Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Psychic or not..?
Have just had a friend describe a session with a "psychic" which she described as "amazing". This person seemed to know all about my friend. Even I got a mention. Now, here's the thing. Everything the psychic said was exactly what my friend had been espousing to me for the last few years...her beliefs about the people in her life and the things that were happening or had happened to her. Now, did this reader (as I believe they are commonly called) psychically connect with my friend and "read" her mind, thereby feeding back to her all the information she could see stored there? Or, more incredibly does she have the ability to see the multiple strands of a person's life by some intuitive "sixth sense". Can she then follow those strands, knotted and tangled by circumstance and chance and predict where they are going to lead to in the future?

If, my friend had returned with a few correct "hits" from this psychic and some startling unexpected revelation I might have left the subject well alone. What got me was the fact that the information imparted was such a strong affirmation of my friend's beliefs....she had been told or believed she had been told, what she wanted to believe. So I went surfing for information on psychics and discovered "cold reading" and "hot reading" techniques. They make a good read (forgive the pun). To put it briefly, they are techniques to get a person to reveal facts, their opinions and their feelings and to then feed this information back to them as if the reader had "sensed" them. Some people get very good at this, so good in fact, many begin to believe that they actually have psychic powers. It's worth a few minutes to look up these techniques which involve careful observational and listening skills and "fishing" ( general questions that can lead down specific paths depending on the response). The success of these techniques is also due to the human brain's ability to associate facts, words, ideas, and numbers and for people's willingness to apply these associations to their circumstances. A good example of this is the daily horoscope sections of newspapers. Read any star sign prediction regardless of your birth date and you will invariably find something with which to relate. Most of the sceptics websites use similar arguments against the existence of psychic powers. A common question is, if these people can predict future events, why not go for something big, like warning all those poor devils before they perish in earthquakes and tsunamis. Another site about psychic mediums makes the point that people who are too busy to talk to the living suddenly want to talk to their dead relatives...who never seem to say much of any consequence anyway and totally fail to answer some of the BIG questions like is there a god and have they met him (or her). Another interesting slant on this is in the book "Plague Species - Is it in our genes?' by Reg Morrison. Simply put, he argues that genetically we are programmed to have a "penchant for the mystical" and that "believing the unbelievable" excites us and frequently overrides logic.

Now, this is where my "mystic gene" kicks in. I would really love to believe that some people do in fact have some super intuitive powers that enable them to, if not predict the future, at least connect with other humans on a mind to mind level. (A sort of "mind meld" for all the Trekkies out there. )

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mellbourne: what can I's a city. People, cars, trams and buses elbow each other for room and modern buildings loom over older and more graceful structures. All around is movement, colour, smells and commerce on a grand scale. From Victoria Markets to the tiniest curiosity shop there are goods that tempt you to spend and spend and .......
I was a pushover!

Every now and then there is an oasis. The park that hides behind the aging houses of Coburg and the carbon monoxide haze of Sydney Road is literally a breath of fresh air and space. You can walk along a pleasantly overgrown riverbank for a kilometre or two and emerge onto a vast green lawn with curving paths, large trees and a lake full of free loading waterbirds forever on the hustle for a free feed.

I loved the architectural vastness of Southern Cross Railway Station with its wonderful roof full of light and shadows. The place ebbs and flows with the energy of the commuters and the personalities of the trains. ( I love trains and tend to anthropomorphise when I see them)
(Had to look that spelling up!)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Small don't have to be big to be beautiful. Seduced by the sunny morning and needing any excuse not to have to look at a house that needs cleaning, dusting or blow torching, I spent an hour or so with my camera in my backyard and my neighbour's yard.
My neighbour grows beautiful flowers and I grow beautiful weeds. (The dandelions are mine.)

