Tag Archives: philosophy

Time is ticking away

I have been studying the use of time in literature, and the use of it in my own writing. A little while ago, I answered a writing prompt with a piece I called the Somellier. I mentioned at the time that I was using this prompt to write a longer piece for my assignment. It turned out ok, but what it also produced was an exercise in the study of time.

The Sommelier Exegesis.

The idea that time is in fact in a circle instead of a ‘timeline’ is not a new one. In the holy scriptures of Judaism and Christianity, the religions of Egypt, Buddhist, and Hindu texts alike, the idea that time is not a line is confirmed often. The theory is known as eternal return. It is the intent of this essay to show that time must be thought of as not linear, but as a circle. The exegesis will explore how this idea was manifest in the creative work and reflect on works studied and not studied in class to strengthen the argument.

Christianity shows that life itself continues beyond the grave, in the quote, “one must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven” (“Biblegateway” NIV John3:2). Of course, the quote is not referring to rebirth of a known human kind, but that of an infinite kind. God himself said, “If they ask who sent you, tell them that I am” (Exodus 3:14), using present tense, not past. God says he is “the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end” (Rev 21:6) while both David and Daniel say, “His Kingdom is everlasting” (Psalm145:13 and Daniel 7). The prophet Ezekiel said of his vision that he sees everything as a wheel, within a wheel said that “everything has a season” (Ecclesiastes 3)

Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;

and God will call the past to account. (Ecclesiastes 3:15)

 

Eternal return has been used as a theory of time for centuries and by many different religions. The Ouroboros is pictures as a snake eating its own tail to suggest that life goes on in a circle. The flower of life looks like a series of smaller circles inside a bigger one to represent the cycle of life being eternal. In Indian religions the belief in reincarnation is itself a belief in the circles of life. In tantric Buddhism the wheel of time is known as the Kalachakra expresses the idea of endless cycles of time and knowledge (“Eternal Return”).

The eternal return is an idea that was expressed in recent times by Friedrich Nietzsche (Ross). However, Nietzsche saw this as a burden rather than accepting it as inevitable. In Thus spoke Zarathustra the dwarf states that “straight lines hold lies, the truth is crooked, and that time is a circle” (“Thus Spake Zarathustra, By Friedrich Nietzsche” XLVI The Vision and the Enigma pt 2, line 9-17). This statement was said to be oversimplifying things. But the author of this essay and creative work feels that sometimes things need to be simplified to be understood.

In thinking of the cosmos as microsections of time, we can look at the minute, being 60 seconds. What happens when that minute ends? It starts again. 60 minutes make an hour, and then the hour starts again, and so on. It is why the clock is designed as a circle. The sundial tells the time in a circular pattern. The days, the years, the centuries are all repeated.

It makes sense then that humans each have their own circles of time. There is a season for each of us. The question is regularly asked. ‘How has your day been?’ meaning that the circle of time for the person asked differs from the one who has asked. When one meets an acquaintance, one might say ‘we have to catch up’ which means there is a need to synchronise the circles and recall and relay any news that has happened to each over a period of time.

In the creative piece this is also true. For the main character, Allen, he sees that his father’s circle has ceased to turn on the earth. Allen himself operates in his own circle of time, which includes wine, and Simon as well as city living. His father’s circle interacts with his own whenever Allen is with his father. This will include fishing, drinking strong black coffee and feeding the birds. Allen is unaware of his father’s circle of time when he is not present. But he wonders about it with the discovery of the photo in the phone.

Memory is a bit part of this story as Allen recalls times with his father. The photo brings the past into the present, as does the letter. They are both reminders to Allen of the life that his father once had but also of his own mortality. Memento mori… all that lives will surely die (“Memento Mori”). Sufis of Ethiopia are often called people of the graves because of their habit of visiting graves and contemplating the vanities of life.

The choice of music is used to calm the spirit but also to invoke memories of his father. This was a tactic used in dementia patients by Oliver Sacks and adopted by many others since. “Music evokes emotion and emotion memory.” (Sacks) The morning routine and seeing himself in the mirror as a younger version of his father are other ways in which this memory is expressed.

The letter in the story represents that Allen’s father also recollects times when they were together, when his love was expressed and the fathers awareness that Allen runs in a different circle than his own, with the revelation that the father has known all along that Allen is gay, and that Allen likes his wine. The letter is a way in which the father is again brought into the present through memory. The letter also shows that his father is aware of his own mortality, possibly prompted by the death of his wife (“Memento Mori”).

