2012 in review

“Just Relax” “Forget” “Breathe”

Jan 05, 2012 | Do you ever tell yourself to “just relax” and then continue to do the very opposite? Or tell yourself to “forget it”. Or “frick’n focus!” And then find it impossible? Well that what happened to me today. Then it reversed itself in a way I didn’t expect. It started with a 75-minute hot yoga class at Y Yoga, my health retreat since arriving in Vancouver. Today was different: a hundred and one thoughts frolicked through my mind — which means today I was not doing yoga. I was stretching, Read more […]

Returning to mi paradiso

Jan 18, 2012 | Colour fills the streets: the houses, the clothes, the people, the air. Excitement. A familiar joy. Why did it take so long for me to return? Even the smell is familiar — a raw combination of trees, humidity, food, and dirt. The sound of scooters, olden-day cars, horses trotting, children playing, salsa music and a sea of Spanish words — music to my ears. Every day is the same: the sun rises at 6, sets at 6, 25-30 degrees — mi paradiso. It’s been almost three years. I fell in Read more […]

PROTECT IP / SOPA Act Breaks the Internet

Jan 19, 2012 | On Jan 24th the US senate will vote on the PROTECT IP / SOPA Act: Today, on the Jan 18th, my site will join hundreds/thousands of sites in a blackout strike from 8am-8pm to encourage people to sign the petition against such censoring of the internet. There’s different petitions for people from different places if you scroll down on this website: http://americancensorship.org/ Read more […]

Learning Spanish y Juego con Ninas…

Jan 22, 2012 | Ok, given my travels, my book, and living with Latinos most of this year, I should know more Spanish than I do. And considering the “peace” and “environmentalist” stereotype it may shock you to find out I’m (A) not a vegetarian (which really has nothing to do with this post), and (B) that in Granada I had my first ever experience with volunteer work. Given volunteering in Granada didn’t cost money (in case you didn’t know, most volunteering projects do) and the bonus discount it gave for Read more […]

Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish

Jan 29, 2012 | I love it when Spanish words resemble their English equivalent. Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish, illustrated by Andy Warhol, is a cheat code for English speakers to learn Spanish. Carried out with a sense of humour too. See if you can guess these words: diferente; conveniente; elefante; producto;  intereste;  nación; universidad; usé… I’ve been recommending this book to so many people that I figure I should share it on here. Some the cheat code: Words that end in ‘or’ are often Read more […]

The Woes of the Girl-Who-Cried-Surprise

Feb 03, 2012 | There was a girl who hated being bored. She hated boredom so much that she liked to do the unexpected. She almost killed herself diving into the deep end, time and time again. It was an intense way of life. It had its benefits. It also took its tolls. Surprise surprise, that girl is me: I’m home. As in, my home in Sydney, “Surprise!” I feel like the boy-who-cried-wolf, but with surprises. It is the second time I’ve turned up in Sydney unannounced. I’ve booked tickets that transport Read more […]

Blogs, Fashion and a Favour… “Enough” by Nicole Bennett

Feb 06, 2012 | My sister, Nicole Bennett, was the first person to introduce me to “Fair trade”. She travelled to Burma, India and other countries getting the bad end of the globalisation stick, long before I did, and became passionate about making a difference. She inspired me to want to make a difference too. I’m (hopefully) doing it through my research and writing. Nicole’s doing it through her (soon to be certified) fair trade eco-friendly fashion label “Enough”. “Enough” is all about knowing when to say Read more […]

“Meeting the world” at Encuentros

Feb 09, 2012 | The word “encuentros” translates in English to “meeting” or “to encounter”. Or as my friend translates it “Encuentros is a Meeting Point.” The philosophy behind this restaurant/bar/cafe in Granada, Nicaragua, is that it is a place to “meet the world”. Having travelled the world making documentaries (as well as doing a Master in Peace and Conflict Studies in Sydney) Erik Hof, with the help of his dad Rob Hof, set up this unique fusion of world food, cocktails, culture and conversation, with pool Read more […]

“Throwness” into many worlds

Feb 24, 2012 | Stepping off an airplane we throw ourselves into completely different worlds. Like when we are born, except that when travelling we have a choice. It can be a shock to the system, forcing us to constantly adapt — to different temperatures, people, and ways of life. Throwing myself from the small-town world of Hickory, North Carolina, via the buzz of New York, into the fast-paced mountain-view winter world of Vancouver for three weeks; directly into the hot humid horse-cart raw world of Nicaragua Read more […]

