Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Friday, February 29, 2008

the teachings of diogenes #1

Diogenes (c. 412- c. 323 B.C ) was a very playful philosopher; an irreverent Zennish character who lived a good thousand years before Zen was invented. He liked to use great wit when challenging the values and beliefs of his fellow citizens in ancient Athens. He lived in great poverty, probably begging and stealing his food, and steadfastly disdained all forms of luxury. It was because of his determination to follow his own dictates and not adhere to the conventions of society that he was given the epithet "dog," from which the name "cynic" is derived. Over the coming months I will share with you some of his wittiest and most profound teachings.

Here is the first offering:

"Why is it, Diogenes, that pupils leave you to go to other teachers, but rarely do they leave them to come to you?"

"Because," replied Diogenes, "one can make eunuchs out of men, but no one can make a man out of eunuchs".

Source: David Quinn's home page (well worth a look)

time for the bus...

To follow on from the previous post, let's introduce the bus...

There's this hypothetical bus, you see... And on it are (let's say) twenty six hypothetical people...

It pulls up at the next stop, and I get on looking really angry and contemptuous as I yell at the top of my voice, "You're all a pack of wankers!!!"

One person gets really offended and demands an apology; another looks bored, yawns, and returns to reading the paper; another rushes at me and punches me in the face; another breaks into tears and exclaims that I am a rotten bastard, and how dare I; another starts laughing uncontrollably; another calmly inquires if I have ever considered seeking therapy; another gets on his mobile phone, rings the police saying there is a dangerous maniac on the bus; another asks me if I would be so kind as to explain how I arrived at my assessment; etc., etc.

One event, twenty six different "experiences"... Was I responsible for each of those experiences? Did they learn anything from their experience? Did twenty six people "learn" twenty six different things? And if I was not responsible for their experience, who was?

To cut to the chase... Who is responsible for our feelings and emotions? Who is responsible for decisions and actions we make based on those feelings and emotions?

To cut even further to the chase... What do we mean by "responsible" anyway?

There... that'll teach you to read this blog, ya pack of wankers!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

knowing and believing...

So, there we were, yesterday, in the car, wantonly burning the last few remaining litres of the earth's fossil fuel, on our way back from viewing a collection of fossils in Bathurst, discussing life, the universe, and everything, when there was a sudden and unexplained outbreak of the truth, or, at least, what appeared to be, at first glance, something vaguely resembling a thing which was once mooted to have been mistaken for the truth by a person subsequently dismissed as a patently unreliable witness...

The "objectionable" comment: Something along the lines of "it is through our experiences that we acquire our knowledge".

My objection: "This is utter crap." (As you can see, the discussion quickly got off to a brilliant start.)

Let me explain, dear reader...

But first "let's define our terms" as all good philosophers would caution us to do...

Experience: Our individual experience of an event in our lives. i.e. There is an event, and then there is our experience of that event. e.g. The event: Door unexpectedly and loudly slams shut in pitch black room. My experience of the event: I have an anxiety attack, defecate and urinate into my pants, and collapse into a quivering huddle in the corner of the room, believing I am about to be shot, frantically groping around for a non-existent rifle with which to "protect" myself.

Knowledge: That which is known. That which is knowable. (See the verb "to know".)

Know: (v.) That which can be scientifically or logically demonstrated to be true or factual.

Belief: That which is held to be true or factual, but for which no satisfactory scientific or logical explanation is offered.

*** IMPORTANT: Note the distinction between believing and knowing. ***

As we can see from the above example, our experience of an event often has little to do with the event at all, but has a lot more to do with the psychological and historical framework within which we "perceive" that event.

It is along this line that I extrapolated that our experiences often have a lot more to do with our beliefs than our knowledge, and that our experience often serves to reinforce our beliefs rather than advance our knowledge.

Gary Zukav puts it very well in The Dancing Wu Li Masters:

"Reality is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends upon what we look for. What we look for depends upon what we think. What we think depends upon what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. what we take to be true is our reality."

I call this "Zukav's Truth Loop"

To wrap it up: What I know (now) is that the door slammed shut. What I experienced (back then) was a very individual mind-movie which I mistook for "reality" and which utterly obliterated my erstwhile ability to know what was actually happening.

Do you understand now why I say that our experiences do not inform our knowledge, but rather, that they are the products of our beliefs. A handy little corollary here is that if we change our beliefs (or better still, obtain some real knowledge), our experiences will change also. However, if you prefer to live in a fairy tale (or nightmare) of your own creation, then by all means base your "knowledge" on your so-called experience.

Here endeth the rant...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

oooooh... it's so fast...

We just got broadband. It's a lot like dial-up, only much, much faster...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

what was I thinking

In the previous post I said that if Obama gets elected I would stop being anti-American. Forgive me, dear reader, I must have been a tad light-headed with optimism...

What I meant to say was this: Even if Obama gets elected (and I hope that he does), I don't think the capitalists running America will change their spots anytime soon. They may change their tactics from overt aggression to covert trickery and deceit in order or make their megabucks, but the exploitation of the rest of the world for their own advantage will still be their main agenda. As such, I will be duty-bound to remain anti-American until such time that America stops singing the praises of capitalism and embraces more enlightened economic principles.

Pigs will fly and hell will freeze over before that can happen.

In the meantime, please be assured that I am aware that there are a few very nice American people and that I mean them no disrespect. The rest? A bunch of arrogant, selfish, greedy, spoilt, ignorant assholes who truly believe that Americans are the saviours of the world.

Oh... Did I mention that they are deluded?

You may join me in shouting YANKEE GO HOME !!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!

I'm rooting for Obama.

If he gets elected, I will stop being anti-American.

The Democrats, if they have any integrity at all, will not support Hillary Clinton, a candidate who supported the Iraq war. No way, Hillary, you blew it!!!

O-ba-ma !!! O-ba-ma !!!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

It never stops...

The Kokoda Track in New Guinea is said to be of huge cultural significance to Australians.

Now there is an Australian mining company which wants to re-route a two kilometre section of the track so that it can conduct gold and copper mining in the area. It has obtained the support of the local people by offering to pay royalties which are said to be worth tens of millions of dollars over the life of the mine.

The locals have closed the track in protest over interference by the PNG and Australian governments, and the Orstrayan Kultcha Police are suddenly up in arms at what they say is tantamount to the desecration of sacred ground.

Excuse me ?!?

Didn't we always run roughshod over anyone else's rights whenever it came to the extraction of mineral resources? Didn't we even fight wars over mineral resources? Isn't that what the Iraq war was all about? Killing hundreds of thousands to gain a bit of an oil advantage. Didn't we turn a blind eye towards the Yanks when they installed Pinochet to safeguard American copper pillage in Chile? Pinochet killed three thousand of his own people so that AT&T's copper supply remained in "safe" hands.

Ah... but when it's about remembrance rituals regarding the deaths of 600 Diggers sixty-five years ago, then all of a sudden, all mining has to stop.

The message, once again, is very clear. Iraqis don't count. Chileans don't count. New Guineans don't count. Only Australians, Yanks and British count.

Makes ya proud to be Anglo-whatsit, don't it ???