Monday, September 12, 2011

Sydney Life




Cecilia's book at Berkelouw Bookstore..







Some of the sights available in this big cosmopolitan city, where the wild sea comes right up to the CBD.

Royal national park sunset, Bondi beach,
Sept 5 was "Vogue night out" with DJs and live models in shop windows...



Real flowers in David Jones
 

Army exercise Kapyong Warrior
















Earlier this year, 5 days of intense exercise in High Range behind Townsville. Blank firing, and 48 hours of live fire.. finishing with a hill assault.
A day of prep, then a big battalion parachute jump with a 40 kg pack , live grenades etc. 5 people got injuries on the landing zone - from concussion to broken legs. We had simulated mortar explosions on the landing zone, so it was quite realistic and exciting.


Sept 11 2001 thoughts









From "mx news" (free in sydney), I read a short article by Aussie Taylor Schon, who went and lived in NYC for a while as a young female model - she was on the observation deck of the world trade center on Sept 9 2001...

September 11 has undoubtedly changed my entire outlook and perspective on life. It has changed me from normal attitudes of job,career, work, money,relationships.
Life is short, some people have had it cut shorter.
I live, I travel, I pursue my passions, and I tell people I love them, I take chances and sometimes I get hurt.
I try to love and get heartbroken.
But I would rather try and make the effort, because of this second chance at life.



some juicy and refreshing comment from the "one cosmos" blog:

A true "restorative" or "conservative" revolution would be like that of the Islamists, who utterly reject modernity and want to return to an insanely "pure" form of Islam. Ironically, conservative Americans are routinely accused by the left of having a similar agenda, when the opposite is true. Rather, the left wishes to impose its religion on the rest of us, since one cannot be a leftist without a huge and intrusive state.


But why look back before the job is even done? Often it becomes an excuse for the villainous traitors in our midst to pretend they are actually on the same side we are, by expressing sympathy for the victims -- victims they would otherwise regard as deserving of their fate because of America's evils. They are not animated by a desire to avenge these deaths, which, after all, is the important -- and difficult -- part. With all due respect, anyone can cry. What we need are people who can fight and kill, a very different skill set. 

I remember thinking on the day it happened, “nothing will ever be the same,” as if the veil of history had been rent right down the middle, revealing to us, if only for a moment, exactly what lay behind it: the principalities and demonic powers, the Cosmocrats of the Dark Aeon -- those unseen forces that “are more than rational and which make use of lower things, things below reason, in order to conquer and rule the world of man” (Dawson). 


Here are the root causes: World. Trade. Center. 

First, the 
World, the idea that human beings are actually one, and that, beneath our superficial diversity, there is a universal Way and Life and Truth. It is the opposite of multiculturalism, the pernicious idea that the endarkened multitude of human streams evolve in their own parallel universes and that truth is somehow embodied in each culture. 


In point of fact, culture -- that unreflective torrent of custom that drags most souls in its wake -- is more or less a repository of falsehood and delusion, of things that are not true because they cannot be true. Time reveals this to be the case, but it is specifically time that our enemies wish to arrest and reverse.
Trade. The spiritual evolution of which we speak is a system, and only an open system may evolve. We are specifically at war with people who object to this fact, and wish to remain in a dark, dank, and airless prison -- an authoritarian anthell with truth handed down from on high, preventing any hope for evolutionary progress.

These are literally 
death cultures, for death occurs whenever a system becomes closed, whether it is biological death, psychic death, epistemological death, spiritual death, economic death, what have you. 


Center. The world is converging towards its nonlocal center, a spiritual telos that is located outside space and time. This center can only be reached through liberty (...)

Spirituality respects the freedom of the human soul, because it is itself fulfilled by freedom; and the deepest meaning of freedom is the power to expand and grow towards perfection.... --Sri Aurobindo



Thoughts on Education - especially secondary schools




I've been reading criticisms of secondary schools as they stand on the net, some by ex-teachers of the year, such as John Taylor Gatto. One comment that struck me as true is that the adult institution that schools today most ressemble is a Prison... peer pressure or violence, wardens, bells and timings.. 


Education today teaches people to work for grades and fit in a system rather than really learn or learn to use their initiative. With a smattering of learning and few useful skills. Education as a whole, needs a total rethink... I chased grades, but I now realise they mean little in the real world. (although a degree/ diploma etc is certainly useful and sometimes essential to open doors, once the door is open however, you need to be able to apply your passion and real knowledge... and no one will ask you what grades you got.)
 What gets you ahead is your ability to follow your passion and do self-directed learning (which can include formal learning) and your ability to self-discipline (not so much your ability to fit in to a system, company or organization - which is to say, please others... that can only last for so long before one looses steam, as the motivation is not from within).

Also, an ability to work with others in a team, with egos and some friction, an ability to use your initiative. You could teach all this to teens via, say, a 4 week transatlantic voyage with other teens on a large sailing boat. Along with navigation skills, math, physics (of sailing), astronomy, history of navigation, self-confidence in dangerous situations (bad weather), physical courage and endurance despite tiredness, the ability to do small repairs, to sew, to cook food, first aid...

Why are we still stuck with secondary ed more suitable to producing clerks and assembly-line drones in this fast-changing internet age ? I would ask teachers not to fear change, but to facilitate the entry of a more flexible and useful education.

Some have said that modern secondary ed was designed 100 years or so ago in the USA by Dewey, together with Ford and other big Corporate interests to produce fixed Classes... to condition people to keep in "their place" and sort them and condition them to be docile Worker Drones/ or Elitist aristocrats who can tell the rest of us how to live (Brave New World....). I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but this is clearly part of the unconscious drive behind a lot of secondary ed. It's based on an entirely limitative and innacurate view of human nature - it denies the real life examples of people transforming themselves, teaching themselves or learning on the job,  of high school droputs like Bill Gates Or Steve Wozniak (Apple computers) inventing whole new technologies and becoming very successful. And of people with degrees who have become incapable of any creative thought, and merely parrot what they have been taught.


