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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Panic buying

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

You have to get your priorities right.

As the money runs out and the times get harder, the old vino might seem like a luxury too far. So I figured that's what I'd invest in ahead of the big lockdown.

But what I have been thinking about is reason. As in rationality. Logic. The thing that marks us humans out from the other animals.

I have been exploring philosophy in recent years and reason, of course, is a pretty big deal in this discipline. Plato, if I haven't got my wires crossed (which I may have - I had to test my new purchases) saw reason as completely separate from the emotions. Kant saw reason as a kind of supra-intellectual aspect of thinking that showed us that it was illogical to lie, say, because a moral law had to be applicable to all and if we all lied, the social world would collapse. Descartes seemed to see it as the one thing we could be sure of - you can't trust your senses, but you can trust thinking.

The Stoics disagreed. They saw reason and emotion as intertwined. And much modern neuroscience and experimental psychology suggests the Stoics were in the right ball-park.

The thing I've been pondering is this: is a concept of a detached and purely 'rational' reason anything other than an unrealistic abstraction? Is it any more 'real' or plausible than a soul? Can a human have, at her use, a tool so perfect as unbiased, impersonal, all-seeing reason? Even in mathematics, great experts have described the process of working through complicated problems as a mental faculty directed by some instinctual, emotion-led biases.

We believe that there is, out there, a truth that can be rationally described as e=mc2 (squared). That is pure reason. But when it comes to truths about how we should behave (in a pandemic) are there such truths that can be found? There may be guidance. But maybe it depends on perspectives, on value judgments, on differing timescales playing out in the imagination, on different temperaments and preferences. Hence why different Governments make different decisions. Reason may not be able to tell us now (if ever) who was precisely right or wrong. Because it may depend on what those Governments saw as 'the best outcome'.

On a personal level, will you cede freedom for security? For whose security? Will you value all humans equally? Or do you set a value too on some other aspects of life?

This is a time to find out what matters most to you.

And in that vein, let me share a poem that's been doing the rounds.

Lockdown Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death. But, They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise You can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet The sky is no longer thick with fumes But blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them. They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighbourhood So that the elders may have someone to call on. Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way All over the world people are waking up to a new reality To how big we really are. To how little control we really have. To what really matters. To Love. So we pray and we remember that Yes there is fear. But there does not have to be hate. Yes there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness. Yes there is panic buying. But there does not have to be meanness. Yes there is sickness. But there does not have to be disease of the soul Yes there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of love. Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now. Today, breathe. Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic The birds are singing again The sky is clearing, Spring is coming, And we are always encompassed by Love. Open the windows of your soul And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, Sing.

This was written by Brother Richard Kendrick - a Capuchin Franciscan priest-friar, living and working in Ireland.

You can listen to him read it here.

How does it make you feel? Ignore reason, for now.

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1 comentário

17 de mar. de 2020

The poem makes me feel better. I have just printed a copy. Thanks dear Crone.

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