Will dogma continue to smother compassion?

Has not the dogma of the religious sect supported by a minority (less than 25%) of Australia’s population prevented voluntary (repeat, voluntary) euthanasia, or physician-assisted merciful death?

Offer compassion to those suffering severe unalleviated pain, and for whom palliative care has been shown to be inadequate, and there will arise stern warnings about ‘killing.’ This is a favourite word for those whose religiosity (involving arbitrary definitions) over-rides all other considerations. This will be followed by a further warning about the ‘slippery slope,’ a concept denoting a downward-spiral of communal morality.

Ah, the certainty of it all. Commence with a definition of choice, and following pure logic, one can reach a conclusion to satisfy one’s bias.

The following letters to the Sydney Morning Herald should be read by those for whom theology has a right to bury compassion for fellow-humans.

“The proposed NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill would establish the most tightly controlled regime of any of the 13 jurisdictions in the world that allow choice (‘Euthanasia poll: most doctors and nurses back bill on assisted death,’ June 25). The NSW bill is based on the Oregon model, operating for 25 years. It has strong support from the community and medical profession, and similar regimes have been adopted in five other US states, plus Washington, DC. Eligibility criteria are clearly and strictly defined, and there is no slippery slope. Opponents try to sow seeds of fear and doubt, but their claims are not supported by evidence. Out MPs must be guided by facts and not fear.” Dr. Sarah Edelman, President, Dying With Dignity, NSW

“Finally, palliative care doctors are breaking ranks to acknowledge they cannot alleviate all suffering and that voluntary assisted dying can be part of a continuum of medical care for the terminally ill. (‘Euthanasia poll: most doctors and nurses back bill on assisted death,’ June 25). In jurisdictions where assisted dying is legalised, it works hand-in-glove with palliative care. This is the model we want.” Penny Hackett, Willoughby.

Western democracy of the Australian kind allows our politicians to dance to a beat determined by their respective controllers. If politics allow, surely they will dance to the beat of their religious beliefs.

We will remain a backward nation for another generation or two.


Chinese quotes (2)

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Laozi, 6th Century philosopher)
Amongst the flowers is a pot of wine;
I pour alone but with no friend at hand;
So I lift the cup to invite the shining moon;
Along with my shadow, a fellowship of three
(Li Bai, Tang Dynasty poet)


“Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend.” (Mao Zedong, political leader)

(Comment: Thoughts worth contemplating)

Rabindranath Tagore quotes

We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us.

The dust receives insult and in return offers her flowers.

The artist is the lover of nature, therefore he is her slave and her master.

The false can never grow into truth by growing in power.

“How far are you from me, O fruit?” “I am hidden in your heart, O flower.”


A confusing concept: The ‘Ocean’ of Consciousness

I have read, again and again, that each human soul had arisen from the Ocean of  Consciousness. If this concept about origins is to have full acceptance, then the idea that we came out of an ‘ocean’ has to be rejected. Why? Because an ocean has borders. Even the single ocean which connects all the named oceans on Earth has a boundary.

Consciousness has to be boundless. It has to be ever-existing, all-pervasive. It was not created. Yet, it can be held as the Creator, the ultimate source of everything known, and to be known, in the Cosmos.

There are clever scientists working on this concept of creation. They refer to the mother-lode as the aether. In the light of the brain-lock applied by the scientific method, and which reflects the mechanistic material paradigm of the physical sciences, the imputed aether will remain out of bounds for a little longer.

Were mythology to reflect reality, then the aether and (Hinduism’s) Consciousness may differ only in terminology. Better still, Consciousness, as that which spawns life, and yet sustains it by pervading it, enables the ephemeral (the ethereal) to connect with the substantial (the material), there being no impermeable barrier between the two realms (or states) of existence.

The relationship between the human brain, the mind, and memories also becomes explicable. As demonstrated by the spirit of my uncle, after death, the mind and its memories can exist outside the brain (now dead, cremated, and returned to stardust).

That my soul (the time-transcending ME) will ultimately return home with a higher level of morality is encouraging. Presumably, Consciousness itself will thereby be purified. What an encouraging vista!

EARLY MEMORIES: The inculcation of values

Although my uncle had no time for Brahmins and temple rituals, the 2 most important women in my life – my aunt and my mother – would frequently exchange religious books and thoughts. By requiring me to read certain religious texts, my mother instilled in me a degree of spirituality beyond the rituals.

At about age 21, I waved a fist in the direction of the sky, saying “To hell with you,” and renouncing God; Ganesha had let me down. Within 6 years, after a period of concentrated study, I decided, most logically, that there had to be a Creator God, to explain the complexity and beauty of all that we could experience. Riding on that initial underlay of boyhood spirituality, I began my perusal of religion (and religions).

My father’s role in implanting significant values in me was to stress the primacy of freedom. He also pointed out that it is the eagle which flies highest; but that it flies alone. His adage “The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on” (from Khayyam?) has had a sustaining effect on my responses to life’s travails.

The frequent gathering of 3 maternal uncles in our home during my boyhood informed me of the realms of local politics, international relations, the venality of competitive fellow-humans, inter-ethnic community relations, the impending war, and so on. I wondered, years later, how perceptive these men had been, while only in their thirties.

My boyhood expired at age 13, when the Japanese military arrived. After a year of absolute frugality through my father’s unemployment, my family was re-located to the countryside. I lived with 3 men and a Chinese cook in the capital. My life became one of loneliness, lacking relatives, friends, and conversation. Being under-fed was par for the course.

Thus was formed the loner, who had now been prepared for a life of failure, hardship, and frugality. He was, nevertheless, to be a successful survivor, enjoying any pleasure that the Cosmos sent his way. There was plenty of that too, as time passed. He eventually evolved into a communitarian small-l liberal, a political orphan, but an independent thinker.

One’s destiny path may become visible only with hindsight.

Thoughts for the day – NOT (Part 1)

  • Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
    • When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.
    • Broken pencils are pointless.
    • What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
    • I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.
    • All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. The police have nothing to go on.
    • I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
    • Velcro – what a rip off!
    • Don’t worry about old age; it doesn’t last.

(Comment: Should I apologise?)

Quotes on time

Vladimir: That passed the time. Esragon: It would have passed in any case.

A line is not made up of points. … In the same way, time is not made up parts considered as indivisible ‘nows.’ Part of Aristotle’s reply to Zeno’s paradox concerning continuity.

A man, in his books, may be said to walk the earth a long time after he is gone.  (Julian Muir)

A mathematician … has no material to work with but ideas, and so his patterns are likely to last longer, since ideas wear less with time than words. (G.H.Hardy)

A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.  (Anon.)

A truer image of the world, I think, is obtained by picturing things as entering into the stream of time from an eternal world outside, than from a view which regards time as the devouring tyrant of all that is. (Bertrand Russell)

According to the common law of nature, deficiency of power is supplied by duration of time.  (Robert Jameson)

Act as if you are going to live for ever and cast your plans way ahead. You must feel responsible without time limitations, and the consideration of whether you may or may not be around to see the results should never enter your thoughts.  (Hyman G. Rickover)

(Comment:  How true – especially on the issue of existence/non-existence)