Necessary conflict: standing up for what’s right

Mar 02, 2012 | A few things happened yesterday that have led me to a morning of pondering and being frustrated by the injustices in our world and the conflict that seems to be necessary in order to stand up for what’s right… 1) Last night I watched Changeling (with Angelina Jolie, directed by Clint Eastwood, written by J. Michael Straczynsk) about the true story of a mother in the 1920s in LA who battles corrupt cops who try to convince her that a boy they have found is her missing son, when he is not. They Read more […]

Costa Rica – a Parade for Peace

Mar 06, 2012 | A month ago I passed through Costa Rica for two reasons (1) to check out the University for Peace and (2) being stingy (bargain flights to LA). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, like bear statues in Berlin a few years ago, and elephants in Copenhagen last year, San José was spotted with colourful statues of doves… It is probably no surprise Costa Rica was hosting a “Parade for Peace” considering it also: (1) has no army (abolished permanently in 1949) (2) is considered Read more […]

The Earth Charter

Mar 07, 2012 | “We must find ways to harmonize diversity with unity, the exercise of freedom with the common good, short-term objectives with long-term goals.” During my time in Costa Rica, I saw the construction of an institute dedicated to research and implementation of The Earth Charter, which is being built next to the University for Peace. The Earth Charter was developed over the last decade by an independent Earth Charter Commission, following the 1992 Earth Summit. The objective was “to produce a global Read more […]

Advice for Aspiring Writers

Mar 11, 2012 | “Advice? I don’t have advice,” says Alan Watts, “Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that Read more […]

The Partially Examined Life

Mar 16, 2012 | According to Socrates, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” According to Camus, once a life is examined and one truly understands its absurdity, one is left with the question: why continue? [See my 2010 blog entry: Why I Don’t Commit Suicide]. Maybe the solution is to have a partially examined life: examining life while keeping one’s wits about it. Well the good news is a group of witty ex-philosophers have an awesome series that will help you with this process. Their Podcasts are free, Read more […]

Owning Life’s Absurdity

Mar 16, 2012 | Have you ever thought about the absurdity of life? We are born, we work, (if we are lucky) we love, and we die… it’s hard to deny that it’s all a little absurd. Given my desire to impose some kind of “bigger meaning” to it all, the idea of “owning the Absurd” (on the Camus episode of The Partially Examined Life) made me wonder. Let’s start with Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus, the “absurd hero”, and then see what you think of “Absurdism” that followed (yes, seriously, there is such an ism). The myth Read more […]

Desire to Know — Curiosity, Vanity, Trading, Prudence or Love?

Mar 21, 2012 | Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153): To desire to know for the purpose of knowing is curiosity. To desire to know that you may be known is vanity. To desire to know that you may sell your knowledge is mean trading. To desire to know that you may be edified is prudence. To desire to know that you may edify is love. [1] Photo taken from the shores of the Ahimsa Sailing Klub Inc in Jervis Bay, where knowledge is sought for a promiscuous mixture of the above 😉   [1] Read more […]

Contents of Discontent

Mar 29, 2012 | In a world where everything is a trade-off is there any wonder why so many are discontent? Feeling rather discontent myself I thought I’d spare a moment to consider the contents of discontentment… both in culture, and in me. Should I do this job or that? Live here or there? Be social or study? Spend money or save? Exercise or be lazy? Eat fruit or chocolate? Date this guy or hope for that one? A month ago I felt completely content. I remember writing a diary entry in my head: about how much Read more […]

A human life, one million hours

Apr 09, 2012 | In the scheme of things when you spend two hours in traffic each work day, or half an hour waiting in line for a coffee, or forty hours a year gathering together your receipts and filling out your tax return, what % of your life are you spending doing things you don’t want to be doing? … [A deleted scene from My Brazilian]: At a restaurant in Argentina, after many-a glasses of Malbec and chocolate fondue, I found myself in an existentially mathematically reflective mood. “How many hours Read more […]

All it takes is 10,000 hours

Apr 13, 2012 | They say it takes 10,000 hours to be a master at something. Who are the They? Not sure, but They know… ok? After my last post about a human life equating to up to one million hours on earth, and pondering how many hours of that we waste in traffic, it seems somewhat appropriate to follow it up by asking how many hours we spend doing the things we actually want to do? How many hours do you spend making love? Being creative? Working on projects that excite you? Developing your skills to become Read more […]

