Pres. Mahama Marries Poor Sanitation & Corruption 3

We destroy the environment and render it impossibly filthy and polluted as well, both through conscious and unconscious efforts of human agency, yet as soon as the whimsical tragicomedy of micro-organisms throw the causative boomerang of diseases at us we quickly resort to supernatural name-calling or paranormal attributions when the idiosyncratic aggregate psychology of the universe of micro-organisms falls outside the epidemiological scope of scientific rationalism (See the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s latest report on climate change: “Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report”). For instance, those individuals who are not in the know of possible correlations between lead ingestion and criminality may falsely impute certain cases of “aggressivity, impulsivity, ADHD, and lower IQ” to the wicked intentions of human votaries of paranormal magic (See Alex Knapp’s March 1, 2013 Forbes article “How Lead Caused America’s Violent Crime Epidemic”).

Neither has our science developed well enough nor expanded to the four corners of the country where, for instance, the relationship between heavy metal ingestion and biotoxicity can be technologically and scientifically ascertained with absolute conviction. We still cannot overlook the fact that micro-organisms do not benevolently speak the ornate poetry of virulence to human scientific ignorance in the socializing context of aseptic relations. Is it not true that micro-organisms are endowed with interior powers of unreserved notoriety, of morbific proliferation in the ecological sepsis of power relations? Moreover, what do we make of the unending public jeremiad against open evacuation, urination, and expectoration along the unsullied consciences of our beaches, bushes, and streets? Even Dr. Yosef Ben-Yochannan, an American Egyptologist, architectural engineer, historian, anthropologist, and prolific author, has revealed how Africans in ancient Egypt had applied aseptic techniques to child delivery, childbirth, to the world in an eventful tour with Gil Noble, the late host of “Like It Is,” in Egypt.

In other words, Africans had been involved in rational undertakings thousands of years prior to Western scientific giants like Louis Pasteur’s re-discovering them through the ratiocinative mind of science. What has since happened to our collective sense of historical consciousness? It is as though religious dogmatism and cultural encumbrances pose before the mirror of self-appraisal as representational antitheses of scientific rationalism in much of Africa. That represents one heavy dilemma at the crossroads of human quest for appreciating the ontological immanence of neurological electricity measured against a backcloth of dogmatic impositions of religious and cultural autocracy. It is high time our society got habituated to the ontological logistics of the human spirit, in which the existential worm of moral and ideational defeatism does not vanish into a propositional giveaway in the multiverse of dramatic pursuit of the philosophic weight of “truth,” a question of unequal dichotomy between the misleading rich claims of metaphysical hypothesization and the dialectic rigor of scientific discernment in the interest of human progress.

Therefore, Ghanaians must ensure the transformative power of noology converts to a locomotive proposition for the fertile, accommodating habitation of human progress. Hence, the analytic psyche of science should raise the threshold of philosophic eloquence to great heights of technological intelligence by appending the esoteric vocabulary of rational poetry to the unthinking ear of the human spirit. We argue that the lighthouse of scientific rationalism be strategically erected around the encroaching pillars of superstition and general agnosy as it relates to science and technology. The fighting spirit of the human spirit yearns for this. No wonder, according to some, the refractory predispositions of the human spirit underscore its descriptive devolution to practical instances of near-death experience. It is the case that every so often the human spirit simply refuses to budge at the momentous calling of death! We simply cannot give up on the hostile, challenging vicissitudes of nature at this point.

On the other hand, it appears only superstition, lack of patriotism, falling educational standard, lack of drive, and political corruption stand in the way of Ghana’s scientific and technological evolution. Alas, it is as if the Machiavellian psychology of religious dogma and cultural encumbrances convert Africa’s development into a prophetic synonym of another familiar phenomenon, the height of ignorance. Need we add more? Probably. Let us proceed. William B. Seabrook’s dangerously skewed psychology is the kind of social-religious current that has usurped the absolute monarchy of scientific rationalism, thus characterizing the emotional theology hovering around the social psychology of Charismatic Christians and members of other religious categories. Arguably, the maudlinism of superstition, symbolized by the likes of Seabrook’s warped psychology, is no match for the practical truths and critical muscularity of scientific literacy, of scientific ratiocination. As a matter of fact, there appears not to be any meaningful correspondence between superstition and scientific rationalism.

