Friday 27 April 2018

Connect with dark side to get back in the black

We've buried the confident Celtic Tiger years in our subconscious but we need to reconnect to recover, writes Brendan O'Connor

A friend of mine who dabbles in Jung is always telling me that people's true strength lies in their dark sides; the kinds of things we don't like about ourselves and the kinds of things we push down. Apparently, paradoxically, the thing we think that is the source of all our problems often contains the solution.

But apparently, instead of ignoring our dark side, which is the tempting thing, we must have the courage to delve into it. I hasten to add that I may not have picked this up exactly right so no Jungian scholars need write in to correct me. Just push your annoyance down into your unconscious and let it out in some other inappropriate way.

Anyway, our dark side right now is the Celtic Tiger years. Day-in, day-out, privately and publicly, we beat ourselves up about the boom. We range from mild embarrassment to violent self-hatred about it. And it doesn't help that everywhere you go there are reminders. Many people wake up to the legacy of the boom every morning, if indeed they have slept at all worrying about their negative equity. But all of us see it everywhere we go in the landscape of the country. Things that seemed to make perfect sense a few years ago now just look like monuments to our ridiculousness. Social occasions nowadays often involve people trying to outdo each other with tales of woe and foolishness. We luxuriate in how cocky and overoptimistic and egomaniacal we all were and we pleasure ourselves by feeling foolish and wretched.

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