The repetition of dialogue also confirms that life runs in a circle, the same words, expressions, and routine, again and again, until finally the death of the father brings a deviation in the circle.

The idea that time runs in circles has been propagated by many religions in the world and is also the basis of many philosophies both modern and ancient. The creative piece seeks to show that not cycles of time are not just mega, as in the universe or community but also personal. Each person has his own circle of time, which is interrupted by interactions with other people’s circles. The interactions with letters, photos and music bring the past back to the present in the circle of time.

 

 

Work Cited

“Biblegateway.Com: A Searchable Online Bible In Over 150 Versions And 50 Languages.”. Biblegateway.Com, 2020, https://www.biblegateway.com/.

“Memento Mori”. En.Wikipedia.Org, 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_mori.

Ross, Alex. “Nietzsche’S Eternal Return”. The New Yorker, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/10/14/nietzsches-eternal-return.

Sacks, Oliver. Musicophilia. Vintage Books, 2008.

Susan Sontag On Photography 1977 p15 (From Lectures)

“Thus Spake Zarathustra, By Friedrich Nietzsche”. Gutenberg.Org, 2020, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1998/1998-h/1998-h.htm#link2H_4_0053.         Extra information XLVI The Vision and the Enigma pt 2, line 9-17

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Patrick White and Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Ok, I am going to be a bit cheeky here and include this post under both Reading Australia, and American Literature. Why? Because I feel it belongs in both. I believe we can see Emerson, Thoreau and other transcendentalists in Patrick White’s writings. Patrick White was a man who was obsessed with the need for spiritual connection. It is evident in his books and in his life. Is my lecturer going to allow my marrying the two subjects? Paraphrasing Thoreau and Emerson… I am doing it because I believe its the right thing to do, therefore I have confidence in myself and will go on a path that is not often traveled.

In The Tree of Man, Stan Parker is in essence a Christian with ties to a conservative kind of church. He grew up believing in God and the institution of the church, he baptises his kids into the church, he prays and seems to be the spiritual rock of the family; even though he is a man of few words, his conviction is strong. At the end of his life in the book, he has a revelation. He has been striving his whole life for a connection with God, in church, praying and at times cursing a silent God. All that time, God was revealing himself through nature. He is the God in the storm and on the gentle breeze. He is there in good times and bad, even if we cant see it at the time.

Image result for footprints in the sand poem

Patrick White had an epiphany, or a revelation when feeding his dogs one night, and slipping in the mud, that God is everywhere. Before this point, he was searching for a church that was uncompromising in its message, but liberal in its acceptance of people. He was seeking a church that was fervent in sticking to points of scripture that White considered important, while relaxing on the things that didn’t really matter.

I just had an epiphany myself. I have been doing the same thing. As a Gay man, I felt totally rejected by the Christian Church when I came out. Before coming out, I was denying who I was, while in church. I have been striving ever since to find a church that will compromise on the issue of homosexuality, or being accepting of gay people but conservative on other areas of teaching. I can stop searching. I will never find a perfect church, because while it may be perfect for me, it will be imperfect for others, or visa versa.

I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colours will bleed into one
Bleed into one.
But yes, I’m still running.

You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame
Oh my shame, you know I believe it.

But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.

 

In the words of U2, I still haven’t found what I am looking for. But you know what, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need a church to justify my belief in God. The church says “follow the leader, follow the rules of those who have gone before. Thoreau says to travel the road less worn, to make your own way. Emerson says to be self – reliant, trusting your gut instinct, your intuition.

For those who are getting caught up in Gay Marriage debates around the world, I say, do not listen to the voices or politics to sway you into voting one way or another. Rely on your gut, and vote your own way no matter how the crowd is swayed. ( sorry to get political).

I hope this post has been informative, and insightful to you, Please leave a comment.

Dave

Each man must walk his own journey. One must not look merely at the teachings of the elders of before but be a leader of our own spiritual journey.

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Filed under American Writing, critical posts, critical posts, Reading Australia

All that Glitters: Brett Whiteley

I am a few weeks behind commenting on my visit to the Brett Whiteley Studio and Gallery, and indeed on Alchemy itself. I have been in deep thought about what one part to concentrate on. The work ‘Alchemy’ is an incredible artwork mapping Brett Whiteley’s life. Some have said it is a self portrait. I think of it in a literary sense. It is autobiographical. A portrait in art is generally one picture, showing one aspect of a person, with facial features, showing only the surface. An autobiography however, can reveal thoughts and feelings that perhaps were not evident before being revealed.

