I have a class on global cultures, specifically focusing on Ireland. We have to write a page a week, and I decided to post some of this weeks thoughts. Enjoy!
The more that I learn about any culture, the more I realize and am fascinated by the fact that each culture is just made up of ordinary people. People that together make up the human race; all having the same desires and fears, and yet the environment that they live in changes how they pursue what they desire and turn away from what they fear. The change in culture is really that change of path of one way that they seek to satisfy the basic desires of happiness and fulfillment to something another way; in this case, a way that others in the world have already sought. This desire is to create in us a thirst for God and His life, but because of our sinful nature, we are distracted and think that pleasures are equal to happiness.
In my understanding of what I’ll call “the old Irish way”, the Catholic faith was the single most deciding factor in the way a person acted. The family was important, because it was the place that you could show and practice the love that brought happiness. Communities came together, worshiped together, and therefore lived and learned to love together. However, somewhere along the line the understanding of what it really meant to be Catholic got lost, and so no longer gave the sense of fulfillment and happiness that a healthy relationship with God gives. Instead, well meaning souls rejected the effort of learning to know God, and therefore had a more difficult time in loving and serving Him. While serving Him was still a priority, without knowledge and love to give them energy, the service became empty and repressive.
Therefore, the Irish people began to become dissatisfied with the way they were—and while still valuing the effects of the Faith, they saw the alluring effects of modern consumerism. The shift changed from valuing their Faith most highly to valuing the economy most highly. While it was not completely noticeable at first, it continued slipping in and now each person is a slave to their wants under the guise of moving up in globalization and modernity.
This rejection of the core of the Catholic Faith has and will continue to impact Irish culture. In the video, they mentioned that there is a shortage of organ donors, so they want to pass legislation that states that a persons organs will be donated unless they have explicitly made their intentions know otherwise. This is a horrible thing; it degrades the human person by not recognizing the dignity that each one has. In organ donation, it is necessary to take the organs while the person still has the potentiality of life. It is impossible to take a vital organ that is no longer working, place it in a person that is alive, and expect it to work; the organ must have the potential to work in order to do any good in the body of the person who receives it. Therefore, with organ donation the life of a person is shortened; by passing such legislation, they will be denying the dignity of each person that has not taken a firm stance, and submitting them to the wants of another person. This also gives less incentive to keep those who are seriously ill (on life support) alive any longer, because their bodies can be of use to others. This just creates a very slippery slope, desensitizing society to the value of any persons life.
Ireland is in the same struggle as the rest of the civilized world to be the same and different; yet as all countries need to discover, constantly striving after individualism and consumerism does not bring unity or diversity in a good way. Desiring happiness and fulfillment can not be fully achieved in this world, but by ordering our lives instead of becoming animals whose rationality serves passing pleasures we can better achieve true happiness and fulfillment in the dignity of every person.