Eamonn O' Neill

Wexford, Ireland

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Comments & conversations

193780
Eamonn O' Neill
Posted about 2 years ago
I need help with a dilemma: What does it mean to be American? And Why does it work?
You know myself and my girlfriend talk about stuff like this a lot because I'm Irish and she's American so we get room to discuss things. We got around to talking about my perception of America the other day and what I always thought set America above every other country is it's position as a big brother to the rest of the world. No matter who you were or where you came from America was always there to guide you and to put an arm around you and to welcome you in and make you feel appreciated. That was my perception of this country and in my opinion what makes it great, it stands up for the little guys who can't stand up for themselves, and I hope America never loses sight of this that it can always remain a beacon of hope for the downtrodden and for those who seek to make a better life for themselves. I don't think the 'American dream' is purely an American thing, it appeals to the whole world. And you are probably right this could only work in such a country that we call a melting pot, somewhere that embraces all cultures, and long may it remain so, and long may American citizens fight for this view of their country, long may people stand up for the little guy. In regard to your other question, I come from a deeply subjective school of thought so if I found out that there were English or Scandinavian blood in me, it wouldn't change who I am or my perspective of myself, or for that matter my perspective of what it means to be Irish. I believe that what makes somebody a specific nationality is if they value the spirit of the country, this is abstract airy-fairy language I realise, but it's the best way I can explain it. I was on a transatlantic flight last year with a man who was born in Nigeria and spent the first 30 years of his life travelling around the world, but when he got to Ireland he said he felt like he was home, so much so he stayed and 15 years later he is an Irish citizen. We had different coloured skin, different accent but he is truly as Irish as I am
193780
Eamonn O' Neill
Posted about 2 years ago
I need help with a dilemma: What does it mean to be American? And Why does it work?
G. B Shaw said that 'patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it' and if this has even an element of truth to it it boils down to something that looks a lot like pure egoism, and honestly since where you are born is a lottery it is all a little bit silly. I must say as an Irishman currently living in America I find it insanely ironic that American people can claim to be proud patriotic people and then also claim to be half Italian, German, Japanese or whatever, I've had more people tell me that they too are Irish because their great great great grandfather emigrated during the famine, whereas I was born and lived in Ireland for 28 years. So there's a sense of fracture in that most American's are looking to be something other than American because as you say it yourself America is such a melting pot!! And to be honest your other question is not much of a mystery either, society works. It has always worked, it helps us to achieve self preservation which is our ultimate aim as living animals. Society and social contracts help to fend of the state of nature that exists without it. A state of nature that is harsh, unpredictable and heartless and would devour us all a little bit easier than it already does.
193780
Eamonn O' Neill
Posted about 2 years ago
How do you define your moral code? What influences moral codes and how do they affect our communities?
I was asked a subjective question 'How do you define your moral code?' and so the likelihood of me giving a subjective answer is rather high...And I don't appreciate your need to be condescending and 'throw me a bone' when I'm giving a perfectly cogent answer to the question that I was asked. The point I was trying to make in regards to religion and the state is that in my opinion, for something to be even remotely moral it needs to exist outside of ourselves and religion and the state are probably the two most dominant aspects in life that meet this criteria. It is more than tearing down walls and adopting tolerance that are needed for implementing a moral code. We need principles of universalization, something that can be accepted by all races, colours, creeds, genders etc etc etc, and this frankly can and will not ever happen because we are all ultimately greedy, passionate subjective creatures with our own interests deeply embedded in our hearts. At the very least we need an open and frank dialogue to start the ball rolling on this process and that will not happen either because people do not like it if it seems that their values are being attacked. So subjectivity in my opinion is the very best we can hope for, because it is all we have ever had.
193780
Eamonn O' Neill
Posted about 2 years ago
How do you define your moral code? What influences moral codes and how do they affect our communities?
For one, I do not believe that there even exists something called a 'moral code'. The term morals suggests that there is concrete imperatives that need to be adhered to in every situation, and this concept, frankly, is too black and white when we live in a world that is painted in shades of grey. Everybody else seems to be replying in relativistic terms, I too believe that life is to be lived subjectively, but I would not call my interpretation of life a moral code I would call it an ethical code. For I truly believe that there can be no morals without universal standards either set down by God or The State and honestly I am not at a stage in my life where I believe that anybody or anything has jurisdiction over what I want to do and achieve with my life. The laws of state are often preposterous and motivated by some unseen hand and I am more than willing to disregard these if they do not come into line with what I believe. Similarly the commandments of religious belief are mutable also, who can honestly say they would not kill somebody if there life or the lives of those they loved were threatened, I couldn't. An ethic begins where an ethos ends. And in order to build an ethics one needs education to nurture that spirit.
193780
Eamonn O' Neill
Posted about 2 years ago
What does it mean to be human?
To be human is to have an awareness that we are beings towards death. This is what separates us from other animals, they are alive, they communicate with each other, they are social and communal but human beings are the only ones that have to wrestle with the existential angst that the day will come that we will cease to be alive. It is this acknowledgement of death that leads us to find and accept a meaningful way of spending these few short years we have on this planet, in varying degrees we accept society, community, religion, we make value judgements, we love. We probably do all these for self preservation, to keep us going on for as long as we can, or we try to distract ourselves from that most fateful day. This is not a depressing view of humanity either in my opinion, it is empowering and uplifting to know that we have a finite amount of time to experience reality how we choose to experience it. I think deluding yourself away from this truth, and being unwilling to grapple with your angst when it comes (and it will come) is truly a more depressing state of being.