The Smile


By Liam Flanagan

Look me in the eye and tell me the truth
Rooted
In your language contradiction and vagueness
Safe us
From your lies and fake smile
Try
To deceive and hoodwink
Think
About trying to go through life with ambiguity and spin
Thin
Is the line between integrity and hypocrisy
Bureaucracy
Tying red tape around the neck of the people trying to breath
Greed
Brings you to the surface of the swamp you inhabit
Dragging your pray underwater to drown out the calls for
Equity
and
Equality

Liam Flanagan is a 47 year old living in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Degree in English and Philosophy. Teaching Diploma in IT. Ten years experience working in the IT industry. Likes Sport, Music, Film and Politics 

Vincent


By Liam Flanagan

Photo by Elle Lumière on Unsplash

So neglected in your life even now people struggle to pronounce your name
Tortured you were turning to alcohol to ease the pain
Relief found from painting nature and flowers
Finding inspiration from roses/lilacs/lilies and sunflowers
Whilst engaged in a constant battle with an illness which refused to allow sunshine into the mind
You must have been living in a world more identifiable as hell
Cut ones ear off to quieten the incessant noise disturbing the self
Rest easy knowing a legacy of beauty and genius has been left
A life so short leaving us behind thirty seven years old

Liam Flanagan is a 47 year old living in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Degree in English and Philosophy. Teaching Diploma in IT. Ten years experience working in the IT industry. Likes Sport, Music, Film and Politics 

Digging Deep


By Liam Flanagan

A drought of the mind
A barren landscape
No oasis in sight

Bare footed in a desert where sand burns unprotected soles
The punishing heat of the sun resulting in a thirst unquenched
There is no water here to replenish and renew a wary spirit
No trees to provide oxygen to a tired suffocating soul
A prayer for rain to relieve the constant hurt and pain
Tormented and troubled on a journey which feels like

There
Is
No
End

Liam Flanagan is a 47 year old living in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Degree in English and Philosophy. Teaching Diploma in IT. Ten years experience working in the IT industry. Likes Sport, Music, Film and Politics 

War And Peace


Photo by Kier In Sight on Unsplash

BY LIAM FLANAGAN

War and Peace
Remember Tolstoy an author of your times
You too were invaded by a foreign power
Napoleon marching with menace into
your land
Forgotten now how one man can bring so much horror and death to Russian homes
A refusal to allow your country to succumb to the distorted ambition of a dictator who knows
psychosis all too well
He set Moscow on fire and lay siege to St. Petersburg
Remember now how much suffering and devastation one man brought
To your country/your cities/your people/your friends/your family
Stop these abhorrent actions being done in the Slavic name
Read the words of the possibility of living a moral life in an imperfect world
You too have a culture of religion
and spirituality
Knowing the difference between Right and
Wrong
Rise up now a proud history of uprising and revolution
Putting an ending to the atrocities and mass exodus of your neighbors from their lives and their
peaceful homes

Liam Flanagan is a 47 year old living in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Degree in English and Philosophy. Teaching Diploma in IT. Ten years experience working in the IT industry. Likes Sport, Music, Film and Politics 

Apocalypse Now


BY LIAM FLANAGAN

Apocalypse Now
Four Horsemen come riding in
Each one carrying a prediction from the Book of Revelation
A White Horse under the command of the Anti-Christ
Bringing Conquest and Destruction
Following on from a world already suffering from the spreading of a Plague
A Red Horse representing the waging War on all those who cross his Path
A Black Horse rider spreading hunger and famine
No longer enough money or food to go
around
As a Pale Horse arrives on the scene
Screams
Of horror and terror as all he brings is death and murder

Liam Flanagan is a 47 year old living in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Degree in English and Philosophy. Teaching Diploma in IT. Ten years experience working in the IT industry. Likes Sport, Music, Film and Politics 

How To Die Gracefully


The art of dying well

BY Y.K. Goon

Learning how to die is the domain of philosophy. But doing it *gracefully* is largely an engineering issue. There is largely only one chance to get it right, so there's some value in learning the how.

Consider how awkward it is for another person to advise a dying man how to die with grace who is otherwise completely clueless about it. The time to learn this is when you are cognitively sound.

While I'm not at all qualified to talk about this, those who do are no longer around. So let's settle.

## Genres of death

Death is either an event (sudden) or a process (prolonged). You should wish for a sudden death, not a prolonged one. This is setting aside the pain that loved ones will have to endure but in either case it amounts to about the same.

What if a swift death robs you the chance to complete unfinished business? You should've thought about that earlier and take care of them before it's too late.

In the event of a sudden death, there's nothing much to explore. Circumstances are outside your control, there's no sense of grace to aim for. But not everybody is that lucky. Most of us don't have wars to fight, swift death is a privilege.

It's when death makes a long and drawn out process that it becomes a problem.

## When to call it

When the end is coming the worst thing to do is to overstay your welcome. [Most doctors](https://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2011/11/30/how-doctors-die/ideas/nexus/) know this and choose to do nothing with their terminal disease. They have been around the block enough to know when to call it quit.

At this point the only factor left is courage. Would you have earned enough courage-credit to declare you're done? Acquiring this courage is a big deal but is beyond the scope of this piece. Spiritual guidance are plentiful out there.

When courage is taken care of, the next thing is having to recognize when the end is near.

