Anyone who writes with conviction does so from the heart and in that they experience a journey of self. It matters little if it is fiction or non-fiction. What matters is the content and the intent of what is written.
Writing this essay has taken a journey that spans my entire life and involves research and experiences contained within that lifetime to date.
This essay is designed to provoke thought as it explores areas of Australian society and the world, and how things have changed.
If I can open the minds of just a few to inspect and question the world they live in, then I have achieved more than I intended when I first began this.
Perhaps I am blessed with a warehouse for a mind filled with information that is important, trivial, and sometimes completely useless. Perhaps it is a curse.
I remember moments in time from the perspective of a child, a teenager, a young adult, and now an old adult. Some of them good, some of them bad, but all of them coated in the patina of my own personal perspective and experiences.
From an early age I would ponder on not just the ‘how’ but also the ‘why’ of things in the world I inhabited.
I would stare for hours at the world around me, the ants and insects at work, the patterns of leaves and branches, the cycle of life of plants, people, animals, and the clouds and stars that filled the sky. I would wonder at the intricate simplicity of these things, and also the absolute complexity, and ponder on how it all came to be and how it worked and why. I would devour books, study random things, and I would avidly watch documentaries on a wide range of subjects as I fed my inquisitive mind.
I would think on the mystery of what made me, and what my place was in the natural order of things. I would wonder why that all that we can see, and touch, is made from stardust and how that came to be. How was that decided? Was this random chance or was it by design? I would think about God and faith and wonder if that was real or just something created by humanity to manipulate or motivate humanity, for other civilisations have had other Gods, some civilisations had a God for almost everything. In the end it comes down to the individual, and the masses, on what they believe. It is not our place to judge others on where they place their beliefs. Everyone believes something, even when they profess not to, for their belief is in the rejection of belief.
I would question despairingly at times of the deceit of people and why they did the things that they do. I found no answer in the deceit of people, for that is a thing that resides in those poisonous hearts and minds. Those poisonous hearts and minds follow the path they prefer and have no conscience in what they do to achieve their outcomes, it matters little to them the lives they destroy and the damage that they do in so long as they get what they want. That is the true evil in humanity, and it is often portrayed as a virtue rather than as what it is.
The simple, unavoidable, biological fact is that I am closer to the end than the beginning of my time on this Earth, for a variety of reasons, I now understand that my younger years were not simpler or more innocent than the time I inhabit now. The perception of simple and innocent came from a child’s view of the world from when I was a child. No matter what era a person lives in, that era has problems unique to that time. No matter the era you inhabit, it is what you make of it despite the obstacles you must overcome.
Perhaps that is critical thinking, perhaps it is wisdom gained.
I see within myself the arrogance and vanity of self in those younger years. All of humanity has this arrogance and vanity from the time when we take our place in the world and then when we are as giants as we stride this world and make our mark upon it, no matter the size of that mark. That is of course if you have the strength of character to look into that dark, secret place that resides within all of us that we are afraid of. Because in that secret place you will find yourself staring back stripped of all pretensions and illusions. Only then can you know who you truly are rather than believing the story that you have generated about who you are.
Time provides the humility to not only see that arrogance and vanity, but to also accept and understand these very things if you have clarity of vision and honesty of self.
Without arrogance and vanity, a person lacks the ability to strive to achieve and yet arrogance and vanity can be the attributes for both success and failure. As with a great many things in life, there are two sides to most things.
Life is all a matter of balance.
Balance is provided by peers and mentors. Balance is enforced by discipline and self-discipline. Balance is what comes from the lessons taught by our parents and elders and often ignored in the arrogance of youth. Balance comes from the lessons learnt from failure and success, but only if you care to learn. Balance is a matter of the value you place in morality. Without morals you are just a thing that exists for your own debased goals bereft of any humanity.
That is why being young can be so very difficult and fraught with pitfalls and dangers; we often ignore good advice and undertake risky things at times. Without this we fail to learn; as risk involves both success and failure, both of which are vital to the human experience. Being young is the development of morals, values and standards that determine the life that you live and the person that you are.
That is why the role of the adult is important, as they are the ones who teach the important lessons to the young and provide the advice, even when it is ignored at the time.
Time is the great leveller, and it is with the melancholy of hindsight that the adult recalls the lessons ignored in their youth. Of that we are all guilty and sometimes we carry the regrets from the consequences of ignoring those lessons.
