34. A distasteful topic.

Indigenous journalist, Stan Grant, speaking in an interview:
“I know what resentment and grievance does to human beings because I see it. Too many people dead too young, too many lost and wasted lives, too many youth suicides. Scientists now talk about epigentic intergenerational inheretance. That trauma, and being born into trauma, actually distorts your DNA. It changes your genetic makeup and makes you more susceptible to anxiety and depression and heart disease and cancer. And it kills you.  And yet, identity is so easily aligned with that sense of grievance and vengence. These things are hard to talk against. There is a righteousness to it. It feels right to be angry about these things. And we should be angry. But there is a difference between peace and justice. There is a difference. You can prosecute the past to achieve some form of justice, some atonement, for a wrong, which can never really ever be atoned, ever. Or you can seek, I think, what Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu sought: the higher justice of peace. To hear the stories of the past, but to not endlessly prosecute the grievance of the past. It’s not letting people off the hook. Far, far from it. I think it asks a lot more of us.
     There is a famous thing George Santiano once said: “Those who do not remember the past are destined to repeat it.” I think sometimes those who remember the past too well are the ones who repeat it. That we are locked into that idea that we are prisoners of that past.
  Earnest Rinan, the French philosopher, said, “A nation is born as much out of what we forget, as what we remember.” It’s not amnesia and it’s not erasure, it is setting something aside for the peace, to live and build a future that is not tied to an endless historical grievance and resentment. You don’t get it if you ignore it; you don’t get it if you silence it; you don’t get it if you perpetuate injustice; you don’t get it if you don’t acknowledge the rights of people. But you must also actively seek to live a life free from the chains of that history.”
From the ABC’s Radio National program, ‘Big Ideas‘.

1. It would have been an excellent day had some grasshoppers not disgraced themselves by presenting to everyone “untoward” mental images. Mr B had been trying to take his grasshoppers on a thought-experiment journey, but troublemakers chose to bend his topic into matters which should never, ever be raised. Some of us will have trouble sleeping tonight. It was awful.

2. Today we learned 
that one of Mr B’s grasshoppers has been watching so many SBS movies she had a dream with subtitles!

3. Here is another stirring chapter from Mr B’s book about resilience. It’s about the innate need to feel safe. We certainly need it, after today’s effort by a small few.


4. One good way to ease traffic congestion in Sydney is to get rid of all public transport, said Mr B. His view is unconventional but his reasons, sound. It was a wonderful example of the power of lateral thinking. However, one or two naysaying garden gnomes were a tad sceptical.

It’s no wonder your scribe is a big fan of Mr B and Speakers’ Corner.

Here is another good idea:

5. Other topics discussed:
– That grey area between liking something and actually becoming addicted to it: why don’t people see the approaching danger and avoid addiction? One strong answer came from Mark the Grinner: “Young, undeveloped brains can’t reason.” (And yet, we let those young brains vote, drive, drink and live.)

– Have you ever wondered why a person attracted to the opposite sex never falls in love with someone of the same sex? Or why someone attracted to the same sex invariably falls in love with a person of the same sex? It can’t be coincidence. Could it be that we fall in love with people of the sex we are sexually attracted to? No, said clear thinker Mr B. It’s the other way around: heterosexuals are born with genes that make them fall in lovewith someone of the opposite sex, and the attraction follows. In the same way, people born with genes prompting them to love people of the same sex will end up being sexually attracted to that sex.
In other words, we are not born heterosexual or homosexual, we are born heteroloving and homoloving, and the sexuality simply follows.
One garden gnome tried to suggest “that’s wrong, there’s a continuum in our sexuality”, but troublemakers like him don’t need to come to Speakers’ Corner.

– What if half the population fully absorbed the food they ate and never defecated? In fact, they weren’t even born with the defecating equipment?  What would be the ramifications?
It was a serious thought experiment with profound lessons to be learned, but Mr B’s grasshoppers instead chose to disgrace themselves. The standards found at Speakers’ Corner are already extremely low, so there was no reason to ensure they plummeted to depths unimaginable.

– bleaching.

– Mr B tried to present Newcomb’s Paradox, but mucked it up and lost his audience. Presumably, he was still getting over the shock of the previous discussion.
He promises to present Newcomb’s Paradox properly next week.

– We talked breifly about hypnogogia – the rare experience occurring between wakefulness and sleep, in which the lucky recipient is presented with an internal slide-show.

– We talked about abortion, and if and when it should happen. Mr B gave reasons why it should be allowed until the infant is about two years of age.

– Helmut, Ray and Steve also did their thing, but your scribe didn’t hear what they had to say. I was under a tree still trying to recover.

– Philip stood on the Ladder of Knowledge and spoke about aphantasia – a common condition that prevents a person from visualising in their mind an image. If you can’t picture in your mind’s eye an elephant, you have aphantasia.
Mind you, after today’s unsavoury effort from Mr B’s grasshoppers, your poor scribe desperately wishes he had aphantasia. He wants the images burned on his brain to go away.
Pray for me.


6. In our Unusual Critter Series we present to you the Binturong, native to parts of Asia. It has little to no comprehension of what Facebook is, so it is probably unaware of our Facebook page.