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The Society of Ancient IrelandCopyright (C) 2012 by Kevin L. O'Brien
Ireland had what could be called a sophisticated primitive society. This is a society that is otherwise quite advanced culturally and technologically, but lacks several key features that are normally associated with a non-primitive society. For the Irish, these features were a written language, urban centers (e.g., cities and towns), and money (e.g., currency). This essay describes what is currently known about ancient Irish society. Where necessary, singular and plural forms of Irish words are indicated by the following code: singular form / plural form.
The ancient Irish social structure was stratified, though not as heavily stratified as other sophisticated primitives. Its hierarchy was established by three separate, yet superimposed, organizations. One was based on blood and kinship, another on profession, and the last on class.
First and foremost in Irish society was the familial organization. The basis of this organization was the immediate
The Irish Bardic Tradition and Western Musiccopyright (C) 2012 by Kevin L. O'Brien
The debt that Western Civilization owes to the Irish has been well established, but tends to go unacknowledged (Cahill p.5). Indeed, Thomas Cahill subtitled his seminal book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, as "The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe". He makes no bones about his opinion: "Without the . . . Irish, . . . our own world would never have come to be" (Cahill p.4). Even accepting that this conclusion is hyperbolic, there is nonetheless overwhelming evidence that demonstrates that this often maligned people virtually single-handedly reintroduced literature and literacy, not to mention Christianity, to barbarian, pagan Europe in the centuries after the collapse of the Roman Empire.
Yet even Cahill neglects what could possibly be an equally important contribution, specifically Irish music. He can perhaps be forgiven this oversight; after all, who would deny that literature is more im
The Faerie Lore of IrelandCopyright (C) 2012 by Kevin L. O'Brien
Faeries are not unique to Ireland, however, the Irish did not develop a ghost tradition until the coming of the Anglo-Normans in 1171, or a demonology until the imposition of continental style Roman Catholicism circa 1000 C.E. Until then, their supernatural lore centered on Faeries.
The term Faerie is derived from "Fé erie", meaning the enchantment of the Fées, while Fé is derived from Fay, which is itself derived from Fatae, or the Fates. The term originally applied to supernatural women who directed the lives of men and attended births. Now it has come to mean any supernatural creature tied to the earth, except monsters and ghosts. In Ireland, the Faeries are called the Aes Sídhe (singular Aes Sídh). Sídhe happens to be the name for the earthen mounds and hills that dot the Irish landscape. Irish mythology, legendry, and folklore claim the Faeries live under these mounds, so the term "sídhe" has come to mean Fa
Sanitation in the DreamlandsCopyright (C) 2012 by Kevin L. O'Brien
Sanitation is as much a problem in the Dreamlands as it is in the Waking World. Perhaps more so, because unlike the Waking World, no one in the Dreamlands is so naïve as to just dump waste into the nearest river and let the current carry it away, not even the most primitive tribe in the most remote land. Modern ideas about disease and ecological systems are just too widespread for anyone not to understand that too much waste can alter, harm, even destroy an ecosystem. For example, bacteria consume oxygen when they break down waste. The more waste they process, the more oxygen they consume, and they can lower the oxygen of the water or ground where they live, harming or killing off other creatures. Not only will this increase the amount of organic material to be processed, thereby reducing oxygen levels even more, but if these creatures normally consume the disease bacteria found in waste, their reduced numbers will allow these pathogens to be
Building Materials in the DreamlandsCopyright (C) 2012 by Kevin L. O'Brien
In the Dreamlands, buildings can be constructed from just about any material available. While some, such as synthetic composites, are too modern to exist, others, such as wood framing, are either older than they seem or are simple enough ideas that they can exist despite having a post-1500 origin. Also, some more primitive forms of unavailable materials are present, such as drywall.
Construction materials can be divided into a number of broad categories, but not all of them are particularly useful. One scheme differentiates between natural and artificial materials, the criteria being whether the material is used as is or is modified in some fashion. However, while some materials, such as logs and wrought iron girders, are clearly one type or another, too many fall in between and are difficult to categorize. For example, is a sun-dried mud brick natural or artificial? It depends upon where the emphasis is placed, on the nature of the material itsel
Existentialism and the Irish CharacterCopyright (C) 2012 by Kevin L. O'Brien
G. K. Chesterton wrote, in Book II of his epic poem The Ballad of the White Horse,
For the great Gaels of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry,
And all their songs are sad.
This dichotomy in the character of the Irish peoples derives from an existentialistic worldview that recognizes the futility of fame and fortune, but strives after it anyway.
The Nature of Existentialism
A worldview is the basic framework by which people interpret and interact with the world around them. It is not empirical; rather, it is a philosophical construct, and as such neither right nor wrong. It is simply what people believe to be true, regardless of any empirical evidence. Though there are many different kinds of worldviews, the five most important to Western Civilization began with Theism. This worldview assumes that God not only created the universe, but that He has taken an active role in its operation, and especially in the lives of
Parenting for Sex AddictsThe half-day.
We are not those folks that need an occasion to try. And that’s what they call it, too. Trying. As if the very idea of it is taxing. It’s not taxing and we are not those people.
No. We do not go by some magical calendar. Schedules aren’t really our thing in general. That’d be too organized. Too stuffy. Too… I don’t know… too planned. And we’re not the type of people whom plan.
If we could—plan—our lives would be much different. I think. It’s hard to say because this is how we’ve always been.
Our very togetherness is a result of impulse. I’m almost certain that the amount of time it took us to decide to move in together was significantly shorter than the amount of time it took us to remember each other’s names. We might have had our first conversation moments after that first… what I mean to say is we didn’t plan. Because planning would have been much t
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