S(H)IBBOLETH: Tsunamis of the mind

// Odd | S(H)IBBOLETH: Tsunamis of the mind
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

A pastor was preaching in church one Sunday on how one could bring about a positive change in one’s life. As in the usual call-response strategy of audience involvement, he said: “Everybody, say: ‘Change of attitude’.” Everyone echoed, “Change of attitude.” Continuing, he said: “Change of focus” and everyone religiously echoed that too. Then he said: “Change of conduct.” There was a young man who, because he was not concentrating, responded “Change of condom” while others said, “Change of conduct.” A slip of tongue? The English language could be a trap in the resemblances one finds between some words, especially those referred to as homophones — which sound alike but mean different things. English words like “conduct” and “condom,” in having some segmental sounds in common, could also be a source of temptation as well as a “WikiLeak” for a young man who probably has a lot on his mind. Anyway, whatever might have been the abundance of his heart, we still blame the English language for betraying him.

My students have perfected their skills in outsmarting me whenever I attempt to use them in demonstrating the consequences of inattentiveness in class. Not wanting to be subjected to ridicule, they would, in response to my question “What did I say last?” tell me: “You asked, ‘What did I say last?’” Some of them, especially the back-benchers, would be busy discussing some other issues, or playing with their mobile phones, while a lecture is going on. When I discover this and try to expose them, they choose to become tricksters. Does it matter if I tell them: “Try to be here when you are here”? Sometimes the classroom interaction as an event located in a world of distractions turns out to be a hide-and-seek, but we enjoy it and use the humour to bring back wandering hearts. Not that such interruption is desired in a lecture that is strictly tied to time, but what can one do but use the exposed weakness of inattention to try to rebuild the lecture as a collective engagement with knowledge?

We live in a world where the mind is under serious siege, with many people creating more and more distractions for themselves and others, and becoming increasingly absent-minded in their performance of daily activities. A tsunami of the mind surges forth and sweeps them away from a coordinated life. Just think about the number of patients who, in some societies, have perished in the hands of some doctors and nurses because of wrong medication. Imagine some surgical materials — pins, threads, even scissors — forgotten inside a patient’s body in a surgical operation and the patient later opened up again after suffering terribly for weeks or even months with the strange luggage! And what does the sticker on the door of the doctor’s consulting room say? Perhaps this: “We Cure; God Heals.” Wonderful!

OK, imagine drivers — including riders of commercial motorcycles — typing messages on their mobile phones or searching for phone numbers to dial while driving on busy roads. Look closely on the windshields of the vehicles and you would find a sticker that reads: “Angels on Guard” or “Back to Sender; I’m Covered by the Blood of Jesus.” The blood of Jesus must be juju that wards off road accidents, even when the driver’s actions invite such accidents. Indeed, many vehicles on our roads drive themselves, or are driven by supernatural forces, and passengers only get to their destinations by a stroke of luck.

Sometime ago I bought some ‘special’ loaves of bread from a five-star hotel, hoping to make my family’s breakfast table a bit different. Indeed it turned out to be tragically different for, as we were eating the bread, we found staple pins inside it. In fact, it was my tongue and teeth that first made the shocking discovery! I wasn’t quite sure that my children hadn’t swallowed some in their hurry to get done with the breakfast and be off to school. When I phoned the hotel and complained in the bitterest terms, what else did I get but apologies and excuses on how a packet of staple pins fell inside the flour and the baker thought they were all eventually removed! The noises in our heads which are sometimes installed by the kind of culture in which we find ourselves or by our own inability to make the right choices, inevitably prevent us from concentrating and doing things appropriately. A serious tsunami of the mind is silently devastating some societies and does require the same kind of urgent attention that we give the physical tsunamis in the world today.

