Objective knowledge and truth # Knowledge is gained by heuristic techniques such as logic, empiricism, imagination, inspiration, divination or by intuition - enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves. a ‘hands-on’ or interactive heuristic approach to learning. Oscar Wilde maintains that anything worth learning cannot be taught. The French scientist Alexis Clairaut wrote in 1727, ‘a truth that is glimpsed’ must be verified by ‘a truth that is demonstrated’, This needs an empirical, rigorous and scrupulous process of discovery, sound inferences, valid assumptions and disciplined logic.
Technology And Humans The power of Computers “The average student today has more information at their fingertips than an elite scholar had twenty years ago.” “developments in technology and communications are not liberating but controlling, “I always wanted to be free.” Don McLean “We should all interested in the future because that is where we are going to spend the rest of our lives." Jeron Criswell King Computers, like all inventions can be beneficial or detrimental to humans.
Representation and Text # Words are the only net we have to catch the universe in. (?) Thomas Keneally. The limits of my language means the limits of my world. Ludwig Wittgenstein “Words empty as the wind, are best left unsaid” Homer Language is a complex tool invented by society. As any artefact it can have beneficial or detrimental effects. It can be used and abused.
Life # We did not choose to be born, rather it was pure randomness, and we all try to make sense of our lives. Writing, from early times, is a way of conveying to our descendants how to live and love; how to overcome travail, failure, suffering, doubt to find joy, hope and purpose. Writers recognise the beauty in brokenness and find ways to repair the wounds of the past.
Language of Argument # How our minds perceive reality is determined by a variety of factors; our acquired conditioning - mindset, our reasoning processes, emotions and the persuasive skill of presenters. I never argue; I just calmly explain why I’m right and others are so wrong. Truth is whatever validates your prejudices, feeds your sense of grievance, and fuels your antipathy toward the people you’ve decided are on some other side.
Power of Literature # Appropriated and adapted and from Wonderworks by Angus Fletcher, 2021 Language is just one way of expressing our sorrows, loneliness, anxieties, trauma, hope, joy, love and tranquility. History tells us about the insiders, literature about the outsiders. “The pen is mightier than the sword” but “Is a word processor more powerful than a nuclear warhead?” The first writing extant comes from the Sumerian city of Ur, centre of the Sargon Empire, (The Cradle of Civilisation) who in 3000 BC began stamping cuneiform characters on quick drying clay to keep track on the increasing trade with other empires – timber from Lebanon, copper from Magan, jeweled blue stones from Afghanistan …
Electoral Fraud # True Democracy is a fragile form of government. As Churchill put it, “It is the worst form of government, except for all the others". Genuine participatory government is also a rare beast. At best we are ruled by the shadiest hucksters who know how to manipulate the masses to usurp the power from the people. Aristotle warns, democracy, if not well regulated, turns into mob rule – rule by the uninformed, misinformed, disinformed or deliberately ill-informed.
Interpretation # The Australian Curriculum defines scientific literacy as: An ability to use scientific knowledge, understanding, and inquiry skills to identify questions, acquire new knowledge, explain science phenomena […] and draw evidence-based conclusions in making sense of the world, and to recognise how understandings of […] science help us make responsible decisions and shape our interpretations of information. We are of course “a part of all we have met”, (Tennyson) and so our conditioning plays a great role in how we perceive things.
Margaret Atwood # On Writing: # Margaret Atwood advocates for the agency of all citizens to activate our governments for the common good. Inspiring leaders energise nations to lift them to greatness. While she claims she is not an activist, because she never risks her livelihood, she was involved in various protest movements in her life, Vietnam, feminism in Harvard or Cambridge. The raids on gay bathhouses in Toronto, institutional contempt, makes her angry and sick.
Therapy and Neuro Science # Do we know how the mind works? Can we control how our mind works? This is one of the new frontiers of human research. It is possible that mental illnesses are not illnesses, but points of difference - Neurodiversity. Today we know so much more about the power of empathetic counselling, emotional support and the incredible healing effect of music and art on sufferers of mental illness.
Perception Management # People often use language to conceal rather than reveal their real intentions. Disinformation or misleading and perception manipulating stunts discredit genuine discourse. **Casuistry is **the application of general rules and principles to questions of ethics or morals in order to resolve them. It involves the use of subtle, sophisticated, and sometimes deceptive argument and reasoning, especially on moral issues, in order to justify something or mislead.
Sexual Double Standards # Freud claimed: “All human behaviour is ultimately motivated by sexuality.” He also he said, “We are never so defenceless against suffering as when we love.” Did he mean both genders? The Trojan War was fought over women; both Helen and comfort women for the soldiers. Hesiod warns his listeners: “Men have been undone both by being trusting and by not being so. Let not a woman who dresses to show off her behind deceive your noos, cajoling you with her crafty words, ready to infest your granary".
Wisdom of the Ages # Cultures are formed and transmitted by varied means by our ancestors, both immediate and long past. The shared values, customs and beliefs are imbued into our psyches. The inspiration of the known reflects upon the new, while the new resonates with the known. The lessons of the past must be learned in order to avoid repetition so that we learn to identify with our shared inheritance.
Does Writing Matter? # The invention of writing began around the year 2300 BCE. Its primary function was to record commercial transactions using symbols stamped onto wet clay tablets. Eventually bored by the mechanical recording of trade, scribes began to experiment by recording the songs and ballads of the tribe. It is believed the first author is Enheduanna, the love priestess daughter of one of her father, King Sargon the Great, who had created an empire centered at the city of UR in the fertile crescent on the banks of the Tigris River.