Friday, 13 January 2017 03:00

Igbos are okay, after all!

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Benjamin Aduba:

 

I understand that you see me as anti-Igbo; you seem to believe that I say things that desecrate Igbos; apparently, you see it as your function to correct what I say, to make sure that Igbos are perceived correctly, preferably as you, an Igbo, want them to be perceived, in a positive manner. From that perspective you pounce on whatever I write and try to cast it in a negative light (often you are responding to a part of yourself, not to me, for it is clear to me that you did not understood what I wrote!).  Apparently, in your judgement if you cast doubt on my writing your desire for Igbos to be perceived in a positive manner would be enhanced. While you are doing what you are doing do pause to appreciate the truth in (what to you is my rambling) writing.  In the long run you will learn and eventually accept what folks like me do: state the truth as we see it. Those who state the truth have no friends for the masses are often incapable of handling the truth. In that light, I do not seek anyone's friendship; I seek friendship only from the truth.  In the below vignette I correct my hitherto misperception of Igbos. Cheers, Ozodiobi Osuji.

 

IGBOS WANT TO BE DELUDED BUT ARE NOT DELUDED

 

The literature on mental disorders says that pure delusion disorder is very rare; in the paranoid spectrum, what is rather common is paranoid personality disorder (PPD).

 

Less than one percent of the general population is schizophrenic and about the same number is manic (Bipolar Affective Disorder, BAD); that is to say that about two percent of the human population have severe mental disorders, are psychotic.

 

In over twenty years in the mental health field I probably saw only four instances of pure delusion disorder; all four instances were women.

 

One was an eighteen year old white woman who ran and hid under her parents bed saying that the Mafia is out to get her; the other was a white woman in her forties who hid in her room saying that outside her door are rapists waiting for her to step out so that they rape her; the third was a thirty year old black woman who ran and hid in a neighbor's closet because she believed that a friend of her medical doctor husband was out to kill her and that he had already killed her husband and two daughters; the fourth was an Igbo woman who claimed to be the wife of Jesus Christ (erotomania). The four women were in panicked and agitated state; paranoia is extraordinary fear and anxiety disorder.

 

In all four cases the claims (persecutory, grandiose and erotomanic) were false but the ladies believed in their claims and acted on them; they believed in what is not true to be true hence were deluded. They did not have hallucinations in any of the five senses hence are correctly diagnosed as having pure delusion disorder.

 

The point is that pure delusion disorder is very rare. What is common is delusion disorder as a feature of schizophrenia, paranoid type (here the person in addition to having hallucinations, usually auditory type, has bizarre delusions such as see himself as god, or Jesus or Napoleon), or in mania with delusion (here the manic person, in addition to the euphoric mood, may claim to be who he is not, such as a young man who told me that he is John Lennon of the Beetles and believed in that fiction to be true and acted on it).

 

In paranoid personality disorder the individual merely suspects that something that is not true is true, such as believe that folks are out to kill him when in fact they are not; the paranoid personality does not quite believe what he suspects.

 

To find a person who does not have schizophrenia, mania and other mental disorders but exhibit pure delusion disorder is rare.

 

I saw Igbos and they routinely claimed to be superior and better than their neighbors and that led me to suspect that they have delusion disorder.  The Igbos seemed to believe in the fiction that they are special and superior to other Nigerians.

 

Of course, Igbos are not special or superior to other Nigerians.  Objective evidence shows that the average IQ of Igbos, Yorubas and Hausas are the same.

 

I now know that I made a mistake in dismissing many Igbos as deluded. They are not deluded.  What is going on is that their desire for specialness and superiority is so strong that they almost believe it (if they believed it they would be psychotic, crazy).

 

These people are not deluded; that is, they are not psychotic, as I had thought. They merely wish to be crazy but are not crazy; they wish to be deluded but are not deluded.

 

They actually do not know that to wish to be superior to even one human being is sign of mental disorder! They think that it is kind of cute to wish to seem better than other people without realizing that that wish is considered the root of mental disorder; it is a case where ignorance is bliss!

 

Even though objectively white folks are materially ahead of black folks yet a white person who sees himself as superior to black folks is diagnosed as having mental health issues but many Igbos would like you to make an exception for them, collude with them and see them as their neurosis want to be seen: as superior to their Nigerian neighbors! Usually, they cite their industry and hardworking and supposed accomplishments in a short time as evidence of their superiority. If you accepted that infantile logic, one can say that since Western Europeans are, at least, five hundred years ahead of Africans in material culture they are superior to black folks! Put in this light we immediately see how ridiculous such claims are, but neurotic Igbos do not see it! They don't get it, I mean our human equality and keep talking rubbish about their supposed superiority; they want to live in fantasy land where some animals are better than others.

 

All Human beings, from the garbage collector to the president of the country are the same and coequal.  This is the truth; no argument is entertained on it.

 

Of course, IQ levels differ in individuals but that does not make some people better than others. Actually, the garbage collector's IQ may be higher than the IQ of the president!

 

IQ level does not tell us anything about social position but how quick a person can learn. The janitor may learn quicker than the president.

 

Anyway,  I have come to the correct conclusion that what is really going on in Igbos is that they are acutely aware of their backwardness and want to seem developed; they wish for superiority but  know that they are not superior to any one. But the desire for specialness is so strong in them that they boast about it as if it is true.

 

If they are treated as superior people they feel good and if not they feel bad. If they truly believed that they are special and superior then it would not make them happy or sad if they are treated as special or not, as is the case in the true deluded person.

 

The schizophrenic or manic person, in his deluded phase, believes that he is god and whether you recognize his "godness" or not is not an issue for him.

 

If a person feels angry when he is not treated as important he knows that he is not important but merely wishes to be so hence is neurotic not psychotic.

 

The neurotic is still in touch with reality; he can test reality, whereas the psychotic has lost touch with reality and cannot test reality; for example, the psychotic believes that he is important and that is it; the neurotic merely wishes to be important but knows that he is not important.

 

Thus, the right diagnoses for Igbos are that they are like the rest of humanity: normal-neurotic persons; they are not deluded (that is, not psychotic) as I had thought that they are. I have corrected my error.

 

If I were to advise Igbos I would ask them to simply see themselves as they are as good and stop questing for superiority over people.  However, I know that that advice is wasted for most human beings would like to be better than other people hence are neurotic.

 

It is the rare human being who accepts our equality and sameness and loves and respects all of us hence is mentally healthy. Perhaps, one percent of human beings are mentally healthy; most of the rest are normal-neurotic (with about two percent psychotic and ten percent with personality disorders etc.); such is life. I move on.

 

Ozodi Osuji

 

January 12, 2017

 

www.centerformindscience.org

 

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: ozodiosuji@gmail.com (907) 310-8176