Polymathy and promiscuity

Apr 18, 2012 | Remember the times when one person was a philosopher, a scientist, an inventor, a musician and an artist? No? Well that’s because people now specialise too much, and generalise too little. That’s the way our education system and our job opportunities work. That’s why we are told to choose one thing and become a master at it. Back in the Renaissance days things were different. I remember first stumbling across the “polymath” on wikipedia about five years ago. I was in awe and inspired by the Read more […]

Diseases of a world run by MBAs

Apr 25, 2012 | ‘A serious disease has re-appeared at Sydney University. Like tuberculosis, as soon as a cure is found and staff have been inoculated, a more virulent strain emerges. It has been labeled “hyper managerialism” and its symptoms are “efficiency in the name of inexplicable time wasting”, “infinite make-work-form-filling” and “gobbledegook language to organise thinking”. So far no test has been found which might identify early onset of the disease.’  [1] Sydney University isn’t Read more […]

MY BRAZILIAN (… and a kombi named Betty)

Apr 26, 2012 | 102 days, 6 countries, 3 girls, x boys & 1 kombi named Betty. So I’ve mentioned “my book” a million and one times, the travel memoir I’ve been working on every since my trip to South America some three years ago now. Think Eat Pray Love with a twist. As described in one of my proposals: “Beginning by following others, and chasing love, Juliet finds herself travelling down a long and winding road to Brazil — through Paris, Japan and Christianity — the so-called “first world” that Read more […]

Expansion and Contraction

Apr 30, 2012 |”There are only two movements of energy,” my yoga teacher noted as we arranged ourselves in Shavasana – the corpse pose – ready for relaxation, “expansion and contraction.” I adjusted my legs, relaxed my neck, and closed my eyes. I observed my lungs: expand, and then contract. For the next five minutes or so I meditated on this idea. Expansion and Contraction. It is true that our bodies are constantly expanding and contracting – whether we are breathing, drinking, or eating. In Read more […]

The War Prayer – Mark Twain

May 10, 2012 | It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on…” The War Prayer, is a short story by Mark Twain about blind patriotic war and the God who is on both sides. Written around 1904, published after his death in 1923. Part 1   Part 2   It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the Read more […]

Debating the Ethics of Atheists at Sydney’s Speakers’ Corner

May 13, 2012 | “Atheists have no reason not to kill other people,” said the man in a maroon sweater who had been quacking too loud for the dude on the podium at the “Speakers’ Corner” at Sydney’s Hyde Park to be heard. “Excuse me!” I butted in, having excused myself from our mother’s day picnic to see what all the commotion was about. Suddenly all eyes were on me. “What does belief or disbelief in God have to do with killing other people???” I asked, noticing my tone rising to the bellowing nature of his. “Well Read more […]

Narrative as Ethics

May 14, 2012 | After yesterday’s encounter with Mr Moron, I mean, Mr Maroon, a religious fanatic arguing that Atheist’s have no code for morality, I want to take a deeper look at ethics and morality from both a religious and secular perspective. Given my research into the role of narratives in peace studies, I ask: What is the role of narrative in our ethics? Mr Maroon was holding up his ethical code – the Christian bible – and asking for Atheists to hold up theirs. “I have the Bible. Atheists have nothing. Read more […]

“I wanna be a model but…”

May 19, 2012 | I wanna be a model but …  I don’t know if I’m beautiful enough / thin enough / how to go about it… Modeling didn’t make me rich or famous, but it allow me to live in Paris, Vienna and Tokyo, meet inspiring people, discover my creative side through photography, fashion, and have a lot of fun. Those experiences have given me some understanding of the modelling world, and tips that might be useful to offer those aspiring to that dream. From time to time I get calls and emails from young girls, Read more […]

Modeling Tips: Where to Begin

May 20, 2012 | The way you answer the questions from my last post about the kind of modeling you might want to do, will largely determine the next steps you should take. Here are some tips on where to begin, and how to go about it… Look for an agency: Different motivations for modelling and different types of modelling require different approaches. In general you can google the type of modelling eg “fashion model” or “commercial model” or “swimsuit model” or “plus-size model” with the word “agency” and Read more […]

Does religion affect population growth?

