I’ve been wondering…

Work….does it strike you as weird that there’s this thing that most of us hate – and yet we have to compete to be allowed to do it, like an odd sort of board game your uncle brings out on Boxing Day.  Throw a six and you get to spend twelve hours a day in a prison shuffling papers, or de-feathering chooks! But of course, what we actually want is money. No money without work, right? But suppose you got paid a living wage whether you worked or not?

A few weeks ago about eight of us rural hicks tooled down to the Community Hall to watch the film Free Lunch Society (we had to bring a plate – does that count as a free lunch?). BUT, said a particularly suspicious woman afterwards, if the government PAY us, does that mean they CONTROL us? Be that as it may…what would you do, if you didn’t HAVE to? (I guess I’d write, and clean house for old ladies. I like old ladies.)

Turning from one kind of dream to another, is there something wrong with us ladies, the way we hoover up all these novels about brooding, muscle-bound billionaires who force us to submit to their cruel desires (granted, we LIKE being made passionate love to by hunks, who wouldn’t? But the whole point seems to be that we DON’T…and yet we must. Sick…or what?) Do you like being ordered around? Or is it a harmless game, like…having a thing for anal porn?

I’ve been reading a lot about domestic abuse (research for my current novel) and have experienced some…it was not particularly sexy. Granted, there’s a rush when a guy wants you so bad he throws you onto the bed and ‘takes’ you…IF you’re in the mood. It palls, though – especially when you wake up in the night and put your hand on his leg and he throws a tantrum because he’s the one who’s supposed to do the taking. I’ve had a guy put his hands around my throat. I’ve had a man force sex on me. I’ve had a man – six foot four and full of muscle, as the song goes – jump up and roar at me. For a while I tried to fix it, as women so often do… We say men need to change – they do, and maybe so do we. Perhaps self-respect, autonomy, the right not to feel afraid – is more important than love. Maybe we need to learn to put LESS value on love, to care a little less…the new feminism?

I had a German backpacker here lately. She was lovely, but she wouldn’t watch the news! Why not? Because she said it was depressing…you can’t change anything, after all. You can pick up your rubbish and turn off the lights, but what can you do about Them – better to look away. So what’s the difference between living in a…what’s it called?…oh yeah, democracy…and under a dictatorship? The power to choose between Those and Them, once every four years? And what if THEY take over while you’re not looking and next thing you know…bam, you’re in the Third Reich! Maybe it’s our duty to keep looking…what do you think?

Poor old democracy…I was at the markets the other day and bumped into Suspicious Lady. Again (well, it’s a small place). “Our local council,” she said, “is completely corrupt and useless!” “Yes,” chimed in her grandson, a bearded lad in his twenties, “I’d rather we had a monarchy. At least kings aren’t tied to any particular interest, and they’re trained to rule, right?” If even Generation X want Henry VIII back, are we in trouble?

And on a personal note, I just ran out of water. I’ve got two rainwater tanks: one’s empty, the other nearly. When I walk around, the grass crunches like straw. City people I know have been telling me they’re looking for boltholes…little hideaways in the country where they can hide from the collapse of civil society, when climate change has fucked us all up. On board as I am with this plan…how common is it?….I can’t help thinking, yes, but what will you do when your tanks run dry. What will we all do?

Well, I ordered up a water truck. An acquaintance bought a house in New Zealand. Hard to imagine that any of this borderline survivalist stuff will be required…but I admit, my dried up creek, and the tanks, have me spooked. When the river runs dry…

The beautiful photo is by Tom Gainor on Unsplash.

48 Comments

  1. It’s exhausting keeping up with all the horrible shit going on in the world. I find that I ebb and flow with my enthusiasm to keep up. I keep up for a while, and then have to retreat for a while. I guess I’ll never bury my head in the sand completely, though, because apathy would bore me – lol!

    The concept of a universal income is interesting. I think we are wired to always strive for a bit more, but if we had a guaranteed income, would that ‘more’ equate to more as we know it now, or would we get more creative about what ‘more’ meant?

    1. The idea is that if you have a basic income, you are free to earn more in whatever way you want, but you’re no longer dependent on employment to live. So it gives us a lot more choice. Part of the rationale is that technology will get rid of most jobs anyway and provide us with the necessities, so we’ll have to rethink the system.

      1. I must admit that I do like that concept. Imagine having enough money to live on comfortably, and being free to use our time in the pursuits that fulfil and/or appeal to us. I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime, but if it’s affordable, I like it. Of course, we would have to also think of ways to avoid “the devil makes work for idle hands” syndrome.

