I did a blog recently about the Busselton Wildflower Exhibition and my involvement in promoting the event that was held last Thursday and Friday.
Below is a gallery of most of the flowers on show at the Exhibition. There are strict rules about what flowers can be picked in the wild and the quantities allowed so as not to impact on their sustainability for future years.
I found it impossible to choose just a few! Our local Geographe Community Landcare Nursery had some native plants on sale – the bottom few photos.
Over the past few weeks we have been discussing David Hume (1711-1776), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and Georg Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831).
I have to say I have found them at the same time, very hard work and yet brilliant. If I had just read about them in the book we are using I would never have grasped some of their concepts but having a group discussion about them was really stimulating.
David Hume spoke about causation and that we can never assume that because we observe something happening once, we can’t be sure that it will happen the same way again! Lots of talk about billiard balls.
From Kant I learnt about the Categorical Imperative – I understand it to mean that if I need to determine if an action is moral I need to consider how it would be if it was a universal law that the action be carried out by anyone/everyone.
And then there was Hegel. I found him the most difficult to understand and yet the most fascinating. Hegel’s philosophy covered such a wide scope. I think I almost understood his “thesis – anti-thesis – synthesis” but don’t ask me to explain it here. Again, the group discussion really helped my understanding.
Next fortnight we will discuss Bertrand Russell and I am looking forward to it!
We had two lively discussions last Thursday on Machiavelli. He is mostly remembered for the words “the ends justify the means” but I don’t believe he actually ever used those words specifically. In his book, The Prince, he develops something of an instruction manual for a Prince who is about to lead his kingdom.
There are around ten people in each group competing to share their ideas. I try hard to let everyone have a chance to talk.
It was inevitable that we would end up discussing some well known politicians such as Donald Trump and Theresa May. We also tried to discern if Machiavelli really supported unscrupulous behaviour or whether he was just “telling it like it was/is”. We generally believed he wrote from his knowledge and experience within the government of the day.
Since Thursday I see so much Machiavelli wherever I look. People in power presenting an acceptable face to the world but barely hiding some of the measures they take to continue in their roles.
It could be argued that we all have a dark side or shadow but hopefully most people work towards bettering themselves and not at refining their dark arts!
Today we met and considered happiness (the Greek word is eudaimonia) as described by Greek philosopher, Aristotle. We each talked a little about what makes us happy. There was a lot of common ground with friends, family and nature featuring highly. I will include some of the ideas we looked at today:
Happiness comes from discovering who you are, developing your distinctive talents to work for the overall benefit of others as well as yourself.
Aristotle’s way of achieving happiness: activities that are in accordance with our virtues and the person having a noble purpose in those activities.
Happiness is having a sense of well-being that is achieved through good living. (Dr Martin Seligman).
According to Aristotle, ethics is about how people should best live, while the study of politics is from the perspective of the law-giver, looking at the good of the whole community (Wikipedia).
We talked about happiness and reflected on other positive emotions of which there are many examples as explored through the Positive Psychology field.
Next week I will be starting the Let’s Talk Philosophy course for our local University of the Third Age.
This year we will be using the book “50 Philosophy Classics” by Tom Butler Brown. We hope to cover just ten philosophers between now and June. It will really be an introduction to each of the chosen philosophers and we will enjoy some stimulating conversation and hopefully a few laughs!
I usually include a quote by a philosopher as a basis for discussion. Our first one is Aristotle and the quote is:
Do you have any thoughts on the quote? I would love to hear them!
This inspiration is from Mooji and is taken from ‘Vaster Than Sky Greater Than Space’.
“Some time ago I saw a picture depicting a parable from the Bhagavad Gita. It showed two birds in a tree, and one of them was building a nest. This one is flying off collecting things, arranging the twigs – its active, doing many things.
Above this bird, on another branch, is a second bird. It looks identical to the first bird, and it’s not building anything. It is just observing. It’s not building a self-image out of its perceiving, and its not deeply interested in any aspect of what it sees. Its perceiving is happening quite spontaneously without effort or judgment. There’s a silence there, that feeling of Being without thought. Just looking.
This is a beautiful portrait of who we are.
These two birds are connected. The first bird represents our dynamic being…
I sometimes find that depression sneaks up on me. I have lots of strategies for working around it (diet, exercise, pills, positive psychology etc) but sometimes it wins. Today was one of those days.
I caught myself being grumpy when reaching for my ‘after-dinner’ orange that I have everyday that we have oranges in the house. I looked at the orange and thought how nice it looked. I remembered living in a remote community in the Northern Territory of Australia and we had no access to fresh fruit at the time. That was when I realised that oranges are my favourite fruit. We had to order food about six weeks in advance and the grocery order came by barge from Northern Queensland (quite a distance away).
I held the orange in my hand, smelled it, felt the texture and felt very grateful for it. I then proceeded to eat it while savouring the taste! It didn’t cure my depression but it was a circuit breaker letting some light in!
I was cooking dinner this evening – Tuna Mornay – an old favourite. Now, over time I have been careful about particular food items and sensitivities. The mornay starts with cooking the onion in butter. Next is to add flour to make a roux (butter and flour mixed together to make a paste). I used gluten-free flour. All good so far.
Next item to add was the milk – soy milk of course. Then I added the tuna, cheese, spices, corn and peas.
An then I laughed at myself. Why did I bother with the gluten-free flour and the soy milk when I had already included a whole onion?
Then I got philosophical. We take so much care in looking after very specific aspects of our lives while we cannot see the bit that really needs attention (the equivalent of the onion) in our lives.
I guess this is how most of us manage day-to-day life. We are not always attentive to the bigger picture – especially if our thoughts are busy with a million distractions. We keep hearing about the importance of being mindful of the present moment but it often alludes me still.
C’mon. Who are you kidding? “Young” is a lexical error, desperate denial, and a sign of ageism.
Say these two lovers are eighty-two.
They may have many qualities of youth
they may be elastic, enthusiastic
they may be childlike, childish, curious, wildish
trusty, busty, lusty, gusty
brainy, zany, frantic, romantic
yearning, burning, learning, earning
they may be healthy and flexible and fit
they may be monarchs of the internet
they may be smart, they may be fun
they may leave you for dead when they go for a run
bouncy, flouncy, insecure
they may have charisma, they may have allure
they may be beautiful beyond all norms
gorgeous and cuddly and bubbly with dreams
they may be cute
but here’s the truth
one thing they do not have
it’s gone, it’s done, it’s been replaced
and that is youth.
Billboard in Seoul that is intended (I presume) to combat ageism……