May 24, 2012 | What is the connection between religion and population growth? The answer might surprise you: absolutely nothing. Well, according to Hans Rosling. In his April 2012 TED-Talk, Rosling graphs the relationship between religion, income and children between zero and fifteen years olds. He shows that there is no connection between religion and babies, and that there is a much closer connection between: 1 – mortality rates and babies born ie the more likely a baby is to die, the more babies a mother Read more […]

Is success about good-looks, intelligence, talent or luck? Think again…

May 28, 2012 | “99% of those individuals who achieve their goals do so not because they are especially talented, intelligent, good-looking or even lucky, but rather because they find the courage and guts to act in pursuit of their dreams and persist against setbacks.” [1] I don’t know where Randel got this statistic from or whether it’s reliable, but it certainly is useful. Looks, talent, intelligence all have a big role to play in success, but the point Randel makes is that even if you have all Read more […]

Musings on Marriage

Jun 05, 2012 | “I obviously support gay marriage under the principle that why should only heterosexuals suffer.” Jeffrey Eugenides. “In thickening thighs and boring anecdotes, I now pronounce you man and wife…” Kathy Lette. Watching the Writers Festival panelists on Q&A discuss the question of marriage, I was reminded of some old musings. I thought I’d already blogged them, but discovered I hadn’t… There are two very different uses of the word marriage, which I think we often confuse: the socio-legal Read more […]

“White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy”

Jun 14, 2012 | The truth can hurt. It’s a harsh world, and a harsh critique: “White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy”. Unfortunately those four words capture a certain truth about our history and prevailing political and economical hierarchy of power. These words come from American author, feminist, and social activist, Bell Hooks. Hooks uses the term “white supremacy” above “racism” as white supremacy ‘evokes a political world that we all frame ourselves in relation to.’ They say life Read more […]

“Always Do, rather than Not-Do”

Jun 17, 2012 | My friend has a philosophy: Always Do, rather than Not-Do. “You remember the things you do,” he explains, “but it’s not like you look back and reminisce all those nights sitting on a couch.” Wednesday night was cold and rainy, but we made it to a free gig at Folk Club at Oxford Arts Factory. We did rather than didn’t-do. And I’m so glad… it was a memorable night. The music was magic. Jack Carty was the first of the line up and in my opinion, while the other two artists – Wes Carr and The Read more […]

“Keep the best, forget the worst and add some more”

Jun 21, 2012 | “Keep the best, forget the worst and add some more,” said Jon Elms, the lead singer of WHITECITYLIGHT, with a story to match his voice (both which I’ve hardly touched the surface of). I may have mentioned this before, or shown it by sharing their words, but let me say explicitly this time: I live with three incredibly inspiring people… It was a response to discussions we were having with Jonny Gloss, the eyes and hands that designed, painted, sculpted and created this hidden-away converted-warehouse Read more […]

Carnaval in July

Jun 21, 2012 | Imagine millions of people on one street – dancing, singing, wearing bright clothes, drinking, kissing… that is Brazil’s Carnaval. No exaggeration, it must be the greatest party on this planet. This year I’ve decided to throw my own little version of it in Oz: Carnaval in July. [1] Ok, so I may as well admit it, it’s for my 30th birthday. I’ll blog about my (second) “quarter life crisis” some other time. Today I thought I’d use my blog to provide guests and anyone else who may be interested a Read more […]

Am I a Feminist?

Jun 29, 2012 | “There are three problems in this world…” Sekai Holland opened her speech “1. men, 2. men, and 3. men.” [1] “Feminism” is an interesting word. In my ignorance it used to bring to mind images of men-hating women demanding to work, wear suits, and take off their bras. The idea of studying feminism or being a feminist was as foreign to me as studying astronomy and being an alien. Born in 1982 I missed the fight for women’s rights and, without giving it a moment of appreciation, I have reaped the Read more […]

Flux, Fluidity and Turning Thirty

Jul 14, 2012 | What does it mean to have existed on a planet for thirty rotations around a sun? A sense of temporality set in. A week ago, as I went for my first morning walk as a thirty-year-old, I felt a sense of relief, a sense of excitement and a sense of fulfillment. After what feels like four years of growing anticipation (weighted by the 2012 Mayan Prophecies, the “4-years go” campaign, and an interrelated growing eco-social conscience), I had arrived. I wrote in my diary: “My twenties were great – Read more […]

