While you were busy cracking your head during your secondary school leaving certificate figuring out how to boolsheet your way through biology essay questions on the human senses, some more jobless folks figured out that it was a misconception to say that a human has only five senses. In fact, as at last count, humans have between 15 and 20 senses.
Now that you’ve long left the unfortunate world of high school biology, the number of human senses, whether 5 or 500, matters less to you than the number of zeros stacked behind a digit in your credit alert at the end of the month. Except of course, you’re some kind of doctor or a high school biology teacher, in which case, please take this senses thingy seriously—lives may depend on it.
The good thing about misconceptions is this: you’re not alone in your thinking. The chances that you will be chased out of your local bar for declaring with conviction that a human being has 5 senses is just as high as the IQ content of Nollywood movies.The bad thing about misconception is this: after a while, your thinking becomes truly fucked up—like Christians who insist that tithing is a mandatory 10% tribute to be laid before the church pastor every month.
But let’s forget the five-sense die-hards, pastor-worshiping tithing activists and other flat-earth theorists for the moment. On a probably more important level, our generation of Nigerians also grew up on some huge socio-political boners and bloopers. For instance, countless social studies teachers (who, hopefully, are now on their way to Hindu hell) taught lots of innocent school children that there were only 3 principal religions.
Or take the perspective with which you were taught Nigerian history: a perspective which regarded the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 as a glorious event by a sainted Lugard–instead of the self-serving administrative lack of judgment that the amalgation really is, by a man who despised the people he governed and was generally annoyed at having to serve in Africa.
Flowing from the sanctification of the long dead Lugard, we have developed the same lust for generating misconceptions about Nigerian leaders in general. Accordingly, in the latest ring fight to capture beer parlour interest, Achebe yabbed Awolowo in his recent book, There Was A Country, and habits automatically kicked in. Suddenly people chose sides based on misconceptions about the parties involved.
Achebe is a great writer and Awolowo was a great leader, but it is a misconception to assume that the one always wrote logically or that the other always acted righteously. In all of the hullabaloo, here’s probably what’s closest to the truth: Achebe could be a jerk and Awolowo an even greater jerk; and any argument that doesn’t account for that jerkiness is very likely a jerky misconception.