A bobbing nothing

I am nothing, a nobody. Yet, I am a thing, an object, floating on the tide, the tide of time. But, I may be mistaken. I am, perhaps, being carried on my personal river of destiny, which takes me to where it must. So, is time a river or a tide?

It has, however, nothing to do with space. Hence, space-time is fundamentally, ie. operationally, a misnomer – with no meaning. Time is just a yardstick of where I have been, or what I have experienced, sequentially. Mathematical equations do not necessarily reflect reality; like that clever fellow who ‘demonstrated’ that 2×2 is not necessarily 4!

To avoid further digression, I accept that my ’river’ of destiny is necessarily a strand in a mesh of destinies, of implicit pathways. This mesh will, again necessarily, begin with the destinies of my human Significant Others; then, the destinies of those with whom I would interact – by planning on someone’s part, mine included, or by chance, or by unseen but unavoidable intersects. These could arise from the past (including past lives), the present, or the future. How would we know?

At a more macro level, the mesh would include a nation – or even the globe on which humans scrabble for a living; but with about 1 to 10% of us temporarily ‘owning’ material wealth (which would need to be left behind eventually). A larger proportion is likely to possess that insubstantial, intangible, and more valuable spiritual wealth – with or without the guidance of religious teachers.

Am I flotsam or jetsam? Or, as some people ridiculously believe, were we puny humans created – or allowed to evolve – to occupy a special niche on a totally insignificant molten rock, in infinite space filled with blobs of burning gas everywhere – even as all of it keeps spinning and rushing around – for no purposive outcome?

Just like human objects bobbing up and down on the tide of time!

DEATH – More notable quotes

Better to flee from death than feel its grip.

HOMER, The Iliad

We all labour against our own cure, for death is the cure of all diseases.

SIR THOMAS BROWNE, Religio Medici

Death, in itself, is nothing; but we fear,

To be we know not what, we know not where.

JOHN DRYDEN, Aureng-Zebe

Our life dreams the Utopia. Our death achieves the Ideal.

VICTOR HUGO, Intellectual Autobiography

You only live twice. Once when you are born and once when you look death in the face.

IAN FLEMING, You Only Live Twice

Morn after morn dispels the dark,

Bearing our lives away;

Absorbed in cares we fail to mark

How swift our years decay;

Some maddening draught hath drugged our souls,

In love with vital breath,

Which still the same sad chart unrolls,

Birth, eld, disease, and death.

BHARTRHARI, “Against the Desire of Worldly Things”

 

(Ha! My death will take me to a better place. It will enable me to gird my loins – so to imagine – before I undergo my next phase of moral cleansing on Earth. So I have been told!)
 

DEATH – quotes from Buddhism

DEATH – Quotes from Buddhism

With mind far off, not thinking of death’s coming,
Performing these meaningless activities,
Returning empty-handed now would be complete confusion;
The need is recognition, the spiritual teachings,
So why not practice the path of wisdom at this very moment?
From the mouths of the saints come these words:
If you do not keep your master’s teaching in your heart
Will you not become your own deceiver?  Tibetan Book of the Dead

 

From a Buddhist point of view, the actual experience of death is very important. Although how or where we will be reborn is generally dependent on karmic forces, our state of mind at the time of death can influence the quality of our next rebirth. So at the moment of death, in spite of the great variety of karmas we have accumulated, if we make a special effort to generate a virtuous state of mind, we may strengthen and activate a virtuous karma, and so bring about a happy rebirth. The Dalai Lama

 

Life is uncertain; death is certain.

Death carries off a man busy picking flowers with an besotted mind, like a great flood does a sleeping village.

There are those who do not realise that one day we all must die.
But those who do realise this settle their quarrels.

Here will I live in the rainy season, here in the autumn and in the summer: thus muses the fool. He realizes not the danger (of death).

