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231. The pillars of society

Yesterday (7 May) as I was writing a comment under someone's article posted on FaceBook, I had a strange idea, namely that society had pillars and that if you destroy these pillars, society falls down on your head!

The image that came to my mind was that of the Parthenon, the old temple of ancient Greece standing on the hill there in Athens. The pillars sustain the roof. There are pillars all around. Some pillars are more important than others to hold the roof. The pillars in the 4 corners are definitely the most important ones.

I don't know if these thoughts hold much truth in architecture and engineering laws but they are a metaphor for something I see happening in our society.

I visualized the slack attitude towards the holding of a balanced budget proceeding from the same way of thinking as the 'tolerance' for homosexuality... yes, it needs an explanation, wait, I'm trying.

When you are a child you learn slowly all the rules of the society you have been born in. It starts with small things like "don't pick your nose", "don't poke your finger at somebody", "close your mouth when you eat", "say hello to greet someone"... do's and don'ts for the peaceful sharing of life with others in society. Then you get the heavy stuff. "You can't buy that dress before you've saved enough money", "don't kiss your boyfriend in public", "don't use the name of God in vain", "replace what you've borrowed", "give that book back to your friend"...etc. You have to account as well for the unsaid, unspeakable rules which usually are the strongest of all. "You can't marry your father or your brother", "you can't play silly games with your best friend", "you can't steal", "you can't kill"... and other such like commandements.

Pillars... these commandements are pillars that form a ring around members of the same community to support some kind of roof under which we can shelter and grow. When this ring of pillars is respected by the great majority of members, you have a stable society. But rules are always challenged sooner or later in History. In our 'western' society the Second World War acted as a major earthquake, destroying or provoking those pillars to crack. I saw it happen throughout my life.

I'll now get back to the idea that the slack attitude towards the holding of a balanced budget proceeds from the same way of thinking as the 'tolerance' for homosexuality.

In the mad borrowing of funds without limitation or lack of discipline to pay them back, one major pillar has been cracked and even perhaps destroyed.

In the 'tolerance' of homosexual practice, another major pillar has been cracked and even perhaps destroyed.

I put tolerance in inverted comas because the definition of this word has grown to mean 'laisser-faire', i.e. a slack attitude very similar to that used for an unbalanced budget. I am not tolerant in that sense.

NB: This post was written on 8 May while I was still in Ireland. It is unfinished.

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