55. New Year’s Eve

 “The elders hold the ground while the youth make their glorious mistakes.”
Michael Meade.

1. Never again! New Year’s Eve at the Domain brings with it barricades and a shemozzle of stressed-looking passers-by. Plus there was one long snake of people who were aiming to find themselves a good spot in the Botanical Gardens, to be ready for the evening’s fireworks.

Ray stood by that long queue and told his captors the benefits of giving their lives to Jesus. Across the road, a few regulars came to argue with each other and with Mr B.

Later on, Helmut took questions from the audience. He was asked about his family and his relationship with each of his three kids. It was good to hear Helmut’s view of how to raise children. His openess was appreciated and enjoyed.

Below is a photograph of one of last year’s Sydney Harbour Bridge firecrackers going off.

2. If there were an infinite number of stars in the universe, how many would have to be extinguished before we were left with a finite number? As Uncle Pete fatuously pointed out, it was a meaningless question. The idea of the question was to examine the nature of infinity (ies). We didn’t get far.

How many numbers have the digit 3 in them? Answer: Virtually all of them. Almost all numbers have a lot of digits, so very few would not have a 3 in them. Yet, even though nearly all numbers would have a 3 in them, there is still an infinity of numbers which don’t have a 3 in them. That point was made by Clifford A Pickover in his book, Keys to Infinity.

3. Mr B refuses to talk about the existence or non-existence of god/s, yet his meetings consistently flirt around the subject of religion itself. Today was no exception. A passer-by asked, “Who wrote the Bible?” Mr B’s grasshoppers provided many answers, all respectful. Was the Bible written to present literal truths, or is it book of metaphors? Was it written by people infused with the spirit of God, or by people aiming to express their own spirituality? Or by manipulators? Are the stories in the Bible true, or are they examples of common myths found throughout the world, Joseph Campbell-style?

At one point, John August, from ratio station 2RSR*, jumped up and explained the role the Sumerian king, Gilgamesh, played in the story of the Bible. He made his point at the end, and what he said was appreciated by most of the grasshoppers, but sadly, not by Mr B, who gave him a hard time.

*The RSR in 2RSR stands for ‘Radio Skid Row’, not ‘Rat Shit Radio’ as commonly supposed.

4. Then the question was asked, “Why do some people believe in the existence of God while others don’t?” The atheists quickly provided some glib answers, so Mr B had to point out that there are many highly intelligent theists, and many highly logical theists. And, an abundance of dumb atheists. So his grasshoppers took the question seriously and found more sensible reasons.

 5. Thank you to the person who sent in this lookalike of Mirko.

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

7. Other topics discussed:
Steve Maxwell wasn’t there, and we don’t know what Ray discussed specifically, but here are the topics discussed at Mr B’s meeting:
– Did the Australian and English cricket teams disiplay a high level of gutlessness by not trying to make the recent drawn Test match a winnable affair?

– What precisely is it that prompts wealthy people to become even wealthier? Mark the Grinner calls it ‘the money game’.

– Can a murdered person truly be considered a victim?

– How big is the observable universe? 13.8 billion light years in radius (with Earth at its centre)? Or 45 billion light years in radius, taking the expansion of the universe into account?

– The behavioural differences between men and women. (i.e. How each sex looks at their fingernails, or takes off their jumper, or drinks a glass of water.) There were six tests, and one grasshopper failed five of them. We won’t mention any names.

8. Your New Year’s resolution will be: check out Speakers’ Corner’s Facebook page.

How did someone write this without leaving footprints?