      2. Well, that got me thinking. It’s one thing to think about this in an abstract way, and another thing entirely to actually consider it seriously. In three years time, when I’m 65, I can stop working if I want to, and live on the NZ superannuation. However, it’s only really enough to get by on, so I’ll probably continue working for extra income at least part-time. NZ superannuation isn’t means-tested, so I can earn as much as I want to over and above it (yes, it can get abused by those who don’t need it), so in that respect, it’s a bit like the universal income. Except we don’t have quite the same oomph left in our bodies to climb mountains and trek across deserts 🙂 However, our thinking and values can change, as does our sense of freedom, so we can find ourselves doing things we might not have dared to, or been able to, when we were younger. What I’m saying in a roundabout way, is that this is something that is actually going to happen for me soon, so your question is very close to home. I’m making a list 🙂 But it would revolve around writing, books, feminism, and animal rights activism, I guess. Seems like I’m both a nerd and a fighter 🙂

    1. Same here. I hate our PM, loathe him, but the alternative isn’t much better. But what can we do? Maybe we need a platform which helps ordinary people go into politics, rather than lying creeps…

    2. Well, DEMS don’t have a habit of exploding the deficit as all recent GOP admins have. Ensuring health care is a nice DEM goal, as is protecting women’s reproductive rights and everyone’s right to vote. Other than that, climate change is real amongst DEMS. Ok, I will stop now. Minimum wage? Sorry.

      1. Clearly, DEM is the only way to vote if you’re in the US. But there are some underlying problems with the system – one being the need for people to ‘compete’ to be useful. Leaving a rump of people who aren’t useful and are seen as not contributing – people with disabilities, old people, parents and such. Also the view of paid work as the only work really worth doing, thus the more people we get into it, the better. Mothers work so grandparents have to mind the kids. Then the grandparents are told THEY have to get out there – so we pay childminders. Then the grandparents get old and sick and we pay nursing homes. There’s something off about all this worship of the dollar.

  2. What a great post and I have to agree with your German pack-packer, I haven’t watched the news or read a paper since Brexit started 3 – 4years ago. Politicians/media have done so much damage to their reputations and integrity this time that there is no way back. As for the sex thing I thought women were becoming more and more recognised as humans rather than objects, but apparently abuse is on the rise, maybe it’s the men who are scared? Scared that women are threatening their testosterone fuelled dominance in the world haha x

    1. I do think a lot of men are uneasy. Like, if I’m not in charge, how do I get respect as a man? My ex was clearly conflicted about that. But about not keeping up with the news… aren’t you worried that whatever does happen might go under your radar, and then it’ll be too late? I am.

  3. We have friends who live in Picton, Australia. Saw them in Las Vegas at the end of November. He is saying that the lack of rain there this year is the worst in years. Hope you get some rain soon!

  4. It’s hard for me to imagine living with that drought – here in rainy England, global warming is set to increase the wind and rain, and maybe the cold, rather than increasing the temperature. But to be running out of the most important resource for life and have to get it trucked in – that’s awful.

    Brexit has absolutely saturated everything for the last 3 years here. I was getting into it all as the general election loomed, with an opportunity for real change. But now it’s (big) business as usual with the Conservatives’ massive majority, and I can’t be arsed to watch the train wreck.

      1. I voted for my local Labour candidate. In that sense, I supported Corbyn, but, like a lot of people, my early enthusiasm for him waned when he seemed to run out of steam as the party leader. The stupid “first-past-the-post system”, and the fact that individual constituencies form little mini-elections to send their party rep to Parliament, meant that the two main factions – those generally opposing Brexit and generally left wing or more middling, (Labour, Lib Dems, Green) on the one hand, and the “Tories” (Conservative Party) and the Brexit Party on the other – restricted their candidates to give their Brexit position more chance of gaining the seat, and there was lots of tactical voting, especially those anti-Tories sick of the way things have been going forever just trying to get the current government out.

        I would have voted Green on principle, but the Greens didn’t forward a candidate where I live for that reason – not to dilute the votes for Labour and Lib Dem – and only the Lib Dems were likely to win here, so they were the tactical choice. But I gave up voting tactically a while ago, so I went for my second best, Labour, who hadn’t a cat’s chance in hell of getting the seat. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

        Tactical voting and collusion by parties forwarding candidates is one more democracy-destroying habit that’s become more normal (and Brexit and social media have put all the trickery on a high heat). Hopefully, the current political chaos will stimulate conversation towards radical change in the whole system…or the status quo will grind on with everything getting worse until there’s bloody revolution, which could lead to global conflict the planet probably can’t survive, because it’s a global political problem, hyper-capitalism eating itself.

        I keep hoping we’re somewhere near “rock bottom”, from which we’ll bounce. There are good signs and a lot of good work has been done already, but so far we’re not there and still going down, like an alcoholic who’s finally got used to saying, “Yeah, I really need to change,” but hasn’t picked up the phone to book into rehab. We just had another major climate talks that went, “Would love to help, but… isn’t Trump a spoil-sport?… Oh, is that the time? Must catch my flight home.” 😦

      2. That’s very witty, re the ‘oh I must be going’ remark:) Yeah, voting is a very problematic way of participating in democracy – there are so many ways of one’s vote NOT counting, and then, after all, it’s just a vote. Then again, if we had a more direct democracy, stupid people (hits self – I mean ‘respectable voters’!) would get even more say in what goes on.

