Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 313

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Friday January 1 - Monday April 10, 2016 (diary)

Bridge Club at the Trailer Boat Club, January 2016

I have been silent for a while, partly because I have been busy, but mainly because I am disgusted with the stupidity and mediocrity which dominates the modern world today. Especially of course the Developed Western World which now largely is controlled (if not ruled) by the dummies of the world.
Hollow barrels sound the loudest ! In politics that is what counts most and where National Parliaments immediately react upon.
These last 10 years or so, when the Social media emerged and flourished, this dumb voice has been amplified to a level never heard before.
In Australia it has pervaded the eye-blinkers view of the left side of politics. They are perhaps well meaning, but ill-considered and seen within a narrow perspective. A little intelligence can be a dangerous thing !.
(So far we have been spared much of the extreme right views of politics in this country. But for how long ?)

Worldwide we have reached the ultimate destination and consequence of "Democracy" : mediocre majority rules !
As a result strong leaders with a clear vision for the future of their nation are not understood, kicked out and replaced by ambivalent leaders who sway with the wind.

In Australia the leftish perspective has invaded the social media, most published Newspapers, most free to air TV stations and is dominating Education, especially the Universities.
On TV the news, current affairs and politics are discused by commentators with Barbie Doll good looks which can't hide their lack of genuine insight and intelligence. It is all the usual superficial populist swill thats on offer.

In a recent worldwide survey conducted in 2015 only two Australian Universities ranked in the top 100. Queensland Uni ranks 82nd, while Monash scrapes in somewhere below that. The others are way out of sight.
Now 90% of High school leavers enter Uni these days, compared to just 30% some 35 years ago.
During the past 35 years excellence has been watered down to the level of lowest common denominator.

Australian Universities have become centres of mediocrity where :
Truth is regarded as "relative"
Free speech is considered "an interesting idea"
Alternative views (to leftish group think) are no longer tolerated
Any reasonably intelligent person (with right off centre views) is rarely to be found.
I used to be really proud to live in Australia. These days I am still very happy to be here, but I close my ears to all the crap I hear. I also feel very lucky to live in Darwin, where I am at least 3,000 km away from the majority of ignorant or indifferent dummies living in this otherwise wonderful country.

So, having vented my angry negative thoughts, I might be ready to talk about something positive next time.

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Tuesday April 11 - Saturday April 30, 2016 (diary)

Darwin : My ultimate choice of environment

The environment is a most important element in the development and growth of any living organism, especially for the human species.
This has been a continuous realization and strong driving force throughout my life. Whenever there was a chance to place myself (and for a period my whole family) within a new environment I have done so. During my married life I had the great fortune to have a wife who understood and supported this, to the ultimate benefit for the whole family.

The very first 5 years of my life I grew up in a house in a narrow street in Zutphen. The strongest recollection I have from those few years is a sense of nervousness and unease.
As soon as we moved to Martinshof (when I was 6), our new home in a wonderful forest, surrounded by small farms, my spirits lifted enormously and I felt at home and happy there.

Nevertheless looking back now on the 28 years that I lived in Holland I realize they felt like I was living in an uncomfortable dream, mentally constrained by my environment, but trying to make the best of it.
But once I had completed my studies and (what, after my free University education, I considered to be my obligation to the country) fulfilled my 21 months of National service, I felt free to leave and that we did instantly.

By emigrating to Australia all the European constraints instantly fell away and a sustained period of personal growth and positive development commenced which continued to this very day.
As a geologist I was able to move companies very easily, and I worked for 7 different organisations within the period of just 14 years. Most changes involved a shift of thousands of kilometers into a distinctly different environment. This was beneficial for the whole family.
In 1981, when our marriage ended, we all went our own way, but the personal growth and positive development has continued unabated for each of us.

To me (perhaps partly because of my strong introvert nature) friends and acquaintances have always been a part of the environment in which I was living at the time. They were important to me during that period. But once you move on, they become relics of your past, still nice to see them, but their relevance to your present has largely disappeared.
I feel that particularly with my University friends in Holland. We were a very close knit bunch at the time, growing up together during an important period when we all were getting married. But when I meet them now it is as if I have come from a Galaxy far, far away. There is of course a bit of nostalgia left, but that is about all.

I realise that a life style like mine is not everybody's cup of tea. Many grow up, get married, and then continue in the same job (or with the same organisation), live in the same place (sometimes even in the same house) for the rest of their life. So be it. I could not possibly do that.
The great thing I find about the people in Darwin is that many of them have been pursuing a life style just like mine. That is part of what I love about this place.

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Sunday May 1 - Tuesday May 31, 2016 (diary)

Tumbling Waters, May 2016

Early this month our bridge club spent a weekend at the Tumbling Waters camping resort, about 60 km South of Darwin. The Resort is highly recommended by the Lonely Planet Guide, and so it should !
The environment there is fantastic, beautiful nature, a small lagoon with 8 (non-aggressive) fresh water crocs, bush walking trails, a bubbling creek in which to fish and of course a large pool to relax in. Some 21 of us enjoyed ourselves very much and we certainly will come back here again next year.
I purchased a new Oztrail tent for the event which is easy to erect and very comfortable.

