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The pleasure in madness

It helps to sometimes consider society as one person. That’s the only way we may understand the general madness in Nigeria. Things start happening and before you know it, it spreads everywhere like contagion. This happens more with things that pollute and corrupt. When you see one person going crazy on the street, the next day most people imitate that and become crazy. Everywhere starts looking like the colony of mad people. It seems there is pleasure in being mad which none but madmen know. And more people are joining in that pleasure. This is a statement of a British writer, an Irish clergyman, Jonathan Swift, in his book titled Gulliver’s Travels which we read in secondary school. Now I am seeing the sense in it. I am not writing about the book. I am simply wondering what the society would look like if mad people were to be running it. But this is what it is coming to, looking around. It seems mad people are taking over. Whatever they do, they don’t consult the normal people. Things are going the way of insane people.
Some of the things that point to this are that today the Judiciary who control all the powers of life and death, are suffering injustice, which they can do nothing about. Ordinary people have passed bulk sentence on them. When Nigeria says “Nigeria has got talent”, copying the American tradition, it is about mad boys and girls who have run out of gear, dressed like craze people, singing songs with voices and words that are incomprehensible, which only their kind enjoy. They are half naked. We think they dress to seduce. No, they are just acting true to type – mad people. We, normal people are marginalized in this. They wear their hair the way mad people do. All they do is queer and unusual. They lay-about, living on drugs and bringing up the younger general in that reprehensible lifestyle, so their numbers swell. These are people that dominate the so-called entertainment industry and feed our radio and TV stations with their frivolities for our further information, education and entertainment out here, like it or not. I think there are also politician mad people. You find them among teachers, civil servants and what have you. There is no station in life you don’t find them. Let me end it there so that nobody accuses me of calling him mad and it becomes a matter for litigation, mud-slinging and calling in the medicine man. A beg o.
When I was working at NTA, Aba, a madman took permanent abode for weeks at our gate facing the main road. Whether it was rain or sunshine, day or night he was there. He avoided people going behind him and so kept moving about. He wanted people to be in his front all the time, so he could see what they were doing. One day he told us why he did not want anybody going behind him. He said: “all these people going behind me, any day I wake up and do not find this my head, I will hold you responsible”. I don’t know what became of the madman. But his statement is like what political actors today are doing, and saying to us.
Another one, a woman joined the queue at a funeral procession as people lined up to go and pay their last respect to the corpse lying in state. At the side of the corpse, she stood still and pointed a finger close to the face and said: “I am warning you, look straight to where you are looking. Don’t mind all these people walking around you looking as if they lost something. They lost nothing. Don’t mind them. Don’t look back. Don’t look at them. Look straight. I have told you.” Like one who had delivered a serious message, she saluted, matched out, left the scene and went straight home. Another mad woman was just returning from a village market with all her earthly possessions on her head and hanging all about her body. She talked to herself complaining: “imagine! All the fish in the market today none had any taste; none had any smell whatsoever. What am I going to do about this soup I want to go and cook at home?” She spat disdainfully for the people she saw in the market and the wares they displayed that did not impress her at all. To hell with them! The writer of the book, a prose satire, I referred to, must have been wondering what is going on in the mind of the mad person. There are certified mad persons, who have dissociated themselves finally from normal people. There are the ones that pose as normal people and still doing crazy things, confusing us. The latter are the people who give us trouble, through our involuntary, unconscious and un-intentional co-habitation with them. These include people who don’t even know they are mad. They are the first to call normal people mad. Suppose they get into power and look after the affairs of normal people? This is the problem. I don’t know what will happen.
Nowadays, it is as if the normal people are trying the stuff of mad people and seemingly deriving some pleasure in them. Everywhere you see the acts of mad people overtaking the acts of normal people. Some normal people are applauding the acts of mad people and also complying with their instructions in order to be safe and not to incur their wrath. In fact, are normal people disappearing, I may ask? I am saying this because, like the mad woman who saw no good fish in the market, nothing seems coordinated, logical and good again. Is someone mad to say so? What is good again in the market? A lot can be said about madness and mad people. For instance, mad people’s actions are opposite those of normal people. Mad people do suicidal things. They embrace and cause insecurity, which normal people avoid. They drink poisonous water, eat from the gutter. But perhaps their state of madness has changed them not to be sick or even die after consuming what is poison to normal people. Confirmed and declared mad people are not our problem. Our troubles come from mad people who pretend to be of a sound mind and intermingle with us. Should psychiatric tests of some kind be introduced to check  the psychiatric health of our environment? How do it? Is it to indiscriminately check the psychiatric state of everybody or only those who show signs of crazy conduct in everyday life?
It was normal people (was it?) who said we should suspect, doubt or report the people we meet every day in life, because they may be suicide bombers, insurgents, armed robbers, kidnappers, criminals or misfits of some sort! The result is that we shall suspect and completely lose faith in one another. Even if we do nothing about it for fear that the suspect may fight back, what about the complete loss of faith among people of the same country, parentage and community who are at the same time being pressured to unite and if we think and do otherwise we will be damned; this unity is never to be negotiated/. The people who send out this instruction do not realize that this suspicion and lack of trust in one another will spread and permeate to the family level. This is inevitable. It will compromise what little unity that they can boast of. I don’t know the degree of my own madness. Others will judge me by seeing what I think and do; and perhaps what I write. But before we are overtaken by mad people and their acts, let us bear in mind that madness and mad people are now a present danger bigger than the large and towering dangers we always talk and worry about. We have condoned destructive actions of mad people so much. All the normal people are letting themselves be swallowed. They let craze-people assume the divine right to override and command over them.  It is scary.  It is mortifying.

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