Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene 5.
Another Part of the Forest.
Enter AMIENS, JAQUES, and Others
Jaq. More, more, I prithee, more.
Ami. It will make you melancholy, Monsieur Jaques.
Jaq. I thank it. More! I prithee, more. I can suck melancholy out of a song as a weasel sucks eggs. More! I prithee, more.
Right now it seems to me that this entire country is sucking melancholy out of absolutely everything. The news is bad in Ireland of course, but as a nation we seem determined to make it worse still. The entire national discourse is stuck in a groove, endlessly repeating pessimism, fatalism, blame, indignation, cynicism, negativity. We put on the radio or open our newspapers determined to find more of all this.
Yesterday I was talking to some visitors from the United States. They are frequent visitors to Ireland, but this was their first visit in 15 months or so. They simply could not believe the amount of negativity and pessimism they were encountering everywhere. Apart from wondering how on earth we are still managing to get out of bed in the morning, they were observing that, with such an attitude problem, we would probably make our way out of the recession two years after everyone else, by which point also we will have ably persuaded all potential investors that they should look elsewhere.
Yes, we have had a bad fall, and yes, there were reckless and crazy decisions along the way and some reprehensible people. But hey, enough already! We need to snap out of it and start looking to the future, and that’s only of benefit if we do so with a can-do spirit of optimism. We need to stop looking around for people to blame; it happened, and in some measure we were all fellow-conspirators. After all, didn’t we willingly buy the over-priced goods and services and calmly accept the inflated real estate values?
There are ways out of this mess, but all the negativity is making us focus on the past rather than plan for the future. It’s time to move on.