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 [...]
"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 [...]
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 [...]
"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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
"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 [...]
"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 [...]
'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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Have you ever not known what to wish for? Last night, the 24th of December 2011, was a new moon. Making wishes on a new moon is a tradition for me that started with two friends in Sydney right before we travelled to South America. We wrote a list of dreams, looked up at the stars and asked the universe to bring them to us. Everything on our list came true, well, almost.
Apparently on a new moon, or as a new moon grows to a full moon, the universe's energy is the best for making wishes. It seems Read more [...]
At the close of last year I had a mini freak out. "Where did 2010 go?" This year is another story. "Is 2011 every going to end?" It feels like three years since last Christmas.
How does that work? What is the connection between external time (or cosmological time) - earth's rotations - and internal time (or psychological time) - in our minds?
Let me consider my own case:
I stayed still in 2010, for the most part, living in Sydney in the one apartment. Half of the year I spent writing Read more [...]
Johan Galtung says that it’s not so much what is being said, but what is not being said. Today my class will be reflecting on the use of language and stories in the media.
how do stories in the media impact our understanding of the world?
how can we learn to “read between the lines”?
how can awareness of narrative help us be more critical of media and politics?
what is the story's raison detre? ie why was a story told, what is the narrator is getting at?
Julia Read more [...]
‘All human beings by nature desire knowledge.’ Opening sentence of his book Metaphysics. For Aristotle, it is the desire for knowledge at root of what it is to be human. Aristotle wrote on Ethics, Politics, Poetics, Physics and Metaphysics. This gives you a funny introduction, but by no means gives a good overview of his work.
In the study of narrative, which is one of the key topics of my research, it is Aristotle who, the deconstruction and analysis of the components of narrative is Read more [...]
How do you "know" something? How do you know it is "true"? I have been going through old diaries, intrigued by the development of thoughts and ideas through time. The following is a little rant I had in 2009 about knowledge and truth...
From the origins of humanity, life and our universe, to the possibility of multi-verses, forces or even beings that are invisible to our senses, some things may always be unknown. For all we know we might be bits inside a computer, replicates of another group of Read more [...]
I've been thinking about the idea of a "revolution", and wondering why exactly one would want to "revolve" to the beginning, completely start again? What would be the point of bring down The Pyramid, only to have to build one up again?
Revolution may not be a dirty word, but it does seem kinda stupid. Capitalism and democracy have done a lot of good for society, from technological advances that enhance the lives of many, to bringing women out of the house, and empowering citizens to have a right Read more [...]
"Art is the imagination at play in the field of time. Let yourself play." 
Do you ever wonder where your good ideas come from? Have you ever tried tracing them back to their source/s? When you have writer's block or the equivalent, how do you deal with it? How do you regain your creativity?
Tonight I'm meeting with a group of artists to discuss a book called "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. One of the first things she mentions is that you can't teach a person to be creative - you can Read more [...]
"Inefficiency is a good thing," a wise friend informed me six months ago. I must have looked confused.
"When I said this to a room full of corporates, you should have seen the horror on their faces!" My face would have read pretty much the same. Inefficiency is good???
"How?" I asked in almost disbelief.
"Friendship, for example, spending time with people you love. It's entirely inefficient... All the things in life that are wonderful, involve being inefficient. Think about it: Art. Love. Read more [...]
Did you know that Eskimos have five words for snow while the Aztecs had one word for snow-rain-hail combined?
That which we do not have the vocabulary for, we tend not to notice. Those things which we notice, we create a vocabulary for. Through the processes of noticing, vocalizing, pondering and comprehending, we build up an understanding of the world in which we live.
"We speak of attention as noticing. To notice is to select, to regard some bits of perception, or some features of the world, Read more [...]