Sunday 16th of December 2018

on the pavement of learning something...

shadows

As I see my shadow, I notice I have a small head. No wonder I can’t remember much and I have to work my butt off (may be I should use my brain) to comprehend anything. Meanwhile there are some (too few) mighty minds around.

For example, Dr Spence, AC BA LLB Sydney  DPhil PGDipTheol Oxford, was appointed the 25th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney in 2008. His aims have been to maximise the University’s great strengths: depth and breadth of disciplines, a commitment to challenge ordinary thinking and a genuine desire to do good in the world — all through excellence, engagement and simplification.

An alumnus of the University of Sydney, Dr Spence graduated with first-class honours in English, Italian and law. He also speaks Chinese (Mandarin) and Korean. Dr Spence lectured in law at the University and worked for the Australian Copyright Council prior to departing from Australia and establishing himself at the University of Oxford, where he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy and a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology. He became a Fellow of St Catherine’s College at Oxford, and during his 20 years at the college, he headed Oxford’s law faculty and social sciences division, one of the four divisions that make up the University of Oxford.

Dr Spence is internationally acclaimed in the field of intellectual property theory, law and the law of obligations, with a focus on ethical and economic justifications for the existing systems.

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Boom… One can only be super-impressed by Dr Michael Spence. I believe he has a rare ability to memorise and sythesise stuff that few of us can dream of. 

There are very few people who, like Spence, can do a million things and still keep smilling while they manage the most difficult of tasks and keep their conscience pure, have a clean vision and are full of generous motives. 

May be Dr Spence should be a politician… or not. 

As the CEO of a university he has a much greater responsibility — the future of humankind's understanding in his hands — which is far more important than politics, where most elected dudes have given up on this vision splendid in favour of haggling over the price of fish to keep the voting plebs happy. 

I don’t have any clue why Dr Spence studied theology. I guess than when one has the brain-power to understand complexities, one has to also know what the hypocritical religious implications have had on our societies, and the best way to do this is to plunge head first into the core of the beast: the existence of god. This could also be part of studying the social “science”, which like politics and economics, is an ART form in which the parameters are defined by our choices of paint, rather than a science in which the parameters are natural and cosmic.

We are told that theology is the "critical study of the nature of the divine". 

Augustine of Hippo was the first geezer to define the Latin equivalent, "theologia", as a reasoning or discussion concerning the Deity. Richard Hooker, a 16th century Anglican priest named "theology" as "the science of things divine". Theology begins with the assumption that the divine exists… There again “science” is a misnomer. It should be the “art of the divine” because how can a science be based on an assumption? I would not have a clue. 

This does not augur well, but this does not mean that one should dismiss theology, as it is an interesting complex development in the human misunderstandings of life. Life is a wonderful chemical reaction in which processes are not as mysterious as they once were, because we deliberately wished to ignore its temporal mechanics in favour of making our story up. Our dream is to make life more pleasing than the reality of pain and death, as we try to avoid both by using subterfuges — including medicine, the power of the mind, including imagination, and the belief in eternity. 

Apart from being a "comforting synergy” for some of us, the existence of god is part of the big lies we tell ourselves and others, in order to sell morality as a basis for our behaviour rather than understand the natural levers of our animalistic activities. This is where Stylism comes in. Stylism is our way of inventing a better life for ourselves rather than being a worm. Nothing wrong with this but the stylistic step such as the invention of god is ridiculous. It does not make any sense. Stylism as a process to deal with uncertainty on a cosmic scale was defined by my alter-ego more than 55 years ago.

That evidence for and about the existence of god may be "found” via personal spiritual experiences — or historical records of such experiences as documented by others — shows there is no evidence, except ridiculous assumptions that twist the power of the mind... The study of these assumptions is not part of theology, but it helps investigating the philosophy of religion, increasingly through the psychology of religion and something called neurotheology (whatever that is — god in neurons?). Theology thus aims to structure and understand these experiences and concepts, and to use them to derive prescriptions for how to live our lives. It’s grand bullshit used by the controllers of our mind to turn us into submissive bananas or send us to war  — as well as pay for hierarchical golden hats and ritualised theatre, while being told to stay quiet in our little corner.

