INTRODUCING THIS PAGE
My thoughts began to crystallise on writing a page on this subject 'Ego and Society' following the news of the Loyalist rioting in Belfast, week beginning 3rd December 2012. It has always amazed me that those protesting their support for the crown should go out of their way to disturb the crown's peace! I just don't get it.
The incident caused me to review my personal allegiances (English Protestantism in which the church is an integral part of being English rather than specifically God-orientated). My anti-Catholicism is deep and for diverse reasons. Whether it is because of my age, or the slow speed with which wider awareness dawns on me, I put myself in the Loyalists' mind.
The depth of historic background is an enormous hurdle and much praise has been rightly acknowledged upon the Peace process but the mix of religio-secularity of the issues cloud their 'simplicity': a divergence of Christian opinion within Christianity. By default, both sides believe in spiritual values and that there is Life after death. The final ultimate outcome is pre-ordained as reconciliation. Reconciliation is a growth-through-time process: give and take.
Giving is the essence of the Christian life. We none of us take kindly to change, a contradiction in terms because Life is nothing but a continuing state of change, so why do we react against change? It is as if we resent having emerged from the womb and have become stultified. Real progression has to be through continuing self-awareness, recognised in the context of the knowledge of the wider world, gained through Life's experiences.
Mulling the development of my web site as I re-engage, not only with the wider electronic world but also share the development of my personal progression from insights gained through my latest experiences, it occurs to me that the seemingly intransigent Middle-East questions are an exact parallel to the Northern Ireland question.
Is it a further extension of my ego that I perceive England, that created so great an empire and made so major a contribution to the world at large, remains in the enviable position of being able to contribute most productively to the unresolved questions that beset us all? Is it another expression of ego versus society, that I perceive the independent stance of England remains its greatest value, not only for its own people but also the world's? With such background thoughts I presume to relate them to specifics, as they arise.
That Belfast's SF majority council has determined not to fly the Union flag every day of the week is, as a 'simple' council decision no more than that, a simple council decision. To raise a flag requires someone to take some time twice a day to handle it. Is it a strictly relevant cost-effective use of time and resource? It also speeds the rendering of the flag thread bare, requiring earlier replacement. I believe when the Queen is travelling, the car stops a little way from its destination for her standard to be unfurled. Likewise, after the visit, to refurl it, so it does not wear out unnecessarily when travelling.
The circumstances in Belfast does beg the question, when will that council vote to raise the Irish tricolour? What is disgraceful in any scenario is that Naomi Long of the Alliance Party offered the compromise motion of the flag flying on designated days, otherwise the flag would not have been flown at all. Instead of profuse thanks she and her party receive death threatening abuse. Those who really are loyal to the English crown need to get off their butts and make it quite clear they have nothing to do with these yobbos and unquestionably condemn all such law-breaking. The outburst is singularly ludicrous when other unionist controlled councils already fly the union flag only on designated days [reference].
The Latest American School Shooting Tragedy
As I finalised my introduction to this page and prepared to launch, I hear of the tragedy in Sandy Hook Elementary School, in a wooded corner of Newtown, Connecticut, USA. A 20-year-old man wearing combat gear and armed with semiautomatic pistols and a semiautomatic rifle killed 26 people there on Friday 14th December 2012—20 of them children.
All America is guilty because it will not drop the arrogance of the ego.That is ego in society on an individual level and also on a wider social level. The American is as entrenched in his 'Right to bear arms' as the Protestant Englishman is in the presumption that all orientations are Christian Protestant based. It is entrenched in the Constitution but that already has Amendments.
In America, it seems to me that the simplest response is to add the word 'responsible'. It is very simplistic but at least it would be a start, without upsetting too much traditionally entrenched views, strongly held for deeply valid, historical reasons. Extend that to the licenced person being required to keep the weapons in a locked container, for which only they hold the key and otherwise have the weapon upon them always, would go a long way.
This may well not be sufficient to counter the person suddenly and possibly only temporarily rendered insane, for many sound medical, psychological or emotional reasons. Therein lies a most difficult task, to have compassion upon the man who did these things. To what extent can we expect to be our brother's keeper?
That is the balance we all bear, from so extreme a possible outcome as this, to so little a circumstance as to presume to interfere in another's life? Where lies our right, our duty, our accountability? We may declare a right and a responsibility to stand up in society and declare our position but we must also heed that there are times and places when we should know when to sit down and shut up.
Showing a contrast of scenes, this is a parallel situation to the Australian DJs who hoodwinked a nurse over the Duchess of Cambridge's heath, the nurse later committing suicide. We do not yet know the facts, any more than we know only tittle tattle relating to the possible mental health states of both the gunman and his mother (whom he first shot). The greater the freedom, the greater the accountability for how it is used: the greater the care for one's own society, the greater the accountability for society's official interaction with all individuals. This works at the local town community level, regarding availabillity of appropriate health care and support and at the national level regarding authority to broadcast/publish or licence availability of arms.