God is dead said Nietzsche. The polytheistic ancient religions cried God at an unexplainable natural world; the stars, the sun, the water, but at the unexplainable within too; love, intelligence, jealousy, madness. Over time the many Gods became one. These few remaining, singular Gods, most prominently they of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, represented in many ways a regression, far more concerned with cementing subservience and authoritarianism than human curiosity, inquiry and an affinity to the natural world. They cry God not at the unexplainable, modern science does permit as much anymore, but at human fallibility and guilt. God is dead said Nietzsche. Long live God, he should have added.
There are secular and non-religious arguments against abortion. The late Christopher Hitchens, perhaps the most noted atheist of our time, famously agreed with the concept of an “unborn child”, of a life worth protecting. Yet most secular and non-religious opponents of abortion tend to accept that at least in extraordinary circumstances, it can be necessary to terminate the life of this “unborn child” prematurely. Few would insist that a woman viciously raped should be forced to carry and deliver her attacker’s progeny, few would protest the right of a woman to decide that she does not wish to sustain an unborn life that has been medically adjudged to have little or no chance of surviving outside of her womb, others would argue that the definition of “unborn child” is dependent on foetal development and age. These exceptions are all derivatives of a rational thought process, a recognition that abortion represents a conflict between two typically co-existing human values; the appreciation and preservation of life and the compassion and understanding towards life’s often cruel and fickle circumstances.
One of the great fables of what I term “post-delusional Ireland” has been the notion of the “brain drain”. Since our awakening from the stupor of speculative wealth that the Celtic Tiger greased our palms with, countless editorials and printed pages of woe have mourned the exodus of a supposedly golden generation; our college graduates, the “highly educated” workforce that politicians and corporate CEOs incessantly chirp about in dulling unison. These weeping adorations often go as far as to insinuate spectacularly hyperbolic comparisons to the infamous emigration of famine Ireland, as if our young emigrants of today were trudging on sickly stomachs aboard wooden ships to lands unknown.
This article was written by Greg on his blog last year, given the day that’s in it, we’d thought we’d share it!
This past weekend I encountered the strange phenomenon of Saint Patty’s day in Boston. It struck me as a bit odd that America would choose to celebrate Saint Patricia of Naples, or “Patty” to her friends in the convent, on the exact same day that the rest of the world chooses to celebrate Saint Patrick and Paddy’s day. Even more curious still was that the rituals for both saintly days were identical, namely drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and sporting a lot of green attire. Of course I later learned that Paddy had somehow been translated to Patty as it crossed the pond. Just like bin became trashcan, footpath became sidewalk, and the basic human right of access to healthcare became communism.
The way in which people spend their leisure time is a terrific measure of their fulfillment; of their happiness. In an ideal world, or even a passably sufficient one, what we term as people’s “free time” would be quite minimal – if at all existent. Society would be structured in such a way that what we do, our daily life, our routines, our work, would bring us pleasure, and allow us a sense of purpose. What we define now as “work” would be interwoven in community, family, love and friendship. Alas in our graying modernity, the ideal is an unattainable utopia, and the passably sufficient has been lost, if it ever existed at all. We live isolated, economically-centric lives that bring us at best confusion, and to the more perceptive among us, pain and sorrow. In this arid landscape our leisure is nothing more than mindless escapism.
When the Jimmy Savile story began to emerge my mother told me one of her typically meandering and unintentionally hilarious anecdotes on the subject of the very man himself. She recalled how she took part in a charity walk with ol’ Jim, recounting his renowned attire in bizarrely extensive detail and how she always thought he was a bit “odd”. She then indulged in an extensive pause that Harold Pinter would have been proud of, and with an unknowing, but pin-point sense of comedic timing said “He never felt me up though, I suppose I wasn’t one of the prettier girls”, her voice fraught with regret.
For years Ireland has been shaping its image in the eyes of the world and its own populace, to give the impression that it is a tech savvy educational haven. This simply isn’t true. No longer can we live off the Celtic monks’ scholarly impressions of old, or hide behind Google and Microsoft citing them as examples of our IT prowess. They are anomalies in our society, brought not by the high standards of our information infrastructure, but by our absurd tax breaks and easy to manipulate political class.
We have the 17th highest GDP in the world, yet we are 70th for internet connections per capita. We are still yet to reach the same connections per person as Denmark in 2003 at 78% vs Ireland in 2012 at 68% (±4.5.) Even then, only just over 1/3 of those connections are “broadband.”1
I met a man on a park bench once, a retired secondary school teacher, who said that the most frequent comment he heard from people when he told them he taught Irish was that it was a dead language.
With a grin, he said “It’s not dead, it’s just dying.”
A religious and traditional man with a deep understanding of early Irish culture, he was also a strict evolutionist. We spoke for quite some time and one of the many things I took away from the conversation was this; though Gaeilge in its truest form may perish, its impact on our English vernacular is immutable.
“What’s the bleedin craic ye cuntche,” being a prime example.