The Buddha

 

My delight in death is far, far greater than
The delight of traders at making vast fortunes at sea,
Or the lords of the gods who vaunt their victory in battle;
Or of those sages who have entered the rapture of perfect absorption.
So just as a traveler who sets out on the road when the time has come to go,
I will not remain in this world any longer,
But will go to dwell in the stronghold of the great bliss of deathlessness.
The Last Testament of Longchenpa

 

(From ‘A view of Buddhism’. On the Internet)

Ramakrishna quotes

A man is truly free, even here in this embodied state, if he knows that God is the true agent and he by himself is powerless to do anything.
Through love one acquires renunciation and discrimination naturally.
The fabled musk deer searches the world over for the source of the scent which comes from itself.
To work without attachment is to work without the expectation of reward or fear of any punishment in this world or the next. Work so done is a means to the end, and God is the end.
 

When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.
God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole.
 

 

 

 

 

 

RAJA – YouTube No. 5

THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE

The ancient bicultural author Raja Arasa Ratnam offers us the following thoughts.

Applying Occam’s Razor (or principle) that the simplest explanation is best, I begin by accepting that there has to be a Cosmic Creator. Our souls say so. The complexity, intricacy and beauty of the Cosmos say so.

I envisage (again applying the above principle) that the Creator (that is, God) created the Cosmos: and that it includes a mechanism which is itself capable of evolving, whilst facilitating evolution as a process. This would be accessible to other products of that same Creation. To evolve is to progress to something better.

It is a meaningless question, of course, to ask about the origin of God, although the Mundaka Upanished says that out of infinite Godhead came forth Brahma, the Creator, from whom sprung the Cosmos.

If the whole of the Cosmos is capable of change, as its component parts are subject to change, there surely must be scope for random events or chance impacts, as well as mishaps during processes (for example, genetic mutation). Perhaps there might be scope for influence: by the human mind (eg. mind-over-body pain control); by one’s spirit guides (eg. one’s subconscious mind directing an action for no rational reason); or even by an aspect of God (how would this be manifested – through one’s heart?) to intervene in events or processes.

Indeed, the Isha Upanished even allows for a personal deity (a manifestation of God), which I see as an acceptable projection from the universal Creator. As well, the mind is said to be only an instrument of consciousness; and the heart is said to be where the soul resides in its temporal home. Then, is God the Ocean of Consciousness of which we are all part, and to which we will ultimately return?

I do like the idea of being a transient projected entity from an Ocean of Consciousness. Life on Earth would then have some significance. Is there some mechanism which creates, sustains, and periodically destroys all that has been projected from, and by, that Ocean ? Hindu cosmology implies the cyclical path of all things and events of significance (including each of the many possible universes and all their component parts and manifestations) within an infinite Cosmos.

The metaphysical adherents of a faith would naturally seek an understanding of a reality transcending the guides for living of the great teachers of mankind: Moses, Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammed, Mahavira, and others.

There are, however, those who need to know about the meaning of existence, to seek to understand Reality. The experience and understanding they seek is, however, said to be beyond words, and to be Realised only through deep meditation.

In any event, each of us knows deep in our psyche that we are an integral cog in that web of a mutually-dependent creation.

RAJA – YouTube No. 1

Surviving to contribute: age no barrier

Who would not be interested in a 87-year old whose mind is as sharp as a tack, and who writes in an interesting and clear style? Yet, he began to write only after a significant psychic experience after retirement.

“You could contribute to building a bridge from where you came to where you are” suggested the spirit of his uncle just before he de-materialised. Earlier, the clairvoyant involved had told Raja, a bicultural Asian-Australian, that the spirit world had experienced difficulty in getting him to Australia. ‘Why me?’ was his plaintive thought, in the light of his difficult life, over 6 decades, in his country of adoption.

Raja knows a lot about migrant settlement, both from his settlement experiences and his work as a director of policy on ethnic affairs & multiculturalism, citizenship & national identity, as well as refugee & humanitarian entry.

His settlement experiences included a woman shouting at him in a public place. She said, “Why don’t you go back home, you black bastard?” He happens to be light tan in skin colour.

Although qualified as a psychologist, he was denied a job because he was ‘too black.’ When he then qualified as an economist, he was told that the Australian worker in the private sector ‘is not yet ready for a foreign executive.’ This was White Australia, after all.

It was the public sector which promoted him rapidly. Yet, he was somewhat dishonestly denied permanent promotion in the Senior Executive Service. He obtained proof of that 2 years later.

To compensate, he channelled his surplus energy into civil society, where he made a substantial contribution in his spare time. He was chairman of a school board, the national president of an organisation akin to Toastmasters, the founder of a public speaking competition for primary school students, and a recipient of a meritorious service award from his union for his work on merit protection.

