This story, documentation of elements, and research are the result of trying to frame the word: crisis.
Today, this word is mostly used to signal an abnormality of a specific field: political, financial, climate, gender, food, health crises, ...the list is endless.
Crisis as a word per se does not exist in the Ghanian language of the north, but the depiction of it nails it down better than anything else: ‘O bi gi dede’ – ‘It is not decided!’ - which quickly made it the title of this work.
The etymological history in the West, starts with the Greek word ‘krino’ (1)meaning ‘to separate’, has already been used in Homer’s famous work, The Iliad (2). The definition of a moment in time of either-or, in other words, to live or to die (3), without any power over the outcome, has been kept for very long.
Today, the definition has significantly shifted from a moment in time and its divine decision-making, to a period over which suddenly there seems to be power, or at least has its outcome altered(4).
What has been changed?
How did the human species achieve that power?
And, why is it not used to alter the crisis we have been creating for so long?
I don’t know. All I can do is look further into it, collect and document details, trying to understand it little by little for myself. The points I have collected are little notations in the narrative.
Have a look for yourself: from a distance, many points seem to form a unity, but if you get close, you are just a point in a vast field of points trying to make sense of it.
(1) Homer, Iliad, v. 501 (So Homer, of Ceres separating the grain from the chaff) 2 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, 2919 - krínō,
(3) Pandemics That Changed History, As human civilizations rose, these diseases struck them down, History.com Editors, www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/pandemics-timeline