The deeper my gaze,
the more I'm unable to see anything
You remain a being
because your cell
( billions of them holding your hand thro the day)
remains a cell;
it self- limits with a border called membrane
It transacts business with other cells next door or far flung
It distributes functions between its various parts
It listens with slavish attention to its command and control centre ( nucleus)
it reserves within its own territory
sections to ensure its own perpetuity
constant repair of self
an internal clock
that guides the rhythm
its ordained lifetime.
Don't do so,
there is risk,
like a dead leaf
falling to the ground ( apoptosis)
- It imports and exports all kinds of materials
necessary for the day's job.
And goes to great lengths within its life span
order, continuity and complementarity.
- It has a library of its own
with a timeless
repository and depository
informations to dictate and influence
transcriptions and translations
at their highest levels
in all machinations.
And what a textualist the cell is!
.....everything flows precisely and legibly
time and space.
But beyond these,
in nearly as much measure
as it is
Bring a stranger to its turf,
the cell will climb even a cliff
to fight it.
Sometimes so jealous,
it can get carried away
even its own kind ( auto immune self destruct)
Only two weeks ago,
I benefited from that jealousy!!!
It was a public holiday.
And I decided to use the day
prune my garden.
A prickle entered the base of my palm
as I gathered the trimmings
between my naked hands.
It was too small for me to go after it
nor did i want to interrupt
the ecstacy of gardening
But wasn't too small, it seemed,
for the jealous cell to pursue
In less than a week,
....the prickle had been rounded up
in a mound ( oedema),
.....the crime scene cordoned off in red ( erythema)
......headquarters alerted by pain,
....... soldiers ( leukocytes) drafted to the scene for the kill.
By the weeks end,
.....the prickle had been pulverised
into milk ( pus)
......a clear warning to the overlying skin
to create an exit ( pointing).
Within hours of pointing,
.....a burst( spontaneous drainage ) ensued.
Jealousy had helped me recover.
And for selfishness, no doubt!!!!
It caters to self interest before anything else
would have daily
taken the laws into its own hands
for overriding policing and regulation
from higher powers;
powers that are sometimes regional,
other times central.
The selfishness played into my hands recently!!!
My shirts were tightening on me:
I countered by eating less,
in the scramble for reduced supplies,
blind to the needs of its neighbours
will cater to its own ration
as though the other didn't exist.
The ensuing fight to finish
between the cells
must leave losers
my body weight equally fallen.
the cell and regulatory powers sometimes occur,
leading to break down of law and order
which in turn can lead to something
as trivial as a flu
as lethal as a cancer.
No doubt, saboteurs from outside the cell
abound everywhere ,
commited to fueling clashes.
with the help of in-house traitors
occasionally present within the cell,
can easily plant crisis.
Nicotine comes to mind for saboteur
abetted by in-house traitors,
to provoke a cancer crisis.
Germs are another kind of saboteurs :
the viruses are adept
at confusing the cell into submission
replacing the cell command and control unit
with its own
beginning to call the tunes.
The older generation of cells
were so complete,
they self sufficed
even if the circumstances were so modest.
I don't often hear of amoeba now as I did growing up.
It was a quintessentially self sufficient being
with its own
kitchen, dining, plumbing, toilet, library, transportation or locomotion etc.etc
So clever, it can move in any direction
making a foot
any part of its body
Modern generation of cells
have traded much ( by no means all)
of their self sufficiency for community spirit
catering to interests larger than sectional,
thro the survival of the whole,
the better survival of the parts.
.....that the whole can be larger than the sum of its parts,
.....that on the long run better to be part of something larger than self.
..... that the hands that clap together sing louder song .
They learnt these facts the hard way ;
Evolutionary challenges and stressors
taught the modern cell the need for communality.
The modern cell
has had to endure
a certain complexity to its being
to stay afloat
in waters increasingly troubled
by the times.
but so do they
Scientists have spawned an entire industry,
flourishing and universal
the complexities of cells
and the attendant
The rewards have been immeasurable.
Thro the different edges of the industry,
the efforts can be steered
towards enhancing the cells
But the skills for doing so
derive from exquisite intelligence
on the cell and it's secrets.
There are myriads of ' growth' factors
to pep up cellular flourish
and where expedient,
a quiver full of darts
to derail same,
It takes only little stretch
similar in its existential essence to nature's prototype .
........Constituent parts, command and control centre, Import and export, library of ideas, communication or cybernetics, self defense and offence, self perpetuation. etc etc
The remarkable success to date
science over the cell
relates to the fact that
for every one part or process of the cell,
there are thousands, more accurately millions,
of people studying the same part or process
in different locations, languages, and settings, context and goals.
And with astounding cross fertilities between students of the cell.
The result is a head bursting at the sutures
with actionable intelligence,
bringing the cell to its knees
at the foot of the average investigator.
If Boko Haram be seen as is,
whose selfish propensities have caused it
to miss its path,
and it's jealousies of Western education ,
misguided its zeal,
it's complexities like those of the natural prototype,
must carry somewhere within its organics ,
an Achilles heel
where it's vulnerability preponderantly situates.
And now that the world is amassing its efforts
in the direction of Nigeria,
seeking a 'chemotaxis' of sorts
to guide its brains
towards the enemy,
it must first inform itself
as would the scientist seeking the cell.
Boko Haram, the Cell it has become
needs be studied
so any conquest be neither shallow nor temporary.
I stumbled on a lecture recently
by justice Belgore; former chief Justice of Nigeria ;
It interests me that it was originally given
at the University of Ilorin,
it's "Centre for Ilorin studies"
I wondered right away
why it has not become necessary
to have a
"Centre for boko haram Studies"
given the size, the monster had grown into .
With a global parade of interests,
it may be worth while to carve out
commited to specific aspects of the monster
with functional cross diffusions as necessary from time to time.
Anything less, or anything visceral
rather than cerebral
may only serve to popularise and lionise
the group ; each time a David wins over a goliath,
the story takes the form
of a sellable fable
with new converts to David's cause
and a mocking
It is not now time for boots,
on any ground ( mind or otherwise)
Brains will sooner bring back the girls
It may also bring irreversibility to cellular apoptosis.
By Basil Jide Fadipe Justin Fadipe Centre West Indies