Alchemy can be described as taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. Taking what is common, and making it shine like gold. I believe that what Brett Whiteley was trying to show was the transition of his own life, from conception through to spiritual nirvana, turning one sperm amongst millions, into a life that mattered.

alchemy

The section I wish to focus on is his discovery or what I call the exploration portion of the artwork. I have interpreted this part of the painting to coincide with Whiteley’s adolescence. Adolescence is a time of discovery. We use a telescope to look into the cosmos. We discover what part we are to play in this big wide world. and we realise, with the use of a magnifying glass, that our own worth is infinitesimal compared to the universe. Brett Whiteley depicts this as him looking at his own life as William Blake’s grain of sand, making reference to his work

alchemy-exploration

 

If we are reading the work from right to left (Contrary to the chronological way it was painted), you will see that at the end of what I term Whitleley’s adolescence a speech bubble with …!! enclosed. I believe this is the moment of revelation for Whiteley. the “That’s it!” moment.

And then with the realisation, he has discovered IT.

 

When travelling in the city on the weekend, I had my partner lean out of the car window and take these photos of a mural on the side of a building on the corner of Southern Cross Drive and Flinders St. You will see here that the artist is also facinated by Whiteley and has captured some of the spirit of Whiteley.

wp-1474246916433.jpg                        wp-1474246876389.jpgwp-1474246662396.jpg                         wp-1474246692350.jpg

Blessings

Dave

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“All Art is Quite Useless”

This was the sentiment of the society in the Victorian Era. It is a quote from Oscar Wilde, . Oscar promoted the school of Aesthetics which said art is for art sake. It is not meant to have a use. “Those who go beneath  the surface do so at their peril”. What he was saying here, is appreciate art for its own sake, don’t try to find meaning in it where possibly there is none. Both quotes are from ‘Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray’.

Oscar-Wilde_All-art-is-quite-useless

 

Art today however is not useless. Art is used by our Utilitarian society for the promotion of products. An image, a logo designed by a graphic artist, would be used around the world for people to recognise the brand as Universal.

Where have all our writers gone… long time passing?

Where have all our writers gone… long time ago?

Where have all our writers gone? Gone to movies and music everyone.

When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn.

(thank you Peter, Paul and Mary).

It is my thought that writers of good literature or poetry are being swallowed by the media machine. When one reads a new action fiction book, we think of how good that would transfer to be a movie. And inevitably we proclaim, that the movie is never as good as the book…. But a writer has to eat. Plays are no longer written, but screenplays are, such is the evolution of literature as I have espoused before.

Likewise our poets cannot make a living as a poet anymore. Much poetry is now adapted to become songs. Songwriting is much more lucrative than poetry writing.

I beg for the return of good literature to again fill our shelves. What will future students of 21st literature say about writers of our generation? We as writers need to give them something to talk about.

Art can indeed be utilitarian as well as aesthetic. Producing art, in any form can be so therapeutic. Have you seen the latest trend? Colouring in for Adults, as a form of stress relief. Music is used in therapy. Reading books lowers the heart rate and calms the nerves, (although I am not sure if reading screens does the same thing).

The Expanse conference which I attended  last year and the SPARC conference are recruiting artists of all kinds to encourage them to use their art for the good of social causes around the world; to make the first world aware of third world problems and issues that can be more easily digested than just mere facts.

My aim in Life as I have spouted before, is to look for beauty in this world and share it with people who have difficulty seeing it for themselves.. Whether this be through my art, my photography, my music or my writings. This is the whole purpose of my life. Don’t keep the beauty of your world to yourself, let others see it, and smile.

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Filed under 19th Century Literature, art, literature

A question of logic

If a sign on a door says “Door must be kept closed at all times”. One must ask the question, “why is there a door there at all?”.

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Ethical dilemmas. Asylum seekers

I recently completed a philosophy course on Ethical perspectives. It was hard going. We were asked to look at an issue that is current and discuss  the ethical perspective of the people involved. In other words… “What makes them think its OK to do what they do?”.

Below is the essay I submitted on the ethical perspectives on Asylum seekers. While the subject is not enjoyable, and may cause you to squirm in your seats, I do hope you will enjoy being enlightened and informed.

The Australian Government is not alone in their inhumane treatment of those seeking to become citizens of a more preferred country. I hope my international readers will take a look at your countries treatment of displaced persons and protest, even peacefully at the treatment of fellow human beings.

