Máiread Corrigan Maguire: Human Spirit Essay

Máiread Corrigan Maguire: Human Spirit Essay

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We can and must do better

I may be wrong but I sense at least in myself that a writer has a compelling beginning. Mine was in the home of my parents, in the schools of my youth, in the service forming a worldview.

In her parenting, my mother was fond of paraphrasing the counsel of the Scottish poet Robert Burns: “Oh the gift to gie us (what a gift it would be) to see ourselves as others see us.”

One reference has Burns’ original as “O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us/ To see oursels as ithers see us! / It wad frae mony a blunder free us,/ An’ foolish notion: / What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us, / An’ ev’n devotion!” and its Standard English translation as: And would some Power the small gift give us / To see ourselves as others see us! / It would from many a blunder free us,/ And foolish notion: / What airs in dress and gait would leave us,/ And even devotion!

This is the final stanza of Burns’ poem “To a Louse”. He composed it after seeing a woman in church, dressed to the nines and, unbeknownst to her, further adorned with a parasite in her hair. One analysis calls the poem a reflection “that, to a louse, we are all equal prey and would be disabused of our pretensions if we were to see ourselves through each others’ eyes.” The poet may have been also “musing to himself on how horrified and humbled the pious would be if aware of harboring in the hair a common parasite.”

In America, long before we fell in love with a technology that executes wars by remote control, before patriot became synonymous with commerce, careless consumption and indifference, we used to embrace with pride our beloved “Old Glory.” Now, and for a long time, this flag of brilliant colors and stars and stripes we have desecrated with the...


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... fear and change our thinking. “Much of our thinking is being distorted as it is based on the emotion of fear of ‘otherness’, she says, “We see other people and countries, through the lens of fear which leads to hatred and demonization of others whom we see as separate and different, because of religion, race, class, etc. We have allowed fear to be our master but there is another way to think and live and we are challenged to change both individually and collectively to bring about real change in our world.”

Our next stage of evolution as the human family, Máiread Maguire says, “is to embrace nonviolence.” This means, “rejecting violence in all its forms and solving our problems together through nonviolence, human rights and international law. … We are challenged to stop killing each other, and instead use alternatives to violence in order to solve our problems.”



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