Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Questioning the dominant paradigm

Where is that thin line between considered and gratuitous commentary? Is it appropriate to question the veracity of Islamic, Jewish or Christian belief?

Recent violent protest in Sydney, while lamentable, occur more often than we like to recognise.
In recent times we have seen confrontations between unions and authorities in Melbourne and earlier in the year the 'occupy' confrontations in both cities.
At the same time we have seen a range of violent protests in refugee detention centres throughout the country.
The reality is that Australia is part of a wider global community, we are subject to the same troubles and responses as the rest of the world.

To that Question
When is it wrong, despite research support and reasoned argument,
to actually present a potentially contentious position?
For some time now I have been researching what has evolved as the reality of religion per se.
It didn't begin that way, it began as an effort to focus on the positive message of our historically sandaled sages; Jesus et al.
My background and a degree of previous training was within the Judeo/Christian sphere, so it was reasonable that my focus should begin there.
The methodology has been somewhat broader than that if my previous church based training.
Certainly the Bible was a central reference point, but as an overview rather than the church preferred study of 'biblical bubbles' in isolation of the broader context.
Now clearly, as a former Christian, that training had not sufficiently captured me. Yet emotional ties to other peoples beliefs, or my own reticence, had captured me.

The Hard Part

"While I can recognise that religion has a broader role, often defining cultural and individual identities, it is in the end an empty vessel."

I placed that statement in quotes because it represents a fair summary of where my research has brought me.
I broadcast it realising that it will appear offensive to many, but with the equal understanding that I take offense at the strictures put on society by many religious adherents.
Is my expression valid or gratuitous? Just because I know it will upset some should that stop me from making it known?

As it is, I believe I have accrued sufficient evidence to claim the 'emperor has no clothes'. The vessel is empty, but do I have the right to actually say it?
I think I should have and do have, but suspect that I might just be out-numbered in that belief.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Take your partners for the next dance

The political dance has long held a fascination for me. I can’t really jig, but then I am fairly inept at real politics. I guess the problem is that I take it too seriously, expect better performances than seem to be humanly possible.
We don’t have a federal election due in Australia soon, but we have a ballroom full of willing competitors. The USA are having their preliminarily heats providing dance floor spills and thrills aplenty. Both offer a sad, disenchanting view of political life and aspirants.
Prime Minister Gillard should be sitting on top of the glittering ball, being generally successful at delivering worthy performances in most sections of the comp. Her biggest skill though seems to be the one that will see her limp off the floor, missing one shoe perhaps. Our Julia at deflecting the failings of opposition leader Abbott back onto herself.
Time and again Abbott should be hoist on his own petard, and the chivalrous Julia steps in to take the blow. It is breathtaking to watch the incredible transformation, the shift of focus, a foot gently removed from Abbott's mouth and planted solidly in her own. I wouldn’t really mind, except for a morbid fear of an Abbott lead government in this country.

Circular Firing Squad
A shift of focus to the USA GOP primaries race could probably rate as a displacement activity, although it should concern Aussies who is in the White House. We do tend to become tangled in US policy, at all its extremes.
This race has been characterised as a ‘circular firing squad’. Front runners Romney and Gingrich have inflicted such serious electoral damage on each other there is talk at this late stage of introducing a new, electable candidate. What has been fascinating, like Abbott these aspirants are adept at shooting themselves in the foot, without suffering any harm.
A long held dream has been to see a credible, capable set of opponents, showing the positive skills which might thrill us with the spectre of the political tango. They need not be boring. They need not ape each other’s steps and routines. Diversity provides powerful benefits in any field of endeavour. My dream is for solid performances, the sort which serve to grow the confidence of nations, not constantly drain it away.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Experiencing a wilderness

WOW!!! A keyboard under the fingertips again. Eons in the wilderness, with only an antediluvian cell phone at hand blogging gave way to contemplation and the odd tweet. That plus reams of hand written notes for an ongoing wilderness inspired project.
Limitations on commenting are possibly just as well, given the strange behaviour of supposedly progressive politicians; so strange the conservative side are in danger of self-harm. As WSJ recently noted, the Congressional GOP appeared to be forming a circular firing squad trying to find their new place in the political landscape.
 In Australian the conservative opposition are so intent on opposing they have become typecast as ‘The NO Team’, giving the minority government more than a little hope of survival. Like elsewhere the parties are in disarray.
My old ‘Aunt Sally’, Silvio Berluscone is gone – hoist on his own petard. The Middle East despotic regimes are imploding one by one, without outside assistance. There is still injustice aplenty, still regrettable laws, often backed by ‘progressive’ leaders. All of this happened without the benefit of my input. Amazing!
Good old economics is behind a lot of this fascinating political/social behaviour. Certainly in conventional terms Obama would be toast with the current US economic dynamic, but his opponents are intent on showing they would be far more destructive. Economic ructions might  have changed expectations.
The increased spread of social media is informing unrest around the world, spreading quickly to those who might never known they had alternatives. More power to them. To be sure, those unused to being challenged react harshly. But their very actions, the violence and bloodshed, are fuelling the resolve of emerging revolutionaries.
It would be remiss not to mention the Occupy Movement, though apart from the catchy 99% there seems to be a lack of handles to grab. I think I understand the reasoning behind the movement, or at least the desire to find their voice. Unfortunately poor articulation of the economic arguments underlying the movement, the lack of cohesive target demands, has so far negated their real potential.
Still, it is wonderful that all this goes on, for better or worse in my absence. Even better to know that my humble opinion is neither needed or missed. That revelation probably won’t change my readiness to comment. I blog, therefore I am? The truth, as I found, is that I am even in the silent wilderness.