Much can be learned from foreigners who have lived among us for many years.
One such is the eminent English film producer David Puttnam, who’s been a West Cork resident for three decades. In a UCC Plain Speaking podcast, he talks about the economic value or otherwise of a liberal arts education and reflects on the impact on Britain’s media industries of Thatcherite economics.
He has thought-provoking things to say, too, about west Cork and the sense of community that first brought him to our corner of Ireland. The people who have been his neighbours still have it, he notes, but he fears the same commitment to the community among younger generations isn’t as strong as it was.
“What isn’t there any longer,” he regrets, “is this broad sense that the entire community is involved in supporting each other and making a great success of West Cork as a place to live.”
We have, he says, retreated indoors with our iPhones, the end product of which is an atomised society. He highlights the problem of an age in which the internet connects us with the world but is eliminating our connections
with our neighbours.