Fair enough. This imagined twistery confirms that god does not exist. Why should He (god is a male) pay attention to a species that behaves like pigs and burns the place down? Well, discussing the existence of god gives us something to do. It employs a lot of people in various mercantile religious occupations and has a structural hierarchical Ponzi scheme value to make us accept the notion of kingdoms versus a state run by the people. 

This is where theology can make us understand our misunderstandings. Of all the humans on the planets, only about a third subscribe to the idea of a single god. The others stil pray to a multitude of gods or, as we all should be, do not believe in this nonsense, and allocate a brainspace to the natural evolution of our Stylism. But most of us are not ready for this. It’s quite confronting to know our animality intimately. 

This is why we invent make-up for the ladies and colourful undies for the blokes. We are the imperfect species that had to improvise to survive. Our social network and our belief in god became part of this adaptation, while stealing the fur from the bears.  But can we do better? Yes we can and we should, considering our stylistic interpretations have gone crackers, but we unfortunately drag along a lot of “traditions” and “rituals” that do nothing for “our next”. 

Our next is also limited by our brain power, which for whatever (natural) reason, is about 99 per cent based on adhering to habits that we learn with fear of sticks and rewards of carrots. And we are often conflicted. Our memory resists learning more under such conditions. It takes a lot of efforts to go "beyond”.

This is why someone like Dr Michael Spence is unique — or rare. He can learn and process things with ease, that shames, say, the hubristic pseudo-salesmanship of a Donald Trump. Dr Spence should tell us his secret of easy learning and about the stylistic management of applied ideas, in which we fumble because of beliefs and because of the resentment of being who we are.

Liberation from beliefs and computing our knowledge is thus the next. Like his, our commitment should be to challenge ordinary thinking (say challenge the mundane sprout from those radio stars who babble nonsense about who sleeps with whom in the Hollywoodian sphere) and harbour a genuine desire to do good in the world (without the imposition from god, which will end up sending us to a hypocritical "just" war). 

The next is Artificial Intelligence which when done properly will make us leap forward with greater understanding and dare I say acceptance of these understandings. 

And I think that this is where the secret of Dr Spence's fast learning memory and processing resides. Immediate acceptance of understanding and fast dismissal of retarding rubbish. If a symbol and a spoken word means something in Chinese or italian, this is the way it is. Accept it. Train your memory to accept it now. NOW... 

My shadow still tells me my head is tiny… I accept this. I still need to work my butt off... But I live in hope of being an old dog that can learn new tricks, while hobbling along. And by the way, Dr Michael Spence is an Anglican! Wow... It does not make any sense...

Gus Leonisky
Your local garage attendant.

 

of patents and steam engines...

I did my bit about patents and copyright... as explained in of "patents and socialism"... 

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/32313

 

I believe my conclusion was somewhat different to that of DR Spence, on the same subject. Though I might go along with him on artistic copyright, On scientific research, here is what I said:

We need to spread the power, the research and the shit around, while minimising theft and maintain exclusion of technological access to crackpots, idiots and terrorists. Easier said than done. Good will is in short supply in the human brain. In this regard, the TTPs are terroristic anathema to the concept of democracy and are secretly concocted because they are reliant in a major part on greed and bad will.

Gus Leonisky
Your local mad inventor.

time for a bit more scientific enlightement...

In an article on the ABC website, Dr Adrian Pabst — an associate editor of the critical theory journal TELOS and on the board of the Foundation Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice whose main mission is to promote Catholic Social Thought — pontificates about the role of the churches and-or-versus populism... One should take this with a couple of grains of salt.

 

Religion is curiously absent from the two dominant narratives about contemporary populism.

The first narrative views the roots of the populist revolt in predominantly economic terms: a rejection of the status quo on the part of those "left behind" by globalisation.

