Archive for May 2nd, 2011

yet another coney island blog…

Having been almost a year since I’d camped in Coney it was time for a trip back. This time, instead of the stag party I had my lovely wife in tow.

She still had to paddle her own way their mind you, this is no punting on the Cam you know…

The weather was spiffing shall we say

Being early in the season the flies were somewhat of a problem, perhaps more to one of us than the other

We didn’t quite have the island to ourselves, as there were a few boats of merry-makers tied up at the pier. The merry-making was fine, the pumping tunes from Cool FM were less in keeping with the context. They left eventually

We made camp a bit further inland amongst the bluebells.

I must confess, it wasn’t my best BBQ, we spent more time trying to keep the damn thing alight.

Good to be back camping. Here’s to a few more

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Welcome to the working week

My time here is over for a while. Till September at least and then they’re taking me back for another 8 months for more anatomy teaching. Me teaching them I hope…

I’ll also be moonlighting at this

So between now and then I’m gloriously unemployed.

Well not exactly. I’ll be heading back north to work at my old shop in Craigavon.

I’ve missed the work I must say. The anatomy stuff was/is a lot of fun. You learn a lot and teaching is a lot of fun, but now it’s over I find myself getting a little bit restless and needing a bit of a challenge.

Dealing with patients is good for you. In the way that being amongst people is good for you. People are good for you because it’s hard bloody work. Good, hard, bloody work.

In emergency depts. the work is often literally, good, hard, bloody work.

Stanley tells me that medicine is a moral act. I’m inclined to agree with him. Moral acts require virtue (at least that’s my take from reading the first half of this) and medicine has certainly been morally formational for me.

If patients were people that I just happened to come in contact with, i could go around believing that I owed them no real duty as human beings. It would of course be untrue, but I live like that most of the time.

When I’m in a hospital as a certain professional, there exists a certain covenant (as Paul Ramsey would have termed it), a relationship that is more clearly defined and understood by both parties.

When I talk to patients if I want to practice virtue before them, it requires all kind of moral energy. Patients have a tendency to kick your sinful, selfish little ass and remind you of what it means to love people.

On most days I could do with my ass kicked in such a way.

[The photo above is the famous Vesalius one. Worth reading the link about him. There’s lots of that kind of thing on the display in the Long Room in TCD at the minute, including the skeleton of Cornelius McGrath, borrowed from our “office”. Incidentally, an 8 ft wall mount of the Vesalius hung on the wall of our dissection room, one of the many things we might not have room for in the new building on Pearse St.]

Gott mit uns

I’m in a book group, which is perfectly expected behaviour if you read this blog.

Kevin is in it, and some smart people too…

We’re reading the rather weighty A secular age, which feels a tad over my head most of the time, but it’s undeniably interesting and challenging the old brain cells.

On the day that the yanks “got him” I was reading this and thought it appropriate.

Taylor has just been talking about the modern era, and the retreat of Christendom in virtually all north Atlantic societies, and he’s trying to explain the so-called “American exception” to secularity.

America is “exceptional” because the alignment of the religous with the nation-state is seen as unproblematic. Europe is quite different where the phrase “Gott mit uns” makes everyone a little uncomfortable

Quite different is the attitude of the United States. This may be partly because they have fewer skeletons in the family closet to confront than their European cousins. But I think the answer is simpler. It is easier to be unreservedly confident in your won rightness when ¬†you are the hegemonic power. The skeletons are there but they can be resolutely ignored…

A Secular Age

Charles Taylor

P528


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