  5. Why don’t you pretend that you are already on a living wage and live like that right now? Can you wake up every morning and tell yourself that? See if your instincts kick in and you naturally want to organise yourself to earn more, or survive better, or do something else? Are your savings so precious to you? You may find it’s not what you expected, it may be hard, you may find you don’t change your life one bit and you waste it, but at least you will have learned that. Live your life the way you are dreaming about for once in your life! It can be exciting and a challenge! You will focus on life and maybe understand what is really important to you. Isn’t this the ultimate form of feminism? Australia won’t let you starve to death, there are generous people here who will pay for your basic needs already. You’re in a very privileged position to try this. So try it! You may even go back and appreciate your old life a little more. We only learn from suffering and crisis, from the feeling that the world is not how we want it to be, and from personally overcoming or transcending that. If you think it’s not right, change yourself, not everyone else. The world is exactly how it is. Full stop. The evils you see are the evils YOU see. If you understand that, you will understand that Trump, or anyone else you have issues with, is your teacher.

    1. This is a lot of nonsense, and a rather ironic lecture about how to “change yourself, not everyone else”, with a bit of mansplaining feminism thrown in.

      It’s unreasonable to suggest people “live like” some condition exists by pretending it is so. The facts of life, which you acknowledge when you say, “The world is exactly how it is,” make that unwise, if not psychologically impossible, and “you might waste your life, but at least you’ll have learned that” is certainly bad advice unless you believe life is a rehearsal for future lives (which you may, of course, but there’s no evidence of it). “Liv[ing] your life the way you are dreaming about,” is not “the ultimate form of feminism,” nor, as far as I can see, has anything whatever to do with feminism. And Australia, like any state, region or community, will indeed “let you starve to death”, if push comes to global-warming shove.

      I can’t find anything other than “the world is exactly how it is” that I agree with. We don’t “only learn from suffering and crisis.” The best response to “evils you see,” even if they are self-defined, is not always attempting personal transcendence of them, and includes advising and trying to change others (which admits your own attempt to do so here, if it didn’t include the advice not to do what you’re doing). I suppose Trump is a “teacher”, but only by demonstrating how not to do everything.

      1. Please don’t be sexist and belittle someone purely by their sex for providing ideas, which the term ‘mansplaining’ does. It might make you feel good about yourself for 5 seconds, but it says more about you than me. I could put a few prefixes in front of ‘splaining’ to describe what you’ve just done, but I wouldn’t consider that clever. Perhaps you can argue some more with the Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad “This is perfect, that is perfect, perfect comes from perfect, Take perfect from perfect and the remainder is perfect. May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.”. Beautiful isn’t it? The world is perfect, and you make it what it is for you. Don’t let your thoughts hold you back. Be who you are. That is feminism! Argue with Buddha as he is the one who said ‘Life is suffering’. Carl Jung notes the Individuation process is painful, your own path is the most painful to you and you will avoid it. Don’t expect others to look after you, or do anything for you. Don’t want them to. It is this suffering which brings the joy to life. Be unreasonable about what you’ve become. Trump as a teacher is about understanding yourself, and why it brings out emotions in you. Watch them from afar. You are not them.

      2. So it’s alright for you to give life coaching based on your world view, but if someone else criticises that advice, they’re doing it to “feel good about [themselves] for 5 minutes” and “feel clever” with their “prefixes”? Your post didn’t make you feel better, and clever, I suppose, for a period of time? Presumably because you’re a Boddhisattva and have transcended your ego.

        I’m to treat Trump as a teacher and change myself through that learning, you say, but you apparently can’t learn from me. I’m nearing my sixtieth year, having read a fair bit on Buddhism and practised Yoga for a good number of decades, I’ve learned quite a bit about psychology and philosophy. I’m guessing you’re fairly young.

        I could indeed “argue some more with the Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad”, or with the Buddha (as far as we know what he might have said). Dozens of sects of Buddhists argue with each other’s version of Buddhism all the time. The point is, it is YOU who needs to argue with these things, i.e. think about them critically. You have just swallowed them whole, haven’t you? Which is why you can’t even apply them while you tell other people to. You have not used any method of analysis, neither philosophical nor empirical, to validate whether any of those pronouncements are true. I can say that fairly confidently because I have analysed them, and they don’t stand up to reason or empirical investigation.

