Saturday, 28 July 2012

Mad, From Within and Beyond: The Mad Men Finale

Africans are fond of seeing things extraordinarily. Over here, psychiatric disorder has a superstitious dimension. Several African tribes believe that casting a spell on a person could result in insanity and that such could only be treated with the influence of similarly diabolical or oppositely supernatural means. The underlying belief propping this school of thought is the idea that madness is a spirit that can be invoked and revoked at the will of a deity. Also, a person that is said to be enchanted by such spirit of lunacy manifests behavioural trends that are beyond the ordinarily momentous level of madness described above. This idea is not strange as it complements the usual spiritual explanations that many religious Africans give to various scientific theories.
A young man performing ablution on a power transformer

In law (including the rules binding most African nation-states), an offence committed under the medically confirmed status of insanity may not be punished. This is because the accused or guilty person is proven to not be in the frame of mind that makes the usual punishment perceivable. Persons whose madness endlessly linger can do anything from hurting other people to killing themselves and will not understand the consequences or penalties which the law enforce for such crimes. Though if punished, they may feel the emotion of torture and can die, the fear of punishment or a realization of the associated consequences may be absent or too weak to help constrain the repeat of such actions.

So, are we all mad? My answer is a clear “Yes” and it is so because, at the minimum, we each exhibit a minuscule measure of madness. If improperly managed excitement, wild ecstasy or prolonged moodiness could lead to permanent lunacy then each man has a certain level of probability and an inherent ability to run mad –no matter how minute. Even in persons who have very low hormonal or emotional stimulation and do not react or respond spontaneously, the ambiguity of their expressions still results in some form of madness. For instance, if some persons were so choleric in temperament that they do not cry at the death of an intimate relation, such behaviour is arguably a kind of madness.

Perhaps, you have divergent thoughts or even nurse a true interest along the line of psycho-studies, then I’d suggest that you consider taking up Boston University’s offer of Master and Doctoral studies in Psychoanalysis. Since, I’ve been receiving their mails, I know that they entertain candidates with first degrees from almost any field and their Master’s degree is scheduled to hold for one year. But, if you do decide to go and earn a D.Psych at Boston, please be kind enough to do some study on the mental state of the Boko Haram group menacing the peace of inhabitants in Northern Nigeria. They claim to be against education but there is surely more to it than mere hatred for education. Theirs is a type of madness that is neither temporal nor ordinary.

And please, remember to send your recommendations about the suicidal madness to the head of state of the Nigerian republic as the issue is now one that commands national attention.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Unity & Patriotism are Major Benefits of Sports

In any nation-state, unity and patriotism are two major benefits obtainable from sports. When two people of different cultures and colour participate in the same game and abide by the same rules, fairness and equity is often regarded by a regulatory official.

Former Nigerian Football Team
Consequently, members of the same team see other participants as their opponents and unite to compete against them. Though those in the same team may have many differences, such differences are overlooked and the common goal of winning the game helps unite them.

In the Nigerian national football team, persons with different religious beliefs, tribal belongings and geographical origins are combined. It is expected by the fans that all members of the team cooperate to uplift the entire nation. In the end, everyone overlooks our differences, giving way to unity and a patriotic spirit. We share in the excitement and disappointments encountered in the tournament.

Secondly, employment and economic growth emerge as a results of sports. In places like the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and Germany, football leagues provide massive employment for many citizens. Again, in the United States, basketball and golf are very prominent and lucrative sporting activities. Huge funds are used to run such business-centred competitions and this further helps to balance the cash flow of the associated countries. The electronic entertainment industry has also tapped into the leisure aspect of sports by producing gaming appliances for global consumers. As such, more people are employed globally and economies grow.

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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Mad, From Within and Beyond (2)

Though just a few people would admit it, this is the reality: almost everybody goes mad once awhile. For instance, I have been mad before, again and again and I guess you have had your few moments of madness too. One of the times I went mad was when, as a ten-year-old, my mother got me my first game console ever. It was a gift I had anticipated endlessly and so, I went mad with uncontrollable happiness when I saw it. I repeatedly ran around our house like a drugged horse until an inelastic collision between my dog and I calmed the madness. Yet, I admit that what happened to me was madness; it was what I’d term positive madness.

But here is someone else’s story. On one random occasion that I had to visit someone in a hospital ward, a boy suddenly began to laugh when he was intimated with the news of his young mother’s death. He first screamed out at the peak of his voice and then soloed into an intermittent session of soliloquy and dance. Normally, anyone who had just received such news would be quiet, turn sober or really mourn. Otherwise, they may ask to see the corpse first. But this twenty-something-year-old guy began to laugh like a psychotic hyena. I wonder if his father had felt like calming him with a steaming slap. Initially, everyone thought he had run permanently mad. But when he began to call his friends to tell them about the loss, we realized he was still sane. Now, that is another kind of madness. It may be termed negative madness because an opposite emotive reaction occurred in the subject.

If you’d be honest with yourself, you’d admit to have been mad before too. Perhaps, there has been one or more rare moments of deep uncontrollable joy or pain that made you do something crazy or mad. It could be the day you graduated from college, the hour you won a very competitive scholarship, the minute you received your first car or the moment you realized that you had won a million dollars. It could have been the positive or negative kind of madness. But it was temporal. It was spontaneous. And it was, of course, an instance of ordinary madness.

To be continued…

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Mad, From Within and Beyond

Insanity is a state of the mind and it’s nothing more or anything less. At least, I think, you think and psychiatric patients think- at their own level. When people behave in certain unusual ways, we associate their behaviours to a state of health, emotional state or life experiences. But on the face of it, the behaviour of a person who seems to have lost it mentally is very similar to that found in persons with strange behaviours. In fact, people are only described as mad based on the degree of their derailment from what we term norm or the ordinarily expected behaviour. If this is the case, then we might as well say that all of us have a degree of latent madness.

Can we say that this white man mimicking local traders is mad?

It is uncommon to find a mad baby. While I have not made adequate findings as to whether infants run mad let alone unearth the causes, I am certain that babies too can have mental derailment. I strongly believe they could be born with it. It is only difficult to recognize or diagnose an infant’s lunacy due to the fact that they are yet to form behavioural identity. Every Day Health alleged in one of its Blog posts of February 2011 that the American Psychological Association affirmed the foregoing fact. In my search for the original reference, I found it to be true here.

Can we say that sane youths dressed in this manner for fun are partially lunatic?

When infants come out of their mothers, it is naturally expected that they find the environment strange and consequently react. The separation from a warm environment to a new one in an independent state is a considerable ordeal. Many of us passed through that stage but we can hardly remember. However, if we imagined ourselves, isolated from earth in another planet containing millions of aliens having similar but more gigantic physiques, we would react someway. This is a close illustration of what infants undergo. In a bid to ensure that babies respond to this change in environment, maternity nurses and midwives usually influence a little measure of sensation or pain to ascertain their aliveness and ability to perceive pain. In his interesting self-help book titled, Where There Is No Doctor, David Werner accurately explains that act. Yet, there are several cases. Many of which have not been through the pipeline of scholastic archive. For example, where the new-born child does not cry and yet breathes, could it be assumed that such a child is mentally imbalanced or nervously disadvantaged?

To be continued...