Sunday, 3 April 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Sunday's Child Is Weak And Wild'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Sunday's Child Is Weak And Wild ~

It's Sunday and about 50 people are supposed to be coming to a picnic on the Pont des Arts today and it looks ominously like rain (and they're dropping like flies!), so I thought I'd put a lifetime of rationality behind me and decide that if there is/are (a) god(s) after all, he (she/it/they) would definitely impress me no end if she (it/they/he) managed to drop a little bit of sunshine on said river-spanning structure between 1-3 this afternoon.

Joking aside, and quite ironically, I do feel a distinct sensation of calm when I enter a church, and goodness knows Paris has plenty, although I should of course feel utter horror if you consider all the atrocities committed in the name of religion over the ages.

In fact, religion has nothing much to do with man's lust for power or simple desire for more or to hang on jealously to what he has managed to acquire, however ill-gotten.

It's almost a shame that it's been perverted so, although I'm pretty cynical as to whether it was ever really intended to enlighten us or was always just another power tool for controlling others and justifying some decidedly immoral acts - a sort of 'How To Win Friends And Influence People' for a bygone age.

Knowing what we do now, the closest I ever got to appreciating some of the tenets of an organised irrational belief body was probably Buddism (hasn't everyone gone through their Buddism phase?) and then there was a bunch who saw 'divinity' in nature and, well, everything - that was kind of a sweet way of looking at things I thought for a while.

These days I'm thoroughly enjoying discovering the churches of Paris and in particular their history and how it is all woven into the fabric of the city which has known more than its fair share of devious faith-based upheaval and manipulation.

I finished a walk at the Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois church yesterday; the start of the Saint-Bartholomew's Day Massacre was rung out from that very place. It wasn't actually called that from the start - the name came afterwards - but it gives us a chilling reminder of what happens when irrationality becomes entrenched in a society and used as a justification for evil. Perhaps more often than some I thank 'my lucky stars', if you like, that we live in a society where we are relatively free to believe whatever we want, without too much fear of being murdered.

Just around the Mediterranean a bit this isn't the case, and if we'd been living in Paris 140 years ago it wasn't the case either. Not to mention the first and second world wars which are just other versions of the same thing. Although the guy who got beaten into a coma on an RER platform yesterday evening might not agree, if he ever agrees to anything again, nor would the one who was shot in the head, but he might have had something to do with that one judging by the press reports.

What has this to do with a happy if soggy picnic in the middle of Paris, you might be wondering, if you've actually made it this far, which is highly doubtful, so I'll just answer it myself. It's all part of life's rich (read intricate) tapestry I guess. And if anyone comes to the bridge today I'll greet them cheerfully and learn about their lives and offer them a drink and admire the Ile de la Cité and share an umbrella and pretend life was always this simple. Have a good Sunday, wherever you are, if you can. I was born on a Sunday.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.


Rob said...

Well, where in the world does one begin... First off did the rain hold and the picnic a rain-free success? Hoping so. But as we say when we are about to tee off on the tenth fairway and the sky lets loose upon us, "you only get wet once."

Um concerning religion, glad I'm way over here across the Atlantic when the lightning strikes. ;) Seriously, though, you are about spot on. What I enjoy about the churches throughout Paris / Europe is the history. I find it intriguing to walk inside a cathedral that was built centuries ago.

Art, churches are loaded with art. Wondrous art. If not for religion the Masters would not have been inspired nor ordered to create the Renaissance Period in art history.

The church is rich in a tapestry of history - art and politics. both of which I enjoy, art and history, though not necessarily in that order or together. There I think I've said too much.

Sab said...

The picnic was great - a few 'hard-core' members turned up and we were a major tourist attraction - we had photos taken, we received envious looks, we had weirdoes stop and talk to us... and we got rained on: what more could you ask for?!

I look at churches from the historical, curiosity and sociological point of view, not being religious, but as I said I do enjoy the feeling within them and especially for the escape from the city's rush and the thoughts they stir up in me - I mean I find them quite inspirational places, probably for all the wrong reasons as far as believers are concerned, but they're almost always empty these days anyway, so I'm sure not too many people will be worrying about that.

And I'm just at the start of my discoveries - Paris is full of the things of one sort or other!

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