A Man's a Man for a' that

When you're living largely on pension up here in the sparsely populated Highlands it's easy to forget - or not to see in the first place - the bewilderment, the hurt currently being suffered by so many good people as a result of ... ? ... well some call it 'the credit crunch'. I prefer the term '(x)ankers' madness'.

I guess the underlying psychology is that we have all grown up in a world where onwards and upwards in career and style of living is the expected norm. Anyone who 'went backwards' was something of a pariah. He hadn't been trying hard enough. He was that dreaded word, a Loser. Our parents and even more our grandparents didn't think that way. You were born into a position in life and remained largely content to be there and to do what you could do within it, whether you were in a Great House or a farm labourer's cottage.

But what now when there are so many losers? And don't forget you can be one, or at least feel like one, whether you just lost a couple of millions and only have a few more left or a shipyard worker now out on the dole. The hurt is the same.

My friend Ernest Hemingway, in a sort of semi novel about bullfighting called Death In The Afternoon, quoted I think it was the great Joselino who was dying in agony from a cornada (horn) up his abdomen. Joselino murmured to his friend Ernest; 'A man can be destroyed but not defeated', which is I think, some bloody philosophy in all the circs. Also one for our times, I think?

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