Dave

That the Australian Government use all means possible to stop unauthorized people entering Australian territorial waters (borders).

Preface

The purpose of this preface is to show a learning outcome of studying ethics, and in particular my writing of this paper on the ethics behind the topic. This preface is not to be considered as part of the essay but is purely one student’s reflection of the course studied.

That the Australian Government use all means possible to stop unauthorised people entering Australian territorial waters (borders).

This issue is alive. It is not an issue on which we can look back with hindsight and think “how could we have done it better”. It is an issue which is daily evolving as the problem of forced migration will remain with us as long as we have inhumane governments preying on vulnerable people.

I have been greatly impacted by all the information surrounding asylum seekers and the Australian Government policy concerning it. Until now, I have been unaware of all the issues surrounding asylum seekers and like others believed the rhetoric that the spin doctors spun.

Previously I had made assumptions that all that was told to me through the media and by politicians was true, call me naïve. Now I am aware that I don’t know the true motivations behind certain policies or what ethical perspective people are coming from. It causes me to research and ‘dig deeply’ to find the true motivation behind the rhetoric.

Researching the issues covered in this essay has opened my eyes not only to the motivations behind the policies but also to the concerns surrounding the people who are desperate enough to risk life and limb to get away from the dangers of remaining in their home country.

I have become passionate whereas prior to studying ethics, I was blissfully ignorant. If it didn’t affect me, then I wasn’t concerned. I guess studying ethics has awakened within me the ethics of care that was sleeping within. I now feel the need to research for myself topics before becoming a staunch advocate of one side or another purely on one newspaper report or one point of view.

This course has ruined me for life. I can no longer read a news article or watch the news and accept things at face value. I am no longer content in my ignorance, but must be informed before I make a decision on an issue.

My thanks go to the staff for their guidance in this topic and to my fellow students for their insight and opinions on such a variety of issues. Also I think that the Mission Australia sponsored learning partners are an invaluable resource which as a student I am greatly appreciative.

Dave McGettigan

21 May 2014

 

That the Australian Government use all means possible to stop unauthorised people entering Australian territorial waters (borders).

I have compassion for the people that try to enter our borders, going to extreme lengths to ensure they arrive to Australia. I come from an ethics of care perspective. I believe the Australian Government should actually care for all people equally, showing no bias to current citizens over potential future citizens. Australia has responsibility to care for displaced persons under  international treaties (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1951) and as a global citizen.

 

The Australian Government espouses an ethics of care in its Sovereign Borders policy (Liberal National Coalition, 2013). If this were truly the case, then it is to be applauded, as it would be doing its duty as a global citizen and also what is morally right. If this were truly the case, then caring for the asylum seekers once they arrived within our sovereign borders would be the priority, not turning them back, detaining the people within detention centres or processing them offshore where their welfare is not best served. This essay will argue that it is not an ethics of care that the Australian Government is coming from; but rather a consequentialist ethic on so many levels.

 

In the Sovereign Borders policy, the Liberal Government states a key objective is to protect asylum seekers aboard the boats that come primarily from Indonesia (Liberal-National Coalition, 2013). Many have drowned or risked their lives by attempting to travel to Australia in unseaworthy boats provided or captained by people smugglers. I will endeavour to prove that the true outcome of such a consequentialist policy is that “it is not a question of stopping people dying at sea (the ends), it is just that this Australian Government just wants these people to die somewhere else” (pers.comm. Michael Foley quoting Phil Glendenning’s 2014 Palm Sunday speech, 26 March 2014 ). I will show that Kant’s categorical imperative should apply: at all times people should not be seen as a means to an end, but should be valued as individuals in themselves (Burgh and Freakly, 2000, p. 114).

The Australian Government has an ulterior motive. The Australian Government has adopted a policy with a utilitarian or consequentialism perspective towards asylum seekers coming by sea and justifies this as necessary in order to protect Australia’s ‘national interest’ and to preserve the relationship between the Government and the people it serves. This consequentialist approach is encapsulated by Minister Scott Morrison in his statement:

What the people smugglers and anyone trying to get on a boat need to understand is that this Australian Government will take the actions necessary to protect Australian sovereignty and stop the boats. (Morrison, 2014)

 

A Minister in the Howard Liberal-National Government expressed similar views:

The protection of our sovereignty, including Australia’s sovereign right to determine who shall enter Australia, is a       matter for the Australian Government and this Parliament.

