Pillars and Props

John ended his piece in the January newsletter with a plea for self-reliance in the light of crisis in Northern Ireland as a result of the bad weather.

I was given cause to consider this when I recently had the sad task of clearing a house after a death. The pathetic kitchen devices still in their packages, the romantic novels and china dolls next to the medicines and the walking frame were a sad commentary on a solitary life. ‘these fragments have I shored against my ruin’ wrote T.S.Eliot in ‘The Waste Land’. There seemed so little to show for a life. Were these objects, these things, all that there was for support?

And yet, and yet………we will not always be young, or well, and may not always be secure within our families. The self reliant are not necessarily self sufficient. We cannot all be doctors or engineers or musicians. We all have different talents , different skills. We live in a world which is full of other people . We cannot cut ourselves from them – indeed it would be a waste of resources if we did. A society whose values were based on the philosophy of every man for himself would be cruel indeed. We need each other, and to delegate the things we cannot do ourselves to others who can.

Of course this implies choices. We know very well that politicians make promises in order to persuade us to vote for them, which we do.  We know that journalists adopt a moral stance but hack into phones, deceive and harry their victims in order to sell the newspapers which we buy. Where does the buck stop? I believe that people really should be held to account for the decisions  – but that includes those who give them that responsibility. That of course is we ourselves……………………