Seek Understanding

Jul 19, 2012 | Even the most obscure ideas and actions come from somewhere. Rather than getting defensive, attacking, or ignoring, I recently read a good tip: seek understanding. David Harvey writes: “It is irrelevant to ask whether concepts, categories and relationships are ‘true’ or ‘false’. We have to ask, rather, what it is that produces them and what is it that they serve to produce?” [1] Thich Nhat Hanh elaborates a similar point with a metaphor: “When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you Read more […]

Willowy and Wanting

Jul 28, 2012 | “JULIET” Willowy and wanting to experiment by stretching to the time of high expectations, which the contented and closed would never wish to see, you are a beautiful model of curious discontent who like a magnet draws the lively and the lustful.   Willowy and wanting to realize the promise of so many customs, you mix the ingredients of epicureans and hedonists, cartwheel through life’s carnivals yet know the need to trim the sails, feel Read more […]

“Three Fork”: conversation beyond the norm

Jul 31, 2012 | Last Wednesday was the pilot launch of “Three Fork”, a cafe/bar that aims to stimulate “Free Thought”, conversation beyond the norm. The plan: Three D’s Drinks 730pm Dinner 8pm (& TED Talk) Discussion 830pm The night couldn’t have been more successful. Over Drinks the nine people who were selectively and spontaneously invited about an hour before the event, informal introduced themselves standing/sitting around the bar. Next everyone was encouraged to help themselves to the Read more […]

Left, Right, and Identity

Jul 31, 2012 | During the Three Fork discussions (see this morning’s post, which I didn’t want to be longer than it already was) I began to relate the tension between left and right to the tension between the two parts of our “self” in time, that Paul Ricoeur refers to as the ipse and the idem. The ipse is the “selfhood” – the you that was living in a moment sitting at school listening (or not) to a teacher talk, the you that is living in the moment right now reading these words, and the you that Read more […]

COURSERA: Technology + Education = Peaceful Revolution

Aug 03, 2012 | On the hunt for a TED Talk for our next “Three Fork” session I came across Stanford Professor Daphne Koller sharing an online education platform set to change the world… You must visit the page: https://www.coursera.org/ – so impressive! A massive network of FREE education from 16 of the world’s best universities.   Courses go for 6-10 weeks, include weekly videos to watch, homework, assignments and sometimes exams – but tailored to your needs, and all developed by 16 of the world’s Read more […]

There IS something new under the sun…

Aug 08, 2012 | “There is nothing new under the sun,” I said to Jonny, my housemate and a source of much inspiration these days. “What about this table?” he asked. “And this plant? and you? and me? There is no other table like this, or plant, and no other person who are us…” he continued. “But tables are nothing new,” I answered. “Your table is awesome, and unique and special, but it builds on things from the past: the idea of a ‘table’ for one, the idea of ‘electricity’ for another, the idea of circles, Read more […]

Pussy Riots and a Government of Pussies

Aug 18, 2012 | Governments bullying citizens, governments bullying governments, and pussy governments (like my own) abandoning their citizens to the hands of others. For all our so-called “development”, our institutions and some people’s mental states are appallingly archaic, fascist and cowardice. Doesn’t give me much faith in any of our political leaders or “democracy”… It seems a terrible combination of power and fear has the leaders of our society acting worse than children in a playground. Are the school Read more […]

Bigger Dick Foreign Policy Theory

Aug 21, 2012 | “To me war is a lot of prick waving. OK? Simple thing that’s all it is. War is a whole lot of men standing out on the field waving their pricks at one another,” said George Carlin, in his 1992 special Jammin’ in New York. “Men are insecure about the size of their dicks and so they have to kill one another over the idea. That’s what all that asshole jack bullshit is all about. That is what all that adolescent macho-male posturing and strutting in bars and locker rooms is all about. It is called Read more […]

Peace Portal

Aug 31, 2012 | The Sydney Peace Foundation has posted a Peace with Justice Links page (complied by yours truly) bringing together links to resources for those interested in knowing more about peace, conflict, justice, human rights, environmental ethics and more. Visit the full page here: Peace with Justice Links. Here are some highlights and personal favourites: Why is peace with justice important? “Peace with justice is a way of thinking and acting which promotes nonviolent solutions to everyday problems and Read more […]

Are Australians “losing their faith”?