(Ruddock, 2001)

 

This means the Australian Government uses the definition of sovereignty as ‘the right to exclude’ (Gelber and McDonald, 2006). It will decide who is worthy of humanitarian aid and whose visa is granted on humanitarian grounds.

 

The policies and attitudes of the Australian Government create  an ‘us and them’ mentality. Instead of embracing those coming from countries where safety and even life cannot be guaranteed, it forms in the mind of current citizens that, since these asylum seekers are perhaps different culturally from us, then they should not be permitted to cross our borders. It marginalises people who have fled these countries with little more than the clothes on their back, branding them as criminals and a potential threat to our safety without any evidence of this.

 

Department of Immigration and Citizenship statistics show that on average over 93% of asylum seekers asylum seekers are granted visas (after appeal) to remain in Australia in the period 2008 – 2013 (Cited by Refugee Council of Australia, 2014). These people have proved to be genuine refugees and enrich the lives of communities who choose to embrace them often opening restaurants and various retail outlets reflecting their culture. Such diversity can also be found in the different religions in communities settled by immigrants.

 

Three former asylum seekers serve as notable examples of this. Ahn Do, the famous comedian, was an asylum seeker who arrived by boat from Vietnam in 1981. He came with his mother and little brother Khoa Do who was named Young Australian of the year in 2005.  Accepting his Young Australian of the Year award, Khoa Do said, ‘I hope it might just inspire young people from other backgrounds to find their own way in life and maybe make a difference.’ (Do, 2005). Tan Le was named Young Australian of the year in 1998. She arrived by boat with her family in 1982 when just 4 years old.

 

The asylum seekers are not permitted to work while on Temporary Protection Orders. It is not until they have obtained a permanent Protection Order (or granted asylum seeker status) that they are able to work, have access to medical assistance and social security. The asylum seekers are not going to take jobs that could have gone to Australian Citizens. Often asylum seekers will do work that no one else wants.

 

Under an ethics of care, which is an agent based approach; all people have an intrinsic value. Each life is valuable and one should not place greater importance of one life over another.

According to the 2014 Australian National Budget, the desired end of a consequentialist policy is to save money. It costs less to turn back boats, to process asylum seekers offshore, to return them to countries of origin than it does to house and care for people physically, mentally, socially and spiritually within our borders. Money continues to be spent on ‘managing the legacy’ of Labor’s border control failures (Australia’s 2014 National Budget cited in Lyon, Daily Telegraph, May 14, 2014).

Meeting the needs of a growing population absorbs and saps our political energy. It requires a lot of money – money for transport infrastructure, money for new electricity and energy infrastructure, money for water infrastructure like desalination plants. And building these things requires effort – effort from the private sector, effort from public servants, effort from politicians. There are decisions to be made, conflicts to be resolved. (Thomson, 2010)

The desired end for marginalising people who attempt to arrive by boat is to garner support from voters. To not provide aid to people is to save money, therefore no changes to taxes are needed. To embrace asylum seekers and provide assistance in the forms of housing, health, jobs etc. all costs money that the voters need to supply. This while not getting voter support from asylum seekers themselves; these people have no right to vote.

 

There was a substantial increase in people attempting to arrive in Australia by boat, known in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection as ‘unauthorised maritime arrivals or UMAs, over the last decade. Between 2003 and 2013 the number rose from 53 to 20,587.  This may seem large on a national level but on a global level Australia absorbs a relatively small number of people seeking asylum.  In 2012 10.5 million refugees were hosted by countries around the world. Australia ranked 49th in the world hosting just 30,083, or 0.29% of the world’s refugees (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 2012). The need is certainly there. Each day brings more news of countries in strife and Australia, along with Canada, are desired destinations for those fleeing such countries.

 

The current Liberal National Coalition Australian Government, along with the previous Labour government, is determined to enforce its sovereign borders by all means possible. This includes turning boats back or towing them back to Indonesia, detaining people seeking asylum in inhumane conditions; most in offshore detention centres, returning people to countries of origin despite the danger that these people will be persecuted or even killed and firing across the bow of boats to deter them from entering the Australian territorial waters.

 

Turning the boats back to Indonesia, towing them, or providing other safe passage back to Indonesia puts those people on board at risk of persecution, imprisonment and inhumane conditions. They are not welcome in Indonesia and are either imprisoned or sent back to their country of origin. Returning these people to Indonesia or sending them to other countries for processing creates an underclass of people not wanted and therefore persecuted and treated inhumanely until they can be returned to the countries of origin. They will not be granted citizenship or refugee status by Indonesia as Indonesia is not a signatory to the treating concerning displaced or stateless persons.  While this is a utilitarian or ‘useful’ approach (consequentialist) it does not address ethical obligations that arise if an ethics of care (or even non-consequentialist approach) was used.