        My hunch was right – you do believe in multiple lives (unless that’s a bit of the Buddha you’ve argued with and don’t agree with). Some of us have moved on from ancient superstitions that make people feel better but are contrary to the best analysis of the world. Humans are just animals, evolved to procreate and thereby pass on their genes. We’re a watery bag of chemicals sloshing about on a planet for a few decades, once. There is no acceptable evidence – or logical reason – for reincarnation.

        Taking perfect from perfect and perfection remaining is a clever-sounding koan that actually means nothing. Yes, it’s “beautiful”, if you find happy-sounding meaningless words beautiful. All it really says to you is “no need to worry about anything” (and you accuse me of doing things to feel better). I don’t argue with people like you to feel better. It makes me feel worse, if anything. It’s an hour or so I won’t get back. I do it because people did it to me once upon a time, when I spouted nonsense like yours, and since then I haven’t been able to thank them enough for waking me up. I’m passing it forward. Wake up.

        Come to whatever conclusion you want about life, but not before you’ve learned to think. Don’t pick up an old book and go, “Oh, that’s beautiful, it must be true”, and then uncomprehendingly wish people peace because everything’s perfect, while you clearly don’t think it is or you wouldn’t be lecturing them on how to pretend they have universal basic income.

        You advised someone to pretend things aren’t the way they are, and now define feminism as “be who you are”. I’m ignoring the literal reading of this tautology, accepting that it indicates “don’t pretend to be something you’re not”. As I pointed out already, it’s odd to advise someone to pretend things aren’t as they are (and the suggestion that we project our view of it outwards), while also saying the “world is exactly as it is”.

        Finally, “Be who you are” is a poor definition of feminism. It describes authenticity, so calling it feminism suggests something unhelpfully confusing about gender. My “mansplaining” comment was to remind you that, as a man, it’s sensitive territory telling a woman what feminism is, especially when you seem to have got an indefensible definition, being who they are, and told them to pretend to be someone else. Do you see?

      3. I have to agree that pretending that things are like we want them to be, is not a long term solution. It only fulfils a short term fantasy. I also once sucked up all that ‘new age’ stuff about just saying what we want, and then it comes to us. Eventually, I discovered that the only way personal change comes about, is by brutally honest about ourselves and our situation. Strip away all the stories we shroud our life in, and look at what’s left. Then decide what is both possible and practicable for us to do about it. It’s not actually as dire as it sounds, and not having to keep up a pretence is a liberation that opens up our lives more than shuts it down.

      4. I agree with you, Lettersquash (although I’ll stick with debating the ideas rather than the person). I think there’s a certain amount of truth in ‘be the change’ and all that kind of thing, but it’s not sufficient. I could become a Boddisatva or Jesus Christ or whatever the most perfect form of human is, but that doesn’t change the world…not unless everyone else follows me into a state of nirvana. I think there is still basic disagreement in some circles that the world is in crisis: a friend who called round yesterday is part of a group of mates who think all the trouble is caused by greenies and there’s really nothing to worry about. But everyone is just shouting into the air, on all sides – there is no reasoned debate.

      5. I actually laughed out loud when I read your comment about your friend who thinks that the crisis is all the fault of the greenies. It’s not that I haven’t heard this before, but it’s gone from being something to debate, to something to laugh about in disbelief that there are those who still have this opinion. I watched a guy on YouTube a wee while ago, who claimed that the fires in Australia were the fault of the greenies, because they put a stop to slashing down native bush, thereby making it a fire risk. Sigh.

    2. Well, funnily enough, I already am doing that. I have enough superannuation that I can manage (unsupported by the state) on that and the money I earn writing. I enjoy my self-chosen life on a rural property, writing – I don’t want to be earning money in the rat race. So far so good.
      You say ‘change yourself, not everyone else’. In my view, that only works to an extent. Yes, I can have a lovely time on my property writing and growing vegies and stuff…but let me explain what it’s like right now, this minute. The sky is grey with smoke. The entire state i live on is in an emergency – bushfires are everywhere. Temperatures are soaring, records are being set. I can’t address this by ‘changing myself’ and yet it affects me – it actually threatens my home and my life. So in my view, we need to be active in a wider sphere. Otherwise we’ll find ourselves living in our little happy bubbles while the world burns.

  6. Well, I think LS completely missed the point. Horse to water, that’s all I can do. Yes, it’s okay to give life coaching, if you want to call it that, based on my world view. Everyone has a different view, it’s called open discussion. No, you can’t throw out ‘Mansplaining’ to insult someone based on their sex, it’s sexist and it’s not clever, and I’m calling you out on it.

    If you don’t agree with what I have said, great, go live you life according to whatever philosophy your heart or head desires. You seem to think you can read my mind and understand my thoughts already, so there’s no need to say much more. Be careful with that though, it’s not what you think it is. My impression is you want to impress, but you’re missing the mark, it’s not a real discussion, it’s you trying to be clever. There is wisdom outside you. And there’s nothing to win, so let go.

