Thursday, August 28, 2008
American trauma statistics back this thesis up even further, where road fatalities fell by 22.1% in March and 17.9% in April - the latest figures available, but which appear to be continuing through May and June. WHilst some of this might be attributable to a lowering in the distance travelled, it is more likely that the greater proportion is attributable to improved driving habits to increase fuel economy.
Which raises an interesting economic question. If fatalities are down this much, how much reduction in serious injury is also evident, with what saving in health costs? Dare it be suggested that higher fuel costs might actually be cheaper overall for the economy, even if not for individuals within it?
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
A rare stamp was sold overnight in Melbourne for $29000. The stamp - a 1913 10/- purple stamp with a kangaroo standing over a map of Australia - normally sells for around $1000. This stamp was unique inasmuch as it contained a fault which caused a double-printing of part of its border.
It's amazing, really, when we live in a society which pursues perfection with relentless ambition. Celebrities will often have photographs airbrushed to remove blotches before publication. This week we laud the perfect performances of athletes while many others pass in silence. When we make the inevitable comparisons between ourselves and those in the public domain, we clearly do not match up and tend therefore to undervalue our unique identity. This blemished stamp perhaps serve to remind us that is our unique faults which make us valuable in this world.
Monday, August 11, 2008
“We have built ourselves a grand castle of freedom but choose to live in a shack nearby”
In his first two books, Growth Fetish and Affluenza, Clive Hamilton began to unmask the prevailing philosophies of our time and expose the high price being paid for our unwitting enslavement to them. In his latest work Freedom Paradox: Towards a Post-Secular Ethics,
Beginning his journey with the father of modern liberalism John Stuart Mill,
Whereas modernity has conceptually enthroned the individual,
Having articulated some of the ways in which freedom has been compromised at the socio-political level,
Hamilton examines – in a brief digression – the question of the existence of God, taking issue with Dawkins (whom he criticises for his poor metaphysics), Kant (with his view of God as separate and remote from humanity), and attempts to equate the concept of God as expressed in words with the Supreme Being, abandoning the idea of a God as cosmic policeman (my term) for a “more sublime notion of eternal justice”.
The basis for morality is thus grounded no longer in rational ethics, or an external moral code, but the Universal Self – where our independent existence merges into the Universal Self, shared by all. Morality is therefore grounded in metaphysical empathy, in which we recognise our common humanity, not merely as independent selves sharing a common core, but united by participation in the being of each other. Here
“The freedom to do as we please is the most subtle form of unfreedom ever conceived,” he concludes. In seeking to reclaim access to the noumenon within the phenomenal world we experience,
The Freedom Paradox offers a healthy critique of modernity, post-modernity and institutional religion and seeks to point us back to the deeper reality of which the spiritual giants of history have sought to point towards. ‘Tis a pity that too often we have wrestled with the words rather than the reality.
Clive Hamilton, Freedom Paradox: Towards a Post-Secular Ethics,
Review by Gary Heard