Thursday, June 30

Yarra River-30th June 2005

Sun rays reflection on a brown river affair
Trees guard its secrets no time for despair
A haven for birds their tales are to share
The truth’s in their twitters, loves in the air

It’s a June morning, cold with no breeze
Rivers is calm, not a ripple to see
Ghostly apparitions appear shrouded in fog
Tall city buldings from out of the smog

Yarra flows upside down with no sound
Too thick for swimmmers, none to be found
Nature’s intention to flow in that way
Winding its way through surburbs does play

It’s almost ten times as long as it’s straight
Reminder of twists and our current fate
Steadfast in resolve to follow new paths
Torrent or trickle its plays it’s best part

Tuesday, June 14

A poem by Barrie

I'd had too much of Sydney
with its brash and flashy ways,
with its endless push to proper
and those steamy summer days.

Where the agent always prospers
and the cynic holds the floor.
Where appearances are everything
and reality's...a bore.

So I looked away to Melbourne
where the people have a style
that reminds me of my younger days,
when I could sit and think a while.

Monday, June 13

A Mind

The mind so restless, emotions upset
A mind in a dance, longing for rest
Peace and fulfillment its quest to reflect
We are dust of the earth, a new space to create

The truth for her is to be patient and kind
Wounds of a mind need compassion and time
A mind needs some rest, a refreshed spirit will find
We are dust of the earth, a new space to create

A mind is as different as is each conscious state
It emotions respond, a truth to relate
It's free to respond when we decide it's that time
We are dust of the earth, a new space to create

Sometimes it falters and it's not what we see
The spirit is present, the worlds our identity
A hurtful exchange, unintended tragedy
We are dust of the earth, a new space to create

Behold the thunder, lightning, re birth
The birth of a thought, imprisoned so far
The act of forgiveness, the heavens will sing
We are dust of past earth, new space now created.

Sunday, June 12

All in the Mind

Neuroscientist Professor V D Ramachandran is Director of the Centre for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego. And he was in Australia for the Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures in Melbourne recently.

His adventurous book Phantoms in the Brain should be by your bed if you haven't read it. And out recently is also A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness. Ramachandran is celebrated as one of the most creative communicators about the brain and its discontents. And more recently he has turned his attention to the question: What is Art? Have artists been surreptitiously co opted by a brain that's evolved over millennia? For his explorations Richard Dawkins has described Ramachandran's or Rama as he's known, as a latter day Marco Polo, journeying the silk road of science to strange and exotic Cathays of the minds. So is what does it feel like doing brain research at the turn of the 21st Century ?

You can read this fascinating full radio interview by clicking on the icon or link at the end of this posting. Ramachandran suggests there may be some common biological or neurological bases to all aesthetic experience but that's half the fun he tells us. He calls art, by the way, a visual foreplay before the climax of recognition he thinks aesthetic experiences are about generating as many aha's moments as he calls them in the brain as possible. Just as intellectual problem solving is pleasurable long before you solve it, otherwise there wouldn't be scientists, as there's miles and miles of frustration before you hit the jackpot. So what keeps us going is there are many ah's all along the way and he thinks that's equally true in visual problem solving and visual art.

Sunday, June 5

Fundamentalism's Creationists literal interpretation of the Bible

I am indebted to John at Johns Justice for his contribution priot to this posting.

Imagine you are attending a lecture and you are asked to consider writing an essay on “What is Time ” Chances are you would hand in a blank piece of paper, as we can't say what time is, only that we can measure it.
Although it is understood that time is bent by gravity and matter, it’s convenient for the purpose of our current state, to assume time always moves forward. It doesn’t, but its okay for us to think that way as the differences are so infinitesimally small so we assume that if we wish to go from point A to B. And from a biological point of view its ok to assume decay begins at birth and continues on, moving forward in time until death. Hence biology tells us from birth, we will decay until death.
So we use all the tools at our disposal to understand from whence we came and the age of the universe. Why do we do this? Its part of our creation, to be curious, it gives a richer sense of the majestic nature of creation. To deny this, our curiosity, our ability to think, to discover, to change our minds, to find new truth is to deny our creation.

