The ladder


“My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognises them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)”

~ Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)


“Death is not an event in life …”


“Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in just the way in which our visual field has no limits.”

~ Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)


Image: Glory with Brocken Spectre created by the photographer’s shadow on a rising cloud at a South ridge of Peak Korzhenvskaya during a summit day on August 14th, 2006, classic route from Moskvina glacier. Part of a photo collection of Pamir 2006 expedition led by Dmitry Shapovalov. Expedition members: Dmitry Shapovalov, Alexey Nesterov, Ekaterina Ananyeva, Sasha Kornienko. Courtesy of Wikiquote.

Correction to post about Radio National

I wrote about Radio National recently, and forgot to list Richard Aedy and Jason Di Rosso among The Indispensables. Big oversight!

Richard Aedy is an extraordinary interviewer and listener. On radio or off, there are few who can listen as skilfully as he does. Jason Di Rosso must also have unlimited budget. His movie reviews are insightful and he refuses to patronise or suck up to the audience.

Original post has been amended.


Fix. Change. Resist. Repeat.


The man on the phone is speaking about his relationship with his teenage son. Things are not going well. The man has the experience that the son is keeping him at arm’s length, not allowing he, the father, to get close to him. Whatever overtures he makes, the son ignores or rejects them.

At the same time, the man is worried his son doesn’t have the drive and commitment to finish things or take action. The son has the opportunity to apply for a scholarship for a specialist training program and a good chance of winning it. However, instead of applying, the son puts it off and plays computer games, and the man’s frustration and hurt and anxiety grows.

Listening to him, I feel compassion for the man and his son, and also recognition. I have one or two relationships like this, as do my friends.

There is something else there for me in listening to him. I can hear what is giving the situation, whereas, being close to it, I can’t always hear it in my own situation.


It’s clear the man is attempting to fix or change his son, and the son is, rightly, resisting it.

The more the man tries to fix or change, the more the son resists and retreats. It cannot be any other way because change always reproduces the issue. In attempting to fix or change a person or a situation, we are effectively declaring the person or situation is not OK as it is. Therefore, the more we attempt to fix or change, the more the person or situation shows up as not OK. It has to be this way. It cannot be any other way. Each facet of the situation – on the one hand, the fixing and changing, and on the other, the not OK-ness – gives the other.

As the French say, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“, or as others put it, “Resistance causes persistence”.


There are two things to get about such a situation:

  1. the sooner the man gives up the attempt to fix or change, the better
  2. underneath the not OK-ness of the situation is some story the man is telling himself about himself, and it will be an old story that he’s been telling himself since he was a child which sounds like one of the following, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m bad”, “I’m unlovable”, “I’m not smart”, “I don’t matter” and other variations; to say it another way, it has little to do with the son and everything to do with the man himself.

As it is for the man, so it is for you and me.


Transformation required: The death throes of a once great radio station, Radio National


Attention: Mark Scott

While this post is about what’s happening to radio here in Australia, the issue is one you may have in your country too.

When I’m at home I always have the radio on. I even sleep with the radio under my pillow in case I wake up in the middle of the night. I’m a real radiohead. I love it, and feel like the announcers are my friends and companions.

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The women I spent IWD with. Aren’t they beautiful?

I went to an African headwrap party for International Women’s Day. Here are the women I was with. Don’t they look beautiful, regal, queenly in their headwraps? Mandi, the beautiful young woman in the blue headwrap in the front, is the same koala woman who featured up a tree in this post. She spoke about our country, our peoples, being in need of healing from our past. She said it well.



A book written by no-one and everyone


Once upon a time, I bought a little book from a secondhand shop in Hobart for the title, The simplest book God ever wrote.* There is another author’s name on the front cover and it’s not important, and that’s what the title means. The book was written by no-one and everyone.

In homely, unpoetic language, the book speaks about what I discovered on the corner of Exhibition Street and Collins Street four years ago: that who we are is love.

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Dustiness is who we are


“When we forget our dustiness, our mortality, our human nature, we begin practicing our piety, our life, before others; hoping to be seen, recognised, and praised.”

~ Father Mike on remembering we are human beings, that dust is our source and completion, and dustiness, who we are. Read him here: Welcome to the human race.



Fear into Love


The public conversation in Australia at present is truly poisonous. Come hither Thich Nhat Hanh and speak to me of love.¹

“We have a great, habitual fear inside ourselves. We’re afraid of many things – of our own death, of losing our loved ones, of change, of being alone … Sorrow, fear and depression are like a kind of garbage. But these bits of garbage are part of real life, and we must look deeply into their nature. We can practice so as to turn these bits of garbage into flowers. We should not throw anything out. All we have to do is learn the art of composting, of transforming our garbage into flowers …

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writtenafterwards: Future Beauty at QAGOMA

WrittenAfterwards-SS-2013-Collection-Bye-BuyThe Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion exhibition has recently concluded at the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art, and I was in Brisbane to see it a couple of weeks ago.

In the 80s, Japanese designers such as Rei Kawakubo and Junya Watanabe of Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake and others launched a fashion aesthetic the like of which the West had never seen. They presented a radically

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This shall be

He was upset, speaking about the missing years, his brothers cut off from their children, his father and grandfather cut off from their grandchildren, his brothers cut off from each other. Every way he looked there was distance and division. His eyes filled with the speaking of it, and then he was afraid of not being “strong”. Do you know how beautiful you are at this moment, I asked.

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