    My point: If you’re sitting around waiting for a ‘Living Wage’ to do all the things you want to do (read the original post!), maybe there is another way to look at it.

    1. @butimbeautiful, thanks for the reminder, and for allowing an almost off-topic, antagonistic “discussion” in these comments. If I’ve crossed the line, I’m sorry.

      @thingsihavethoughtof
      “Horse to water, that’s all I can do.”
      No, you can also have some evidence or reason for the “water” you’re leading the horse to. You haven’t given any, even after being challenged on its value. If it’s a valid world view, you’d not be defensive about criticism of it, you’d correct my ignorance, presumably. The Upanishads and Buddha says – I don’t accept those. If you want to say why your views are true, you can do that, but if you don’t do that, you’re just leading horses to some old liquid or other. Look, I’m not doing this to be awkward or horrible to you – I’m doing it because I wasted years of my life believing things from old Indian fakirs, essentially just religious texts written THOUSANDS of years before people even invented science, and I’m hoping to head other people off at the pass (my whole blog for 11 years is based on that). I spent enough time trying to get people to drink your kind of water before I realised it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. It resembles more the stuff that comes out the back end.

      “Yes, it’s okay to give life coaching, if you want to call it that, based on my world view. Everyone has a different view, it’s called open discussion.”
      Yes, and it includes challenge of each other’s views, and relevant defence of them. Welcome to that part.

      “No, you can’t throw out ‘Mansplaining’ to insult someone based on their sex, it’s sexist and it’s not clever, and I’m calling you out on it.”
      OK, fair enough. On consideration, I do see where you were coming from, and I was overreacting. I hope you understand. I cringe when I see a man telling a woman how to think and behave and then ask (rhetorically, I assume) if it isn’t “the ultimate form of feminism”. Perhaps it’s irrational of me – men can have opinions on what feminism is – but there is a line somewhere that I gather women experience being crossed all too often, and I imagined you’d crossed it. If I was too sensitive, I apologise.

      “If you don’t agree with what I have said, great, go live you life according to whatever philosophy your heart or head desires.”
      Sub-text, “…but don’t criticise me; if you don’t agree with me, go away.”

      “You seem to think you can read my mind and understand my thoughts already, so there’s no need to say much more. Be careful with that though, it’s not what you think it is.”
      No, the way open discussion works is each has to make certain guesses about the reasons others hold their views (especially when these aren’t spelled out), and the other person can confirm or correct those views. You have done neither. And I don’t think my guessing was too much of a stretch. Why do you trust the Upanishad quote, or the Buddha’s reported speech? Do you believe in reincarnation? If so, why?

      “My impression is you want to impress, but you’re missing the mark, it’s not a real discussion, it’s you trying to be clever. There is wisdom outside you. And there’s nothing to win, so let go.”
      I do want to impress, and I enjoy using my intelligence. That doesn’t make it “not a real discussion”. What makes it that is your inability (perfecly understandable – I’m not blaming you) to gain enough perspective to DEFEND your beliefs with rational argument or scientific evidence. I haven’t provided evidence or argument for the modern scientific view of life, but you haven’t challenged me on those. It seems to me you’re trying not to have this discussion. You wanted to dump your view and have it accepted as wisdom and leave it at that. Unfortunately for you, there is something to lose, and it’s your world view.

      “My point: If you’re sitting around waiting for a ‘Living Wage’ to do all the things you want to do (read the original post!), maybe there is another way to look at it.”
      Well, that’s a much better thing to have said, but you didn’t say that (read the original post!). And, as we discovered, it would still be wasting your keyboard tapping, because that “if” didn’t apply – the author isn’t “sitting around waiting for a ‘Living Wage'” (I think you mean Universal Basic Income, by the way – a living wage is something else). And you didn’t say “maybe there’s another way to look at it” – you prescribed a particular way to do it. I read the original post. I quoted it extensively.

      I’ll go away now and leave you in peace.

