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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Philosophy and life

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Philosophy rarely comes in a better and simpler form than Desiderata.
It has been my guide for almost 45 years.

Peace my friends.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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Beauty

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My blog needs to be topped up with some of the beautiful things from my life

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Papua New Guinea

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This is where I lived and worked for several years. A place which I still regard as my second home.
Beautiful country.
Warm and wonderful village people.
Gods own paradise ruined by political corruption and lawlessness.

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At the end of a mans rainbow

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When I reached the age of 30, I formulated the theory that before this magical age the male of our species was, generally speaking, irresponsible, untrustworthy, recalcitrant, frivolous and lacking a certain amount of sincerity and commitment to life and relationships.
I concluded that, apart from me, they should never be awarded positions of trust and accountability before that age.

This knowledge was gained not only from observation of my peers, but, I should also admit, from some small amount of personal introspection.

By the age of 40, it became obvious that my judgements were premature, and that my generosity of spirit and faith in human nature had overridden logical thought and fact.
The age for responsible male behaviour was reset to 40, and my daughter was accordingly advised not to ever completely trust a man younger than that.

Turning 50 was a revelation, for I then knew all there was for a man to know about human behaviour.  I had reached the ultimate plateau of knowledge and behavioural stability.
The understanding that maintaining an enduring life partnership required an uncompromisingly faithful commitment, the ability to put your partners needs before your own, and maintaining a forum of open and complete communication.  
Valuing two lives shared, and lived as one interwoven whole.    
Men of 50 would be forever totally trustworthy partners.

Ten years further on and I am not so certain any more.
I keep getting this urge to buy an expensive red convertible and drive up and down the Cairns Esplanade at night in search of some more fundamental truths of existence.   
I think I have been looking in the wrong places all my life.
Perhaps Swedish backpackers are the ultimate fount of knowledge.

Where O where is it all going to end?

Wheres my favourite almost-70 year old vox philosopher when I really need him.

P.S.   I made a commitment that every one of my stories would contain at least one single irrefutable untampered-with, unembellished honest-to-God truth.  
Accordingly, a geographical correction if I may dear reader.  
It is no longer legally permissible for me to drive "up and down" the Cairns Esplanade at night or indeed at any other time, as it has recently been converted into a one-way traffic configuration.
 
So, for the purposes of envisioning GOF's nocturnal itinerary, please note that he will be travelling UP followed by AROUND, then DOWN the back street, before finally commencing another UP.
 
Isn't it a joy to be in possession of geographical fact.
 

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Thou shalt go forth and sanitise and medicate

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Chapter One;  Medicate

When our daughter Globet was around ten years old, we took her to the local doctor after she had been wheezing and coughing for longer than we thought normal with childhood illnesses.
Within ten minutes she was diagnosed with asthma and given a ventilator and enough chemicals to bankrupt the national health scheme subsidy fund.
The prognosis also included the sobering advisory that her condition would most likely be of a very long duration.
We chose not to follow doctors advice, nor medicate, and her symptoms diminished naturally within a week, and Globet has never been back to see a doctor during the ensuing 16 years.

The world of medicine has now presented us with childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (ADHD)
Let me, just to aggravate some endocrinologists, psychologists, and probably more than one of my readers, propose an argument that ADHD is a work of fiction.
Lets stop pussyfooting around.  
The symptoms describe CUSB.
Childrens Unacceptable Social Behaviour.
From my viewpoint it is resultant from two factors.

Firstly it reflects a failure of urbanisation.  An environment in which to raise children where nature, with all its wondrous diversity and opportunity for learning and adventure has been beaten into submission, and replaced by concrete, tar and plastic.
It has strangled childhood opportunity for mental and physical stimulation.
The urban landscape has also sadly become a place where children can no longer safely enjoy unlimited outdoor play.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it is resultant from dysfunctional and inadequate parenting.
It is not a disorder of the child.
It is no coincidence that 25% of foster children in Australia are chemically dependent upon Ritalin or some other similar concoction.
Parenting, especially in the pre-school years should be a full time occupation for at least one of the parents.  Either will do.
 
If the Government of Australia has enough money to pay mothers a$5000 procreation incentive for every new baby they wish to produce, then perhaps it could reconsider that stupidity and instead allocate the funds to existing parents to enable them to better look after, and spend time with, the young children they already have.
 
Child care centres are not an acceptable substitute.  They simply provide a cocoon which cushions youngsters from a normal varied and individual life experience.  Children deserve better than this.
Were are churning out a generation of kids with identical assembly-line experiences, and failing to acknowledge the importance of unique family-influenced early childhood development.
 
The injury-proof politically correct child care environment has little to do with what is best for the child, or the reality of life, and a whole lot to do with convenience for parents, and the stupidity of a society which too readily resorts to litigation for all manner of ill-perceived reasons. 

I humbly provide the world with a three point plan to cure it of childhood ADHD.

1. Increased parental attention with love and discipline.

And NO, one does not exclude the other.  Each must, by necessity include  the other.
 
2. Diet.
 
Eliminate junk food, excessive sugar and chemical food additives.

3. Exercise.
 
I know it is increasingly becoming an old fashioned concept.  Like playing sport.   Exercise is natures energy drainer. It is guaranteed to get rid of the "hyperactivity" part of the equation.
Additionally, team sports discourage disruptive, attention seeking behaviour from individual participants.

Perhaps it is a coincidence that in my area where children are always actively involved physically in rural activities I am unaware of any parent who has ever sought to have their child diagnosed with any vacuous "disorder" with an acronymic classification. 
These kids are not constantly bored stupid with mind numbing television or computer games and existing in a virtual world. 
They are too busy living stimulating and active lives, and learning about the natural world which surrounds them.

Scratches from barbed wire, gravel rashes, bruises, shovelling farmyard manure, and splinters in the feet  all seem to provide inoculation and immunity for rural children against all this medical nonsense.

Of course without this "disease" doctors and drug companies will probably be out of pocket by a few billion dollars, and many individuals within those professions will, as a result, probably require psychological interventions themselves, but hey, overall our community health status will probably benefit from having healthier drug-free children.

 

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Thou shalt go forth and sanitise and medicate

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Chapter Two;  Sanitise

An advertising campaign of fear and terror continues to be waged by manufacturers of antiseptic products for home and personal use.
Parents are encouraged to have everlasting guilt if even a single living micro-organism survives within the household environment.

These bugs are a natural and necessary part of our environment and the human machine has evolved over centuries to have an immune response to any which might have harmful effects upon our metabolism.
Removing the germs will logically weaken the immune systems of our children.  It is not surprising to me that many researchers are beginning to conclude that the epidemic of childhood asthma could be a product of "over cleanliness".

A very interesting trial therapy to cure sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders involved participants handling "dirty things" such as public rubbish bins, then licking their fingers.  None apparently got sick.
The same project also illustrated by taking bacterial swabs that there were often just as many faecal organisms present on many computer keyboards, public telephones, door knobs, restaurant tables and toothbrushes as there were on toilet lids. 
Now theres some sobering food for thought to help you enjoy your day.

We have also abused the medical miracle of antibiotics through inappropriate application and overuse, to the extent that we now have antibiotic resistant organisms.

These are all examples of the failure of mankind to realise that our sustainable existence requires symbiosis with all other living organisms.
We should not resort to chemical warfare as a primary response.

Oops..sorry…. gotta go, theres another friggin' cockroach on the floor that needs spraying.

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L = Y and R = X ?

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The human knowledge base deserves our appreciation of all the research work previously done by students, academics and scientists from all around the world.

Many scientific discoveries eventually find practical purposes in our daily lives.  Some, however, either never quite make the grade, or indeed go on to conclude the bleeding obvious.

A recent study of dementia patients found that if they did a lot of walking, then, on average, their cognisance skills improved significantly . 
Before being impressed by such findings I would need to know just how many patients they got back, and how many are still on the loose.

Sugar cane is a crop which is harvested annually…..stalks cut off at ground level, and allowed to shoot again to provide a ratoon crop for harvesting in the following year.
For reasons known only to themselves, agricultural scientists found it necessary to evaluate whether driving heavy harvesting tractors on top of  the cut plants, instead of, as common sense and normal practice would dictate between  the rows, would effect the regrowth of the cane. In effect to determine whether severely trampled cane would regrow at the same rate as kindly nurtured cane.
They eventually proudly announced results which any kindergarten kid could have predicted. No, it does not regrow all that well at all.

I have witnessed highly paid animal behaviourists spending years lurking daily in tropical rainforest adjacent to GOF's paradise, humanely trapping and tying cotton thread onto the tails of musky rat kangaroos (guinea-pig size Australian marsupial) before letting them go again.  The following day, the intelligentsia come back to map exactly where the critters had travelled during the night by tracking the trail of thread unwound from the reel.
Now I could have told them where they went without going to all that trouble. Where do you think they are going to go when some persistent intruder keeps tying ropes on their arses. They went further into the rainforest you bloody twits, to get away from you, and all your molesting, as no doubt your useless never-ever-to-see-the-light-of-day thesis will expound.
Some research is just plain stupid.

GOF, on the other hand would like to conduct the final phase of a scientific experiment begun 17 years ago, which will revolutionise our conventional understanding of genetics.

My neighbour once owned a very large Brahman bull.
I had a small number of cows of more dubious and indistinguished parentage.  I think the bull loved my cows. That is understandable, for my cows were very attractive cows in a bovine sense. The bull loved them all so very much that the barbed wire fence between our two properties provided no impediment to his passion.
Over the years, on both sides of the fence, he sired 12 progeny, all of which were bull calves.  No heifers. 
The masses of mathematicians and statisticians reading my blog at this moment will be experiencing orgasmic delight at this extraordinary example of statistical significance.  But there is more;

Mr Brahman Bull only had a single left testicle.

Now, in order to complete my research, if its not too much trouble, could I please impose upon one of my loyal vox readers to lend me one of your bulls possessing only a single testicle of the right hand persuasion, so that I will be able to conclusively prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the left one always contains only Y chromosome bearing sperm, whilst the right one is full of little X's.

Such a finding could have widespread repercussions for human family planning. It will eliminate all that lengthy and noisy messing around in the bedroom with grandma's advice on the correct way to conceive either a boy or girl child.  
One little snip, and the choice is yours.

GOF will happily share all the forthcoming fame, accolades and money with the donor of our testicularly deficient bull.

I will personally launch a worldwide surgical crusade.  There is a huge market out there to help all those men and cultures whose reproductive policy is predicated on the fundamental belief that boy children are superior to girls.

You have the dream.

I have the scalpels.

My hand is, however, occasionally, a little unsteady, and I have in the past been known to show a devotion to duty somewhat beyond my original job description.

Now gentlemen, who would like to be first?  Get in before the rush.

Do they have a Nobel Prize for genetics so I can put it on my mantelpiece already cluttered with those I got for peace and literature?

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