Tagged : 2014 World Cup, Egypt Army Overthrows President Mohamed Morsi

Headlines Newsview all

EFCC Declares Senator Omisore Wanted

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has declared a former deputy governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore wanted. The former senator is wanted in ... Full story

Breaking News:Court - A Dismisses Kanu And Others Appeal

……….declines defendants’ plea for bail The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed the appeal that was lodged before it by the detained leader ... Full story

Breaking News:Court - A Dismisses Kanu And Others Appeal

……….declines defendants’ plea for bail The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed the appeal that was lodged before it by the detained leader ... Full story

Confirm: Police Recover Senator’s Corpse From Pond

The Ebonyi Police Command has confirmed the retrieval of the corpse of a Second Republic Senator, Dr Offia Nwali, from a pond behind his house. ASP ... Full story

Ambode Wasted N3.2bn On ‘Botched Visit’ Of Buhari Says PDP

Lagos state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has alleged that the state government spent N3.2bn in preparing for the visit of President Muhammadu ... Full story

BREAKING NEWS: Court Dismisses Metuh’s Application To Travel Abroad For Treatment

The Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, has dismissed the application filed by the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, asking for permission ... Full story

Ekiti Workers Begin Strike Over Unpaid Salaries

There is tension in the C civil service over the five month salary arrears owed workers. The workers are also aggrieved over government’s failure to pay ...

Official Press Release From The Office Of The Vice President On The African Leaders Meeting In Zambia

AFRICAN LEADERS WILL GIVE PRIORITY TO AVAILABLE ENERGY SOURCES TO ADVANCE DEVELOPMENT, OSINBAJO SAYS AT ADB ANNUAL MEETING IN ZAMBIA OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT PRESS RELEASE African ...

Forex: CBN Throws Naira Into Open Market And Nullifies N197/$ Exchange Rate

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, yesterday, announced a flexible exchange rate regime aimed at making foreign currencies more accessible. With this action, the CBN has ...

Eni Declares Force Majeure After Pipeline Attack

A subsidiary of Italian oil producer Eni has declared a force majeure following an attack on a key gas pipeline in southern Nigeria, the company ... Full story

CBN Finally Adopts Flexible Exchange Rate Policy

After a long wait, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has bowed to pressure, thus, directing its management to switch to ... Full story

Comment on: S(H)IBBOLETH: Tsunamis of the mind

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Nigerian Naira Falls Ahead Of Central Bank Rate Decision

 Nigeria's naira currency weakened slightly in the parallel market on Tuesday ahead of an interest rate decision and a possible announcement that the central bank ... Full story

See How CNN African Voices Presenter Keturah King Was Assaulted And Beaten Up At Airport (Photo)

Popular CNN African Voices presenter, Keturah King, who had been posting scenic photos from her trip to Senegal over the past few days, has seen ... Full story

Toyin Lawani Shares Touching Stories And Photos Of People She Rescued From The Streets

Popular Lagos celebrity stylist and fashion entreprenuer, Toyin Lawani, took to her Instagram some hours ago to share the stories of two Nigerians she took ... Full story

Ozil Makes Pilgrimage To Mecca

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil took a trip to Mecca for a pilgrimage ahead of Euro 2016. The Germany international is set to play a key part ...

Liverpool To Play Barcelona At Wembley In August

English club Liverpool will square up against Barcelona at Wembley in August in the International Champions Cup. It was today confirmed the Reds will take on ...

Mourinho To Be Announced As Manchester United Manager In The Next 48 hours

Jose Mourinho is expected to be confirmed as Manchester United manager in the next 48 hours. Negotiations between Mourinho's agent, Jorge Mendes, and Manchester United executive ...

Manchester United And Mourinho Set To Offer £34m Deal To Ibrahimovic

Manchester United are ready to make Zlatan Ibrahimovic a massive offer to become one of Jose Mourinho's key signings this summer. The Swedish striker is looking ...

Chris Giwa To Meet House Committee On Thursday

Self-acclaimed president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Chris Giwa, and his board will appear before the sports committee of the federal House of Representatives ...

Sharapova May Never PlayTennis Again Says Russian Official

Russian Tennis star Maria Sharapova may never play again following her failed drugs test, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation says. Sharapova, 29, tested positive ...