Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 18

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Sunday March 16, 2008 (concept, awareness, religion)

Awareness 9 continues from March 15
As I open a new book today, "The Universe, a Biography" by John Gribbin, my eye falls on the dedication page which carries a quote from Bertand Russell, the very philosopher I quoted yesterday.
Here it is :

It is not what the man of science believes that distinguishes him, but how and why he believes it. His beliefs are tentative, not dogmatic; they are based on evidence, not on authority or intuition.

Bertand Russell (1872-1970)

I find this a very intelligent and accurate definition of what my belief has evolved to over the years.
My belief has always changed with my increasing awareness and therefore always has been and remains "tentative".
Small Chapel in the Black Forest As a teenager I progressed from being a Christian to a vague non formal believe, and for many years it remained at least partly "intuitive", as I believed in a rather undefined someone and in a vague hereafter, which gradually gravitated towards agnosticism.
The last few years however as I approached and crossed the 70 years mark (feeling nearer to my "exit", and starting to think more seriously about my belief), "intuition" too has fallen away (I think).
I am now what you would call and atheist. An atheist by definition does not believe in a God, but he does (and I certainly do) believe in some things.

Well, what do I believe in ? Here are the main points, but bear in mind that as human being one can not possibly grasp the real truth which clearly goes beyond our mental framework of space and time. Therefore what I (or anyone else) believes in is at best only a unique individual virtual reality within which we place ourselves.

I believe that :

Our Universe was triggered off by something rather than by someone (like a God).

I concur with the modern philosophical stand point which considers it inconceivable that a superior being would created something inferior to himself. (Also this so called first cause question is in principle unsolvable. For who created God, and who created the God who created God, etc. ?)

The evolution of our Universe represents an evolution of energy.

The raw energy released by the Big Bang has over the lifetime of our Universe gradually evolved into energies of ever higher and higher complexity. First elements of gradually more complex nature were formed by the stars, clustering together and forming planets like our earth.
Then slowly chemical processes evolved into primitive life forms, which in turn during an ages long process of evolution became more complex and eventually arrived at us human beings with an ever growing awareness of the world and Universe around us.
I think of this process as something evolving into someone. Where I consider the "someone" not as a single entity but as a composite totality (perhaps representing a composite consciousness) of all life on earth and in the Universe.

The human species is merely a stepping stone in the evolution process not a final destination.

We are undoubtedly at the cutting edge of the evolution process here on earth, but this process is continuing and will do so for another 5 billion years or so. Whether the human species will survive that long depends on how well we will be able to adapt to evolving environments and unforeseen events affecting our earth.
Contemporary studies of our DNA makeup also clearly show that we are in essence a lucky accident and not a predetermined design by a higher authority.

The human life and spirit are finite and there is no hereafter.

I agree with Brian Greene (in his "The Fabric of the Cosmos") that our entire being, including mind emotions and spirit, are generated and sustained by our physical existence. They therefore all cease to exist at the moment we die. Consequently there is no hereafter.
Also the observable life pattern of all living things, plants, animals, humans appears to be consistent for all : birth - growth (and procreation) - decline - death.
The belief in a hereafter is (in my opinion) in part a remedy for our fear of death and in part wishful thinking of being at least in spirit immortal.

Time is not like a flowing river, but like a frozen block of ice.

This is something we of course can not imagine, but is clearly what Einstein's space time concept reveals to us. This means that each and every moment of our life is in fact permanent, a permanent time slice of the ice block which visualises space time. And in this sense, although we are finite, our actions remain forever (immortalised) as a permanent record.
I have always considered my life as a painting, a work of art, and have largely been guided in my actions and decisions by this very concept. It also fits in well with the space time scenario. The creation of a painting (by the artist) has a beginning and (when considered finished) an end. But the painting itself lives on forever.

Awareness continues on March 22

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Monday March 17, 2008 (diary)

The days go by very quickly now. In 8 days time I will be on the road again, up North to Darwin, and in a month time I will be in Germany.
I have contacted the Woombye Bowls Club this morning. They have advertised for a pianist and I may get into the odd gig when back down here in November. Wayne Netter (Chairman of the Club) has booked me for the weekend of November 14-16, when they have their main function for the year, a fund raiser. I should easily be back for that.

