On Thursday evening the widely acclaimed author Susan George presented the Ted Wheelwright Memorial Lecture at the University of Sydney, on the difference between legitimate and illegitimate authority. These are some of my scribbles.
Susan George started by reminding us that democracy is and will always be a work in progress—something you do not something you get.
The Problems with Neo-liberalism
She put into perspective the new neo-liberal model of politics, which continue to get 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 [...]
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 [...]
Recently learning about the occupation of Wall Street, I thought it worthwhile to re-post my two cents on ten ways to change the world:
1. Change corporation law - redefine "corporation" so that they are NOT treated as separate entities in their own right that can be declared bankrupt in and of themselves. Corporation law must be adjusted to hold shareholders responsible for monetary and non-monetary profits and loss.
2. Change finance / stock market laws - in implementing the Read more [...]
Hans Rosling gives an illuminating TedTalks presentation on one of my greatest ecological concerns: over-population.
Let each box = 1 billion people.
In 1960 it was relatively accurate to divide the world into the "First World" and "Third World", the "rich" and the "poor", the "developed world" and "developing world" or the Centre and Periphery.
In 1960 we were 3 billion people. The blue was the 1 billion at the top of the pyramid, dreaming of buying a car and a dishwasher. The green Read more [...]
Even in Europe I seem to be drawn to South American cultures. Some hippies from Bolivia and Venezuela, as well as the Canary Islands, were selling jewelry on the street. Before long we were playing music, drinking beer, and joining the hippies and a crazy American family on an adventure to the anarchist town of Christiania.
Part of me is drawn to the idea of anarchy. Not anarchy that lets people steal, vandalize other’s property, murder, or do whatever they want to do. But I am attracted to Read more [...]
I am one, I am many,
I am part of something more
I dream, I wake, I laugh, I cry
I see a door, and I imagine…
A new direction
From hierarchies, pyramids
To systems, patterns, webs
From unchanging objects
To dynamic relationships
From "ego" to "eco"
Farewell fear, embracing change
Why do you care?
Confused eyes gaze
What can you do?
Dismissal, a maze
Life is short,
At least it seems
I’ve never found happiness
In materials and such things
When I wake
I Read more [...]
Following my rants on the problems with our current corporatist version of capitalism, Annie Lennox does a much better job at summing up what's wrong with our current "democracy", and how it came to be that way:
The programming code in these entities we call "corporations" needs to change. Corporations are not people, and they shouldn't have any of the freedoms or rights that people have.
We need rules and definitions that work for us, for ALL of us, not just the 1000 greedy bastards at Read more [...]
I am assisting the teaching of a master's subject called The Political Economy of Conflict and Peace, at the University of Sydney this semester. My first presentation was yesterday and in the lead up to it I drowned myself in the political economic papers and books I wrote or read over the last couple of years. And searching YouTube for parts of documentaries that I have found useful in the past. This entry has become a bit of a dumping ground for me to refer and share again at later times... maybe Read more [...]
Critical Discourse Analysis is a study of LANGUAGE, IDEOLOGY, POWER and SOCIAL CHANGE. 'Discourse analysis is not a “level” of analysis as, say, phonology or lexico-grammar, but an exploration of how “texts” at all levels work within sociocultural practices,’ says Candlin in the Preface to Fairclough. If you didn't already gauge from the title then take this as your warning: this entry contains high levels of academic language. It is also disjointed and includes a lot of quotes (because Read more [...]
I want to kick off a mini Socratic series with a quirky YouTube clip staring Socrates and Plato: Who is hot, and who is not?
If I wasn't studying philosophy I think it'd be quite rare to think "today I'm going to read about Socrates death sentence in Plato's Apology"... but seeing as I am studying it, and seeing as reading Plato is an absolute delight, I thought in the next couple of posts I'd share my thoughts and favourite quotes with you on Socrates.
When you read the words of Socrates, Read more [...]
Last week I wrote about the gap between school and life-there-after, and I gather from the feedback quite a few of you agree.. Well today I'm going to write about some other gaps in our society's distribution of knowledge that I'm sure many of you have noticed:
1. A gap between knowledge within the university and the rest of the world.
Deep and wonderful ideas that could inspire and improve the lives of many seem to get lost in the theoretical and abstract language, meticulous referencing Read more [...]
Does school prepare us for life in the real world? Is knowledge passed from academia to public spheres? Are we learning from the past, or do we continue to make the same mistakes? How well do we really understand ourselves and others in our geopolitical, social, and historical context?
It seems to me there are major gaps within our distribution of knowledge.
Today I want to focus on one of those gaps, the gap between life in school and life after school. Over the coming weeks I will look at Read more [...]
Content in living out your life: work, money, weekends, holidays, home, kids... and then something happens: a cataclysmic event changes everything.
Be it a sudden illness or a natural disaster like the flooding Brisbane is now facing, everything you know - everything you care about, everything you have dedicated your life to, everything you imagined for your future - can disappear in an instant.
As I write, Brisbane faces 12 people dead, 43 missing, 20,000 homes, and 3000 businesses under water. Read more [...]
The end of any period is the beginning of another. Transitional points like the end of a year are great times to take a step back and reflect on the year and it's place in your life story. How does the past year fit into the narrative of your life? What direction are your decisions taking you? Are you living out a drama, a comedy, a tragedy or an adventure? Are you happy with this genre?
Times like this are a good time to ask: am I happy? And if the answer is no, to ask: what can I do to change Read more [...]
I want to revisit the social, economic and political pyramid I discussed in my last post: Preserving the Pyramid- the Reason Things Are the Way They Are, sharing my evolving thoughts on the question: do alternatives exist?
While it seems overall human civilisations only really know the pyramid, if we think outside the square - could any other shapes work?
When I first considered this question I drew a number of shapes:
Could we operate in a circle, a flat line, a square, a rectangle, a diamond?
"How Read more [...]
Today the Westminster Magistrates’ Court will decide the fate of Julian Assange, well at least whether or not he will get bail. And so while I haven't even told you much about last Friday's rally yet, I had better briefly inform any Sydney readers that there will be another rally at 530pm, again at Town Hall, today. 
Professor Emeritus Stuart Rees (from Sydney Peace Foundation, and my friend and mentor) will be speaking, so if you are Sydney, do come along. It's sure to be informative, Read more [...]
It was the burgeoning of the Dark Ages - a time where a blog like mine that questioned the "truth" would have me (like my new heroine the philosopher Hypatia was) called a witch, stripped naked, skinned alive, torn into pieces and burned.
Tonight I saw Agora, a movie with Rachel Weisz set in Roman Egypt in the 4th century AD, around the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire. It is based on the book The Rise and Fall of Alexandria (2007) and was a pretty good film that (for better or worse) Read more [...]
Last night I went to Population Growth and Climate Change – A Debate at Politics in the Pub at the Gaelic Club in Surry Hills. I had had a long day at a Post-Graduate Law Conference where I presented my paper A Breach of Child Rights? Fundamentalist Christian Schools in Australia (preparation for which has deferred my recent attention from this blog).
Although I was exhausted I pushed through to have a beer and check out this great debate staring:
Ben Spies Butcher, Sociology Macquarie University, Read more [...]
Why did the Global Financial Crisis actually happen? The best explanation I have come across was when about this time last year Canadian professor Jim Stanford came to speak at my uni - he tries to demystify the economy by explaining the concepts and jargon in a simple, easily understandable way.
What is the economy? It is WORK. 'The total sum of work we do to meet our needs and wants.' The economy is about meeting human needs.
Jim separates the economy into:
1. the "real economy" - that Read more [...]