The current global debate on the link between COVID-19 and 5G Technology has reminded me of two opposing concepts. Optimism and Pessimism. If one puts a glass half filled with water in front of both the optimist and the pessimist, the optimist sees that glass as half full while the pessimist sees it as half empty.
The optimist expects the best possible outcome from any given situation. The pessimist on the other hand expects the worst in everything. He anticipates undesirable outcomes or believes that the evil or hardships in life outweigh the good or luxuries. Hence he describes a glass cup that is half full as half empty! A pessimist can hardly overcome the vicissitudes of life because he sees life from the point of view of inevitable hardship.
Yes. The Corona virus pandemic is a challenge to humanity. The Spanish Flu of 1918 to 1920 which afflicted one-third of the human population, killing about 25 million people in the first week alone surpasses the current COVID-19 pandemic in respect of casualties. I wonder how many people in the world today witnessed this calamity. Those who can tell the history of this period must have been ten years old at the onset, which means they will be 112 years old this year. In the USA alone, 38.3 percent of people in this age bracket live in nursing homes. How many supercentanarians are alive in this world today? All I am saying is that this COVID-19 pandemic came to us suddenly as a completely new experience in the history of epidemics in the entire world. I am ignoring recent epidemics such as SARS and Ebola because they were not global in spread.
In spite of the overwhelming scientific evidence that radio waves don’t damage the DNA inside human cells; that UV radiation from the sun is one million times more than energy radiation from 5G; some skeptics still believe that this 5G technology signifies the end of time as predicted in the Bible. Political economists and experts in International Relations have also explained that the major trends in the global system in the past few decades has revealed the reality of the imminent decline in the supremacy of one world power and the systematic rise of a new one. Fingers are being pointed at China in the past two decades or more. And yet some religious bigots are talking about the Anti-Christ and predicting the end of human existence on earth in the next few years. Some even claim that we will start seeing signs as from 2022. Signs of what? These are people who or whose pastors and prophets could not predict this current pandemic virus. There are indications that an infinitesimal proportion of these prophets did, either surreptitiously or without the strong assertion that could have made the whole world prepare adequately for it. I make bold to say that signs of what will lead to end time have been with us since the middle of the last century, if not earlier.
What the Bible tells me is that the end time will be preceded by the Rapture. The Rapture is an eschatological concept of Christians (not all of them), which is an end-time event when all believers in Christ, who are alive, along with resurrected believers, will rise in the clouds, to meet the Lord in heaven. In other words believers in Jesus Christ will be snatched away from earth into the air (see 1 Thessalonians, 4: 17). Rapture as a concept, has also been used for a mystical union with God or for eternal life in Heaven. One school of thought on this end-time phenomenon distinguishes the rapture from the second coming of Christ. It says the rapture will precede the seven-year Tribulation which will culminate in Christ’s second coming and be followed by a thousand-year Messianic Kingdom. This phenomenon is known as Petribulationism among Christian religion scholars. Evangelicalism has disputed Petribulationism. Reformed Christianity has interpreted Rapture as “gathering with Christ in Heaven after his second coming” (not before) and rejected the idea that a large segment of humanity will be left behind on earth for an extended tribulation period after the snatching away from earth into the air. Let me cut the long story short by asking all those who believe that COVID-19 and 5G technology are signals for the end time the following questions. Have we experienced the Rapture? How many people have been snatched away into the air this year? Is death through COVID-19 equivalent to snatching away of believers in Christ?
Nothing makes one align with this end time thing during this period other than pessimism. Pessimism is dangerous! It has been carried to such a ridiculous extent that some radical pessimist organizations have been advocating for centuries, voluntary human extinction, which argues for the extinction of the human race through antinatalism. Antinatalism is a philosophical position that assigns a negative value to birth, standing in opposition to natalism. Does it make sense to argue against birth of human beings whatever the circumstances? That is what pessimism has pushed some hard thinkers into.
Listen to this quotable quote from Gustave Flaubert (1821 – 1880) an antinatalist. “The idea of bringing someone into the world fills me with horror. I would curse myself if I were a father. A son of mine! Oh no, no, no! May my entire flesh perish and may I transmit to no one the aggravations and the disgrace of existence.” Gustave Flaubert’s frustration was borne from a pessimistic mind in a world that was perceived to be overpopulated and with the attendant consequences of over-exploitation of resources, depletion of non-renewable resources, famine, hunger etc. Two centuries after, we all know that there are viable solutions to all these anticipated problems that antinatalism ignored.
A living antinatalist, David Benatar (born, 1966) said: “It is curious that while good people go to great lengths to spare their children from suffering, few of them seem to notice that the one (and only) guaranteed way to prevent all the suffering of their children is not to bring those children into existence in the first place.” Just imagine!
Because of COVID-19, some people have started preaching antinatalism. I have read on Social media, views such as: “Maybe we should stop having children because if we have them, they will eventually be killed by COVID-19”. Such funny views are from pessimists. They are the first to believe Fake News that portray disastrous consequences even when all the evidences are available that the news is fake. They are the first to believe that their President is dead, even when there is a Government statement that he is alive. They are the first to believe that Nigeria has started operating the 5G technology, even when the Minister of Communications says it is not true.
