Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 139
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Monday & Tuesday, February 1 & 2 2010
(diary, politics, Tony Abbott)
This weekend we had a Australian Surf Rowing event on Mooloolaba Beach. Overcast
and rainy conditions for the weekend did not lessen the enthusiasm of the
competitors, but the spectator crowd was perhaps smaller than usual.
We are feeling here the effect of former Cyclone "Olga" which has roamed
about the northern parts of Queensland for the past week or so, flooding large
areas there. Heavy rain squalls are gradually moving south and are affecting us
here now. Very good news for farmers.
Monday I have my annual checkup with my GP Jenny Cooke, discussing
the test results. My PSA (prostate reading) is finally back to normal (2.9),
cholesterol slightly higher than previous years but still OK. But my liver is
slightly inflamed so I will give up my gin and tonics, go easy on the brandy and
try to stick to beer and wine in moderate quantities.
There is a strong wind and the surf is pretty rough, but still safe to swim
in provided I stay in waist deep water away from the large breakers. It is
wonderful and exhilarating, being thrashed around in the foamy water. After lunch
I give a bridge lesson to some of my former students. We have a pleasant
Tuesday morning our weekly bridge session at Diddilliba, after that my usual swim (again foamy seas) and
The Liberal-National Coalition Opposition (I read in The Australian
Newspaper) is rapidly gaining ground on the Labour Government. With 48% they are
now just 4 points behind the Government (52%), and with their primary vote they
are in fact 1 point ahead (41-40%) for the first time since the 2007 election.
This good result "despite Tony Abbott's recent comments on
virginity" (in The Australian Women's Weekly magazine) which has angered
some women !!!
And I ask myself : "Are these women so stupid, or what ??" Here
is what Tony Abbott said in reply to the reporter's question :
When Tony Abbott was asked about the advice he would give his daughters
about premarital sex he answered :
"I would say
to my daughters, if they were to ask me this question, I would say . . it
is the greatest gift that you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and
don't give it to someone lightly, that is what I would say."
Abbott never implied he would give different advice to sons, if he had them,
nor that his daughters should remain virgins until they married,
nor did he imply that he expected all women to live according to
I personally can see nothing wrong with this statement, in
fact I find it very moving and quite beautiful.
In this modern world, where the sex experience for so many appears to be similar
to having an ice cream with no moral (or emotional) value attached to it whatsoever, we can well do with more statements in this vain.
Hysterical attacks by women and some media reporters who clearly did
not comprehend what Abbott was saying, and political point scoring by
Labour politicians like Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard (Prime
Minister Rudd remained conspicuously silent on this issue) reflect an attitude
which I find most deplorable and utterly distasteful.
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Wednesday & Thursday, February 3 & 4 2010
(diary, Anthony Trollope)
I am at present reading through some of the novels by Anthony
He has a most engaging style of writing,
frequently addressing the reader directly with side remarks or comments as
to the action or thoughts of one of his characters or where the story is
heading to. This was much frowned upon by the audiences at the time and
strongly criticised by his contemporary Henry James
I like it very much however and understand his strong desire
(which I have too) to engage his reader directly, creating a personal bond
between himself and each and everyone of his audience. But it must have required
considerable courage at the time as such a thing was just not done and considered
very improper in those days.
Anthony Trollope worked for part of his life in Ireland (as a
Postmaster), and finding and proclaiming its inhabitants most agreeable people
went also very much against the grain of the English in his days.
Good writers (or rather the ones I prefer to read) include aspects of their own
philosophy and ideas in their stories. Sometimes these are the underlying
message of part or all of their story, sometimes these are small cameos of ideas
expressed by one of the characters.
Trollope, predictably, makes these
comments himself directly to the reader. Here is one (from his famous novel Barchester Towers) I have been munching over for quite
a few days now :
"A man in the right relies easily on his rectitude and therefore goes
about unarmed. His strength is his weakness.
A man in the wrong knows that he must look for a weapon. His weakness is
The one is never prepared for combat, the other is always ready. Therefore it
is that in this world the man that is in the wrong almost invariably conquers
the man that is right, and invariably despises him."
I have a strong sense that there is more than just a little truth in this
statement. And that it applies, not only at the level of one honest man against
one dishonest one, but also at various levels of groups, organisations, even
nations and ideologies of people. How about Democracy against a
Totalitarian system ?
In the end the "good guy" sometimes manages to
win in the end (as say in WW2), but not after a long and painful struggle, as he
started off from a position of weakness.
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Friday, February 5 2010
(diary, family, happiness)
Philosophy of Happiness : 7 continues from January 25
Up to this point I (like Epicurus and other philosophers I have read up on)
have considered the pursuit of Happiness exclusively from the single
However when one is married (or is in a long term relationship) and perhaps has
children as well, a whole new perspective is added to one's pursuit of Happiness.
It is not appropriate to include family members under the Happiness factor of
"Friendship", instead they represent a whole new factor by themselves.
1. Health 2. Freedom
3. Sense of Purpose 4.
5. Thought 6. Friendship
A family affects one's Happiness in two different ways : directly and
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When choosing a partner some
of your factors for achieving Happiness are directly affected, obviously your
personal Freedom and possibly also your preferred Environment. In a
good marriage or partnership both partners have similar or compatible
preferences for (at least some of) their Happiness factors.
One of the great attractions for myself (as well as for my wife Antien) was that
we both wanted to leave Holland and emigrate to Australia. So our mutual
Environment factor in fact strengthened our relationship bond. We had also good
compatibility in our daily life styles and artistic tastes and cherished each
others company, so that I never felt the obvious boundaries of freedom a
A relationship sets boundaries to your personal Freedom, but it also opens a
door to (what Anthony Trollope so elegantly and brilliantly describes
as) the freedom of perfect intimacy.
Intimacy within a partnership
enables you (gives you the freedom) to be more yourself than with any other human being on earth.
As a strong introvert I felt this
particularly and strongly and cherished it highly in our relationship. It is an
aspect of freedom which (I believe) can not be obtained in any other way.
When married, or even divorced with children, their happiness has a great bearing
on your own. No matter how happy you are within your own personal circumstances,
when something pleasant or unpleasant happens to them it resonates with you and
affects your feelings accordingly.
Throughout my married life I have been acutely aware of this fact. Due to my
profession as a geologist we moved frequently, with each move upsetting the
social circles my wife and children had set up for themselves. Ensuring their
happiness was therefore always my main priority.
So with each move Antien and I did our very best to find a good location and
pleasant home to live in. Antien was a potter. I therefore made sure that at
each place she had her own studio fully equipped and to her liking, and I always
encouraged and supported her with the organisation of her regular art exhibitions.
on her part always made friends quickly setting up a new social circle in which
our children could be happy.
Now, many years later my happiness is still affected by all of them to some
extent, unfortunately these days there is usually not much I can do to help them
when they are down. But so it perhaps should be. They are grown up and must fend
for themselves the best they can. In fact on the whole they are doing quite well.
Philosophy of Happiness continues on February 12
Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner