ImageI live in a part of Abuja, Nigeria where the access road to my apartment is not motor-able. Every day I go through the horrors of coming out and getting in, risking headaches and potential injuries. What am I doing there? That’s another story that only Abuja residents can help me articulate. My concern in this little rant is the obvious ‘functional dissonance’ that exists in this neighbourhood and for which every fibre of my being is fighting against.

Let me first explain what I mean by functional dissonance. Although dissonance as a word applies to different fields and thereby different import, I will like to borrow the term from the field of music, of which I am quite familiar. In music, the concept of dissonance has to do with combining unstable tones which gives an aural feeling of unrest when listened to. It gives you a feeling that the music is hanging and needs to be resolved by a combination of certain tones that give a comfortable ending. So I choose to apply this concept to a living thing and how it remains unresolved in its primary function to society, hence the term, functional dissonance.

One or two examples will clear the air. An extreme hoarder is someone experiencing functional dissonance. This is because your house is meant to be a resting place and a not a storage unit. Hoarders actually have a mental problem and end up in mental institutions. Another example is a footballer striker who decides to use his hands to pick up the ball and throw it into his opponent’s net to record a goal. Strikers strike with their foot not their hands. That is functional dissonance in its simple applicability.
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