Exactly how? The controversial practice of snake or serpent handling by members of the Pentecostal Church of God and the Church of God Holiness, mostly in the American South, in which some Christians have died as a result of being bitten by deadly snakes, an observance based on certain exegetical strictures of Biblical literalism (Acts 28:1-6; Mark 16: 17-18; Luke 10:19), is a strange, preposterous abidance by Christian dogma. What makes a human being believe that such twisted scriptural interpretations bring them closer to their God? What are the functional responsibilities of the human mind? Were the primogenitors of human beings the product of robotic constitution? It is dangerously hopeless, then, to see the human mind as coffin or cemetery, which is precisely what religious dogma and cultural encumbrances do, imprisoning the fluid predilections of the human mind in the straitjacket of unthinking affectation. It is therefore not wrong to suggest that the penetrating eye of the human mind be made to see through the snow-white blindness of religious dogma and the fog of cultural encumbrances. Our consistent calls for information literacy and media literacy in schools should help put paid to the emotional diarrhea of consumers of superstition.

The paramount concern here is that the National Sanitation Day must not be exclusively viewed through the cracked lens of the simplistic rhetorical proclamation in which President Mahama delivered it. The perception is that the National Sanitation Day is likely to lose its social significance once the threatening ascendancy of cholera wanes or the epidemiological spread of cholera is contained. Even an artificial suppression of the incidence of cholera might call the social value of the National Sanitation Day into question. This is why Ghanaians must disinvest themselves of the penchant for boxing every social issue of national relevance in the stifling rathole of partisan politics, for the environment shall still be here long after we are gone, as any threat to public health is a threat to the nation. Therefore, it is for the good of the present generation and of unfolding circles of generations yet unborn that policy decisions as important as the National Sanitation Day must be made.

That implies serious consideration be given to a portmanteau of indices. Teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, youth unemployment, juvenile delinquency, gender inequality, ethnic chauvinism, superstition, and partisan politics cannot stand apart from the corrective height of the National Sanitation Day. A good instance is the question of women’s role in society. Women constitute a substantial presence in agricultural activities and in that regard their remarkable contributions to environmental degradation and environmental consciousness cannot be entirely ignored or de-emphasized. Gender equality and educational equality between boys and girls as well as between poor and rich can add to the philosophical richness of environmental consciousness. The legacy of Prof. Wangari M. Maathai and her brainchild Green Belt Movement (GBM) are two salient examples. Thus, we must ensure the Ghanaian male does not monopolize the fields of science, mathematics, technology, and engineering.

What are we saying? The point is for Ghanaian citizens to apply their scientific and technological knowledge in areas that add sustainable value to the human condition. This includes reversing the harm caused the environment through capitalism, industrialization, population growth, globalization, and urbanization. Snatching the dancing soul of nature from the prehensile clasp of the gods and handing them over to the investigative oversight of science and technology and environmental ethics is the primary goal of our arguments. The paranormal comfort of the gods and the untestable claims of religious “truths” cannot take the sacred place of microbial realities, with the authenticity of paranormal embodiments losing their essences in the seething oil of scientific and technological affirmation. Ghanaians must aim their environmental cleanliness efforts at the drastic attrition of the country’s disease burden within operational control or management. Paranormal agents and their transcendental patrons do not have a say as regards this question.

We provide these disparate background justifications to assure Ghanaians that it is scientific knowledge, environmental consciousness, patriotism, public vigilance, technology, good and proactive leadership, and public health, not the captivating poetry of superstition, cultural encumbrances, and paranormal invocations, that must propel the social compass of the National Sanitation Day as well as of its Siamese twin, the National Anti-Corruption Day, toward the cynosures of public health and moral accountability. Accordingly, let President John Mahama make the National Anti-Corruption Day as important, if not more important, as the National Sanitation Day, and public hygiene as important as moral hygiene. Let us consider these questions: Is it not true that cleanliness and filth are attitudinal? Is it not true that attitude is a state of human consciousness?