He achieved all this while the wheels of his life-chances cart fell off from time to time; and he kept falling into holes which were not there. Obviously, he does not give up!

Between 69 and 84 he published 6 books; 2 memoirs, 2 on migrant settlement, 1 on Australian society, and 1 on fiction. 4 of his non-fiction books were recommended by the US Review of Books. All the books received favourable reviews. Quite an achievement!

He then wrote 44 thought-provoking articles for ezinearticles.com. He has now completed about 1,000 daily posts on his WordPress blog, rajarasablog.wordpress.com, titled ‘An octogenarian’s final thoughts’ : a mind-exploring smorgasbord!

This octogenarian author is Raja Arasa Ratnam. I commend him to you as a most unusual person who, in spite of his travails, claims to be at peace mentally and spiritually. “At my age, I should be”, he says. “My wings await me.”

Theology made a mockery of democracy

“You’d think it would be bleedingly obvious that if 87% of the population agreed with a proposition, then our members of parliament would dutifully and faithfully reflect that view when it came to voting on legislation … It turns out that many of our MPs are quite happy to represent us – but only so long as they agree with us.”

“When it comes to abortion (or similarly divisive issues such as same-sex marriage, assisted death or even stem cell research) many MPs ditch the idea that they are our representatives, and instead impose upon us personal opinions dictated, they tell us, by their consciences.”

Haw! Haw! Conscience votes are almost as rare as a sighting of that famous bird, the dodo. Our parliamentary representatives are selected by their parties to be elected by us, on condition that they vote as dictated by party chiefs. Or else! The whole system is so authoritarian that a Prime Minister apparently took Australia to war recently without parliamentary approval.

Who are the controllers of our political parties? How did they achieve their control? I doubt if either academe or the media could enlighten us. All that we know is that the first priority of our political parties is to be re-elected; but not at the price of giving up any theology-related policy.

What is interesting is that Census data shows that just 61% of us are Christian; and that Roman Catholics represent 25% of Christians. That is, no more than 15% of the population could be identified as bound by the theology of the Vatican. This has significance in relation to policy in relation to assisted death (or voluntary euthanasia – no ‘killing’ involved) – a matter of great interest to the very elderly as they deteriorate, with increasing pain, in institutional care. (Where are the loved ones they brought up?)

Voting is compulsory in Australia, unlike other Western nations. Yet, reportedly, about 400,000 youths aged between 18 and 25 are not enrolled to vote. Many more allegedly submitted informal ballot papers. Is there any penalty for non-enrolment?

Vatican theology reached new heights in 2013 in the State of New South Wales. According to Anne Summers, a respected journalist, whom I quoted at the start of this post, “The vote for Zoe’s Law … involved a 63-26 majority of Lower House members … in favour of granting personhood to the foetus.” (Ye Gods!) In this so-called democracy, Vaticanites seem to have achieved control over both sides of politics, as well as the public services in the nation. Are we too well fed to care?

Minority rule is not democratic, especially if guided by a restrictive theology. Refer ‘Keeping the bastards honest’ in my book ‘The Karma of Culture’ (available at amazon kindle at $US 2.99 or $A 3.99). Yet, we preach, in lofty tones, to other nations about the effulgent beauty of Western democracy!

(Anne Summers’ article was published in the May 14/15 issue of ‘News Review’ in the Sydney Morning Herald)

 

Settlement, by massacre

When British invaders (how else could they be described?) settled onto hitherto Aboriginal land, the ‘squatters’ killed or drove away the indigene. Purely as an aside, I recall reading that many squatters became so powerful socially that their descendants tended to speak ‘as if they had begotten themselves.’ I have also read that there had been a move to establish an Australian House of Lords. Also mooted was a proposal to import cheap labour from China and Japan.

The following extracts are from an article in a recent issue of ‘The Australian Weekend Magazine’ by Cal Flyn.