      1. Ok, well if you think you’re able to analyse scripture and disregard it’s meaning from doing yoga a few years then good on you (Yoga, or TaiChi, is for people who can’t meditate because their mind wanders too much, it is a preparatory step for people who can’t meditate). If you can’t see the value of stepping back from your thoughts, then you are caught up in your own. If you can see your thoughts, then you are not your thoughts. The idea of meditation is a practical one, saying a mantra over and over bores your brain so that it goes back to the right hemisphere to see the big picture. (Left hemisphere, focus, Right Hemisphere, big picture to chose what to focus on. Bonneh’s Illusion will tell you how often you move back to the Right Hemisphere). You’re training your brain to step back to see the bigger picture, if you’re constantly focusing on things, you never see it. Seeing more of the bigger picture gives you insights. You can watch your mind go into it’s usual routine, from whatever captured it’s attention to the resultant emotions that transpire. If you can see that, you can change your response. Not for changes sake, but because you realise what you are doing is like a robot with buttons to push. It’s as simple as that. People who have done this a long time have a lot of insights. Eventually they are so clear to be very close to the truth, and scripture is the result. So trying to understand scripture with your mind is impossible. It speaks to the truth beyond your thoughts.
        You don’t have to agree with any of this, but I’ve taken the time to explain it, so at least appreciate that.
        In terms of Trump being your teacher, it seems he may bring out your robotic reactions, and it is a good place to watch those reactions from a distance, to see how your mind works. Do you really think a Trump-hater is a balanced and reasonable person? Why hate anyone?
        In terms of you trying to paint me in your mind, you do seem a little paranoid in that you must set me up as something in your mind in order for you to win that emotional battle in your own mind first. Where did the ‘hunch’ that I believe in multiple lives come from? That’s just silly. What has my age got to do with anything, do you think it makes you wiser? Does it make you feel better that you can look down your nose at me like your picture? Whether I believe in re-incarnation, whether I’m a Buddhist or anything. It’s just a crazy mind going crazy. Your character is on display. Labeling someone or something is lazy, you put them there to fit them into your world view. It’s much more complex than that, and your personal reactions are very small part of the overall picture, and are just that, your reactions. Be open to new ideas, let go. None of this physically hurts you, take it on.
        If you think you gain your personal esteem from your intelligence then I can see why you don’t like Twitter and you are set up to fail. You don’t ‘win’ discussions by telling people you are smarter, but it seems this is your tact. That is arrogance, and is really quite juvenile. It’s an old, old saying, that only the intelligent person knows they know nothing. Someone also once said, be humble. Stand back, watch what people say, and try to learn. Be respectful.
        And my original post did exactly say to try to look at your life differently, which was on-point with living as though there is a living wage. The almighty you just didn’t understand it.
        And finally, I hope you could see that riding up on your white horse to save the feminist damsel from the fire-breathing mansplainer is quite ironic. We are all grown-ups, and I hope you can chuckle with me in hindsight on that one.

      2. I was going to leave you in peace, but I think one more is in order:

        “Yoga, or TaiChi, is for people who can’t meditate because their mind wanders too much, it is a preparatory step for people who can’t meditate”

        No, it isn’t. You imagined I was talking about asana when I said I did Yoga. I was using the correct definition of Yoga, as the complete spiritual discipline. Doing asana is traditionally used as a preparatory step towards meditation. Meditation is part of Yoga. Actually, asana should be practised as a meditation (eventually, everying, like writing a blog comment, should be a meditation). I did both, and still do. I taught meditation classes for years and my mother was a Yoga teacher. I suspect there’s little you can tell me about the subject.

        The left and right brain explanation is mere rationalization of how you think “scripture” came about. Rationalization is making up plausible explanations for things that haven’t actually been established as true in the first place. I urge you to consider that these things are the other way round – people guessed at what their experiences might mean, creating folk mythology, or “scripture”. Half of the brain does not see the big picture, sorry to disappoint, or we’d have evolved without the other half of our brain and would see everything perfectly. What’s the point of that “thinking” half, just to get in the way? (Try not to answer that with more rationalization that accepts the premise. It’s a serious criticism of the silly theory. People can rationalize any bizarre nonsense, that they’re aliens from Mars or Jesus is coming back…you have to weigh up evidence.)

        “Where did the ‘hunch’ that I believe in multiple lives come from? That’s just silly.”
        You quoted the Buddha, which suggested that you believed Buddhist teaching. The Buddha believed in multiple lives. The central philsophy behind Buddhism (as an outgrowth of Hinduism and Yoga) is a fundamental belief in reincarnation. The goal for a living being in these philosophies is to “merge with reality”, i.e. die and not come back, finally to be free of the “Wheel of Rebirth”. That’s what all the Yoga is for. I brought it up in order for you to think whether you do or don’t believe in reincarnation, if you’re arguing for it or not, to tell me why you believe what you believe. I was giving you the opportunity to engage in open discussion. Apparently, you’d rather be upset that I might form opinions about you that may or may not be true. You still haven’t said even now which it is!

        “What has my age got to do with anything, do you think it makes you wiser?”
        Probably, yes. Wisdom takes time. I look back on my younger self, who – as I said – “taught” new-age stuff like you do, and…well, I was wrong. I was relatively unwise. I would argue with him and give him advice and hope to wake him up. Do you think you’re wiser than me because you’re younger? That would be daft, wouldn’t it? (I don’t know you are, but it’s looking that way.)