 

The Australian Government is currently working on having agreements in place with Papua New Guinea to resettle people from Manus Island detention centre and Cambodia to house refugees currently residing on Nauru. Australia is ‘fobbing off’ its responsibilities as a signatory of the convention concerning refugees and stateless persons to third world nations, sometimes without that capacity to assist. Failed compliance with international standards include placing people in arbitrary and compulsory detention,  not providing fair or efficient procedures for asylum claims, not providing safe, humane conditions (UNHCR, 2013). This can be seen as unethical from an ‘ethic of care’ perspective.

 

Detaining people in refugee camps or detention centres either in Australia or in third party countries has proved to be detrimental to the mental and physical health of those detained. The Australian Government provides mental health workers to detention centres to minimise the effects, but this does not stop people detained from sewing their lips together or going on hunger strikes as a protest to the their treatment. It has come to light recently that although mental health nurses and psychologists are employed on Manus Island, there is not a fulltime psychiatrist.

 

In his film, ‘A Well Founded Fear’, Phil Glendenning and his team from the Edmund Rice Centre research the fate or demise of those rejected as refugees by Australia. This film and the associated report found that many people returned to their supposed country of origin were persecuted or killed as a result of returning to a hostile country.

Glendenning also learned that Australia has been deporting people to Syria on short-term visas who aren’t Syrian. When their Syrian visas run out they must go into hiding. Equally disturbing is evidence that Australia has been knowingly using false passports to deport people (cited in Film Finance Corporation Australia & November Films, 2008).

 

The use of force in the laws of the sea is acceptable in times of conflict. Are we at war with asylum seekers? Under the 1982 Convention on the Laws of the Sea (LOSC), of which Australia is a signatory, forcing a boat to halt or change course” must be avoided as far as possible. Where force is unavoidable, it must not go beyond what is ‘reasonable and necessary’. Turning back the boats therefore does not meet our obligations under this treaty and is therefore not in keeping with an ethics of care.

 

The Australian Government is coming from a consequential or utilitarian ethical perspective. The end justifies the means. The aim or end result sought is to have the borders protected and the means of entry into Australia by boat stopped. The Sovereign Borders policy seems to have been successful, in that fewer boat arrivals are reported in the media.

It has now been 95 days since the last successful people smuggling venture. For the same time period last year the number of IMAs that arrived was 3,116. The number of SIEVs during that same period was 55. (Operation Sovereign Borders Joint Agency Taskforce Spokesperson, 24 March 2014 cited in Leslie & Corcoran, 2014)

 

 

It is clear from the statistics that while the Labor Government was in power, the number of boat and asylum seekers increased dramatically. Something needed to be done in stemming the tide of people arriving by boat. The current government policy is that anyone arriving by boat will not be processed on Australian soil and will not be granted a visa to live in Australia, whatever the situation.

 

The percentage of asylum seekers who are successful in their bid is over 90% with very few people refused entry. The total immigration for 2012/2013 is over 200,000 people. The 200,000 places granted includes over 20,000 immigrants from England, New Zealand and India. That is 20,000 from each of these countries, not as a total. Yet we are concerned with the comparative few who arrive by boat.

 

Many asylum seekers are even prepared to be detained in processing centres for the privilege to be able to settle in Australia after fleeing a country where persecution, war, torture and murder are the norm.

 

Concluding, the aim of the sovereign borders policy is to stop boats containing asylum seekers from entering Australian waters; thereby protecting the lives and lifestyle of people already citizens of Australia. In that sense, being a utilitarian ethical perspective, it has been a successful operation as the flow of boats has seemingly slowed or even ceased by information released to the media and passed onto us, the citizens.

 

It is my belief that if the government was coming from an ethics of care, it would increase the immigration places allocated to humanitarian causes, granting quick visas to those who are desperate enough to come by leaky boats and decreasing the immigration to others who are not under any threat of harm in their country of origin. The Australian government could further show an ethic of care by quickly processing those already in detention centres and thereby reducing the need for such centres. Those people arriving under desperate conditions should be housed and cared for in the community and processed quickly, so they are able to gain employment, access health care and everything else a citizen enjoys in Australia.

