I've been a bit slack with my blogging the last few years, which is a shame given the great work that I'm involved in with the Sydney Peace Foundation, and the research I'm doing at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. Unfortunately there's only so much time in the day.
Unless you've worked in hospitality you don't know the work that goes into waitressing, cooking and the respect deserved for it. Everyone should work in hospitality, at least once life.
Same goes for organising events. Read more [...]
How does one make sense of large scale suffering, like that of global disasters, Auschwitz, or even cyclical poverty? Is that God's not-so-fine handiwork?
This TED Talk by Rev. Tom Honey, introduces a different idea about God that is well-known in intellectual theological circles, but not so well known outside of this.
Rev. Honey challenges the traditional conception of God as a "male boss"... a "celestial controller, a rule maker, a policeman in the sky who orders everything, and causes everything Read more [...]
"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 [...]
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.”' 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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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
Dinner 8pm (& TED Talk)
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
"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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Books on climate change tend to finish with a list of things we can do to help: buy a green bag, ride instead of drive, hang up your washing rather than using the dryer, turn off the lights, decrease consumption ... The thing is, when it comes to the big scheme of things, comparing our individual actions to the actions of corporations, government and military: what difference does it actually make?
I want to know where I should be putting my effort: is more effective for me to cut my personal Read more [...]
While developing a handout for my conflict resolution/mediation class I came across a number of communication tips that I thought worth sharing. They are good for communication in general... although I will note I find them easier to say than do!
Focus on behaviour not the person
Base feedback on direct observations rather than inferences
Use concrete behavioural descriptions not judgements to describe both positives and negatives.
Avoid words of negation: 'no', 'but', 'however'—they Read more [...]
Today I'm teaching my class some conflict resolution techniques & tips... so I thought I'd share with you.
The aim of Galtung's method is to transcend, to go beyond, the original conflicting interests, to achieve more than each party's stated goals. Not either/or, but BOTH/AND...
Mediation is usually done with both parties present. For deep conflicts, the Transcend method recommends the mediator meet with one party at a time. Conducted in a conversation style setting – the hope is to Read more [...]
Posting for convenience for a class I’m teaching… I’ll add more later.
Stanley Milgram Experiment and Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment:
Zeitgeist Moving Forward (2011) part 1 – Human Nature
In DC on Tuesday 18th October, I had a chance to observe and talk directly with protestors, learning more about what they are really about. Camps and protests have been spreading throughout the city, I came across two of them. Each were occupied by a mixed age group, mainly students, retirees, and unemployed. Some had been there a couple of days, others a couple of weeks. Some supporters I met who have jobs join the protest even if just for an afternoon, to show their support.
At the first Occupy Read more [...]
If you're not in Sydney (like me) or can't make it to protest, you can still spread the word about this peaceful protest to change the rules of our global capitalist game.
Stop banks and corporations:
- reducing humans to commodities
- controlling media
- funding both sides of wars
- destroying the environment
SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER 2:30pm
Reserve Bank of Australia
Martin Place and Macquarie Street
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=122116297893189&ref=ts
Occupy Read more [...]
What is #OccupyWallSt? Who are the 1%? Why did it take the media so long to report on it? What do protestor's want? Are they trying to bring down The Pyramid? Will they succeed?
I am teaching a class on the Philosophy of War and Peace in North Carolina, with a specific focus on the Arab Spring. Yet here in America I might be witnessing the greatest revolution of them all: the "OccupyWallSt" movement, and its children.
When I showed RapNews to students a few weeks ago, I had no idea that it Read more [...]