        “Does it make you feel better that you can look down your nose at me like your picture? Whether I believe in re-incarnation, whether I’m a Buddhist or anything. It’s just a crazy mind going crazy. Your character is on display. Labeling someone or something is lazy, you put them there to fit them into your world view.”
        Labelling is a necessary part of having a conversation. You’re doing it all the time. It is also a necessary part of thinking anything. Both our characters are on display. I’m not a crazy mind going crazy, and you have no real reason to suspect that. That’s not civil, either, is it, calling me mad and suggesting my avatar looks snooty.

        And note how you’re lecturing me on “labeling” while you call me “a crazy mind going crazy”. It’s a long haul from where you are, but you have to be dedicated to not contradicting yourself, avoiding hypocrisy, avoiding projecting things you’re doing (and perhaps don’t think you should) onto others.

        All the best,
        John

      1. @Lettersquash. Your post is mildly troubling. If you’ve actually taught meditation but don’t understand why you do it, I feel sorry for your students in that you’ve wasted their time and probably discouraged them from pursuing it further. And later trashing the scripture behind it shows you never really understood them, or were taught what they meant. Meditation is a tool, based on a philosophy. This is the problem of the West cherry picking out meditation or yoga from an overall way of life, not understanding what it’s supposed to be and not doing it properly. Just because your mum taught yoga doesn’t mean you should be unleashed to teach meditation without any philosophical backing. You can’t master this on your own either, you need a teacher.
        The rest of your comment you are just clutching at straws, not really worth a response. It’s hard to explain the benefits of doing meditation clearly to someone else if they haven’t experienced it. You just have to experience it, that’s why so many metaphors and stories are used. It’s when you start to understand the scripture. I would encourage you to go to a school that teaches the philosophies.
        Also, it is well known scientifically that the left hemisphere of your brain controls analytical and rational thought, while the right controls intuitive, holistic perception. Just google ‘left hemisphere vs. right hemisphere’, that is where I just got those words from. The science that backs up Bonneh’s Illusion is also well known. There is a lot of research describing how meditation works on the brain.
        So stop trying to ‘win’ any argument. Imho you aren’t the greatest logical thinker, you are emotionally responding with more flawed thinking because I’ve pointed out flaws in your thinking! You have already conceded in your last comment that you agreed my original point was ‘ok’ now you understood it. And you apologised for your sexist comment. That’s it, finished! And yet you are arguing now for what reason? This is a teaching moment. Let go.

      2. @bib – I’m sorry to go on like this. You’ve been very patient and accommodating.

        @pretendingtothinkaboutstuff
        “you’ve actually taught meditation but don’t understand why you do it,”
        Wrong.

        “I feel sorry for your students in that you’ve wasted their time and probably discouraged them from pursuing it further.”
        Your feelings about something you don’t know are irrelevant. Not only do you not think well, you imagine your powers of perception are better than they are.

        “And later trashing the scripture behind it shows you never really understood them, or were taught what they meant.”
        Wrong. I understood them. I didn’t “trash” scripture, I “transcended” it (I’d say if I wanted to sound pompous like a new-age guru). I realised it was irrational and ignorant. What is one supposed to do when one realises one was wrong about a philosophy?

        “Meditation is a tool, based on a philosophy.”
        Yes, it can be. More centrally, it’s a range of psychological phenomena, for which different explanations can be given. It’s quite possible that cats meditate, in that they might show similar psychic states, but they’re not generally Hindus.

        “This is the problem of the West cherry picking out meditation or yoga from an overall way of life, not understanding what it’s supposed to be and not doing it properly.”
        I disagree. It is better that we “cherry pick”, because the “overall way of life” is ignorant and dangerous. If you would actually engage with a discussion of the philosophy you imagine you support, you would find its flaws, but you don’t – you even refuse to comment on one of its most fundamental propositions: we live many many times, over and over again, suffering, until we become enlightened, and then vanish into the “Void”. Instead of discussing the issues, you insult the person trying to have an “open discussion” of them.

        “Just because your mum taught yoga doesn’t mean you should be unleashed to teach meditation without any philosophical backing.”
        I had plenty of “philosophical backing”.

        “You can’t master this on your own either, you need a teacher.”
        So the teachers tell you, while they liine their pockets and build new ashrams. Other teachers actually tell you you only need the teacher of experience. There are many teachers teaching different things. My teaching is that all that religious stuff is incorrect.

        “It’s hard to explain the benefits of doing meditation clearly to someone else if they haven’t experienced it.”
        Wrong. It’s not difficult to explain the benefits of doing meditation, and I experience(d) it. Do you realise just how much projection you engage in?

