Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Biopolitics - another look at African political behaviour

Clyde Ahmad Winters

Biopolitics is an outgrowth of the fields of biology and physical anthropology. Its biological foundations rest on the knowledge that neurological research indicates that human behaviour is the result of the interaction between chemicals and electricity.
It is increasingly being recognised by researchers that biology influences political behaviour. Sure many of Africa's problems were created by European colonialism, but we have to acknowledge that many of Africa's problems were caused by African leaders.

Many political scientists are using biopolitics to discover why certain groups behave politically in a particular fashion. Biopolitics is the study of the influence of biological factors on political behaviour.

Biopolitics is an outgrowth of the fields of biology and physical anthropology. Its biological foundations rest on the knowledge that neurological research indicates that human behaviour is the result of the interaction between chemicals and electricity. The mind does everything as a result of time synchronised chemical secretions between brain cells.

Biopolitics takes into account the differences in political behaviour as exhibited by different ethnic groups. This political view is possible because of sociobiology. Sociobiology is a term coined by Professor Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University. This is the hypothesis that much of human be- haviour is ethno-centric and shaped by evolution and genes.

The hypothesis of gene-culture evolution makes it possible to study the political behaviour of ethnic groups. The mechanism behind this behaviour is deeper than culture so it is depended on epigenetic rules - the name Dr Wilson calls the genetically determined influence, that is turned on by certain cultural conditions.

Today most African leaders lack sensitivity to the demands for justice and caring in their societies. They appear to lack creativity or respect for the skills of their own educated nationals. In fact, in many cases these leaders are jealous of the creative elements in their societies, but they sheepishly follow the ideas of their former masters as they import inappropriate technologies in a vain attempt to develop along European models. Why, you might ask, do they act in this manner? Maybe socio-biology can answer this question.

The brain is separated into two hemispheres. People have a tendency to depend mainly on the left or right cerebral hemispheres of the brain. This tendency leads to specific human behaviour(s).

Africans and Europeans show differences in brain dominance. Leopold S. Senghor, wrote some years ago that "L'émotion est Négre et la raison helene" (Emotion is Negro and reason Greek). This statement is biologically true, and is determined by brain dominance.

The hemispheres of the brain specialise in certain behaviours. The left brain is concerned with comprehension of written languages, while the right brain is concerned with more artistic or emotional behaviours.

Enhanced reactive speed may also explain why African leaders will eliminate, in many cases, violently their critics, when all they really have to do is use the media to discredit their enemies. This may be one of the reasons why traditional African educators laid an emphasis on students learning self-control.

African people due to the solid steady-state properties of melanin have a right brain dominance, which suggests that emotion together with language and the language-based logical functions are all housed in the right hemisphere. This is one of the reasons why ancient African scripts are usually read from right to left rather than left to right as among the Europeans (e.g. Arabic).

For example left brain dominant people taught in the European tradition are more logical and systematic, behaviour is patterned on cold machine logic. Right brain dominant people, on the other hand, pattern their behaviour on their emotions. As a result, most great scientific advances in the West are made by right-brained people. But left brain scientists once they see how something can be done are good at improving on the earlier ideas found by right brain people.

In the European brain emotion, music and creativity is in the right brain. In the left brain we find written and verbal language, logic and math. This means that as one progresses in his study of European culture through education he increasingly becomes more and more left brain oriented.

Let me explain: in the right brain we produce vowels while in the left we create consonants. European languages frequently put consonants together. African languages on the other hand do not. They usually insert a vowel between each consonant, e.g., Umoja (unity). As a result, as Africans acquire a Western education most become more and more left brain, while the uneducated Africans continue to show the usual right brain dominance pattern. Education in the Western sense due to its emphasis on reading and writing, rather than skill development leads often to right brain atrophy. Thomas R. Blakeslee, in The Right Brain, notes that "Many highly educated intellectual people habitually try to use their left brain for totally inappropriate tasks. Their right brain can virtually atrophy, making them totally inept, not just in sports, art and dancing but with the truly creative side of intellectual pursuits."

Is it any wonder then that after years of being educated in a Western style that most African leaders, may they be military or civilian, seem alienated to their own societies? Often these men are referred to by their less educated brethren as African Europeans'. They have become insensitive to the least fortunate of their societies because they are always using logic to find ideas to solve problems that can only be solved by taking measures that may appeal

By now you are wondering how does the African leader who is genetically right brain dominant, turn into the left brain leaders they are today? This behaviour change can best be explained by the properties of melanin.

