Yesterday I wrote a post about linking Gaelic language and identity with a Spirituality. Working on the basis that at present, many Gaels (defined as people who speak the language) are not native and those who are native are affected largely by their past, growing up in isolated communities where outward pervasive religious opinion has largely dominated thinking particularly before the technological era. The idea of looking at this, is to ensure that Gaelic learning is based on a Principled learning structure otherwise any attempt to push it forward is likely to fail as it would have no basis or claim to a continuing reality.
I would like to continue that post by looking more at what “Gaelic Spirit” might be and how it can be harnessed to push the language into the future, let go of unhelpful dogma as well as honouring our history.
To begin, we need to define exactly what we mean by “Spirit”. This term is not in any way linked to a religious idea specifically although it does not exclude it. The question is, what is the force which brings us to a point of language learning or choosing to use a different form of communication, which actually reinforces our identity, as Gaels?
Yesterday I spoke about drawing a pedagogical structure to demonstrate these points. In any such structure “Spirit” needs to be clearly demonstrated as the power of the thing or at the heart of it. In religious terms this can be called ruach, wind of God or a whole host of other largely unhelpful words and as these terms bring up a sense of the very things we are trying to displace on one hand organised religious opinion and myticism or paganism on the other, I don’t want to bring them into the structure.
Although I have not started working on drawing the structure yet, it will be loosely based upon the hand drawn chart in the picture below, which was created by me to show the continuous revelation of English for language learners. It is a structure which is divided into two parts, practical and academic (left and right) and conscious and Subconscious (top and bottom) where the bottom part represents “Spirit” governing the top part which is our outward functional identity. A structure like this can be used to analyse personal and collective Gaelic learning and further definitions can be added to each line of each square later to bring out more points.
The question which can be asked even at this early stage with a basic hand drawn chart has to be:
“what is driving me to learn Gaelic, is it my outward self based on a material, personal or political agenda or is it coming from “Spirit”? ( in this case we will define Spirit as God or our subconscious or collective Mind).
I need to say that unless we are prepared to honestly ask ourselves this question, with the help of a structure such as this, then we can expect to see more opposition to Gaelic learning because political force and sentimentality are not enough for it to survive. Outward strength brought on from political rhetoric, personal circumstances etc cannot endure in the long term, whereas a sound principled idea of learning Gaelic is more helpful.
For native Gaelic speakers, the structure could also be used to explore a more Spiritual theme such as whether a personal god exists in the top two rows in that person’s particular expression or whether a deeper look at personal offences needs to be examined.
It may be helpful for us to explore how to use the Collective Mind or subconscious to push ourselves forward but the structure needs to be defined first as well as the terms I want to use to further demonstrate my points.
I hope to be able to come up with it shortly.