Sep 07, 2012 | A recent article in the Wall Street Journal Blog titled Australian’s Lose Their Faith reported that 4.8 million Aussies marked “No Religion” on last year’s census.  Following this article I spent an afternoon analysing the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2011 Census. The most interesting points: “No Religion” 22.34% (made up of Atheists 0.27% ; Agnostics 0.16%; No Religion nfd 21.86%; Humanism 0.04% and Rationalism 0.02%). “Not Stated” 8.57% (which may be because of the design of the Read more […]

I want

Sep 16, 2012 | When someone goes straight to the point and says “I want…”, it can appear a little confronting, but there certainly is power in it. You know what you want and you have the confidence to ask for it. Respect. Conversing on this topic my friend observed that people often ask for things (especially in Australia) starting with “Sorry, but can I…” Are you sorry? If you were actually sorry, would you still be asking the question? In such a scenario, is “sorry” a useless and inauthentic forerunner Read more […]

The Factory Hooter has Gone!

Sep 28, 2012 | One of the best things about working with Stuart Rees is the little one-liners I am introduced to. At 5pm, or if the sun is shining, he will knock on my office door and say: “The factory hooter has gone!” The first few times he said it my response was “Huh? The what?” “The factory hooter,” he smiled, going on to explain that the “factory hooter” was the noise that sounded in Industrialising England when it was time for all the factory workers to go home. I may Fridays working from home Read more […]

A new calendar and a 70th birthday…

Oct 05, 2012 |“For my 70th birthday I would like to invite you to join me for a nude beach party,” my friend announced, dressed in a hijab and in her early 30s. “Sure!” I laughed, imagining my group of friends from university, of every colour, shape, gender and culture, imagining us in our 60s and 70s, running bare and free at a nude beach. “I might have lost my sight by then,” one of the boys sighed. “You need to give me more notice,” another one joked. It got me thinking, what would Read more […]

Words of Wisdom, Lessons for Life

Oct 20, 2012 | There’s always more to learn and a good place to start is to listen to the words of those older than ourselves: people who have lived through more years, had more experiences, made more mistakes – people who have reflected on life’s meaning and on how to best deal with life’s challenges and adversities. Last week was a significant birthday for my Dad… This photo captures some of the celebrations shared by three generations of Bennetts 🙂 Events like this inspire reflection on life (as if I Read more […]

The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Really Are

Oct 22, 2012 |No one “gets it” like Alan Watts gets it. He summarises “it” in a 160 page book called “THE BOOK: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are” (1966).  This TAG proves the pattern: no matter what I learn in the other fields and areas of scholarship, I can’t help but return to the metaphoric and comedic language of Alan Watts. These two paragraphs in the Preface to THE BOOK, (almost) captures the thesis I’m spending hours upon hours trying to write: “THIS BOOK explores an unrecognized but mighty Read more […]

Living authentically, and its anxieties

Oct 29, 2012 | I am far too aware of my being-towards-death. While Heidegger calls this “authenticity”, I call it “frick’n annoying” and a “tad bit depressing”. But it’s too late now. My ignorance is gone and like when you see a huge zit on someone’s face, it’s hard to then go back to ignoring it. For all it’s frustrations there may be something to it: an awareness of death leads to more conscious decisions in the way you live life. Awareness of death makes you reflect on what you care about, and encourages Read more […]

Dictators, Monarchs and Anarchy: on Earth and in Heaven

Nov 07, 2012 | Have you ever noticed that the interior design of churches bears a striking resemblance to courts? From the pews to the preacher, and even their outfits! There is a curious similarity between our politics and our religion, and an even more curious similarity between our systems of power within human societies and the way we imagine power structures within our universe. “God” is still imagined by many people to be a king. This metaphor originated in the time when this image came to bear Read more […]

Life is a Conversation

Nov 19, 2012 | Life is ‘“a conversation that has gone on for centuries,” that one comes in and one tries to hear others both dead and living, and eventually may add to the conversation. “But there comes a time to leave the conversation and the conversation will go on.”'[1] Paul Ricoeur saw his life as a conversation, and his was a conversation I can only dream to join… Ricoeur was a French philosopher (aren’t they all?) who wrote over 50 books and is one of the top five most important philosophers Read more […]

