Einstein famously postulated that ‘a person starts to live when he can live outside himself’. In theory, this is a very true and intuitive statement. In practical terms though, it seems a rather impossible one – to not follow. Surely, we rarely exist within ourselves long past the initial stages of life.
Why – as a species – are we so obsessed with the protection of the status quo? I’ve been too busy to blog recently as a return to work after the holidays has proven hectic. However, it has given me ample time to reflect on my role as an (somewhat reluctant) enforcer of the status quo – a teacher. Through school, we ensure that children are kept occupied spending – at least – two-thirds of their waking childhoods consuming skills and facts integral to becoming a ‘productive’ part of society.
It’s become a cliché to remark on the friendly demeanour of the Irish and as an Irishman, a statement that I’ve always contested. Not with any kind of vehement hatred but more an understanding that friendly and hostile people exist in equal measure everywhere – you sometimes just have to find them! However, in my most recent homecoming, I’ve found there is a lot of truth to the stereotype.
‘I just need one more month,’ he begs as his sweaty palms stain my mahogany table. The kids need Christmas presents; his wife needs dialysis and blah, blah, blah. You hear it so much at this time of the year that it really means nothing anymore. Not that it ever did really –
‘Better be careful wearing something like that, people might think your some sort of queer,’ the bar tender seemed to shudder on the final word. Strange how people seem to think domestic matters are of public importance.
‘I’ve no interest in sex with men, or women for that matter,’ I respond as he hands me my change.
The recent political protests in Romania have really got me thinking about the way that we elect leaders. In a matter of days a number of peaceful protests topple more and more politicians, beginning with the Prime Minister himself! Perhaps, it’s got me thinking, we should rethink the way that politicians are elected. We should make it more people-centred. How about a reality TV show?
An insight into the hypocrisy of adulthood.
You tell me to share as you clutch your purse tighter when a dirty, homeless hand reaches out.
You tell me to get along with others as you build the fence with the neighbours higher.
You tell me to use my words as you throw the hammer when it hurts your hand.
You tell me never to lie as you tell Mom that the wind broke her favourite dog figurine.
You tell me to be polite and kind as you swear at other drivers on the motorway.
You tell me to respect my teachers and elders as you call your boss stupid and ignore Grandpa’s phone calls.
You tell me that violence is never the answer as you say how important the war on terror is.
You tell me a lot of things a child must do. How old do I need to be so I don’t need to do any of these things anymore?
How can we hope for better from those who come after us if we never show them?