This was one of my literary flights of fancy. I was mercifully now preoccupied with Nigeria, just gazing at the moon and contemplating my navel.
Annoyingly, man is no longer universally thought of as being the centre of the Universe. An intrepid Polish astronomer by name Copernicus, debunked that idea, way back in the medieval times.
In one brave stroke, he demolished the twin egocentric notions of anthropocentrism, and geocentrism and replaced both with heliocentricism. He took a firm grip on the collar and seat of man’s bloated ego, gave it a VIGOROUS shake, and up-ended the whole lot.
Now, the planet earth along with her primary inmates, were no longer in the centre of a swirling universe. But rather, revolving round a brilliant sun. And as modern day scientists would have us know, at its axis, the earth rotates at over 1, 000 mph (1, 600 kph) while at the same time tearing away at a terrifying 66, 000 mph, (105, 650 kph) round the sun. And as if that’s not enough we are told that the entire Solar system is hurtling in the general direction of the constellation Sagittarius at around 48, 000 mph (76, 800 kph) (who says mankind is stagnating?).
But all these figures, impressive as they might seem, are hardly a consideration, as we go about our day-to-day musings. We exist for a large part, blissfully unaware of the tremendous forces of nature that we are constantly being subjected to. How many people realize for instance, that on this planet they perpetually walk around with fourteen pounds of pressure per square inch (14 Ibs per Sqin) constantly bearing upon them? But luckily since this pressure is the atmospheric pressure, and consequently uniformly distributed, its effects are not quite as dramatic as it would have been, if it was a 14lb millstone hung around your neck!
And so despite our ignorance, these invisible forces of nature do operate independently, annoyingly without the behest of man!At the mention of invisible forces, the minds of many no doubt would race to the machinations of that gnarled old woman reputed to be a witch. But there are other forces that are invisible and not necessarily diabolic.
We live in a world in which a lot of forces that operate around us are below the threshold our consciousness. And so, it is little wonder we are sometimes puzzled, by the irrationality and eccentricity of our kind.And in pursuit of an answer, a superficial inquest would almost inevitably drag us into the arcane world of the occult.
But science provides some answers, for example, it is a biological fact that a large proportion of the human body (Seventy five percent) is composed of H2O, simply water. And that the moon exerts some magnetic pull on the tides of the ocean is also a fact that has been known for years. Another little known fact is that the shifting phases of the moon, affects (sometimes adversely) some individuals. Infact a study of the etymology of the word LUNATIC will reveal that it is infact a derivative of the word LUNAR, which deals exclusively with the moon. And since man, has such an aquatic disposition, it becomes clear why the moon sometimes affects us all.
The moon, by a wide margin, is not the only extra-terrestrial force that influences our lives here on earth. Since our planet is one of many in the Solar System, it’s placement and motion is relative and complimentary to others in that same system.
The sun, which is the life force of this planet, is a major source of extra-terrestrial interference. Quite apart from its beneficial sunrays, the sun also bombards us with magnetic waves and X-rays. And during Solar Storms and Flares (huge and violent explosions of gaseous plasma on the surface of the sun), there are extra strong discharges of Solar energy, which profoundly affect our lives here as inhabitants of the planet earth.
The Solar Sstem is not arbitrary, or disorganized, planets move in definite orbits, and the whole system is a series of cycles. Some of theseis cycles have been calculated, and thus predictable. The earth rotates round its axis approximately once every twenty four hours, this fact, provides us with the circadian cycle of twenty-four hours to the day, and also by it rotation, the demarcation between night and day.
And it’s the intuitive recognition of this fact that regulates our sleeping and feeding habits. In fact our day to day life, like an internal clock, is synchronized to this twenty four hour day cycle. And if for one reason or another, this cycle were to be disrupted, we would surely be a planet of bleary eyed humans, walking around in a confused daze!
It suffices to say, and I quote “Earthly life is bound by invisible threads to the cosmos, both near and far.To be subjected to cosmic effects, man does not have to be shot into space. He does not even have to leave his room.”
How true; for even in the sanctuary of his living room, twentieth century man in constantly immersed in a pool of invisible forces. Radio waves transmitting to the television or radio sets, electro-magnetic charges from electrical appliances, sound waves, light waves and even the gravitational pull, that bolts him firmly to terra-firma.
And so probably because they are invisible to the naked eye, we largely take them for granted, despite the telling effects they have on us.
In the diagnosis of the so called mentally ill patients, psychologists and psychiatrists are quick to point to socio-psychological pressures or factors as being the root causes of mental illness. Although it can be argued, that simply because an individual displays a rugged, maverick spirit of individuality, and independence of action, and does not adhere at all to the norms and customs of the society; that individual is not necessarily mad, he is only different.
Indeed a man who walks around in the nude and lives alfresco, shunning the confines of a house, and blazing a trail through the rubbish dumps of the city, and occasionally molesting passers-by might not really be mad. Maybe he is just protesting and besides it’s more fun living outside society than inside.
But more seriously, a lot of schizophrenics, manic depressives, paranoids, psychotic neurotics (and other colorful names mental patients are called) are affected more by cosmic influences, than we ordinarily know, or concede.
We all have a little bit of the moon in us. In 1979 or thereabout, it was rumored that on certain nights, the visage of a famous political leader could be seen clearly on the moon! I had always wanted to see the “man in the moon” I kept vigil, but all I saw was a baleful moon staring back at me!
I later discovered that this same personality, was rumored to have appeared on the moon in 1959, a clear ten years before Neil Armstrong, and the Apollo XI landed on the Sea of tranquility. If this true, Nigeria must certainly hold the distinction of having the first “man on the moon.”
The subliminal nature of our existence on this planet cannot be over emphasized; but if in 1999 (within the next two decades) when the “moonman” makes his traditional twenty year appearance; you would have to have a little bit of the “moon in the man” to be able to see “the man in the moon”.
Tunji Lardner, The Punch, Saturday, January 15, 1983