11. Ancient knowledge or ancient stupidity?

‘Be not daunted by your life,
hit it with a fork and knife.’
P. S. Balding.

1. We don’t just live on a goldilocks planet, we live in a goldilocks city. The weather was perfect, and Steve Maxwell was up and about feeling much better! It seems our homeopathic prayers were answered. Steve spoke for a while before heading off to a Rationalists’ meeting.

2. One of the topics discussed today was the efficacy of natural medicines. Current medicines owe a lot to nature, yes, but does that mean natural medicines must therefore be efficacious? One grasshopper seemed to have that view.

There is, it was suggested, a big difference between ancient knowledge and ancient stupidity, and it’s important to differentiate the two.

3. Beware the Ides of March. That’s this coming Wednesday. Julius Caesar wasn’t careful on that day, and look what happened to him.

4. Word has it that if you watch the documentary, ‘Cyberhate‘ this Wednesday night, at 9.32pm, on ABC 2, you might catch a glimpse of two of our speakers. But remember, that day is the Ides of March, so be careful.

Of course, if you come to Speakers’ Corner you will see a lot more of our speakers, and get to see them in 3D. And it won’t be the Ides of March.

This scribe will be watching the documentary. For some time now he has believed that one of the speakers possesses their own special ‘X’ factor that makes them mega movie superstar material. He believes this documentary could ‘discover’ them, and launch them into a stellar movie career. Imagine seeing Mirko on the big screen! You read it here first, folks.

5. Poetry stalwarts Peter the Younger and Uncle Pete (no relation) stood on the Ladder of Sensitivity and presented poems, as did Mr Bashful. Here’s one from Uncle Pete:

6. Mark the Grinner, who is not interested in poetry, made damned sure the Ladder of Sensitivity had transformed back into the Ladder of Knowledge before getting up on it to speak. He did an excellent job critiquing our political and economic system, and entertaining the grasshoppers.

Click here to see him speak.

7. Ray, our fundamentalist Christian speaker, kindly stopped by to answer a question posed by Mr B. The question’s purpose was to “put Ray in an atheist’s shoes” so that he would understand what it’s like to be an atheist. However, Mr B’s frustration was palpable when he thought Ray wasn’t answering the question, and he disgraced himself by becoming overbearing.

Here’s a supportive message for you, Ray:

8. The subject of rape was broached. The speaker made the claim that if a young man is not perceptive enough when having a kiss and a cuddle with a young woman, he may end up having sex with her yet not realise she was not in full agreement with the plan. She might give in to having sex, yet feel awful afterwards. He, meanwhile, might assume that she was as interested as he was. Result: upon reflection, she might afterwards claim she was raped, and when he finds out that he has been accused of raping her, he might feel bewildered and angry.

As you might imagine, a discussion ensued! It was a grasshopper free-for-all. Should young women be more clear in what they want and don’t want? Should young men be more perceptive? Are we victim blaming? Where are the male role models? Does the influence of a positive male role model make any difference to a horny young man in the backseat of a car? How many bewildered young men have been charged of rape in a police station, and in America, ended up in jail? How many men are pressured into having sex with a woman when they haven’t wanted it?

Here’s something from the Postsecret website:

9. That discussion led to ideas about the best way to meet people.

10. Mr B gave a brief (though not brief enough) summary of the assertiveness tips explained so far. One grasshopper even remembered one of them! Today’s tip was: ‘Don’t live in Wimp City’. Don’t begin a sentence with wimpy words like,
– sorry ( ‘Sorry, I have to leave now.’ Instead, try: ‘I have to leave now.’)
– I don’t think (‘I don’t think I can allow that.’ Try instead, ‘I can’t allow that.’)
– Just wondering (‘Just wondering, why is the sky white?’ Try instead, ‘Why is the sky white?’)

For more examples and more clarity click here.

11. The ‘Something Nice’ segment, to charm some and irritate others.

12. We discussed paradigms. According to Mr B, they’re core beliefs held not just by a person, but an entire society. Such beliefs are strong and pervasive. Our job, says Mr B, is to identify the paradigms influencing us, and try hard to free ourselves from the disabling ones.

13. Other subjects discussed:

– Liquid Natural Gas companies are selling the nation’s gas overseas, making gas dearer here in Australia. Is it right to have millions of Australians paying more for a necessary utility, so that the management and owners of the LNG companies can have bigger salaries, and make bigger profits?

– It is well understood by thinking Australians that homeopathy has no efficacy apart from its placebo benefits. So how do we explain the speaker’s extraordinarily coincidental non-placebonic “cure” of his eczema? Answer: we can’t.

– Trans fats, despite the speaker’s initial claim, are unsaturated fats and they’re bad for the body. Very bad. Far worse than saturated fats. You’d think our loving government would therefore enforce food manufacturers to not use them, or at the very least, force the manufacturers to reveal the trans fats on their ingredient labels. But nuh.
Domino’s Pizzas were asked twice if trans fats were in their pizzas. Twice they didn’t reply. What would that suggest?

– Materialism. Mr B praised it highly, saying that if no person felt the need to have new and better things, we’d all still be living in caves. It wasn’t the ascetics or poor people who created the extraordinary, interesting world we have today, it was the wealthy and the materialistic wanting things.
Of course, materialism has its bad side too, with pollution being one of them.

14. Here’s a Banjo Paterson poem.

Click here to see Mr B recite ‘Clancy of the Overflow’

15. It has come to this scribe’s attention that he has neglected to inform you that we have a Facebook page. That unforgivable infraction will be remedied immediately: we do indeed have a Facebook page.