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Opinion: The head is not for carrying loads - When Science or enlightenment debunks foul traditional practices

Date published: Monday, 11th April 2016

Heads carrying load in Africa

To know that some wayward judges do collect bribes will never be a sufficiently educated reason for a law professor to write a textbook on jurisprudence to define the function of judges as “to collect bribes”.

Similarly, to know that some rowdy adults adamantly open bottle caps with their bare teeth, does not validate a definition of the human tooth as a tool for the purpose of opening metal caps. An aberration may be defined as “A state or condition markedly different from the norm;” and for the purpose of our topic, it is “A disorder in one’s mental state.”

Growing up in both village and urban compound houses, we were to witness some gruesome adult habits shrouded in decrepit traditional practices which the impressionable youth were supposed to emulate and suffer for throughout their adult lives. The story of a particular catastrophe came to mind as follows:

A grown man in a compound house was in the habit of using his teeth to open his beer, and was so proud of this feat that he famously refused to buy an opener for that purpose. In the process, the impressionable youth were supposed to copy his method for opening their Coca Cola and Fanta bottles.

In preparing to open his beer bottle, the man had positioned the edge of the metal cap at the corner of a lower tooth and held the cap in place by pressing the corresponding upper tooth on it. As he yanked the bottle for the cap to fall off, this lower tooth cracked open, and blood spilled out from his gum.

This macho man now screamed like a child from the immense pain. With no dentist readily available the agony lived with him for some time. He was never to put himself in that preposterous situation again! As it is said, An ounce of prevention is better than a ton of cure.

Using the human head as an “Abossey Okai macho” for carrying load is a keen example of a society that has refused to replicate the best practices of serious countries, settled for crude primitive ways, with no clear intention of progressing into the community of modern nations.

In other words, some choose to be trapped inside the third world rot when other nations, from similar backgrounds, moved on ahead decades ago.

What is education for if we cannot advance beyond the crass instincts into a more productive, enlightening world of longevity, superior quality of life, higher standards of living, and most of all, the preservation of the human body itself as a temple of God?

When a science textbook supports decadence, that called for an institutional appraisal with special emphasis on the proper use of science for teaching and learning to make our crooked educational ways straight, for the realization of the great future about which we so profoundly dream and yet do very little to improve.

For the information of our science teachers: The spine of the neck or the cervical vertebrae functions to support the weight of the head, which is about 10 pounds only. The seven cervical vertebrae consist of seven bones numbered C1 to C7. The neck has the greatest range of motion because of two specialized vertebrae that connect to the skull.

The first vertebrae (C1) is the ring-shaped atlas that connects directly to the skull. This joint allows for the nodding or “yes” motion of the head. The second vertebrae (C2) is the peg-shaped axis, which has a projection called the odontoid, that the atlas pivots around. This joint allows for the side-to-side or “no” motion of the head.” (Source: Mayfield Clinic & Spine Institute).

An injury to the cervical area or the destruction of the cartilages supporting the movements of neck bones may cause irreparable sensory or motor loss of the arms or legs.

The spinal cord, especially, is a most delicate organ serving as the information super-highway, relaying messages from the brain to activate the body. How a human neck - designed physiologically to carry a human head of 10 pounds - now has suddenly been reconfigured for little children to carry trunks and chop boxes is an aberration that informs the lack of practice of science itself in our schools. And my goodness, to have some top notch paid educators to defend such aberrations!

No people can progress without the benefit of science, so when the study of science itself is contaminated, the larger nation loses, and the children become victims of a depraved cerebral inheritance. To the poor uneducated mindset, science is afar-away place - a destination to visit one day.

Fortunately, science is so close, to befelt in everything we do. The unwitting recipe for disaster, however, follows the naiveté that acclaims with repulsive pride, “That’s how we’ve always done it!”To wit, loads have been carried on the human head since time immemorial, and so the human head must continue to be used for that decrepit purpose, instead of thinking of superior ways out of the rot, to alleviate poverty and pain.

The importance of science or its many benefits to mankind is usually not emphasized enough; and schools are where we expect these things to happen. Unfortunately some educators themselves - who should and must know better - are determined to be part of the problem, and not the solution.

Let’s end with the message (Matthew 5: 14-15) for our staunch professors and other teachers: “You are the light of the world … Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glory your Father who is in heaven”.

Author: Anis Haffar

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