Current News :
The Stock market is still going down, while the gold price (US$1025 an ounce) is going through the roof. The Australian All Ordinaries has dropped from 6,500 last November to just over 5,100 today, a 20% drop. The rest of the world is in similar shape. Luckily I have enough cash funds to tie me over for a while. It may be a year or two before we are back where we were before.
There is still unrest in Tibet, while the Chinese are playing stumm.

Glaciers in the Alps and Pyrenees are melting faster than before, and Global warming is still being blamed on the carbon dioxide emissions. As recent as last December a group of 106 prominent scientists from all over the world submitted a petition to the Secretary General of the UN during the Climate Change Conference in Indonesia. The scientists stated (once again) that there was absolutely no sound scientific evidence that the warming was caused by CO2. They recommended that any money would be much better spent on improving health and education of the poor 3rd world countries. Their effort got a small column in The Australian Newspaper, but the rest of the media remained silent. In this shallow world nonsense is shouted from the roof tops, common sense hardly rates a whisper. What else is new.

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Tuesday March 18, 2008 (diary)

Johannes Theodorus Furstner Snr and Jnr It is my son's birthday today. Happy birthday Jeroen. Born in 1970 in Kalgoorlie (Western Australia) while I was working as a geologist there during the famous "Nickel Boom".
The night before Antien and I had both been to a party. I had to attend one for work, Antien spent time with some friends. We went to bed at around midnight, then early in the morning Antien's water broke and I drove her to the hospital. "Don't wait for it. It will be hours before anything will happen." said the nurse. So I drove back home. When I opened the front door, the telephone rang (it was before 7am), the hospital on the line. Jeroen had arrived, I was a father !
I rushed back, looked in at the baby and Antien, then ordered flowers and told some friends. Within an hour the whole town knew. By the time the next baby was born that day, the entire cool room of the florist was out of flowers. They were all in Antien's hospital room, so she passed some on to the other lucky mothers that day.

In the evening Babette and I celebrate Jeroen's birthday with a meal at the Thai Parnit Restaurant in Nambour. Our usual Fried Cuttlefish Balls as entree again, plus some delicious curries. Babette rates them now better than her favourite Thai restaurant in Sydney.

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Wednesday March 19, 2008 (diary, food, mussels, noodles)

Doug back from India Early in the morning Babette picks Doug up from Brisbane Airport. I have to drive around and do some chores to get ready for my departure next week. Haircut in Nambour, pick up some dry cleaning, see Centrelink about my pension and filling my car plus spare jerrycan with fuel, very expensive.
Lunch at the Surf Club and on my way home I buy the necessary ingredients for our Moules Bourguignon tonight to celebrate Doug's return from India.

The mussels dish works out fine again (see Feb.24 for recipe). After we have finished all the mussels there is still a lot of delicious mussels stock left in the bowl. So after some discussion what to do with this Babette boils some Japanese somen noodles which we then drop into the bowl with stock. Great taste. The somen noodles are very neutral in taste and are flavoured by the stock without affecting it.
Try it, it is a great idea, but make sure you use the Japanese somen for this (available at all Woolworth supermarkets in Australia), and don't go for thin spaghetti or the likes. It won't be the same !

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Thursday March 20, 2008 (diary)

Babette and Doug have a go at my computer getting sound and vision for my skype application. They are successful but I need more RAM memory in order to receive a good video stream. I collect the 280 slides which have been digitised from the shop, and am mighty pleased with the results. Some of these will go onto my Blog, but the lot will go onto CDs for my children and Antien.

My brother Claus has sent me a letter, still raking back over events from the past, imagined slights of 4 years ago, poor fellow, it remains all bottled up inside him. I will let him have the last word and stay silent, otherwise this will just keep going on forever.
I try to remember whenever I blamed someone or something else for any shortcomings in myself and I can honestly not remember a single instant in my entire life.
In the evening Doug takes us out to dinner at the Mooloolaba Surf Club. It is a lovely evening and we sit right on the open window above the beach and surf. Life is good.

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