13 Jul

On the weekends I attend the library which was made difficult a few weeks ago on account of the protest in favour of a tax! This, in an English-speaking country! The Anglosphere is traditionally resistant to taxation. Obviously a good deal many of us still are, but still hundreds of thousands of people actively support this. Figures. Right now the governing party is backing the ‘yes’ campaign (funny that) and it’s a much better organized effort than those for opposition. Still, this conflict is marked by an hysterical antipathy one side for the other. The country is mentally ill. Isn’t it obvious:



The people at the ‘yes’ protest were (for me) likable. Lots of friendly dogs. The band was cool, finally someone’s got a clue: speeches are dull. Still, there were speeches. There always are. I caught speech-bytes between talking to people who handed me stuff: a pamphlet encouraging me to unite to end mandatory detention for refugees, a glossy booklet covered in oranges: easy vegan recipes. Another says Veganism is the solution: the organic way from crisis to peace.

The speech-bytes kept referring to bad polluters. Polluters. Those polluters, aren’t they bloody awful? Reminded me of lunch at the Hare Krishna restaurant, there was an(other glossy) ad on the table promoting a talk at the Krishna centre: Global Warming: Who’s To Blame. I remember looking up at the lights, hearing the citar drone over the surround sound speaker set, the fan turning. People buying their meals with money given in trade for labour that requires ubiquitous information technology. Stripe-shirt/club tie guys eating spoonfuls of spinach-garnished lemon and garlic chickpeas while checking Facebook, checking email, checking text messages, sending sales reports, uploading software updates, checking movies and absently scanning the net for beautiful shining things they want to buy.

Who’s to blame? The stripe shirt guys? The producers of the carbon based energy that drives their industries? Are the Hare Krishnas innocent because their food is organic? Are those billions who cannot be fed in such a way guilty? Do you solve this problem by demonizing an industry or a type of person? How do you solve this?

I must confess I laughed when I saw this. The ad is very simple of course. That is its virtue, simplicity. Something that could’ve been set up on a soundstage and shot in less than a day. And the scenario illustrated is absurdly simplistic. There are a lot of problems with it. Shifting to sustainable energy consumption is really is not such a simple matter. Truly. And, as in America, actors have entered the realm of political discourse. Is that a good thing?

To clarify: my position on AGW is now and has always been that it is happening, hence cause for serious concern. I believe we will be forced to deal with the consequences of global scale human economic activity this century. I also believe that introducing a huge political apparatus is both useless and one more nail in the coffin of liberty. My children will be raised to bear this in mind. Sincerely hope this disclaimer is to everyone’s dissatisfaction.

The political ‘solutions’ to the AGW problem are, in my irrelevant opinion, thus far, ridiculous at best and at worst a cover for some battle of interests or other. My experience of the ALP disinclines me to believe that they’ve all suddenly come over with the love of the planet. I’m skeptical of any proposition that the Gillard government’s war with the mining industry is entirely an ecological matter. On that I shan’t elaborate. No substance, just a hunch.

Who’s responsible for cooking the planet? Everybody. O’ course if you’re an Australian citizen you’re likely to be about 2000% more responsible than the average African. But they would if they could and they want to… so bad. So do the Chinese, and they’re gonna do it. Indians too. Brazil, Russia. These places are getting richer. You can’t stop that. And why should they remain in the throes of pre-modern squalor? The lack of in-depth consideration of these matters on behalf of those who believe it imperative to act immediately is appalling.

Equally appalling, tho’ much more effective in the mainstream media, is the assault on the very science of AGW. In this the scientists and the advocates on the opposition have been most useful idiots. There is something sinister of course about the unknown parties who hacked into the Climatic Research Unit’s data in order to sabotage the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Amongst the denials of the denialists is the vehement refusal to see that powerful interests are waging a propaganda war against policies that mitigate carbon pollution. There’s something totalitarian about the tactics.

But, no matter the bad manners, the CRU’s data reveals a bunch of scientists who violate the very principles of science in order to advance a political cause and a personal interest. This is venal. The human race needs science now and yet it displays an absence of its central discipline which is to remind yourself of your ignorance: how do I know that? But in the realm of politics the facts are irrelevant, or putty to be shaped and trimmed. The CRU acts thus and in response the anti-AGW crew declare the rest of the (solid) data in support of the AGW hypothesis immaterial. It’s not happening. The issue is over, they say.

Meantime the weather patterns change and no-one notices. No-one notices the sky anymore. Do you know what phase the moon’s in right now? Doesn’t anyone think it’s funny to hear mosquitos buzzing around your ears in late May?

Oh never mind, leave that for now.