Melanin is a dynamic dark polymer found in the skin and blood capable of absorbing light (and sound) and converting it into electrical energy. This melanin which gives the African his dark complexion, is a superconductive plasma that plays an important role in neurobiological and physio- logical activities due to its role as brain peptides and its presence in the neuro- transmitters.

Melanin in the form of peptides control practically all forms of human behaviour, especially learning, because melanotropins influence the storage of information in the Memory Trade (MT) since they control the biochemical parameters which leads to the alternation of neuronal circuits to form permanent synopses. The formation of permanent synopses in the brain's structure is what scientists call memory.

As a result, African people, due to the abundance of melanin in their bodies, blood and brain have biological cognitive superiority if they are educated in a traditional manner. (This view is supported by the Japanese, a highly pigmented race which due to its continual use of its own traditional education system produce students that surpass the best European students, although they learn the same skills).

Scientists in the United States have done considerable research on the influence of melanin on human behaviour. Dr M. Worthy, a psycholo- gist in Eye, Colour, Sex and Race, found that melanin levels in human populations have led to differences in human behaviour. For example,. melanic skin groups are more sensitive and socially responsive than light skin types. Dr Worthy, has summarised the different patterns of behaviour as follows: Dark eyes and skinned people and animals specialise in behaviour that require sensitivity, speed and reactive responses; Light eyed and skinned humans and animals specialise in behaviour that require hesitation, inhibition and self-paced responses.

Melanin helps African people to be very responsive to modelling as a result, when given the equal chance they can surpass any European student. Is it any wonder that melanic groups from the Sub-Continent are beginning to dominate many University science departments?

In a positive sense melanin can help melanic groups learn effectively, if they are taught along their traditional education lines. But a negative affect of modelling is that it can cause melanic groups to mimic behaviour or styles that can be harmful to their bodies e.g., drug abuse. This results from the ability of melanin to bind consciousness influencing drugs. This leads to drug addiction among Africans in higher number than among Europeans because it takes drugs longer to breakdown in blacks than whites because of the high level of melanin in their blood.

Heighten speed of reaction within Africans who are left brain dominant can lead them to make illogical decisions which make them appear as fools. A case in point would be the recent case in Nigeria where a Nigerian student in the U.S. returned home to attend a relative's funeral. At the airport he was arrested and sentenced to jail for having too many naira on his person. Although this student told the judge he had got the money from friends who wanted to make sure he had enough to get around Nigeria and return to school, this plea fell on a closed mind because, the judge totally followed the law rather than consider this man on the merits of his argument.

Enhanced reactive speed may also explain why African leaders will eliminate, in many cases, violently their critics, when all they really have to do is use the media to discredit their enemies. This may be one of the reasons why traditional African educators laid emphasis on students learning self-control. It is clear that this lesson needs to be learned in Africa where most leaders are clearly lacking in self-control.

There are slight differences between military and civilian rulers and elites, in their quest for political order, because both groups are almost totally left brain oriented. As a result, although the military seeks develop- ment through overt coercion of a subdued citizenry, many civilian elites use covert means (e.g. the secret police) to achieve coercion of a subdued citizenry. Both groups due to their training and education are unable to relate to the needs of their people, because they think differently from the masses they rule. It is no secret that in the West, Europeans blindly obey their leaders, and rarely fight for social change unless they are led by the Middle Class. But in Africa, traditionally the Ruler ruled by the consent of the people, and was replaced once he stepped out of bounds.

The socialisation of the military elites through education and training encourages the development of a corporate identity within the military.

Thus the military has a high propensity for political involvement and violence. because of the colonial history of Black Africa, in which the military was used first to implement colonial rule and then maintain it. Also one must remember that the African military tradition was to alienate African soldiers from the masses so they would lose their tribal ties, and kill their own people when called upon.

Civilian elites on the other hand due to their education and training inherited political power, but due to their fear of the military rarely share power with the military establishment, even though they make sure to accommodate the military. As a result the civilians establish their own para-military wings to ensure their political rule.

Among both the military and civilian elites emphasis on foreign methods of education and training and non- African political traditions has led to reliance on the left brain among most contemporary leaders in Africa, and atrophy of the right brain's ability to give them warmth and sensitivity. This along with melanin's enhancement of modelling behaviour in Africans may be behind the ruthlessness, and cold- blooded behaviour of many African rulers as they attempt to mimic the attitudes and behaviour of the European colonial administrators who preceded them.

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