Monday, September 04, 2006

We live in a world of contradictions.
At any moment on the earth there are different people putting equal effort into saving or taking life. Millions of dollars are spent on research, drugs and medical techniques aimed at prolonging and improving life. Simultaneously someone , somewhere puts the finishing touch to a "weapon of mass destruction".
Environmentally the same thing happens. One group fights to save the kilometre square habitat of a tiny frog, while half a world away huge forests are clear felled to make toothpicks and chop sticks.
Consider for instance the creek near my home which adjoins an area which is being carefully re-generated after over 30 years of use as a garbage tip. What had once been a natural wetland full of waterfowl and fish had been turned into great mound of garbage. The enormous task of reclaiming this area has involved barriers to prevent domestic litter being washed into the creek and the river it flows into, and massive replantings of local plants and trees. The area is still polluted and far from pristine but the birds are gradually returning.
We continue to be obsessed with human history. We reinact it, read about it and archaeologists are forever trying to dig it up. Why don't we ever seem to really learn anything from it. Thirty years ago it was probably a local council who saw a "swamp", deemed it worthless and began to dump on it. Now we are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to re-establish this little piece of natural environment so casually destroyed.
Why do we continue to make the same mistake over and over again to varying degrees all over the planet, when history gives us so many past scenarios to learn from.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Where the wild things are.......or not.
Just arrived home after two weeks in North East Tasmania. A mixture of wilderness and "ordered woods and gardens" where the borders between are often blurred. Fifteen years ago while visiting the southern and western area of the island native animals were frequently seen on the roadsides (admittedly some as road kill, but the evidence of their existence was there). This time the only places I saw native animals were in wildlife parks, and many of those were "rescues", like the magnificent pair of wedgetails in the longer able to fly. Facial tumour disease is decimating the Tasmanian Devil population and although there is a great deal of fund raising and research happening no one seems any closer to a cure or solution. The platypus is falling victim to some sort of nasal virus which has been carried in from the mainland and to which the local population has no immunity.
So all the monotremes and marsupials we saw were behind bars! The platypuses and echidnas at Beauty Point at the end of the Tamar highway never see natural sunlight and are cossetted in a privately owned wildlife "Hilton" Well looked after, obviously treasured and loved but definitely living the high life not the wild life!
It is argued that these displays (zoos if you like) help to educate and promote the "conservation" of these amazing creatures. But why then is their habitat disappearing even faster each day and their populations diminishing at an alarming rate? Why too, is the increasing need for rescue operations and sanctuaries falling to private individuals who struggle on with no government funding. These people are forced to turn their "parks" into petting zoos with domestic farm animals displayed alongside echidnas and devils.
So what exactly are we teaching the kids that visit these parks. That animals are more desirable when they are on display and on our terms. It doesn't matter that we are taking over their habitats we can always breed them in captivity! And besides they are so much more accessible this way, with so many cute photo opportunities!

Will today's children's children ever experience that wonderful feeling of spotting a glimpse of a truly wild animal, free in its natural habitat and untouchable.......not by current predictions they won't!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

To have and to hold...
Have not been able to miss the media hysteria over that wedding this weekend. It's true the bride was beautiful, and gracious amid all the hullaballoo, the groom handsome, the dresses exquisite etc, but they were totally outshone by a celebration and ceremony taking place half a city away.
I was privileged to join in a gathering of friends and family who were celebrating a couple's lifetime of love and achievement. After fifty years of life together, the love these two people have for each other remains as steadfast as the day they were married.
Standing in front of the marriage celebrant, hands clasped tightly, these two beautiful and dignified people reaffirmed the vows they made half a century ago.
Congratulations Norm and Shirl for showing the world how it should be fanfares, no limousines, just living your life with love and respect for each other and your family.

Now Nic and Keith that's one hard act to follow!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 easy!
Just been listening to a cd of "Hat Trick" a band that started in 1982 and has celebrated its second "reunion" with a "retrospective cd" launch. The venue was the Harp in Newtown, Sydney on Sunday 18th June. What an amazing atmosphere. A combination of virtuoso talent,vibrant personalities and absolute joy in performing produced an afternoon of riveting entertainment.
Michael Fix began the afternoon with a solo set on guitar. On his cd "Web of Dreams" he says that he likes to create pictures with his music. And this is what he did. His music passes through many moods, thoughtful, playful, downright mischievous! Front row at the Harp with Michael Fix's music enveloping all...and he's playing just for me...he he!!