“The massacre at Warrigal Creek was one of the bloodiest episodes on the very bloody Australian frontier. In all, somewhere between 80 and 200 Gunai people were slaughtered that day in July 1843, wiping out in a single assault a substantial proportion of the southern Bratowooloong clan. The leader of the Highland Brigade, Angus McMillan … was the ‘Butcher of Gippsland.’… …

The author quotes a news report dated 2005 thus:  “McMillan … and his band of Scottish settlers … are accused of carrying out a genocidal campaign against the  Aborigines for a decade. … … “

Flyn goes on to quote Ricky Mullett, a cultural officer from the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation in Bairnsdale … ‘You know the stories. You know that the official death toll is only a fraction of the total? It was inhuman, what they did to my people. Killed them. Massacred them. Tortured them. Raped them. Murdered them. Your relative … he decimated my people. And he got away with it.’

More from Ricky Mullett: ‘McMillan’s men chased them all the way from Bushby Park, trapped them on that bluff, and shot them down into the water. Crowds of them. … ‘  Flyn continues: “Here, the fleeing Gunai were herded together like cattle and forced from the hilltop, he said. Men, women and children. Think of the hysteria, the crush, the desperation, as feet scrabbled for purchase and hands grasped for handholds. Men stood on the opposite bank of the river below, shooting any survivors. The bodies all washed to sea.”

Ricky Mullett of the Gunai people concludes his story to Cal Flyn (a great-great-great niece of Angus McMillan): ‘We won’t forget, but we don’t bear a grudge.’ And ‘You won’t understand. You’ll never understand.’

Refer ‘Thicker than Water’ by Cal Flynn.

Mafia jokes

What is the difference between the government and the Mafia?
One of them is organized.

Shared by NumeroOcho

How many Mafia hitmen does it take to change a light bulb?
Three. One to screw it in, one to watch, and one to shoot the witness!

Shared by JustMe

How many mafia guys does it take to change a light bulb?
…you gotta problem with the light bulb!?

Shared by a contributor

 

ow many men do you need for a mafia funeral?
Just one. To slam the car trunk shut.

Shared by Argo

 

How do you know if a Pole is at a cockfight?
He’s the one with a duck.
How do you know if an Italian is there?
He bets on the duck.
How do you know if the Mafia is there?
The duck wins.

Shared by NumeroOcho

 

Why do wise guy and wise man mean totally different things?

 

Socialising in the ‘Afterlife’ (the Recycling Depot)Depot)

Socialising in the ‘Afterlife’ (the Recycling Depot)

The clairvoyant who enabled the spirit of my uncle to offer me advice told me, nearly a quarter of a century ago, not to be in a hurry (I was!) ‘to get to the Other Side’; it would not be different from here, he said. I did not like that.

I was, however, promised that I would continue my learning there. As to those I might meet there, all my close relatives who had died a while back would probably have been reincarnated by now. Would I be fortunate in meeting some of the ‘higher beings’ referred to by my uncle? He had explained that they had sent him to me.

It would also be wonderful to be able to talk to some of the learned men and women of recent times. Throughout my life, I have tended to seek out people who are interesting, especially immigrants and (genuine) refugees in Australia offering their diverse experiences. Great insight into the human condition is thus available.

I would also like to meet in the Afterlife some of those religious leaders who had practised control over their ‘flocks,’ including separating them from being contaminated by ‘foreign’ ideologies. In this context, I am reminded of that priest who convinced all 5 of our new neighbours not to have coffee with my wife. They ignored us after that; we were not of ‘the faith.’ What ignorance; what subservience. How un-Australian!

I would ask such priests what they thought they had done for humanity as a whole. I do not, however, expect bigotry and evil thoughts to survive Earthly death. One’s soul should be above Earthly contaminants.

The Afterlife promises to be interesting in another way. Currently I am saddened by those Christians, all regular church-goers, who have indicated to me that they do not know what will happen to them after death (in spite of what the Bible promises), or who are genuinely afraid to die. They are not convinced by my belief that we will all go to a better place. What have their priests done to them? I know them to be good people, surely not conceived or born in ‘sin.’    

I look forward to be able to say to them (and their priests) ‘Isn’t this a good place to be’? I really cannot see why the Afterlife (the Recycling Depot) cannot also be an R&R (rest and recuperation) Way Station!

There we could again re-connect as fellow-travelers, until we move on to our respective personal-destiny pathways once more. It is the journey, the objective of repeated rebirths, which offers valuable learning in the meaning of existence and non-existence!