An endemic of dim-wittedness


An endemic of dim-wittedness

BY Ardene Reid Virtue

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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Recently , I have become more attuned with the evidential and concerning lack of good sense and judgement among some Jamaicans. Before I respond to the folly associated with people's behaviour in response to the pandemic of COVID-19, let me reference two preceding circumstances that also convey cognitive malfunction.

Firstly, the alarming number of men who thought it is justified to physically abuse and murder women whom they perceived as their properties motivated my paying increased attention to how some people are unsuccessful in employing their critical thinking capabilities. Such individuals failed to interrogate and rebuff the nonsensical socio-cultural perspective which gives absolutely no substantiation for, nor exoneration from their gruesome acts. I am still flummoxed by what they may view as the benefits for the maltreatments and murders since some men committed suicide and others were incarcerated. As far as I am concerned, it is sheer madness and proves a deficiency in some individuals' ability to exercise intelligence and make moral and lawful decisions. In such instances, one of the barriers to critical thinking activation is inflated ego — a raging lethal drive to protect masculine image and power.

The second situation I wish to highlight is some students' interest in participating in games such as the one called 'Jump Trip Challenge'. We who observed from the periphery and shook our heads in disbelief and dismay tried to fathom what caused some students to not have better sense than participating in activities that were perceptibly dangerous. Well, let me give you a possible response: They succumbed to the need to be part of something that went viral. Therefore, the desire to belong, be recognised as “kool”, and have material to post online nullified any possible consideration they might have had about the perils of the game. Furthermore, their brainlessness caused an appalling disregard for others' safety since some students found the falls and injuries of other students to be quite entertaining.

Violence associated with COVID-19

Now, let me hasten to address our current circumstance of seeking to prevent ourselves from contracting and spreading the coronavirus. With the fear of contracting the virus comes the spread of deleterious behaviours that prove the threatening results of ignorance and stupidity. I have viewed videos or heard of instances in which some Jamaicans have failed to apply good sense.

There is an 'outbreak' of attacks on people who are sneezing or coughing which may very well be mere signs of the common cold, sinusitis, or allergic reactions. Individuals who display these signs are fearful because the desperation of others to preserve their health has rendered sneezing and coughing taboo, and has become reasons for people to be brutally attacked.

The perpetrators of ferocity have obviously ignored pertinent information about the additional signs and symptoms of the coronavirus; hence, their failure to carefully assess and make a better decision about how to respond to individuals whom they suspect are carriers of the virus. Furthermore, if people seek to protect themselves from contracting the virus, how is touching suspected infected individuals through assault the answer? Doesn't the lessening of distance and physical contact put them at a greater risk? I mourn the death of common sense. If these individuals continue to permit apprehension and untamed impulse to get the better of them, the rest of us may be forced to divert concern about COVID-19 to measures that would safeguard us from being victims of barbarity.

Conflict between faith and precaution

I end with an advice to some religiously persuaded individuals whose response to protecting themselves from contracting COVID-19 suggests a lack of wisdom. For all the individuals who unwisely refuse to undertake the necessary precautions consequent to their obstinate conviction that they have no need for sanitisers because the Holy Spirit will sanitise them, I hope the Spirit will expeditiously send your writing on the wall to warn you against such a belief.

I close my palms in prayer for that divine intervention because, apparently, that is what it may require since some believers are reluctant to obey global and national stipulations about the roles we should play in protecting ourselves and others. It is not a sin to have faith while simultaneously taking precautions. God is an intelligent being; please represent Him well. In addition, Prime Minister Andrew Holness will not be automatically doomed to hell because he sensibly advised of the need to implement social distancing, and cautioned that no more than 20 people should gather at places of worship. Engage your problem-solving potential and be like others who have multiple services in a day to provide more people the opportunity to attend, provide live streaming of services, and facilitate Bible studies discussions via WhatsApp, etc. You now have the chance to finally prove the church is not a building, but the people. Simply figure out how to maintain fellowship and worship in the midst of the crisis, instead of being distracted with striking people's names out of your 'lamb's book of life'.

Let us continue to play our individual and collective roles in maintaining good health and an ordered society. Activation of critical thinking competencies is the antidote for the spread of dim-wittedness.

Ardene Virtue is an educator. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or

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