A Dark and Stormy Night

So here I am in the kitchen, writing, and it certainly is dark outside. And raining. And windy. Not sure that it’s quite a storm, but I’m going with it. My reasons, though, have more to do with the state of the world than the current meteorological realities of North Dublin.

This week was full of great class discussions but, as per usual, they were pretty depressing. Near the end of our first class this morning–an overview of the neoliberal system and how vast and awful inequality &ct is–one of my classmates just simply asked, in all seriousness, “Is there any hope?” And my first thought was good question. It’s not just our classes, which are pretty topical, but the variety of other things going on in the world that variously draw my attention: the US presidential race, the refugee crisis, Syria, the rise of the far right across several countries, climate change, drought, famine, disease, poverty, violence. And a whole slew of others. I’ve talked in previous posts about these issues and the occasional feeling of helplessness if not hopelessness. And I’ve explained why I do have hope. But it’s a tricky thing and I require reminding sometimes. As the old song goes, “I’m just a poor, wayfaring stranger a-traveling through this world of woe but there’s no sickness, toil, or danger in that bright world to which I go.”

The question of how to confront these challenges is a big one. Always I’m asking what to do. And solving the world’s problems is not the purpose of this blog, so I’ll forgo answering, at least for now. It’s incredibly frustrating, tiring, and not a task for an empty stomach. So I’ll leave it there and simply allow the preceding paragraph to both illustrate my mental state and serve as a public service announcement to those who may be unaware of these issues–or those that prefer not thinking about them. They’re tough, and you may not have anything to say about them, but you ought certainly to think about them. Thinking is pretty important in my estimation.

Anyway, on to other things. Tomorrow is our belated Australia Day party (perhaps I should say ‘Straya Day’). For those who don’t know, Australia Day was this past Tuesday so we’re gathering tomorrow in honor of the Australian member of our ranks to eat food and hang out. Should be good craic.

Ooh, there’s a fun thing. Ireland time. Okay, the word craic. It’s pronounced crack, like the cocaine, and it means fun. Sort of. You can use it in an astonishing variety of contexts such as “Missed you at the party last night, it was good craic” or “Ah, yeah, he’s great craic” or “what’s the craic?” Now the Irish (and occasional British) are welcome to critique that assessment (and/or supplement my examples) but everyone else will just have to take my word for it. Please note, it is not used in the sense of “Hey, what’s crack-a-lackin’?” but “What’s the craic?” is a fair translation for that phrase into Irish. Yes, I do know people who say crack-a-lackin’.

I don’t have a whole lot else to report. Things are proceeding and it is what it is. Ideas for my dissertation continue to stew, we’ll just have to see where that will end up. Just one final note from me on the state of the world. I try here, when urging people to just be better people generally, to use really simple and broad terms so that I don’t have to explain myself and so that people really get my point without their hackles going up. And I realized that what I wanted to say today (particularly in reference to issues like immigration and refugees but also broadly applicable) has already been said. The phrase is in such wide circulation, in fact, that it has a name. A phrase with a name.

The name is The Golden Rule.

So there’s my two cents for this week. Think about it.

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