Paraic Breathnach: UNESCO’s luminary

One day, when we still lived in caves, a human found chalk and a bare wall, and used that opportunity to create what we now call art. People gathered around this first artist with great interest, and everyone promptly came together to have a go at drawing too, expressing themselves creatively and without limits.

Paraic Breathnach (Irish artist, theatre director, actor, prop designer, writer and more) believes that we need to get back to this cave; we’ve strayed further and further away from creative expression, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic has hit, and the digitalisation of our society that has rapidly progressed.

While it’s true that technology has let us advance in unbelievable ways, it has also increasingly separated us from one another. We may have been able to land a rocket on the moon; but then why do we still deal with inequalities like racism and discrimination?

Breathnach believes one of the biggest factors that causes humans to be unfair in society is because we’ve been deprived of personal expression.

As we stray further and further from the cave of creativity, we have also lost the path back to it, and so we’re left without the means of personal and creative expression. On top of this, since we’ve all gone different ways after having left the cave, we find ourselves more alone than ever before. The hurdles we face every day, we feel we are facing them alone, making any obstacle appear close to impossible to overcome.

This is why we need enlightenment.

We need to move the focus away from me and you and focus on what really matters: us.

The power a group of people has can literally change the world. As individuals though, we are as good as a dog without a bone.

Thus, we need to make a difference that resembles one joke sparking in the corner of a park, which spreads smiles and laughter to one or two people, and in the end, a whole city is overcome by the giggles.

We need art in order to change our perspectives of the world, and we need culture so that we can interact with those ideas face to face. We need to give artists the resources they truly need so that they can pave us the path back to the cave we came from, and we have to commit “the revolutionary act of freeing our imagination”.

In other words, the state of mind that you escape to when you sit on the train and listen to the music that speaks to your soul- and you can almost feel your veins vibrating with revelations and ideas and compassion- let that state become our reality, and one that we never have to leave.

Let’s take over a city not with guns and violence, but with laughter, love and acceptance.

Laura Malerba

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