, each culture gathers its own meanings and philosophies.