Introductions and About Me
I have a lifelong interest in the “me”, and how “I” should respond to the world. This mysterious “me-ness” has fostered ongoing study in philosophy and ethics, psychology, neuroscience. The interaction between this “me” and the world has lead me to also study physics and metaphysics, art and mathematics, theology and information technology. I have passed through religion to secular supra-humanism, and have enjoyed and grown out of my meetings with great thinkers in all these areas of thought- alive and dead.
The interaction between “me” and a wonderful woman who has joined her life to mine this past 18 years in the adventure of life, has produced four fresh mysteries of “selfhood”. The responsibility toward these totally dependent “selves” who would never otherwise have existed, has prompted thinking and experimenting in education and learning, in civics and values, in experience and novelty, in harm-avoidance and self-development and discovery.
So, this blog will reflect my ongoing journey with all these ideas and themes. It will capture fleeting thoughts that arise from some impulse or interaction. It will reflect my reactions to events and situations in the “environment” that surrounds my life. It will comment on books and ideas that are circulating and that I encounter.
I think it will be an interesting journey of self discovery, and a modern response to the Delphic Oracle’s injunction to “Know Thyself” - and the Socratic assertion “That an unexamined life is not worth living” (Apology 38a)
Clearly, from what I have written above it would appear there is not much about me that is known for certain! However I do believe I am a middle aged male who lives in an Australian country town, who is married to a wonderful woman, and is sharing the joy of raising 4 beautiful children. I am reasonably certain that I work as a medical general practitioner, and so have the joy and responsibility of meeting and assisting people of all types and ages through all phases of life, including some of the most stressful and challenging moments of their life. It gives plenty of food for thought, and not a little wisdom. So there will also be insights and inspirations from my wonderful patients scattered throughout this blog. But the privacy of my patients is absolute, so comments will be completely anonymous and possibly changed slightly to avoid any risk of identification.
My Personal Philosophy
Spirituality is not the same as religion
Spirituality is the desire to transcend one’s self, transcend one’s situation or position in life, transcend one’s community
It is inherently open-ended and open minded. It is also inherently humble, recognizing that what lies outside or in potential is far greater than what is within
Science can therefore be profoundly spiritual, especially that type of science that is focused on a supra-humanism
Religion is the desire to control and confine people according to a particular and fixed vision of life, of the place of individuals and the future of humanity. All religions aggregate around the personality and particulars of a charismatic leader. Religion is focused on control and therefore inherently closed and limiting. It is inherently arrogant, believing there is nothing that is more important and that nothing else needs to be known. The word “religion” derives from Latin roots meaning “to bind”, and ultimately it is submission - physically, psychologically, intellectually - to a prescribed mode of life, a rule and model of behaviour envisioned or exemplified in the life of the charismatic founder, that is a common feature of all religions.
Science can also be religious, especially that sort of science that is reductionist, and pronounced as dogma by self-serving and charismatic scientists.
Personally I profess myself to be spiritual, and my spirituality is scientific and supra-humanist.
I am agnostic with regards the existence of a “divine” being, and skeptical that any such being would have special relations with humankind; but I suspect entities exist that transcend the physical and sensory states and capacities of humans, possessing perhaps more and even qualitatively different knowledge about the universe, or multiverse, and able to manipulate forces we as yet have no knowledge of.
I am profoundly humanist, and treasure the potential of every person, and I affirm the importance of all humans having freedom of self determination, physically, economically, relationally, and freedom of intellectual exploration and development. I believe a marketplace of ideas is the best chance for humans to discover truths and to improve and fulfill their own opportunities.
Consequently I am deeply anti-religious, and oppose institutions or movements that claim to possess all truth and resist inquiry, that prescribe particular modes of life as exclusively right, and inhibit explorations of other modes of living, that require unquestioning submission by members of their most precious life-forces and resources to the beliefs of the cult and it’s charismatic leaders - whether cults of divinity (monotheistic scriptural faiths), Utopian cults of ideologies (for instance communism, positivism, environmentalism), or cults of personality or idols/totems (brands etc).
I am committed to taking a stand in the marketplace of ideas, and putting forth my values and arguing for them. If others freely are intellectually convinced by such ideas, I believe the world will be improved for all humans, and indeed for all inhabitants of planet earth.