Not all change is good and conversely not all things should remain unchanged. Change happens regardless of what we want. Those changes are a matter that is largely out of our hands at times, and sometimes entirely of our own making.
The introduction of this essay talked about the use of quotes without qualification, the current moment in history that Australia is living through, the rise of socialism and the almost complete implementation of PC culture as the new ideology. Examples of how empires rise and fall were presented. It also mentioned technology, knowledge, morality, values, and standards within society. I gave examples of how todays derided fool can sometimes become tomorrow’s genius as knowledge advances with time. How lessons from the past are ignored as they are uncomfortable and in how ignorance is nothing more than a temporary bliss.
More than anything the introduction talked of wisdom and what wisdom truly is. We should all strive for wisdom, yet many do not. Without wisdom, despite anything else a person does in their life, they have achieved very little of value in the things that matter the most. We are born with nothing and knowing nothing, at the end of life we get to take nothing with us. It is the part between birth and death that matters. That is the time when we do the things we do and from that comes the legacy that we leave. That legacy can be forgotten in a moment or live for thousands of years; it is all a matter of what we do in the time we have and if it is in the pursuit of selfless interests or selfish interests. The selfless interests last longer than the selfish. Regardless, it will all be dust in the fullness of time and that is the sobering fact that underpins everything. Nothing is forever, not even the planet we inhabit.
The shiny things and trinkets we adorn our lives with are nothing in relation to intellect and the gathering of knowledge and wisdom. They are soon dispersed as they are nothing but a portion of wealth that is the physical definition of the life we had led. In that they mean nothing and are soon forgotten as they are divided and consumed to those that inherit them. The inheritors do not remember much more than the sum total value of what they inherit and that is in a physical value and little else. It is the spiritual and intellectual legacy that we leave behind that has the greatest worth, in the wisdom that we gather and share, yet that seems to have little worth nowadays.
Wisdom is the sum total of intellectual and personal advancement and that is a thing worth finding within oneself, and within a nation. To give more than you are worth in the desire to advance humanity is the true measure of a person and a thing that is given little to no credit in this modern selfish world. Physical wealth is the current yardstick by which wealth is measured and that yardstick is limited compared to wisdom and intellect.
I have presented this from my own perspective and experiences; backed this up with questioning, debate, and research to form not just my subjective view, but also an objective view of this society and world in which we live. The objective, at times, has been personally uncomfortable and that is how it should be.
Parts of this essay will be uncomfortable for you to read and that is unavoidable, for not everything in life is comfortable. Does this mean you should ignore, reject, or denounce the things you find uncomfortable or unpleasant?
To do that is to hide from things you should instead confront and then examine, from that you should discover the truth of the things that you wish to avoid. To hide from things that are uncomfortable is to try and avoid the parts of life, and living, that perhaps scares you in some way. Examining the world you live in, and examining what is going on is to find answers, both good and bad. From that you begin to grow your own wisdom.
Reality is cold and hard, while fantasy is warm and fuzzy.
I have come to understand that our young are our future in ways that are more than words or phrases. The young will inherit what we leave behind, whatever that may be. That it is our investment in them that our country, and our world, can have a future. The nature of the investment is the key to the puzzle and in that it must be a clear-headed approach that is unafraid to upset some if it is the interests of the common good. Does that mean that our vision for the future is solid? It is merely our perception of what the future should be as we view it from the present and our point of view of what it should be.
Not everything in life is pleasant and change is rarely pleasant, nor is it easy, yet it is not just vital, but inevitable that change happens, be it good or bad. People simply have to play the hand that fate deals them, even when it seems that the deck is stacked against them. That is when the true worth of a person is found as they confront adversity and hardship and refuse to give up and instead fight on.
When the voice in the wilderness is the voice that has the most authority rather than the roar of what is popular in the moment. Especially when that voice in the wilderness is the voice of reason and rationality, rather than the voice of the popular ideology that fuels the masses to pursue unrealistic goals or achievements.
How you, the reader, choose to view my words and ideas is entirely up to you. Should you agree or disagree with all I have written? The answer is a resounding no. Blind acceptance or rejection is the mark of a closed and small mind, and that is reprehensible.
You should question my words, consider my logic and thoughts, you should do your own research, and be comprehensive in that research. Above all you should be objective and rise above your own subjectivity in the ideas that you feel compelled to reject. Rising above your own subjectivity is difficult and fraught with perils as you have to explore more than facts and evidence, you have to confront yourself and your ingrained opinions and beliefs.
