Category: Reaction

Greater than, less than, equal to

The only part of the conduct of anyone for which he is amenable to society is that which concerns others. In the part that merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign. John Stuart Mill A celebrated individual is being interviewed about their triumphant life, their wealth,…

What about now?

“…my personality had been completely erased. That’s why I’m so boring. People stopped listening to what I was saying, and didn’t seem to notice I was there. Everybody forgot about me. I wasn’t a boy, I wasn’t a girl… I was just a cypher, a sort of glyph. Life’s very difficult when nobody knows you’re there. I couldn’t get a…

No, I can’t take a message

“They weren’t listening to us. We wanted our country back.” So spoke an Englishman of my acquaintance who is an Australian resident, if not a citizen, after he had recently returned from a lengthy trip back to England. He was of course referring to the Brexit vote. The ‘they’ he accused of not listening were the political classes. He didn’t identify…

What My Mother Gave Me

At what point do adult children stop seeing their mother and start seeing the woman behind the role? Do they ever? I don’t think we can ever fully detach ourselves from seeing our parents as parents first and people second. But when we do peer behind the screen it can be so illuminating in recognising where we’ve come from and…

Getting back in the ring

Lappeenranta, Finland. November 2004. I stood in the shadows of a darkened stairwell, another man standing close to me, nervous energy hanging in the air around and between us. He bristled with anger and intent while my mind raced over what was about to happen. I concentrated on my breathing, willing myself to be loose and limber and receptive. I…

Anyone for tenets?

I believe in the possibility of total fulfilment. I believe in the possibility of change. I believe in redemption. I believe in new chapters. I believe in the usefulness of experience. I believe in compassion. I believe in contact. I believe in love. I believe in light. I believe in truth. I believe in the possibility of total self-destruction. I…

Someone call security…

Relationships. They’re important. They define and guide us. They provoke and becalm us. They diminish and inspire us. They enchant and destroy us. They can as easily be razing fire as empowering foundation. And so much store is set in those primary relationships in our lives: parents, siblings, confidantes, teachers and various others. And from about eighteen months of age…

Cut me to the core!

Here’s a question – what are you about? Seriously, give it a moment’s thought. If you were to say “this is who I am”, what would you say? To what would you reduce yourself? And please, do not think of ‘reduce’ as being in any way negative but more in the culinary sense of boiling something down to a more potent,…

Up with this I shall not put!

In his brilliantly disturbing novella, The Testament of Mary (ostensibly about the mother of Christ but arguably about the inevitable unhappiness of mother-love), Colm Toibin articulates very well the dilemma of choosing between a righteous course of action and the more pressing demands of self-preservation: I watched in horror, but I did not move or make a sound. Nothing would…

Away with the fairies

…home is the place of belonging. Home can also be the opposite of that, highlighting the sense of not belonging, the sense of otherness. Home then, embodies a strange paradox in that it can be understood as both happy assimilation into place and tribe as well as being one’s concept of defiance, individuality and difference. From this interpretation we can…