 

Many articles under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1958), The United Nations on the Law of the Sea (1982) and Convention and Protocol relating to the status of refugees (2010) are being totally ignored or flagrantly broken by Australia. Coming from an ethics of care perspective, the question needs to be asked is; “Why does Australia remain a signatory of these agreements if it has no intention of upholding these treaties?”

References

Burgh, G and Freakly,M (2000) Engaging in Ethics. Ethical       perspectives. Katoomba NSW: Social Science Press, 95-140

Do, Khoa (2005) Acceptance speech for Young Australian of the         Year Award. Retrieved from             http://www.australianoftheyear.org.au/honour-   roll/?view=fullView&recipientID=148

Gelber,K. and McDonald, M (2006) Ethics and exclusion:        representations of sovereignty in Australia’s approach to asylum          seekers. Review of International Studies, 32, 269-289. Retrieved          from http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0260210506007029

Glendenning, Phillip (2008) In Film Finance Corporation Australia &     November Films (2008) Press Kit for the film ‘A well-founded            fear’. Retrieved from     http://www.novemberfilms.com.au/assets/inline/AWFF_Press_k            it_FINAL.pdfGlendenning, P. Speech given to Palm Sunday Rally and March ‘Declare Peace on Refugees’, Hyde Park, Sydney on  13 March 2014. Pers.comm., Foley, Michael, Australian Catholic University, 26 March 2014.

Leslie, T. and Corcoran, M. (2014) Operation Sovereign Borders. The first six months. Australian Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/interactives/operation-sovereign-borders-the-first-6-months/

Liberal National Party Coalition (2013) The Coalition’s Operation Sovereign Borders Policy. Retrieved from

Click to access The%20Coalition%E2%80%99s%20Operation%20Sovereign%20Borders%20Policy.pdf

Lyon, Patrick (2014) The Daily Telegraph May 13, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/money-continues-to-be-spent-on-managing-the-legacy-of-labors-border-control-failures/story-fni0cx12-1226916649570

Morrison, Scott, Australian Minister for Immigration, Media      interview. , January 17, 2014. Retrieved from

\http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-17/australia-breached-   indonesian-territorial-sovereignty-morrison/52047462014            Refugee Council of Australia (2014) Statistics on asylum seekers           arriving in Australia. Retrieved from          http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/r/stat-as.php

Ruddock, Phillip (2001) Member of Australian Parliament, House of     Representatives Hansard, 18 September 2001, 30869-72.

Thomson, Kelvin (2010), MP for Wills, Population growth and the        democratic deficit. Address to the Australian Capital Territory           Branch of Sustainable Population Australia, Wednesday 10       February 2010. Retrieved from     file:///C:/Users/Sue/Downloads/100210%20population%20and %20democratic.pdf

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2010) Convention     and Protocol relating to the status of refugees. Geneva: United             Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Retrieved from             http://www.unhcr.org/protect/PROTECTION/3b66c2aa10.pdf United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2012)           Statistical Yearbook 2012, 12th edition sourced from             http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/r/stat-int.php obtained 20th    May 2014.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2013) UNHCR         monitoring visit to Manus Island, Papua New Guinea 23 to 25            October 2013. Retrieved from http://unhcr.org.au/unhcr/images/2013-11-        26%20Report%20of%20UNHCR%20Visit%20to%20Manus%2   0Island%20PNG%2023-25%20October%202013.pdf

 

 

 

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Game rules

Upon reflection, these rules are my rules to the game which we call Life.

1. Have fun

Enjoy whatever it is you are doing. If you don’t, STOP. You have broken the rules and need to start over

2. Be considerate of others

Don’t stop others playing their own game, 

3. Help others play the game

Smile at them, share beauty, invite, pay for those who cant pay for themselves.

 

Thats all.

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Philosophy, Ethics and Apology

I realise that I have not been posting as regular as I usually do, or as often as I ought.

There are a few reasons for this. Primarily my reason is that the topic this semester in University is Ethics. I am having an extremely difficult time trying to understand ethics but am now coming to terms with it. I have come to the conclusion that there is no right and wrong in Ethics. You are incorrect in stating something is ethically right or wrong. Everything is ethical, it just needs to be discovered what motivation you have behind a certain action, behaviour or attitude. The question of right or wrong does not lie with ethics, but with moral values and virtues. And even those are subjective. They are subject to our upbringing and societal conditioning.

So you see why I am having issues with it. The thing that disturbs me most is that every hospital in the land has an ethics committee. This ethics committee decides whether someone lives or dies. Should we keep spending valuable hospital resources on keeping this person alive or turn off life support and let them die. Who has the right to determine the value of ones life? Is a life’s worth down dollars and cents? Does it depend on whether they can make a contribution to society? Or does a life have intrinsic value; a value in and of itself? Does the ethics committee take into account the contribution already made to society or individuals. Whether it was to donate a million dollars to a charity, or just to make one child smile.

How do we decide who is worthy to become a citizen of our country, to share the wealth and resources that our land has to offer to those lucky enough to be chosen? 

In short, what right does one human have to decide the value of another?

I am in no position to ever judge the worth of another human. I have been rich, I have been (and am currently poor). I don’t think my personal value can be counted by my physical or fiscal worth. I have been forgiven much, therefore, I will always forgive much. I have been loved and accepted by people when I myself felt that I have no worth. I am so thankful for those who decided that my worth was greater than my sins.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Other reasons for not posting include the fact that not only am I doing this course at Uni, but I am also doing a business administration certificate at TAFE. That takes up more time too. I have also been taking photos of events and newsworthy events for NEWZULU which allows me to gain some income for a passion I have for photography. I actually need the extra income now, as my 17-55mm canon lens is not not functioning in Auto Focus mode. I need to buy another.

Thats all for now. Never fear, I will be back soon to post some photos and artword that I have recently completed.

Dave

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Happiness vs Joy and contentment

circular quay sydney 062I want laugh lines like hers.

Philosopher John Stuart Mills says “Ask yourself whether you’re happy, and you cease to be happy” (R.D. 2013)

Comedian Arthur Smith says “…it needs to be a temporary state, otherwise, what would drive you forward?” (R.D. 2013)

Mills use of the word ‘whether’ should be changed to ‘if’ for correct English, but apart from that, I can agree with the statement. Happiness is an emotion. An emotion can’t be analysed in the logical section of the brain. An emotion can’t be dissected by science, and truly defined and reasoned.

Smith is correct in his view that being happy is a temporary state, and that we all strive for happiness in our lives. But the happiness that he talks about is not one of deep contentment or joy in ones life, but a fleeting feeling, which makes you smile, or in some cases laugh.

Joy or contentment come from the soul, the inner most being of a person. Being Joyful or contented is a value or character trait that we all should strive for. I don’t believe that this is brought about by ‘things’ or passing situations, but it is being at peace with where one is. Having come to terms with the past, or where one was, and being optimistic about the future or where one is going.

Having a life goal, or plan for ones life is a start toward contentment and inner joy. If you have a target, you have something to aim for.

Why do I write, paint, or photograph creation and the created? My goal is to share the beauty of life with those who have less ability or opportunity to see that beauty for themselves. I guess this is my legacy.

Why do teachers teach, instructors instruct, or tradesmen pass on their trade to the apprentices? They want to leave a legacy. It justifies their existence. The masters feel content that what they are passing on is of worth. The teachers are joyful when a student has an epiphany, a moment when His eyes are opened and “He gets it”.  The contentment is the value, the happiness a result of that value being understood.

Find your life goal, map out a plan on how to achieve it, strive toward it, and you will find the contentment that is within you waiting to be hatched and exposed to the world.

Dave

quotes from Readers Digest Australia, November 2013, page s32.

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Success

What is the definition of Success? It depends on what you value in life. Many people think that having money equates to being successful. I disagree.

Kerry Packer, who before he died would have been called a successful businessman. Yet when asked the question “How much money is enough?” answered “Just a little bit more.”

Are you doing what you wish to do? Work life balance is what I consider important.

Am I successful? Yes. Since doing a mindfulness course, and again reading Ezekiel 3, I have found that striving after things to be futile. I am doing what I like to do. I am an artist and writer, with a little photography on the side. I am content in what I have and what I can achieve.

I champion the cause of the disadvantaged, doing what I can to protest, and provide for those who have less than me. I hope I treat all those I meet with the same degree of respect that is deserved by every human being.

I am a person of humble needs. As long as I have food on the table and a bed to sleep in, and some degree of good health, then I am happy.

The Australian Philanthropist DIck Smith is one that I consider truly successful. He achieved his fortune and fame providing electrical components and small electrical goods in the early 1980’s. From there he started doing what he wanted. He is an adventurer who travels the globe in a helicopter. He is an advocate for justice. He sticks up for the underdog and fights for the Australian farmer. He fought for greater safety in civil aviation in Australia, and is a champion of conservation causes, having started the Magazine and retail stores Australian Geographic.

here endth the lesson

 

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