The second narrative emphasises cultural factors: a growing gap between a new, networked generation who are forward-looking and progressive, and an older generation who are supposedly nostalgic and reactionary.

Common to both narratives is a focus on social divisions between the young and the old, the metropolis and the provinces, those who are university educated and those who are not. These differences can be mapped on to electoral divides such as Remain/Brexit, Clinton/Trump and Macron/Le Pen.

The old opposition of left versus right seems increasingly obsolete, its dominance in contemporary political analysis superseded by a new clash between an open and a closed society: open-door immigration, free trade and global intervention versus closed borders, protectionism and national preference ("America First"). This open-closed framework is conceptualised in terms of liberal-cosmopolitan "people from nowhere" and conservative-communitarian "people from somewhere." In her speech to the 2016 Conservative Party conference, the British Prime Minister Theresa May echoed this: "if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.”


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To be fair though, a number of religious leaders have not shied away from speaking truth to power. Take Pope Benedict XVI's prescient warning about the "dictatorship of relativism that does not recognise anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires." And his injunction to marry faith with reason in ways that uphold our embodied soul created by God for eternity. Or Pope Francis's ecclesial vision in Laudato Si' to fuse contemplation and Eucharistic celebration with justice and social transformation.

Or the interventions by Anglican archbishops Rowan Williams and Justin Welby on unjust war and usury. Or indeed the Eastern Orthodox attempts to mobilise government support for the persecuted Oriental Christians and other religious minorities. Binding them together is a commitment to a specifically Christian vision of humanism - the dignity of the person and the common good, which can be defined as an ordering of relationships in a way that holds in balance individual fulfilment with mutual flourishing, based on the dignity and equality of all people.

Such an integral humanism charts an alternative to both liberalism and populist reactions by combining with more virtuous leadership with greater popular participation. The churches are central to this vision. One of their most important tasks is to translate a rich sense of mystery and theological learning into liturgical and festive practices to which people respond intuitively and which would re-infuse our middle-brow culture with both folk culture and high culture. Similarly, the churches need to be more directly involved in educational and civic activities as well as just economic practices, if they are directly to demonstrate to people how the gospel transforms their everyday existence.

Moreover, the churches need to promote a mode of education at every level which re-links knowledge and skills to the spiritual formation of character. I will conclude with these words from Pope Francis during the Jubilee Year of Mercy when he enjoined the Church "to rediscover the richness encompassed by the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The experience of mercy, indeed, becomes visible in the witness of concrete signs as Jesus himself taught us."

Adrian Pabst is Reader in Politics at the University of Kent, and co-author (with John Milbank) of The Politics of Virtue: Post-liberalism and the Human Future.

 

read more:

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/08/23/4887164.htm



For Gus the “battle" or "debate" here is unnecessary. A lot of glib statements are pronounced by the powers in charge of making you submit. And this article is more about recapturing your "soul" and cash with moralistic "rich sense of mystery and theological learning into liturgical and festive practices to which people respond intuitively and which would re-infuse our middle-brow culture with both folk culture and high culture".

Bullshit. Intuitive response to Christmas? Bollocks. The idea of Christmas IS NOT INTUITIVE IN THE LEAST. It's a learned response carefull cultivated since our childhood, that we carry with the simplistic idea that we're all sinners in need to be saved by a little baby in a manger. Crap. We're not sinners. We're animals with an ability to delude ourselves.

So, all this is the resultant of choices made by us and made on our behalf by marketeers, including the churches. 

Populism was the marketing technique of choice for the churches, until the end of the 19th century when comforts on earth became the dangle instead of hell in heaven. And I mean hell in heaven. for 2,000 years this had been the motivation for maintaining kings on their throne — cultivating a phony hierarchy that would send you to war or keep you at your station toiling in the fields. Bare survival with the idea of better times when you're dead. Piss on this.

Some people saw there could be improvements to this feudal system, maintained by the belief in god. Revolutions came, new ideas came, but these conflicting dynamics and inevitable reactionary momentum created some of the best and worst outcome. Wars and economic booms came and went. 