Incurable pessimists are a pain in the neck! Nigerians should not relent in their efforts in preaching optimism to them. If they refuse to change their mindset, they should be advised politely to try suicide. People who do not believe in procreation should start extermination of the human race by taking their own life! People who believe they are not likely to go with the Rapture should go voluntarily. This had happened in the past when Rev Jim Jones an American Civil Rights preacher, faith healer and cult leader conspired with his inner circle to direct a mass murder of his followers in his jungle commune at Jonestown, Guyana. Jones, in December 1963, had predicted that the world would be engulfed by nuclear war on July 15, 1967. He kept on relocating to various places in the world to avoid the nuclear war which never happened. In November 1978, his armed guards killed American Congressman Leo Ryan and five others who came to Jonestown on a fact-finding mission to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in his Temple. Engulfed with a feeling of paranoia, Jones told his congregation that enemies will descend on them in parachutes, shoot their innocent babies, and torture their children and adults, capture their children and either convert them to fascism or just let them grow up as dummies. The only solution he had to these conspiracy theories which he believed came from intelligence organizations allegedly conspiring against his Temple, was to commit “revolutionary suicide” by drinking cyanide-laced grape-flavored concoction. This eventually happened one day in December 1979 when Jones and 909 members of his temple committed ‘mass + murder’ suicide. There was an audio-recording of the suicide event from where it was revealed by the FBI how Jones counseled members who were crying: “Stop these hysterics. This is not the way for people who are socialists or communists to die. No way for us to die. We must die with some dignity… Don’t be afraid to die, death is just stepping over into another plane. Death is a friend …”At the end of the tape, Jones concluded: “We didn’t commit suicide; we committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.” So those who perceive the Chinese as bad people who want to rule and probably ruin the world, in fulfillment of the end time are free to go with their supporters the way of Jim Jones, the incurable pessimist.
So many examples of such stupidly and dastardly acts abound in recent history. It is on record that some members of a Christian sect in this country turned the meaning of Apocalypse upside down sometime in the mid forties, by setting their farms and belongings on fire. Unfortunately for them, there had not been any single apocalyptic event in this country since then. I experienced a most recent one from my student in the early nineties. She was weeping and begging us to change her course to Medicine. When we asked her why she was so desperate, she said she wanted to go to heaven as a medical student in January the following year. January was a few months away. She wasn’t allowed to change her course because she wasn’t qualified. Nothing happened up till now. We had to persuade the student to be coming for lectures after January. She learnt her lessons. What a shame!
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has just cleared doubts over 5G, COVID-19 and our security. The Commission has stated clearly that there is no proven evidence that links CORONAVIRUS or COVID-19 with 5G Technology. They have stated unequivocally that 5G is advancement on today’s 4G technology designed to transform the world positively. They have said categorically that there is no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment. A three-month trial commenced in November 2019, the trial has been concluded but installation has been decommissioned. The reaction of some Nigerians to all these is that the Federal Government is lying. Incurable pessimists!
When I access the efforts of all governments of all countries in the world in combating COVID19 so far, I am convinced that they are all trying their best. It is only in Nigeria that Social media is agog with how a brainless, clueless clone from Mali is sitting down reading newspapers in his office without doing anything. The next step is the disambiguation of 5G not only by the inventors but by everybody in the global wireless telecommunications business.
I stopped bothering about the incurable pessimists in our midst when a friend and colleague, Niyi Jayeola, a Professor of Botany in the University of Ibadan, shared this with me on WhatzHapp this morning: “COVID-19, like the previous plaques, had come and will go without the world coming to an end now. … Developing countries can only wait and watch. America and China are in a big contest. … He who controls 5G might control the world, drive power, politics and economy. China appears to be gaining the upper hand. The World may not trust China as much as America. Now, China is ready to go on her 5G business, America is undoubtedly subsumed. Parallel powers are uncomfortable with the imminent control of the global cyberspace by the economically and politically ambitious China. We are in the era of conspiracy theories, aimed at shooting down the high-flying kite of Chinese 5G (C5G). At the end of it all, there could emerge two versions of 5G Networks. C5G and A5G. Naturally, the world would enter the technological colonization era. That day, there would be Chinese technology colonies (those countries that go for C5G) and America Technology colonies (those countries that go for A5G). So much energy is currently being dissipated on COVID-19 pandemic and its link with 5G that we have literally forgotten to deliberate on our fate (as developing countries) when the dust is settled.
For those who do not know what optimism is, this is a classical example. The positions we take is not about our expertise in certain restricted disciplines, it is about a commonsensical understanding of the situation on ground and the way forward. It is definitely not about postulations on end-time, misinterpretation of the scripture and parochial view on who will make heaven.
For clarity’s sake, I would like to state categorically that we should all continue to commune with our creator through whatever route, in seeking an end to our current deplorable situation, bearing in mind however as Bishop David Oyedepo said that: “Prayer alone does not make a success. Work may make a success. It is work and pray that makes a wonder.” When we add this to what Saint Augustine (354 – 430 BC) the Ancient Roman Christian Theologian and Bishop of Hippo from 396 to 430 BC said in his lifetime: “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you”, all ambiguity about Work and Pray will fizzle out.
Fellow Nigerians, I implore all of us to always bear it in mind that progress in this world can only be achieved through optimism. Sanguinity; Hopefulness; Cheerfulness; Confidence; Brightness are all synonyms of Optimism. Pessimism is a common autonym of these words. I urge everyone to embrace optimism in dealing with this COVID-19 pandemic which I believe is a passing phase on mother earth.
Professor of Zoology,
Obafemi Awolowo University,
Opinions expressed in this article are solely the writer’s, not ALEDEH’S