The discourse of the ‘yes’ campaign, the ad appearing above, link ‘social justice issues’ with sustainability. This despite the the argument that making power more expensive and switching to organic food production etc are the indulgences of the wealthier classes and will hurt the poor. This is only the first contradiction in a miasma of bitter choices coming up over the horizon at us. What about the people of Bangladesh? Millions of poor and uneducated people who live in a land that is already subject to flooding from the mountain monsoonal waters. If the sea rises they will be swallowed up. A levy will only assist disaster. What about the millions who live in the tropics? Millions? Billions perchance? There are places that could become uninhabitable.

Adam Smith posited a scenario that asks what would you do if faced with the following choice: cut off your hand or a thousand people die? I think his figure was actually higher. But let’s make it a thousand, or maybe a million. One? The choice is, objectively speaking, obvious. Your hand is clearly worth less than even one life surely. But… would you do it? If a thousand strangers were wiped out by earthquake would you be more upset than if you lost your hand in a traffic accident? What about a scenario in which millions must die if you are to avoid medieval impoverishment?

I’m not saying that will happen, but what if?

Modern civilization requires energy. This is obvious. As a personal choice I support the slow food, back to the Earth, permaculture vibe. I’m totally down with it and want to be more so. I want to live in a Earthship house and collect fresh eggs in the morning from chickens that wander free fertilizing the garden. But that’s what I want. Other do not. And I won’t force anyone to live a certain way. It’s been attempted on me. Forget it! And also, again the inconvenient fact: 6 billion people plus can’t live on food grown in this fashion. It’s impossible. I can, because I’m privileged.

Modern civilization requires energy and our current methods of harvestation are unsustainable. Sustainability’s a word much maligned, it makes some people retch. But it’s important. To sustain civilization is to make it last. This basic idea, surely, is worthy to the vast majority of us. Still we argue about what to do and whether it’s necessary to ‘do’ anything. And the volume’s up so high we can hear none but our own voices. I think it is important to ‘do something’, sure.I also think the public policy solutions thus far are myopic, useless, a front for a rort. Many things but ‘effective’ ain’t one of ’em.

Modern civilization requires energy. We can’t go back. The peasant’s life would kill most modern urban dwellers. Ask anyone who was in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Anyone who survived that is. How do we acquire sustainable energy sources? Obviously the Sun’s ideal but there are problems. For example, the production of the world’s best photovoltaic cells would not be lawful in this country. Why? The toxic by-products of the process are prohibited by our environmental laws. Just one problem, not even the main one.

There are others. But at the heart of the ‘solution’ problem is science and innovation. Technological innovation is not something that happens well in a governmental department. Scientific breakthroughs never happen because of political decree. The capitalist behemoth might be partially or entirely repulsive to some reading this but, it works. For producing innovative new technology there’s not been anything remotely close. So is the solution to be accomplished by regulation and taxation? By the State taking control of a process it’s ill-equipped to manage or even facilitate. Should we leave ecological sustainability to politicians? Are lawyers the ones who will save us?

I support a carbon tax policy but not the one that is going before the House shortly. That carbon tax is simply an introduction for a cap and trade system (which seems to me a rort designed to keep developing nations from developing), it is (yet again) over-complicated and targeted squarely at the resource and energy concerns. (Those bad polluters). I don’t think that’s smart. They are actually powerful you know. Do this and you get a war; war is destruction.

The solution is technological and scientific. The solution is ethical, the choices you make everyday, the way you act. The solution is savage: ‘there’s gonna be sorrow try and wake up tomorrow’. The solution is in the minds of brilliant entrepreneurs and engineers we haven’t heard of yet. The solution is stop blaming ‘them’ and realize there’s no Justice there’s just us. The solution is… as simple as that. And infinitely more complicated.


15 Jun

Testing testing testing, one-two-three: Earth do you read me? Do you think I’m weird? Do you love me, my lonely blue planet hanging in the Milky Way’s outer arms? I love you. How I’ve missed you.

When I began this blog I had no plans. Twelve months on drawing and colourwork opened some door in my mind. Suddenly there was a hole in the dyke that divides the rational Western mind, cuts Reason off from all that we know to be truth without a shred of evidence: the mythological cushions that makes life mean something. And, in this rare condition, I just decided to sit down once a day and write whatever.

And whatever did I write? I’m not yet quite sure. So much of this shit just baffles me. Truly. Confessions of faith! Scat poetry that begins in the Sadean nightmare of the east Congo and ends up with naff buskers in Melbourne. According to Arnoldian standards of rhetoric it doesn’t make sense. I’ve said it from the beginning, I don’t know what I’m going to write ’til I do it. I didn’t know the title of this post ’til this morning.

Why did I do this?

Because after such intellectual transformation as has obtained in my life over these five years past I needed to know what I truly believed, how I truly felt and what was really important. To do this you must give yourself up to the source. You must not reflect, you simply do… and deal with consequences. When you paint you use a different part of the mind. Something that cannot be analyzed. I simply transferred the process to the written word. Hence this sometime spooky, flipped-out, hippie jive. But I dig it the most. Best thing I ever wrote.

