Home Articles DISCOURSE —- COVID-19 and the Consolation of Philosophy …. By: Prof. Tunji...

DISCOURSE —- COVID-19 and the Consolation of Philosophy …. By: Prof. Tunji Olaopa

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These are indeed terrible times, the like of which most of us have never known. We are well into the trauma of the second wave of the pandemic, with the onslaught of a new variant of COVID-19 ravaging our lives and emotions. Many people have died already. And many more lives are on critical lists at various isolation centers across Nigeria. Many more are cowering in their homes, not knowing what to expect from a virus of whom not much is known. Just recently, there have been discussions about the rising Covid-related fatalities among eminent Nigerians, and especially among professors. This is not just a mere discourse for me. Many of those who have died are those I have had the privilege of knowing and relating with at deep intellectual levels. After trying to get over the untimely death of Professor Habu Galadima, the late director-general of NIPSS, for whom I had to engage in the emotionally traumatizing task of writing a tribute, the number of deaths that have followed takes the steam out of eulogies for me. Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe was the chair of the Governing Council of the Technical University, Ibadan where I am a member; Professor Duro Ajeyalemi was a renowned educator with whom I worked closely at the Federal Ministry of Education; Prof. Femi Odekunle provided technical support when I was desk officer on AU Anti-Corruption in the Presidency; while I personally received Prof. Ebere Onwudiwe at ISGPP and NIPSS in succession to speak on a range of policy concerns at different times in recent past. Someone once said that when a griot dies, an entire library goes up in flame. The demise of these professors diminishes the intellectual space of the Nigerian society. Many libraries have been unfortunately consumed by death! And what better consolation in a most terrible time of pandemic than the consolation of philosophy? Circa AD 524, the great Roman philosopher, Boethius, wrote what has been considered one of the most significant works on medieval philosophy and Renaissance Christianity—The Consolation of Philosophy. Boethius wrote this work while he was undergoing a most traumatic moment in his life. He was the magister officiorum (Master of Offices) to Theodoric the Great. Court treachery brought him low and into prison, having been charged with treason. Boethius was eventually executed. But while awaiting his death, Boethius dealt with his trauma by engaging in philosophical reflection on…

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