What if you're not given a terminal illness, how do you know when to call it? That's the hard part. Do you measure only bodily failure? What about the wetware, the cognition?

We can start with a simple scenario: when you can't control your bladder anymore. At which point we're talking about total reliance on another human for simple bodily function, where it's fairly certain there's no getting better from there on. This is a good point to mark the last chapter.

## Cognitive decline

Going one step further, what if your body is running fine but the mind shuts down, be it from coma, dementia or any form of brain decay?

One of my worst fears is for me to regress slowly to a teenager state of mind. I'll be dumb like a brick, self-conscious enough to realize it, yet have absolutely no ability to rectify it.

In the midst of it you can't be there to make the decision to declare you're giving up. This decision has to be pre-made and made known to dependents.

Example of an algorithm: if you show no sign of recovery from Alzheimer's disease in another six months, someone should find a way to put you out.

I'm a proponent of the [dead man's switch](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_man%27s_switch). If I'm debilitated for over say three months, have no ability to stop the trigger, a message would be sent to the chosen person with clear instructions of how and when to put me out, along with my crypto-assets as inheritance.

Decision like these are easier with a sound mind than in distress.

## Calling it a life

What does it mean to execute end-of-life after declaring it?

At the basic level it means putting a stop to painful attempts at recovery.

If life is suffering then death should attempt to be a delight. There's no point making the exit more painful than it has to be. This is the moment to indulge in every possible pleasure agent there is. I imagine drugs, alcohol, anything that rocks your boat.

Finally, we end the show with euthanasia. Bring the party to where it's legal and make it a celebration.

Think of it as dessert after a lifetime of existence.

## Conundrum of god's will

If you're religiously inclined, there's another level of complication where the will of god is involved. Taking active steps in ending one's life is strictly frowned upon.

Sure. In that case may I persuade you that continuous medical intervention is also violation of god's will, delaying the divine inevitability. Perhaps if you stop doing just that you'll still be staying on god's good side.

## Conclusion

There are many details left unaddressed. How is euthanasia performed? What about edge cases like multi-year coma with a chance of resuscitation (like Steve Rogers)?

In domains where there are established expertise (euthanasia) I'll defer to them. Where there are none I'll leave it to your imagination.

I reserve the right the change my mind about any of these. Perhaps you can tell me how this framework could be invalidated. If I'm wrong, how would I know?

I'll end with a heuristic that I've never heard of but the irony make it feel true: those who control their death gets superior control over their lives.

Y.K. is a software engineer; investor; a man blessed with curiosity
attempting to learn the art of being, in search of antifragility.

The Crossroads


BY LIAM FLANAGAN

Photo by Vladislav Babienko on Unsplash

Standing at a crossroads
No sign posts in sight
Do I turn left or right?
In danger of getting lost in the middle of the night
Dark clouds loom on the horizon
Gathering in the northern skies
Halting progress forward
The distance from home can be measured in miles
I take a look over my shoulder
Gazing back over the journey
I’ve been on
There is no going back now
The time to go backwards
is gone

Liam Flanagan is a 47 year old living in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Degree in English and Philosophy. Teaching Diploma in IT. Ten years experience working in the IT industry. Likes Sport, Music, Film and Politics 

Forbidden


BY LIAM FLANAGAN

Are ye trying to kid me?
Do you think we are all idiots
Fix it!
The world is going to go up in flames
Or drowning in rising sea tides
Hide
The truth is the most important thing is to make money
Big business continue to be allowed to mass produce harmful pollutants
To get their greedy grubby hands on as much cash as possible
Impossible
To believe anything coming out of the mouths of politicians
Lie as you try to pull the wool over the eyes of the people
So fake in your minds eye is to let them eat
cake
You should be forbidden from showing yourselves in public
Power will be taken away and a discovery will be made of exactly what it means to be a part of
a republic

Liam Flanagan is a 47 year old living in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Degree in English and Philosophy. Teaching Diploma in IT. Ten years experience working in the IT industry. Likes Sport, Music, Film and Politics 

Age


BY LIAM FLANAGAN

Casting the mind backwards
To teenage years
An obsession with The Cure
And a girl called Mairead
I wonder where she is now?
Playing football until the light went out at the end of the day
Turned eighteen and celebrated being able to have a pint
Maybe too much but the crack was mighty with the lads
Lassies everywhere excitement of newness and anticipation tangible in the air
Turning twenty made very little difference
A taste for life had been discovered and developed
As the years go by you realise how special those days were
Times of friendship and romance
Where there was always enough music in the night for one more dance

BY LIAM FLANAGAN

Liam Flanagan is a 47-year-old living in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Degree in English and Philosophy. Teaching Diploma in IT. Ten years of experience working in the IT industry. Likes Sport, Music, Film and Politics.

Voice


BY LIAM FLANAGAN

Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

I have lost my voice

Not from shouting too loud

Or talking too much

Nor from singing or chanting 

From weariness and fatigue 

Trying to make sense of it all

Weary of a world where chaos rules

Finding it hard to envisage a future of harmony and calm

Too tired to raise a sound in opposition of all going on

Rest is now the priority of these times

Relief only being provided when the night time bell chimes

BY LIAM FLANAGAN

Liam Flanagan is a 47-year-old living in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Degree in English and Philosophy. Teaching Diploma in IT. Ten years of experience working in the IT industry. Likes Sport, Music, Film and Politics.

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