Is it because I am getting on in years ? Perhaps, but I do start to feel increasing sympathy for the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who much preferred to talk to his dog, because the people he would have liked to talk to "were long dead and buried". Many others, including other philosophers and famous writers (from the late 19th and early 20th Century) wholeheartedly agreed with him.

Over time I have come to the view that Western democracies have progressed not because of democracy, but in spite of it. More often than not at an enormous human and economic cost.
Some respected historians for example claim that if England had attacked Germany when Hitler entered Poland, World War 2 could have been over within a few months, saving enormous bloodshed, hardship and destruction. (Easy to see this in hindsight of course, but it is probably true.)
Instead the Government, pressured by public opinion, continued to stall until it was far too late.
No doubt many other such examples are strewn right across history.

Progress is largely (if not entirely) generated within the private sphere, by determined individuals, organisations and innovative companies. These are either tolerated or obstructed by the Government of the day. And when finally one Government brings up the courage (despite the usual loud protests from the public) to do something good for the economy (read "country"), the next Govenrment in charge is quick to take it away again.
With examples all around the globe right now, we can observe that modern day democracy is nothing more than a most depressing dance of one step forward, two steps back, depending on which party is in power.
Probably more so now than in he past, because of the amplified voice (through the online social media) of ignorant or illinformed public opinion.
Australia is about to vote in one month time. This time it is a choice between standing still or going further down the proverbial (financial and economic) gurgler. It should be a no-brainer, but don't hold your breath !

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Monday October 3, 2016 (diary)

The Australian Federal election has come and gone, with the Liberal/Country party coalition just scraping back into power with a majority of one in Parliament.
Voters have left (and are continue to leave) the Liberal party in droves.
And no wonder : with a leader waffling from one generality to the next but with nothing to say, and heading a party that has forgotten what it stands for, it simply does not deserve the confidence of any reasonably intelligent voter.

In the land of the blind, one-eye is king : that is clearly what we have here in Australia at present.
Perhaps in this case with the proviso that most of the blind in this country are the politicians and political journalists in Canberra, while many of us in the rest of the country are scratching our heads in disbelief.

Tony Abbott Meanwhile our former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott (a man with both eyes wide open and a clear vision for the future of his country : the very reason his gutless party sacked him !) is having a great and very productive time elsewhere.
He has been invited to several countries, presenting a number of ground breaking speeches with great clarity, breathtaking vision and historical insight.

Only last week in the USA Abbott warned the US not to make the same mistake with China as England did in 1914 by mishandling its relationship with Germany, which lead to World War 1.

This week Abbott is addressing a gathering in London, urging the UK not to waste time and immediately start negotiating a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with Australia (to come into effect as soon as the UK leaves the EU).
Abbott's brilliant proposal is not only to have no economic tariff barriers at all between the two countries, but also mutual recognition of regulations and qualifications.
For example a car registered in the UK should be eligible for registration in Australia without any examination or engineering modifications. And any qualification acquired in Australia (medical, engineering, teaching, etc.) should also be recognised in the UK, and vise versa. Travel between the two countries should also be free, without a Visa necessary.

Such agreement could eventually also be negotiated with the like minded countries of Singapore and New Zealand.
Go Tony ! You are on the right track.

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Friday November 25, 2016 (diary)

Candidasa, Bali, October 2016
Last month we spent a long weekend in Candidasa on the east coast of Bali. The trip was a huge success and enjoyed by all of the 26 club members who attended. Several are going back next year for a holiday.
We combined three bridge sessions with a few excursions (like to the Tiragangga Water Palace, shown above) and gazing out over the sea towards the 10 rocks ("candi dasa") which gave the town its name.
Now back in Darwin, the trip has had a notable positive effect on all, as our regular bridge sessions now truly feel like close knit "family" gatherings. This is wonderful !

Igor Stravinsky Confucius However whenever my life starts to become routine and days go by as if run on "automatic pilot", I know I have to change in order to grow as a person. I have done this all my life and must continue to do so. Life is far too precious to waste it.

Like Igor Stravisky, who said that "To continue in one direction is to go backwards", and (as I recently discovered) the philosophy of Confucius, I know I am approaching a point of potential change in my life upon which I must act.

Although I dearly love and feel attached to our Social Bridge Club here in Darwin my constructive involvement with the club is approaching its final stage. There are a few things I feel I have left to do, but that will be completed some time next year.

Also recent development (one of an emotional, another of practical nature) point to a decision time perhaps late in 2017. There is a very (very ?) small chance that a surprise change in my position and perspective in life may happen here in Darwin.
But a likely alternative will be a change of location, in order to redefine the essence of who I am. Burley Heads in SE Queensland, with its magnificent beach for both walking and swimming, or (more likely) the iconic white Spanish village of Mijas, clinging on the mountain slope 400 m above the Costa del Sol, come to mind.

Always an optimist I will of course hope for the best, but at the same time I must prepare myself for whatever lies ahead.

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