You should be able to debate the things you don’t agree with and defend the things that you do as long as you do it from a position of honesty rather than a position of repression of ideas and ideals. From this change can happen and perhaps you can be some small part of that change.
This essay was originally for me alone as I struggled with what this world and this country had become, as it appeared to me forlorn and bereft of hope in the loss of direction mired in a multitude of opposing forces. Yet there is hope for a better future, but there is a painful price to be paid yet for that to happen. The old will pay a small price in comparison to the young who will make the decisions that direct the future. It is those decisions that will direct what those yet to come will have to contend with and that is the consideration that all of us must take into account when we make our decisions. For good or evil what is decided in the present will shape the future and that is the responsibility that weighs upon all of us if we are worthy of that burden.
How a better future can be achieved is unknown to me as anarchy and hardship are on the rise. The political process is bent towards a goal of its own regardless of it is internal to a nation or globally. In that, the populations of every nation must stand with eyes wide open and be prepared to enact defiance to oppression regardless of the price to be paid. What those acts of defiance to oppression are is to be decided in the moment and by the majority who reject oppression. Regardless of the flowery words and speeches designed to fool and deceive, to manipulate people into submission, the intent of these words and speeches must be investigated, interrogated, and then called to account in the revealing of facts and truths. That defiance needs to be resolutely in the interests of those yet to come and what we do now is the legacy that we leave for those unborn generations. That defiance we enact now must be based in honesty and not in selfish self-interest in the current popular mind-set. Importantly, defiance is more than just physical violence; it is the refusal and rejection of authority that does not act in the best interests of its people.
The future is for our young and for the generations yet to be born to decide upon and then to build that future regardless of if it is right or wrong. The young inherit what we leave behind and in that we have a duty to give them the best opportunity to advance. It seems at times that we are leaving them the problems we do not want to confront and in that we are criminal in our actions.
What those decisions are and what they construct is not for us to direct, that is for those who come after us. Our role is to provide the lessons and advice, to provide hope when it seems that there is only hopelessness. To preserve our past and the pasts of those who came before as lessons into the fragility of humanity and the strengths and weaknesses that entails. We have a duty to show in practice that morals, values, and standards are more than just mere words. Our duty is our responsibility, and in that humanity often fails.
We all live through history even when it doesn’t seem to be so, history cannot be seen in the present it can only be looked back upon. It is our part in the creation of history that matters and not in how we will be judged, for that judgement is for others.
If you prostitute yourself for personal power and greed, if you sell your soul for protection of self and not in the protection of those that depend on you for protection then you are not worthy of anything but contempt. There is no avoiding these simple facts when it comes time for others to cast their judgement. There will always be people who will cast you down for reasons known only to them. There will be times when people will do what they will as they seek advantage. These are the times that you go forward, no matter how hard that may be, rather than allow yourself to be dragged down, as to do nothing makes you less of a person. Learning when to fight, and picking the battles worth fighting, is the tricky part of life and sometimes we fight a battle that simply wasn’t worth it when we count the cost in the aftermath.
The right path in life is the hardest path to take as it is never clearly signposted and is fraught with difficulties, adversity, and hardship.
My father once said to me that good people can do bad things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad people. It took me a lifetime of experience to understand this as he spoke from his time in the last World War and from the trials of life he experienced as he lived his life. What he didn’t say is the opposite is also true. He left me to discover this on my own and it has taken a lifetime to understand this simple lesson.
My father lived a life filled with challenges and adversity; he did not shirk from his responsibilities or duty. He had the support of a good woman, in his wife, who stood by him and not in opposition to him, and the reverse is true as he resolutely stood by her. She lifted him up when he was down and upheld the values and standards that her parents instilled in her. That is the true worth and definition of a family and a marriage, something that has largely been lost in this modern world. Together they found their happiness and joy for that is a thing that cannot be purchased or given, it must be found and then built upon through good times and bad.
Our role is to show that honesty, humility, sacrifice, and commitment are values that go beyond mere words. Our role is to be all that we can be in honesty of self and dedication to the pursuits of integrity and duty. What we do and what we say has repercussions beyond a moment in time, and those repercussions are on those that will build and shape the future of our species. To be anything less is to be less than what we should strive to be.
Our time on this planet is nothing more than the blink of an eye. What we do in that blink is what counts … nothing else.