If indeed attitude represents a characterological advent of human consciousness, could it not also be true that we are directly in constructive engagement with the locomotive power of the human mind, an expressive ontology of the most complicated organ of human anatomy? We need to adequately address these questions in order to make headway. What the first two questions from the preceding paragraph imply is that society is internally endowed with manipulative powers from which it derives moral authority to orientate either the individual mindset or the collective mindset towards a perceptual destination of social responsibility. Therefore, how a child is raised, educated, psycho-socialized, and chaperoned through the inquisitional tunnels of the larger society either adds to the child’s evolving personality or subtracts from the glamour of social order. It is like saying the responsibility for an individual’s developmental psychology is as much parental as societal.

Indeed it takes a village to raise a child, but no one will equally deny the fact that village is merely an abstraction, a concept, a community whose constitution is represented by a collage of individuals whose social psychology directs the hand of collective intelligence toward those same individuals’ aggregate interests. Therefore, raising a child is a noble exercise of parental responsibility, individualized so to speak, an activity exercised under the omniscient oversight of collective responsibility, otherwise a relationship symbolized by the cultural or moral innocence of the village. What is next then on the scale of dialectic evaluation as far as a child’s environmental conscientization goes? Health education and character education should take root in the unfolding drama of the psychological innocence of a child’s formative evolution. That also means inculcating in the child responsibility for personal hygiene as well as for teaching the child about corruption as practiced by adults and, finally, about accountability.

That is to say, the child should be told in clear language that poor personal hygiene and immorality are one and the same. Then again moral equivalence, not moral superiority or moral relativism, should lay exclusive claim to the discursive context of comparative evaluation of immorality and poor personal hygiene in the limiting capacity of a child’s developmental psychology. Of course, the collectivization of personal hygiene is expected to undergo transmigration into the bodily shrine of public hygiene, poor or otherwise. Equally important, we should not discount well-tested conservation theories and practices, similar to Wangari Maathai’s tree-planting exercises, and scientific formulae for the best farming practices as part of government efforts to improve the general health of the environment.

We also need to improve food storage strategies, road networks, supply change management, citizens’ purchasing power, and electricity distribution to guarantee food security, just so food surfeit on the market and the extra discarded for lack of storage facilities leading to artificial food shortage does not culminate in the overuse of exhausted farming lands. Also, giving tax breaks and other incentives to companies willing to deploy environmental (green) technologies in addressing the environmental impact of pollution is a question that cannot be de-stressed. Ghanaian policy makers can also bring the benefits of environmental capitalism to bear on national decisions. Once these mechanisms are firmly in place, the next stage should take up the tactical conflation of the National Sanitation Day and the National Anti-Corruption Day. President John Mahama should have made this connection quite clear when he declared the National Sanitation Day.

Lamentably, the president missed the golden moment of moral accountability when the National Sanitation Day, his government’s brainchild, aloofly tore past the National Anti-Corruption Day without acknowledging the moral compatibility between them, poor sanitation and corruption. After all, moral hygiene and public hygiene are Siamese twins, mirror images in the critical consciousness of social psychology. Having said that, we advise the president and his government to immediately seek permanent divorce from the social matrimony of poor sanitation and public corruption, even from the label of social democracy. President John Mahama and his government appointees must put a stop to their worrisome behaviors as ostrich politicians cast in the mode of moral bohemians. His and his government’s statuses as moral bohemians are not doing justice to the concept of social democracy.

And last but not least, the National Anti-Corruption Day and the National Sanitation Day must be observed year-round until human habitation turns into something else past the existential capture of man’s conscious reckoning! The Machiavellian world of microorganisms and the entrenched cancer of corruption are not faint offspring of day-specific existential formulations, of whose capricious behaviors are not necessarily deterministic from the limited standpoint of human expectations, for both have been with us for as long as human consciousness rose from the tectonic plates of human evolution and would be here with us for as long as the tectonic plates of human consciousness remains ajar! Mutation and greed are real!

Francis Kwarteng

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