Wednesday 21 August 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Reliance on internet herds the lemmings towards cliff'

Stock Image: PA
Stock Image: PA
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

An insidious feedback loop influences choice as real-time information (likes and dislikes) accelerates and expands across social media networks and the autocomplete of Google searches.

This has a polarising and exponential effect in the aggregate – if my friend likes it, if thousands of other people like it, if Google autocomplete advises me this is the most popular question to ask – therefore I must like it/want it/ask that question too. “It” can be anything from a washing machine to voting for a candidate in an election. Thus Trump, Brexit and the rise of the far right.

Individuals are losing autonomy in their thinking and decision-making; they bump up against the limits of their own echo chamber; run at speed from the white noise of too much information. This isn’t intelligence (artificial or real). This is lemmings following each other over a cliff.

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Alison Hackett

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin


Archbishop should stop hiding behind ambiguities

The present Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has a tendency to use ambiguous language in his speeches. His latest gem is to label “cultural warriors of certainty” as those who do not meet his exacting standards.

In WWII, the British used the slogan “careless talk costs lives” to discourage loose gossip. In this context, the archbishop needs to “man up” (he might consider that offensive, maybe better to “person up”), stop hiding behind ambiguities and tell us exactly the individuals or groups he has in mind.

Only then can they mend their ways and behave as nice compliant Catholics, in the archbishop’s mould. But I’m confused. The founder of his religion declared: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Could any statement be more confidently certain and lacking in ambiguity?

Failing clarification, it’s obvious the archbishop’s preferred type are “cultural warriors of ambiguity”.

Eric Conway

Navan, Co Meath


Could agonies of two peoples sow the vital seeds of peace?

I applaud Peadar King for his column (‘United in grief, Arabs and Jews who long for peace’, April 6). There are common similarities between Arabs and Jews.

Jews endured unspeakable suffering and agony during the Nazi era. Arabs have been the victims of post-colonial adventurism, killings, home demolition, land expropriation and orchard uprooting for over seven decades. This could be a potential doctoral proposal: both peoples have been immersed in the maelstrom of war and despair.

Why not use the tragedy of the Holocaust and the Nakba (Palestinian tragedy) to sow the seeds of peace in the holiest of lands?

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob

London, UK


We must all speak up for the future of the Phoenix Park

On Tuesday, March 19, I received an undated letter from the Office of Public Works (OPW) informing me of a ‘Draft Phoenix Park Visitor Experience Strategic Review’. Christy Moore, if you are out there with time to read this, please will you set this title to a bit of music?

The letter invites the public “to consider this exciting vision for the future of the Phoenix Park” and “welcomed observations and comments from the public”, giving them until April 12, 2019, to study a 198-page document with 28 distinct recommendations; to view a rather limited presentation of the draft document only at the visitor centre, Phoenix Park; then to submit on it all in three weeks.

Strong representations from Navan Road Community Council, demanding an extension of this consultation for at least two months, gained a reluctant two extra weeks to view until April 19, and submit by April 26, taking it into the Easter holiday period.

If you have any love and respect for our Phoenix Park, please ask your public reps to demand a longer consultation period, in places where it can be seen by all – suitable for an international park, winner of Gold Award 2018 International Urban Parks, jointly with Sydney Centennial Park.

Pat Allison

Ashtown, Dublin 15, and Navan Road Community Council


Leaders of Brexit blind would do well to read their scripture

The antics of the members and supporters of the Conservative Party European Research Group (in particular Boris Johnson, Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg) and the DUP lead me to believe that they should heed the wise words of St Matthew, ch 15, v 14: “They may be leaders of the blind and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

It explains somewhat the opposition to closer ties with our European partners.

David Algar

Leeds, UK

Irish Independent

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