Holy Waters, Batman

Oh go on then. It’s Friday, after all.

Root cause of global crisis is human nature, not economics – The Irish Times – Fri, Jan 09, 2009

Embedded deep in our collective conversation is a delusional notion that human life continues in the manner of the machine, requiring only the correct physical conditions for maximum efficiency and the fuel to drive it. But human beings are delicate entities, depending for their survival and propulsion on some deep-set sense of meaning.

I think he means that man cannot live on bread -or its modern equivalent, batter burgers- alone.

The great artists once understood this, but nowadays great art has been compartmentalised in our cultures, housed in an annex that is removed from the main thoroughfares and accessible only to an elite that insists on interpreting it as the creation of elevated human sophistication.

Arty-farty types have taken over the art world.

When someone kills himself, we respond with a strange duality of ostensibly contradictory thoughts. One the one hand, we are shocked at this deviation from what we think of as normal behaviour; on the other, we readily settle on a proffered explanation: he was depressed, he lost everything, his wife left him.

Sometimes we say ‘He killed himself? That’s not like him.’ But then we say ‘ah sure he was always a bit of a bollox’ or something like that.

It appears Merckle made some unwise investments in Volkswagen shares. But, before this, in common with many of us, he may have invested in something else: the idea that a life can be sustained by material conditions and considerations. This bogus idea is now rendered axiomatic as a result of the separation of public thought into discrete ideologies, leading to the promulgation of misplaced ideas about happiness and freedom.

If you’re thinking of investing in Volkswagen, better sort your head out beforehand.

Human life needs more to sustain it than what mankind is capable of imagining, proposing or generating. Ultimately, all we can create for ourselves are false hopes that sustain us for an instant and then dissolve, leaving us grasping for the next.

Living is too hard for human beings. In the end, we’re only fooling ourselves.

What gets us out of bed on any given morning may be identifiable as the promise of progress, the lure of money, the call of duty, the prospect of love, the imminence of spring, the sight of a new sunrise, the thought of a fix. But ultimately all these will lose their power.

Whatever floats your boat, doesn’t matter: in the end it’s all a pile of crap.

Because we have dismantled the heavens and replaced them with a low-slung ceiling of our own clumsy construction, this disillusion is inevitable. No human life can fully blossom without a hope that is transcendent.

Once men started building houses, the game was up for mankind.

For related reasons, we see the present moment of economic disintegration as an aberration, when in truth it, too, is inevitable. All human systems are prone to failure, because man is flawed and doomed to misuse his freedom.

Everything that ever happened was going to happen, and even though we can do something about it, we can’t do anything about it.

We are beginning to perceive that existing words, like “downturn” and “recession”, are inadequate in conveying the precise nature of present events.

We need a new word for the whatchamacallit.

For what is emerging seems not so much a periodic dip in economic fortunes as a self-inflicted wound arising from the fear and insecurity of human beings. Because we could not trust ourselves to the future, we have destroyed even the present. This, then, at its roots, is a human crisis rather than a merely economic one, and it flows directly from a collapse in our understanding of our own natures.

Now is not the winter of our discontent, because now doesn’t even exist anymore. But even that is a lie, because doing away with the present turned the present tense into an empty lie. In short, how now? Indeed, how now, brown cow? You fat, mooing bastard.

In a rather simplistic sense, this arises from the loss of what used to be conveyed, however clumsily and ineffectively, by religion. Because of the corruption of our public thought, the very phrase “return to God” conveys merely the idea of rushing to a spurious form of consolation because reality has started to collapse. What is collapsing, however, is not reality, but the flimsy construct that man engineered out of his own desire to replace God on the throne.

It could just have easily been known as the Big Daddy/Palestine conflict. God had originally planned to confer Jacob with the name ‘Big Daddy’, but was so impressed with his wrestling skills that he decided to give the name to a fat English man, whose real name was Shirley, so God figured he needed it more. The point being that God knew that we’d try to get rid of him, which is why he made us try to get rid of him. Because it’s like that, and that’s the way it is.

What we need, then, apart from fixing the broken systems, is to become conscious again of the essential nature of humanity: mortal, dependent and primed with desire that nothing on earth can satisfy.

But if we all stand up for what we believe, and maybe live within our possibilities, the world would be wild for the dream.

Tonight, in the Kelly Theatre at the National College of Ireland, in the heart of the Financial Services Centre in Dublin, I will have the privilege of introducing a discussion on these very topics, in the company of the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, and Fr Julián Carrón, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. The title of the discussion, which begins at 6.30pm, is: Beyond Optimism, Hope.

Bring your own rosary beads, dude.

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2 Responses to “Holy Waters, Batman”


  1. 1 Longman Oz January 9, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    The title of the discussion, which begins at 6.30pm, is: Beyond Optimism, Hope.

    I would have said that “optimism” is an intrinsic belief , whilst “hope” is a comparatively transient one. I presume that they knew this too, so it is hardly an inspiring view of returning to God…

    Have no prospects? Need a reason to go on? Try God, my brothers. Opium of the masses! Roll up, roll up! Don’t be a down-in-the-dumps German billionaire! Let the mystic Jean Des Eaux save your immortal soul instead! Come one, come all and be healed by his virtuous verbosity!

  2. 2 Hugh Green January 13, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Heheh. I am more inclined to think of what’s on offer here as Crystal Meth for the masses.


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