Why would we go to the Bible, with its poetic imagery of a transcendent god, to calculate the beginning of time? The purpose of the Bible, in speaking of time was to indicate the genealogy of Christ, back to the Jewish people which forms part of a Christian or more particularly Catholic view. The Jewish purpose of the 'Bible', as many commentators have explained after cold analysis, is one of land, property and heritage to maintain or get property.

The view whether as a transcendent image, or one to give authenticity to land is a poetic message from the ONE of whom time is present past and future. One that transcends time. As a prophet or as a disciple, the word was to illustrate in imagery a transcendent god, rather than to present a precise time for creation.

It’s sensible for us on our current state to make use of measurements that allow to us make sense of where we are, and where we wish to go. As we can measure the age of the universe and come up with the fact that it’s about 20 billion years old, give or take a few billion years. I don’t intend to go into the theory supporting this conclusion as creationists dismiss radioactive dating, atomic theory, and fusion.

They believe the light that we now see was created literally in just 7 days.
That’s what we see from many stars that have long since disappeared several billion years ago prior to the time it has taken for their light to finally reach us. And that's what we can see, not singularities (black holes) that represents the largest portion of all, perhaps 90% of all matter.
Time has no meaning to my philosophy, my belief in a transcendent God, the alpha and the Omega, the ONE who has no boundaries, to which time is now, the past, present and future. So it seems to me to insist on negating some of these Darwinian theories, is to teach something that was not intended by our faith.

I would like to quote from an article in the tablet on the 30 April 2005 by Richard Major and entitles ‘The Bibles battleground’
He talks about the implications for American Children if “creationism' prevails, as it may well. Views labeled creationist stretch on a spectrum from, the left,“evolutionary Creationists’ whom are really just ‘theistic evolutionist’ within the letter of humani Generis; to hard-line geocentrists, who deny Copernicus a well as Mendel: and beyond them literal believers in the Bible. But the great bulk of Creationists are either Old Earthier or New Earthier. Old Earthier admit that the universe is old enough for evolution to have occurred, but maintain on biblical grounds that in fact God created each species separately, long long ago. The traditional date, calculated from Old Testament genealogies by Ussher, the Jacobean archbishop, was 22 October 4004 BC, New earthier insist the date is about right.

It seems to me such arguments miss the point entirely, and their insistence is providing a lopsided view of creation, triumphed now in many states in America. An alarming development, against free thinking. It’s not as if a balanced view is allowed, to encourage debate, rather to outlaw scientific theories altogether.

I see a leaning towards fundamentalism sweeping the world within the Christian religions whose collective thoughts turn inward to an insistence there is only one truth. That is to literally interpret the Bible in a way that was never intended by its authors.

Friday, June 3


Malawi News -click on the icon

You may be interested in the latest photos I have received from Malawi that are now included on the Malawi site. The Malawi Support Group have been asked to support the building of a community hall. In Malawi such a hall would be used very extensively by the local community for literacy classes, craft and tailoring workshops and as a general meeting place. The 13 Basic Christian Community Centres (BCCC's) have taken responsibility for themselves, and, after lengthy negotiation, purchased the block of land for the above project. But they will need our help to complete this project. Fr Patrick, the resident parish priest informed us in a recent e mails of the lengthy time taken to complete projects which has been frustrating in some respects. He is returning to Ireland in June for a break.
We were also pleased to re establish contact with Sr. Mary who has been back in the St Kizito parish since June 2003, returning from Ireland just after her Dad died in May 2003 after a long struggle with illness.
She works with the women in Mtsiriza and villages in Kasiyafumbi, all part of St Kizito's parish. But some weeks ago she also started assisting a group of widows from 3 other parishes in child care, bereavement counseling and some craft skills
Recently Fr Patrick and Sir Mary Doonhan sent many splendid photographs that are all now posted on the Malawi website.