Justice: the Bread of the People

Nov 23, 2012 | “Justice is the bread of the people”, wrote the poet Bertolt Brecht. In the first week of November, I had more than my fair share of peace, justice and conflict… A small team at the Sydney Peace Foundation comprising of myself, our media and events coordinator Melissa, my intern Bonnie, some volunteers, lead by our Chair Stuart Rees, pulled off the 2012 Sydney Peace Prize events: flying Senator Sekai Holland and her husband Jim from Zimbabwe to Sydney to face an onslaught of media including Read more […]

Panentheism: Reframing the God debate

Nov 26, 2012 | Rather than debating “Is there are God?” shouldn’t it first be clarified “what exactly one is referring to by this word “God”? Can Panentheism provide a new slant on the God debate between New Atheists and Fundamentalist Christians? I am having a mini thesis crisis – overwhelmed by wanting to say too much on too many things, referring to too many theorists, so I thought I’d share part of it with you and see if that helps. Some of the questions I ask myself: Does “God” need to be understood Read more […]

2013… Will we make it?

Dec 03, 2012 | Does anyone else feel kind-of strange making plans for 2013? I find it hard to believe that December 2012 has arrived. It was strange enough when 2012 began and now I feel even stranger putting appointments in next year’s calendar. I am not one of the one-in-ten Australians who believe the world will end in December 2012 (recent trivia statistic), but the date has been on my radar for the last four years, and, well, 2013 hasn’t. There was so much I wanted to do before December 2012. I wanted Read more […]

Alan Watts Fan Club

Dec 03, 2012 | I’ve met two people who also can’t get enough Alan Watts, and tonight will be our first night of our small Alan Watts Fan Club! In preparation I thought it would be useful to post some thoughts and summaries of his work. Alan Watts (1915-1973) was a British-born philosopher best known for popularising Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. While he worked in many universities, including a fellowship at Harvard, giving lectures and writing books for many universities, he called himself “a philosophical Read more […]

Is Heaven Everlasting or Eternal?

Dec 07, 2012 | ‘Heaven is not eternal, it’s just everlasting,’ says Joseph Campbell. ‘I don’t follow that,’ Bill Moyers replied. ‘Heaven and hell are described as forever. Heaven is of unending time. It is not eternal. Eternal is beyond time.  The concept of time shuts out eternity.'[1] Joseph Campbell is a comparative mythologist, the great mind behind The Hero’s Journey, among his many achievements. The first time I read this quote I thought Campbell was saying that heaven is a place or Read more […]

Cosmological, Phonemological & Narrative Time

Dec 11, 2012 | There are many ways to experience time. Our society dissects the movements of the cosmos, turning slices of time into clocks and calendars. Within those structures time can seem to move at very different speeds – when I’m bored or watching the clock, minutes can pass by very slowly, and when I’m enjoying myself the hours and days pass by very fast. How do these senses of time, the first known as “cosmological time” and the latter “phenomenological time” connect with each other? Ricoeur says it is Read more […]

Questions to ask

Dec 13, 2012 | ‘The notions most worth questioning are just those which are most taken for granted.’ [1] I’m not sure who said “Truth cannot be told, it can only be found” (or something along those lines), but I believe there’s something very important in this idea. Each of us must search for our own truth/s. When you find your truth, you cannot impart it to others. You can share your truth in the context of it being your truth, understanding that the person you are sharing it with may enjoy your perspective Read more […]

Living Rituals: Old, New and Evolving

Dec 24, 2012 | It’s lovely to be in Sydney for a Christmas with family and friends, BBQs, beaches, drinks by the pool, secret Santas, Sydney-to-Hobart boat watching, and (blow up) snowmen. This year is the polar opposite (literally and metaphorically) from my Christmas in Vancouver last year, which I spent rugged up outdoor ice skating, eating, dancing and playing limbo with my bestie and a few of her French and Canadian friends. It’s interesting to think about the role of ritual in our lives. Those Read more […]

As years fly by

Dec 30, 2012 | “This NYE I know the very least I have ever known about the year head, well at least it feels that way. Work, travel, love, – all is up for grabs. I’m 28, my Saturn Returns, and I often feel perplexed by life, by the innumerous options and possibilities, and of the paradoxes that seem to lie both within me and surrounding me. I don’t always know what I want. But I do know it when I get it. Right now everything is unknown yet I’m happy, content in who I am and my maturing flexibility and perseverance. Read more […]