Being from a long line that goes back straight to the Scottish Enlightenment I have always been the son of David Hume; facts, sir. I want facts. But I am also the child of a thousand years of Irish suffering wherein the word, the song and the image of Madonna was all there was to keep the stark madness at bay. I know the value of science but I love the valleys at sunset. What happens in the lab doesn’t provide me the meaning of life (like it might for Richard Dawkins). And this meaning of life in the face of the Infinite has been (I think, feel) shriveled, shrunk and pre-packaged in our culture. Our spirit is distilled for us, designed according to the latest neuroscience bytes and focus groups vectors.

We all believe in Nothing together, no more. We share no gods. And our profit on’t is that we drink or some such and by compulsion to stay the Void. We throw ourselves to the maelstrom-warm arms of Dionysus and forget the future. We trash the Earth and argue about whether we should care, chanting: fuck it all, fuck it all, fuck it all! Twelve months of the year. How many tired eyes I see in the street, sorrow-rimmed and bitter. Poor monkeys, what have we done to ourselves?

When I started, I barely announced the blog. One comment at first and for the next few months I had exactly 14 regular daily readers. To those people, I raise a glass. You’re my people. And, considering from whence you must’ve come, I’m touched that my stream-of-consciousness bollocks warranted that kind of daily attention.

And now I am finished with this first phase. The raw material. The day has come and I will leave it for a time and go on to other things. But I will return and fashion it to a book that will be sent out along the noosphere for whomsoever may care. for whomever cares Upload to iBook, tablet, laptop, a public terminal, a phone etc …now and always free of charge.

And good luck to it whatever comes of it including nothing. I will trim it, I’ll reorganize but I won’t rewrite. It is honest in a world of ghosts and that is enough.

Meantime we are nowhere and it’s now. Let us pray. I have spent many years a monk i’ th’ abbey cultivating the mind serious. This is my duty. But reason is a lonesome, cold place without a magpie’s song, a tree’s gnarly bark, the soft eyes of a dog. Reason thus and thus, do’t all you wish. But without laughter, without dancing, without the occasional and most delicious fuck, well’t means nothing does it?

All is reconciled. I am a Stoic – peace to the People of the Book. I am a Romantic and the Buddha teaches me that nature is endlessly complex. Grow in all directions but walk, like Christ, with grace and love. Try anyway, stumble, fall, get back up, do it again. If you wish to be free you must master yourself and transcend. It is a life-long journey.

All is reconciled. I am an anarchist but I love tradition. To reach the city that knows no coercion means you have to love the Law. I know who I am and what I believe. I have found a vehicle, I have found the side I have been seeking all this. I am on the midnight path walking by the light of a full moon. And my heart is full of love.



12 Jun


“Twilight In The Wilderness”, 1860s
Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900)


12 Jun


One reason to stay alive.


12 Jun

The gift of speech is a very terrible thing O Man
Keep watch over thy tongue lest it betray thee
Try how thou wilt
Thou canst not hide thyself
No word of thine but reveals some corner of thy heart
No phrase but lays bare some secret place.

Keep watch
Thou dost not know thy power
Though thou hadst never imagined it
It may be that someone hangs upon thy slightest word
Once chance word and the whole course of his life

is made beautiful
Another, and all the devils of hell enter into his soul.

Keep watch
Make thyself clean and true
That as thou goes through life
Tired men may hear thy words and find strength in them
And though they knew it not
They shall bless thee in their hearts

“Speech”, 1923
WH Auden


10 Jun


They’ve been wasting most their time
Glorifying days long gone behind
They’ve been wasting most their days
In remembrance of ignorance oldest praise


They’ve been looking in their minds
For the day that sorrows gone from time
They keep telling of the day
When the savior of love will come to stay


Tell me who of them will come to be ?


How many of them are you and me





Rwanda massacre

Race Relations




…to the evils of the world

Lyrics: Stevie Wonder


10 Jun

Victorian naughty bits

Curse the cold wall around the Holy Scintilla within. C’est puissant. The red plague rid me of this frosty facade.

Bless those eyes, are they impossible to draw?

Curses, I feel what you feel; it’s just I can’t say… out loud. Shhhh. I’m afraid of what happens when dams burst.

Bless your tiny feet as they walk on the moist Earth. And wherever you go – dig it: Fly!

Curses on the Shadow-Men that’d force infantry on drummers everywhere, ridding the land of laughter.

Blessings on those rare souls still connected to a hundred-thousand anonymous troubadours.

A million curses on profiteerings; the bones of future generations. How can you look at your children and not regret the famine you have thrust upon them?

A billion blessings on the Guardian Angel at the Gates of Paradise; she is the bearer of the beacon. The way, the truth and the light.

That is all.