Saturday 10 December 2016

Kevin Myers: Perfect moves on the training pitch count for nothing if this sub-conscious desire to lose is allowed to trot out on to the pitch

Published 08/02/2012 | 17:00

After my triumphant declarations last week that Wimbledon would never succumb to the sisters' witless demands for equal pay for unequal work, some four years after that spineless place had actually folded on the issue, you might think that I would never offer another opinion on sport. How little you know.

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The very fact that there were two inversion tackles last Sunday, despite their potentially lethal consequences, shows how essential it is to create taboos on certain behaviours. A taboo system is enforced by peers and families rather than by law. Yes, it is a crude and ugly weapon, but it works. Taboo is the reason why people feel free to scratch their noses in public, but not to masturbate.

Moreover, taboos are so powerful that they even control the subconscious. This is especially important in a society like ours, which is subconsciously addicted to failure. Really successful people emphasise the ego, and rigorously repress the subconscious. The pre-match rituals in American football are all about the triumph of the conscious mind over the unconscious one. But in the Irish psyche, the sub-conscious seeks inevitable failure and punishment (as in, Parnell, Pearse, IRA, Celtic Tiger).

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