Covid 19: Experts and the Navel of the Soul

Kobena Acqua began his popular poem with the eponymous line in the navel of the soul as an imagery of the traditional method of detecting the formation of new life in the womb. In the traditional African society, it is enough to put the hand under the navel and feel the throb of the fetus. […]

Kobena Acqua began his popular poem with the eponymous line in the navel of the soul as an imagery of the traditional method of detecting the formation of new life in the womb. In the traditional African society, it is enough to put the hand under the navel and feel the throb of the fetus.

But to the experts, this is unorthodox. What if there are other causes behind the movement that is felt? There is need to subject such claim to some sorts of test. Not until the urine test is out should anyone give a false hope that pregnancy is truly there. With the high level of assurance the traditional midwife holds her claim as against negative test result by the expert, the conflict in Aqua’s poem began to crystallize. An ideological clash!
The experts of course have been having a field day. Pregnancy test is just a case out of many. But, do we yield all ground to them and abandon all the traditional ways of medication before the evolution of the modern medicine. Acqua rejected! If you think it is madness that nurtures such lucidity to hold unto what we have found to work in traditional medicine, then, we would prefer to be more mad! Things have however changed greatly. The practitioners of alternative medicine have come to realize they do not need to choose madness as Acqua blurted in exasperation. The leverage the experts enjoy is in their approach. Intuition and experience is no longer enough in medication. We have to adopt research. We have to go methodical!
Covid 19 pandemic has meant everything antithetical to human normal way of life. The world is in a topsy-turvy kind of. Many nations, states are forced on a lockdown to minimize the spread of the virus. Social distancing is the new trope of taking responsibility. How long can the world nations sustain lockdown? If the developed economies are already feeling the strain what becomes of those whose large populations are in the informal sector? People in different parts of the world are reportedly beginning to ignore social distancing and quarantine rules. In Israel, ultra-orthodox Jews clashed with police while protesting Coronavirus restrictions. There have been similar cases in Berlin and Pakistan. The state of Georgia in the United States has abandoned most legal controls imposed over coronavirus while Nigerian government has hurriedly announced a phased ease of lockdown in the three states where it was initially imposed.
Many countries appear to be undoing their initial success in limiting the spread of the virus. The world is in a desperate need of solution as over 3 million people have been infected and there have been more than 240,000 deaths from the virus. The experts seem to focus on only one direction, and that is vaccination. Ordinarily, it takes five years to develop a vaccine. May be at best, the process would be condensed to like 18 months. Acqua’s assertion has begun to find an echo in some parts of Africa. Some institutions in Nigeria have begun clinical trial of plant based curative medication to the deadly virus. There seems to have been a breakthrough in Madagascar where the virus is said to have been managed with traditional herbs without disrupting the economic life.
As Friedman rightly observed, the virus is seen by some as an excuse by the elite to seize control of society. The way the experts and world leaders are limiting the search for solution to the development of vaccine will only further fuel the misgivings. Such mental set is a costly fixation in problem solving. Jennifer Wiley in her popular research on expertise and mental set said, “When a problem requires a broad search for a solution subjects with a large amount of domain knowledge may actually be at a disadvantage, because their knowledge may confine them to an area of the search space in which the solution does not reside. In other words, domain knowledge (expertise) may act as a mental set promoting fixation in creative problem solving attempt”. Some have even alleged that the experts and their world bodies are only serving the interests of world pharmaceutical giants. A governor in Nigeria who contracted the virus mentioned how he was told to take black seed oil to boost immunity and to that he attributed his cure. It is certainly not enough to tell people not to take any curative medication not certified by the experts while the experts refuse to acknowledge plant based solutions that are product of research.
Covid 19 is a disruption and disruption is what it is. It is marked by disorderliness. But when the voice of authorities is recognized in the chaotic situation, we begin to reorganize our thoughts, views and efforts toward orderly solution. The search for medication should be complementary and not one directional. This is not time to promote distrust in the authorities. But let the experts broaden their research for solution and prove there is no bias for where the solution comes from. This is a fight for collective survival and we can’t afford that people should go all out of their minds. For in the navel of the soul as Acqua said:
We too have felt at times
The throb
Of a straining heart
A spirit refusing to be drowned
In its own water before birth.

By:Kamoli Ahmed

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