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.