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Not rude at all!

Of course, by today’s standards it’s pretty mild. Nevertheless, if you told Great Aunt Sadie to ‘shut her trap” you’d probably earn a clip round the ear. Yet Juliet Nicolson in her book ‘The Perfect Summer’ tell us that this expression’s origin isn’t rude at all.

Because in 1911, with motoring in its infancy, cars were for the rich who could afford chauffeurs for their Rolls-Royces. And if one of these near extinct species was over talkative, then he would be instructed to ‘shut his trap’. This being the little flap between himself and the passengers compartment.

Mind you this was the least indignity that our automotive minion could suffer. For ladies annoyed at their directions not being heard above the engine would jab their driver in the neck with their umbrellas. But it’s ‘shut your trap’ we remember even if not the phrase’s origin. Proof then its not the meaning of words that is important – its their and our intention.

 

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Is Life Meaningless?

Personal meaninglessness – the feeling  life has nothing worthwhile to offer – it is… as a separation from the moral resources necessary to live a full and satisfying existences (Anthony Giddens; 1991)

If the modern world is anything, it is about increasing control. From the depths of our own genetics to the simple changing of our TV channels, we like to have control. Control then make us feel powerful and hard-wired into our DNA. Yet it does not make us any happier? For we too easily worry about our controlling choices; are putting enough away for a pension, is our travel plans changing the climate or is vote condoning the right political policies. And so with control and choice goes anxiety. The fear of what we are becoming as a result of being ‘self-made’.

This is why as in previous ages, there remains a need for some external source of what is right – an ultimate moral source – a font of wisdom as to how to make our life choices. And that  is what religious people attribute to the will of God and his purpose for us. For them, life contains purposeful decisions which in turn bestows on it meaning.

 

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