Gatto:


Genuine reform is possible but it shouldn't cost anything. We need to rethink the fundamental premises of schooling and decide what it is we want all children to learn and why. For 140 years this nation has tried to impose objectives downward from the lofty command center made up of "experts", a central elite of social engineers. It hasn't worked. It won't work. And it is a gross betrayal of the democratic promise that once made this nation a noble experiment. The Russian attempt to create Plato's republic in Eastern Europe has exploded before [our] eyes, our own attempt to impose the same sort of central orthodoxy using the schools as an instrument is also coming apart at the seams, albeit more slowly and painfully. It doesn't work because its fundamental premises are mechanical, anti-human, and hostile to family life. Lives can be controlled by machine education but they will always fight back with weapons of social pathology - drugs, violence, self-destruction, indifference, and the symptoms I see in the children I teach.



Right now we are taking all the time from our children that they need to develop self-knowledge. That has to stop. We have to invent school experiences that give a lot of that time back, we need to trust children from a very early age with independent study, perhaps arranged in school but which takes place away from the institutional setting. We need to invent curriculum where each kid has a chance to develop private uniqueness and self-reliance.

A short time ago I took seventy dollars and sent a twelve-year-old girl from my class with her non-English speaking mother on a bus down the New Jersey coast to take the police chief of Sea Bright to lunch and apologize for polluting [his] beach with a discarded Gatorade bottle. In exchange for this public apology I had arranged with the police chief for the girl to have a one-day apprenticeship in a small town police procedures. A few days later, two more of my twelve-year-old kids traveled alone to West First Street from Harlem where they began an apprenticeship with a newspaper editor, next week three of my kids will find themselves in the middle of the Jersey swamps at 6 A.M., studying the mind of a trucking company president as he dispatches 18-wheelers to Dallas, Chicago, and Los Angeles.


 Having seen the work of the elitists in the UK, which is a social basket case, I can truly say the "Elite" coming out of Unis today are Arrogant, Clueless and Suicidal. So the outcome is not good. 
A film like "good will Hunting" exposes the fallacy of credentialism, and the fact that people can move up and down between intellectual and income levels, depending on how they choose to live, self-educate and work and save. 

 from the "One cosmos" blog:

When liberal (US democrats) pundits accuse tea party protesters of longing for the good old days, it is in fact the pundits themselves who in true reactionary fashion long for the "good old days," specifically, "when the common people kept their heads down and listened to their betters. "

Well the common people are starting to wake up...... 

The social welfare cesspit, apartheid multiculturalism, and the castration of the Police force  that created the London riots, the bankruptcy of socialist Greece and near bankruptcy of most social-democrat European states (and now the US , thanks to Obama borrowing and spending like a drunken sailor).
All this has  has made it clear to me that the Effete Elite (some of whom have never help run a business)  who think they can social engineer a nation away from traditional family models, and replace it with a nanny welfare state that caters for all our needs and is supposed to produce a paradise on earth, are Clueless and creating nothing but a train wreck to bankruptcy, family breakdown, chaos and barbarity, Mad Max style.. 



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Magical New Zealand



















In July, I went to NZ for 2 weeks. Christchurch to Wanaka , then Haast (west coast), Fox glacier , back to Wanaka, then back to Chch via LAke Pukaki (near Mt Cook ).
With a rental van (60$ per day) which we slept in 4 nights, but mostly we stayed in YHAs. Winter makes camping a bit cold, though not impossible.

Huge high altitude plains with mountains rising up from nowhere that made me think of Arizona, USA, big lakes with mountain backdrops, forests with moss on everything including branches, glaciers hanging.

The South West is Te Wāhipounamu (Māori for "the place of greenstone" - Jade) . The power of the alpine ridge that goes North -south and jumps out of the western plains, can be felt in the body and the mind. The Maori used to do journeys from the west coast to get jade, which is formed in these huge mountains, and then go back.

The west coast is wild.... hundreds of km of coast with almost no towns, or tiny ones. windswept beaches of volcanic sand and driftwood. We went up it with Adam, an israeli backpacker. Love meeting people on the road. At the Haast campground common room, I also talked to a Belgium ex-commando, who had been living in Canada since his 20s. He had mostly worked in forestry. He was 70, fit as a fiddle and travelling with his son and his son's girlfriend.

The YHA at wanaka was full of Japanese snowboarders, and other characters. This is the free world, the prosperous modern world we live in, where I meet a 21 yr old snowboarder from Belgium who has worked hard and saved, and is doing an entire snow season in NZ (3 months or more).

The free market allows people to do that - instead of reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator, which is what Socialism attempts to do via punitive taxation, and even Public education which is sometimes more about indoctrination and levelling of talents.

Thereby also robbing the poor of the chance to be upwardly mobile, or have inspiring rags-to riches examples around them. There is nothing worse than not being able to better yourself, or change your destiny. In this sense, Socialism is deeply anti-human and produces nothing but the equal sharing of misery and lack of opportunity.

It's like some ogre who decides to hold all trees from blossoming in Spring - "we can't let you blossom - you might outshine other trees !"
Statis is death.
Cyclical activity - good times, temporary stagnancy, bad times: Dynamism is life. Embrace it.
In the end , Socialism will burn itself out and will be remembered as an abberation and a sickness. You can't hold down human creativity and vitality and diversity any more than concrete can hold down a blade of grass. Although I know they will try, via the UN and other attempts at world dictatorship.



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