Thursday 15 November 2018

A profound discussion with a Little Old Man

Saint Therese lived with grace
Saint Therese lived with grace
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Me and a guy we call the Little Old Man, for reasons that are long forgotten, but possibly connected to Viz magazine, were having a discussion about faith as I headed into work. Isn't it marvellous that you can discuss faith with a guy in Australia as you head into work?

We didn't start out talking about faith. We started out competitively comparing deep books we had read recently. I never win there. I'm talking about some recent simplistic self-help book. He is talking about Kierkegaard. I'm unwilling to read it so we compromise on the intro and the first chapter of Fear and Trembling. Which I will still probably never read. It sounds like a good laugh and everything but I have a lot of books on the go right now.

So we talk about the meaning of life and what it's all about, as if this will change anything about the dysfunctional way we live our lives. And as we compare notes, we realise that we are both bumping off faith here. He's more ready it for than I am I reckon. He was always ready for it really. He always intellectualised it and made it about ideas and philosophy, but actually, he has always had the God-shaped hole. We were of that generation who had rejected the Catholic church and dogma but instead tried to replace it with guff from the Eastern mysticism section of Waterstones. But he was always more engaged with it than I was, more open to quasi-religious reading - as long as it wasn't Catholic. He was the one who always pointed out that rejecting the church was all very well, but no one had given us anything to replace it with, except hedonism maybe.

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