It is impossible to simplify all these historical events, where a lot of porkies have been registered as true history, yet the result has been that the churches influence has diminished and the mercantilism of cash has won the day.

A lot of populism is a present reactionary event against the extreme of this mercantilism which, in urgent need of “globalisation”, is destroying the comforts and prejudices of cultures — all for more profit. Some people are saying enough is enough. And they get traction through “populism”. Nothing scientific about it, just a gut feeling that is stirred by seeing corporate signage taking over the beauty of carefully crafted public environments — as well as invasion of hordes (refugees) with different cultural values. As well, under the onslaught of corporations, the caring laws of the land can become contested and eventually made obsolete. 

Games of power, mostly external, are invented to influence and then penetrate the old established tribal (country) structures to destroy them from within. People see this as a threat to their comfortable prejudices to be replace by uglier newer prejudices that do nothing but enrich a few Americans without care…

Let’s face it, the churches have been snookered long ago. They only try to stay in the game for profit. And as their profits dwindle in the face of diminishing attendances and of church scandals such as priests molesting children, they are left trying to hang on to threadbare moralistic issues, without properly entering the debate as they are incapable of choosing a side. 

For years, churches were on the side of the corporates (the kings and power) while keeping the masses quiet, in fear of hell. Kings loved the churches and some English dude the VIII even created his own. By the end of the 19th century churches had to reinvent themselves in the face of social change and of scientific discovery that were destroying their beliefs. Churches are now caught in a quandary, because they need the support of the state, usually a capitalist state, to survive. Without the generosity of capitalism, churches would not survive. But they'd like to preach socialism alla Jesus Christ but they can't.

People have deserted the churches for various reasons, the best of which is comfort. Bourgeois comfort has killed the urgency to believe in god. 

So whatever the churches do, they are not going to pot black. They have lost the game. Reinventing “humanism” through the churches is like appropriation of other ideas and pagan rituals to make them their own churchian narrative, like when the Renaissance saw churches appropriate the Greek and Roman gods, to corner the “debate”. The inquisition was also part of this system to make sure money flowed to the "official" churches, not to the rebelious reformists…

Time for a bit more scientific enlightement. 

Read from top.

a lot of cash for thoughts...

The only university that has made a major salary cut is the Australian National University, making its Nobel Prize-winning vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt the lowest paid among universities in NSW, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

His $662,000 salary last year was more than 25 per cent lower than his predecessor, Ian Young, who was paid $978,000 in 2015, his final year at ANU.

Dr Spence's salary could not be compared directly with earlier years because Sydney University, which did not respond to a request for comment, changed how it disclosed the payment.

 

Read more:

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/the-nation-s-highest-paid-univer...

 

Read from top and keep smiling... and by TTPs I meant TPPs. I usually get a brain snap with these mercantile concoctions designed to bypass the laws of the land...

tim does it again...

An Australian professor was suspended after showing his students a picture of an Israeli flag partially covered by a swastika during a lecture. The academic says the university has violated his right to “intellectual freedom.”

The University of Sydney suspended Tim Anderson, a senior lecturer in the department of political economy, after he showed the students the graphic of the Nazi symbol being placed over the Israeli flag. The picture accompanied text which compared Israeli and Palestinian attacks and deaths.

“In my view an image of a Swastika superimposed over the Israeli flag references Nazi symbolism,” University of Sydney Provost Stephen Garton wrote in the suspension letter to Anderson. “It is of significant concern that the altered image was created by you and presented to students in the course of your employment.”

The provost also reprimanded Anderson for sharing the same image online from his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts, and for making it available for download on the online learning platform Canvas. He proposed that the professor’s employment be terminated.

Anderson, who has also been banned from entering the university premises and contacting students, took to Facebook to express his anger on Tuesday.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/445754-professor-suspended-swastika-israeli-flag...

 

Read from top.

Read also:

solid debate. no rules breached...