The word "Fundamentalism" might make you think of people with unwavering beliefs who refuse to consider alternative views. You could be thinking of people committed to a political ideology on the far left or far right, or maybe a form of religious fundamentalism.
The word is often used interchangeably with "Extremism", which may make you think of suicide bombers, hate crimes against gays, sexual discrimination against women—anyone who use a "Holy Scripture" to justify violence. Yet you might Read more [...]
‘Extensive studies of colour perception over several decades have made it clear that there are no colours in the external world, independent of the process of perception.’
Since I was a child I've wondered if what I see to be green is the same as what you see to be green. I wondered if I were to switch places with someone would I be horrified by everyone walking around with green faces or green hair.
That's not the kind of un-real we are talking about here. I think we're safe to assume Read more [...]
After years of anticipation Samsara, the sequel to the movie Baraka, has been released. Samsara is a meditation on the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, to which life in the material world is bound.
In Sanskrit, "Samsara" literally translates to "a passing through, from sam altogether + sarati it runs". Samsara is a journey through life, and the film provides a confronting snapshot of life, Earth, humanity, and the cycles we are a part of.
Directed by Ron Fricke and produced by Mark Read more [...]
'The notions most worth questioning are just those which are most taken for granted.’ 
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 [...]
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 [...]
‘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.'
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
"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 [...]
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 [...]
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?" 
Thich Nhat Hanh elaborates a similar point with a metaphor: “When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you Read more [...]
"There are three problems in this world..." Sekai Holland opened her speech "1. men, 2. men, and 3. men." 
"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 [...]
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 [...]
"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 [...]
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 [...]
'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.' 
Sydney University isn't Read more [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 ;)
 Read more [...]
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 [...]