‘We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’
1.We had a speaker from the olden days speak today. Victor Zammit, credited with having the biggest crowd ever in the Domain, dropped by and wanted to speak. Age had not wearied him. He gave his reasons why Australia should become republic, and he spoke well.
Ray, our Christian speaker, was besieged by three ardent atheists and one agnostic. He eventually emerged tired and philosophical, but not beaten. He found the time to have a long conversation with non-militant grasshopper, Greg.
Steve Maxwell spoke on his own stand, and for a few minutes, on Mr B’s stand, before calling it quits earlier than usual. We expect Steve to be at his fiery best in the new year.
After suffering three tedious weeks of unnecessary interruptions, Mr B was grumpy. Today he went grasshopper hunting.
(For any young folk who might be reading this: the grasshopper photo is a fake. Grasshoppers have never been that big. However, over 300 million years ago some insects were that big.)
2. Last week one of our speakers, Andrew Toth, claimed that a heckler had struck his chest vigorously with a finger. He had called the police as a result. Today that same heckler arrived, and this time the police came. Long discussions with all parties ensued. We don’t know the result, but next week the speakers will be calling for capital punishment to be reintroduced.
3. The idea of controlling our thoughts was discussed. Mr B has been known to criticise the idea, saying that to ask people to control their thoughts is asking too much of them; they’re likely to fail, and feel like a failure as a result. However, David the Interested gave a wonderful example of how a man did manage to control his thoughts, and as a consequence, save himself.
From there the group spoke about attitude, that one true freedom described in the quote above.
4. The discussion then turned to our need to take full responsibility for how our life unfolds.
After recently watching a 4 Corners documentary on television, a grasshopper spoke of her dismay with the many tax havens around the globe that allow people to avoid and evade paying tax. (Tax evasion is illegal. Tax avoidance isn’t.)
6. Mr B described the difference between self-esteem and self-worth, and then gave a warning to those of us who try to earn their self-worth. (In short, we can’t.)
7. The poem discussed this week was Robert Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. Next week the poem will be Theodore Roethke’s poem, ‘Child on top of a greenhouse’.
For that matter, why not waste a few precious days of your life reading past posts in the Archives site?