Categories
Culture Spirituality

Bedtime Stories with Mike

I like reading aloud. So during this time when much of Australia’s population is in lockdown I thought it would be a nice offering to record myself reading a book that has inspired me and will hopefully inspire others. I’ve already uploaded a few chapters on my private Facebook profile, but here I’m making them available to everyone. I’ll keep adding a couple of chapters each day until the book is complete.

Categories
Culture Economics Psychology

The genius and curse of specialisation

Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.

Arthur Schopenhauer

We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully, nor for much longer, unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.

Buckminster Fuller

We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.

John M. Culkin (provenance unclear – see here)

The genius of capitalism is also its fatal flaw – and that thing is specialisation. In simplest terms it means that the baker can just focus on baking, the cobbler can just focus on making shoes, the builder can just focus on building and at the end of the day each person gets everything they need – food, clothing and shelter … and much more.

Categories
Culture Spirituality

Suffering – and why most modern spirituality sucks

I’ve just had a beautiful and somewhat surreal experience.

I was listening to Bach’s sublime masterpiece the St Matthew’s Passion on a beautiful and sunny Good Friday morning, and through the open windows I noticed a young wallaby listening along with me.

I’m pretty sure that he/she was listening because normally when I see the wallabies they are either passing through, or grazing or sometimes taking a siesta (they usually lie down for this). This wallaby wasn’t doing any of those things – it was sitting still facing my open window and listening. It stayed there for at least an hour and a half, through two CD changes and only moved on when it got spooked by the sounds of a rubbish collection truck reversing at the end of the road nearby.

Categories
Culture Politics

Why Facebook Should Pay for News

Facebook has implemented a news sharing ban in Australia.

Facebook and other social media companies make their money by selling advertising. In that respect they are like the old-style media companies – newspapers, radio, television. The difference is that Facebook, Google etc don’t pay for the content that is essential to getting people engaged on the platform so that they can keep serving up ads.

Categories
Culture Economics Politics

Are Revolutions Ever A Good Idea?

One of the things I love about the film-maker Adam Curtis’s work is that he doesn’t just accept the way things are. He keeps inviting us to look deeper and question the assumed truths of our culture.

One of those assumptions is that revolutions don’t work because the people who come into power always turn out to be just as bad as old lot.

Categories
Culture Economics

The Money System is Rigged

If you want to educate your kids (or yourself) about how money works at this point in time, I suggest a simple experiment. Get a bunch of friends around (where Covid-safe) and start a game of Monopoly, but you and your kids aren’t allowed to join at the start. If you are born before 1980 you get to join when about half the properties on the board have been bought by the other players. if you were born between 1980 and 2000 you join when 75% of the properties have been bought, and if you were born after 2000 you get to join when there is only 1 property left for sale.

Categories
Culture Spirituality

Bad Faith

Warning – lengthy but profound reflection on a subject where angels fear to tread – the problem with religion and atheism.

Religion isn’t going away and progressives who continue to attack religion do themselves no favours. In fact their attacks simply fuel the “persecuted victim” narrative that Trump and the religious Right have so skillfully exploited.

Categories
Culture Politics Spirituality

All We, Like Sheep, Have Gone Astray

All we like sheep(le) have gone astray!

I’ve always loved the Christmas story. In the Northern hemisphere where I grew up it is closely associated with the Winter solstice (the point at which the days start to get longer again) and its theme of the coming of light into the darkness. And this marking of the seasonal transitions is linked to a deeper story about death and resurrection, power vs love, suffering and forgiveness and new beginnings.

Categories
Culture Psychology

Who is to blame?

Who’s fault is it? (another long but important read)

Who’s to blame? is not something we ask when things are going well. But when the proverbial shit hits the fan it’s often the first question that comes up. And right now, when so many people are struggling with what feels like a lifetime’s worth of shit hitting a fan of global proportions, it’s a question and a sentiment that is showing up everywhere. It’s a question that comes up whenever people are hurting and angry and looking for somewhere to direct that anger. Current popular targets of blame include various political leaders, certain wealthy individuals and corporations, the Deep State, the Illuminati, various ethnic groups or genders or even nations.

Categories
Culture Politics

Freedom vs Trust

A lot of people are concerned about the loss of “normal” freedoms and rights that have been brought into focus by the pandemic. But I think the breakdown in trust that I see is even more concerning. Ultimately, I believe, this breakdown in trust will lead to the end of free societies, because a free society depends on an atmosphere of trust. Let me explain: