Category Archives: Uncategorized

Marriage Referendum – own your prejudices

I’m writing this post in response to “GAA Star” Ger Brennan’s op-ed piece in the Irish Independent explaining why he intends to vote No in the upcoming marriage referendum in Ireland. This piece has attracted a lot of commentary on social media, most of it negative. This was picked up the journal.ie

Mr. Brennan added the following comment

Coupled with the antagonizing view from the ‘Yes’ campaign that if you are even slightly ‘No’ or even thinking about it, that you are a homophobic and that you are anti-gay, which for me is not the case.

So with due respect to his athletic abilities, I’d like to point out why I think Mr. Brennan is in denial about his prejudices. Nobody is suggesting that Mr. Brennan isn’t entitled to his opinion but, by writing an article about his opinion in a national newspaper, he is setting himself up as a spokesperson for the No side. He’s also advocating for the no side and, therefore, trying to convince others to vote No rather than simply defending his position. So he should absolutely expect that he’ll face criticism for his comments.  I sincerely hope nobody attempts to harass or intimidate Mr. Brennan but he must expect criticism, much of it harsh. 

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To avoid regrets

Life can be complicated, joyful, sorrowful, depressing & ecstatic. Sometimes, we experience these emotions in the space of a few hours as events intervene. We have little control over events such as accidents & illnesses that can negatively impact our lives and the ones we love. One thing we do have some control over, is having a sense of regret about wasted time and energy. Regret is one of the most common emotions that we hear in mediation. It’s not just confined to families, it can apply to workplace mediation also.

If there’s a piece of advice I’d give to reduce regret, it’s this:

  1. Try to treat people with respect.
  2. Don’t waste your time on people who don’t treat you with respect.

These points seem too simple at times and too arduous to follow at others. We ask ourselves, “how can I leave this person?” or “how can I leave this job?” while forgetting that life will go on and could even get better 🙂

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Revising Milgram’s conclusion is a waste of time.

I noticed this article in the Independent today about a new interpretation of the Milgram Experiment.

The article is typical of newspaper’s treatment of scientific research as a set of competing conjectures which are deemed true based on the authority that said them and when they were said. In Newspaper Science, you can undo Einsteinian special relativity simply by saying it doesn’t exist and having the perceived authority to do so. The actual science bit, the essence of the scientific method is often poorly reported, misunderstood or swept under the carpet as ideological nuisance.

The problem with the famous electric shock experiment of Stanley Milgram is that it challenges the perception that humans have innate goodness. This is a philosophical position with theological origins. Mankind is simply wired up to need to justify their actions by assuming moral correctness.  Moral ambivalence is viewed as a disorder, implying we assume that psychological normalcy involves engagement with questions as to the morality of one’s actions. Mankind also needs to feel good about itself. Avoidant-attachment disorder,  Schizoid Personality Disorder, Depressive disorders. When we label those as disorders, we’re saying something about an outlook that regards not feeling good about oneself as being wrong, again against the normalcy that we’d like to believe exists.

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