        “You just have to experience it, that’s why so many metaphors and stories are used. It’s when you start to understand the scripture. I would encourage you to go to a school that teaches the philosophies.”
        Which school did you go to for meditation, and which “scripture” did it teach you? Why are you so shy about telling us? Metaphors and stories, ah yes, those fingers pointing towards truth. You don’t seem to recognise yet, I’ve been there. I’ve done it. I understand the “scripture”; it’s wrong! The metaphors and stories could be pointing towards truth, but they also might not. How will you know which if you don’t think about it enough? The lie behind what you’re saying here is that somehow when you do meditation properly, with a teacher, you may eventually find the truth and know it directly, behind the thinking mind. You don’t have to explain it to me, or pretend that I don’t know that. I’ve been doing this for decades. What you have to accept is that some people DISAGREE, after LONG PRACTICE and LEARNING and THOUGHT and DISCUSSION. Sure, there are many benefits of meditation, and it is extraordinary to learn. That doesn’t mean that the philosophy certain medtitators thousands of years ago came up with is the correct interpretation of the experience.

        “Also, it is well known scientifically that the left hemisphere of your brain controls analytical and rational thought, while the right controls intuitive, holistic perception. Just google ‘left hemisphere vs. right hemisphere’, that is where I just got those words from.”
        And if you google a bit more, you’ll discover that this does not imply what you said earlier. It’s another “metaphor and story” (a New-Age one) they tell you, to convince you to stop thinking and trust whatever it is they’re pushing.

        “The science that backs up Bonneh’s Illusion is also well known. There is a lot of research describing how meditation works on the brain.”
        I’m sorry, what is it you think this proves? People’s brains have different speeds they switch at? Does that mean the Buddha actually revisited his past lives under the Boddhi Tree, or that he imagined that?

        “So stop trying to ‘win’ any argument. Imho you aren’t the greatest logical thinker, you are emotionally responding with more flawed thinking because I’ve pointed out flaws in your thinking!”
        I’m sorry, I missed those. Which flaws in my thinking did you point out in your so-called humble opinion? And can you tell me what you’re doing replying to me if not to win an argument, or why you think I’m doing that, and it’s wrong, but you’re not?

        “You have already conceded in your last comment that you agreed my original point was ‘ok’ now you understood it.”
        Er, not really. I said that now you re-wrote what you wrote earlier to something more acceptable, I accept it, like when Trump tweets that he really meant when he said he’d build a wall yesterday is he might build a wall at some point if he feels like it.

        “And you apologised for your sexist comment.”
        Yes. I’m like that. I read and think and tell people if I’ve misjudged something. Even so – even if “mansplaining” was a little off – you’ve managed to use this to avoid the actual point, that doing the things you want to do (by pretending you’re in receipt of universal basic income) is not “feminism”.

        “That’s it, finished! And yet you are arguing now for what reason? This is a teaching moment. Let go.”
        Well, I’m trying to finish, but each time I explain why I think your trust in scripture may be ill-founded, ask you for more details about which bits you believe and which you don’t, or why you believe them, you send more accusations and insults irrelavant to the discussion of those issues.

        Ciao then.

      3. Oh, I’ve been learning more about Boneh’s Illusion and the brain switching behind it.

        “It works like this. When your detail conscious right brain is in charge, it sees everything, including the yellow dots.

        “But when the big picture left brain takes over, it concentrates on the main pattern – the swirling blue dots – and ignores the yellow dots.

        “The dots are still there, but people can’t see them.”
        https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/brain-switch/11007838

        Not a great advert for left-brain thinking, is it, if it sees “the big picture”, but that means it misses things that are there! It’s the good old right brain that worries about details and sees them too. And, as they say, the devil’s in the detail – where philosophy is concerned too.

  7. Well, that was a good argument! Although probably we could have done without the name calling, tempting as it is:) People’s worldviews are so different – and yet, I think facts should bring us together, oddly. A fact is really not that flexible, unless you wilfully try to make it so. We’re losing topsoil – fact. We’re heating up – fact. We’re losing water – fact. The outside world affects us, whether we like it or not – fact (fact-ish. I mean, one could be like one of those Buddhist monks who don’t feel a thing. But then, one would probably starve.)

    1. Strange thing is that our world views aren’t so different. If it was a face-to-face conversation, you wouldn’t throw things back in people’s faces before you understand something. You let the conversation continue and hear the other side, then offer yours.There is a bit more humanity in it. But (again I’m starting a sentence with a but) this is our online world, fast to judge as we don’t have the patience to wait more than a few seconds for a response. I know I’m just as guilty as everyone else. Every word of every sentence is nuanced by your own experience, so every person will read every story differently, hear every argument differently.

  8. Mr. Lettersquash,

    If you’re not stubborn I think you’ll be embarrassed when you read back your posts in a few weeks.

    I now don’t want to say ‘Let it go’ because it may be a learning moment for you. Perhaps write the next letter to yourself and put it in a drawer to read to yourself another day (ala Abraham Lincoln).

    Regards.

  9. little hideaways in the country used to be good till we had those terrible bushfires down here === and during that fortnight, as your friend said, I didn’t watch the news, it was so depressing. A pall of smoke still hangs over the city but it’s starting to lift

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