Monday, 10 April 2017




  If you are not familiar with this site I suggest that before you SCROLL DOWN to read A CANBERRA BOY REFLECTS ON HIS ESCAPES,(The latest post appears on this page) you read the following:
  This site is non-fiction and non-profit and has the objective of collecting mainly Canberra/Queanbeyan and districts-based yarns, be they historic, humorous or other, as well as yarns and essays regarding places, as  a 64 year old Canberra boy, I visit. It also gives me a chance to rave about whatever I feel like.To read what I have collected so far just scroll down and click on the links to the anecdotes or essays you wish to read, or open them in the archives. You can also download free of charge or a need to obtain personal information a book I wrote entitled "Tales of a Canberra Boy" by clicking on the appropriate box directly above. This also applies to another book I wrote next to the latter box entitled "A Rationalist's Guide to Life". 
Many of the anecdotes on this site were not written by me.
   I sometimes change into smaller coloured italics like I am doing now when I clarify what I have been saying or tell another connected yarn within a yarn. I change back to normal type when I return to the original yarn.

1/ "A Wartime Crash or Crash-Landing on Mount Ainslie"
2/ "The Establishment of the Turner PCYC"
3/ "She Pushed Herself onto Me"
4/ "Teenage Queen"
5/ "A Fight to the death at the Queanbeyan Showground"
6/ "Robyn From Narrabundah"
7/ "Paper Boys at  a Canberra Newsagent in 1967"
8/ "Canberra Bouncers, Canberra Coppers and an Incident at the Kingo on Xmas Eve of 2011"
9/ "Dickson High Kids Lost in the Mountains in 1975"
10/ "Legalised Child abuse at schools in the Canberra District during the 20'th Century"
11/ "Crace-Canberra's Newest Slum or an Urban Paradise?"
12/ "A Bad Mistake on Mt Majura"
13/ "A Run up Tuggeranong Hill"
14/ "A Canberra Boy in Thailand"
15/ "A Canberra Boy in Thailand"-(Continued)
16/ "A Canberra Boy on an Auckland Building Site"
17/ "Another Canberra Boy in Thailand Yarn"
18/ "The Flower Man"
19/ "A Night With a Dangerous Canberra Cult"
20/ "Give Me Back My Butterfly Swords!"
21/ "A Canberra Boy in Lord Howe Island"
22/ "The Search For The Cave on Black Mountain"
23/ "The Murder of Poor Horace Aiken and little Albert Pettet"
24/ "Coonamble Yarns"
25/ "Has Shane Rattenbury Sold his Arse?"
26/ "The Funeral of Alan "Scottie" Sutherland" and "Canberra's old rollers."
28/ "A Canberra boy visits Jerangle."
29/ A Canberra boy visits Bathurst, the birthplace of Lieutenant Peter Joseph Handcock, a Scapegoat of the Empire. 
30/ Dave Wheeler’s youtube videos.
31/ Canberra boys visit Condobolin in 1965-Gold Fever
32/ A Canberra boy receives a hard blow to the head.
33/A Canberra boy reflects on his escapes.

by Dave Wheeler
    Another title I was considering for this essay was, “The other man’s grass is always greener.” I will explain why in full eventually. It focuses primarily around how I missed out on having a relationship with a beautiful young Canberra girl I knew many years ago, and how sometimes such negatives, and I had more to come, can often turn into positives. As usual I have brought philosophy into it.
     Before going there I will, as I often do, begin from an entirely different angle. I will let the reader know that like most people I can get extreme pleasure from music. It can have a very strong effect on one’s emotions in many ways, and it can also send a message.  It takes me into another world. 
    I’ve done my best to develop an appreciation for many genres of music, and in doing so it probably means I receive more overall pleasure from music than I otherwise would. I love folk, and traditional rock and roll; and as I write I’m experiencing euphoria listening to the blues being played and sung by BB King and Paul Carrack. They’re doing an amazing version of “Bring it on home to me,” although if it has a message it's lost on me. You may want to click on the song so you can play it as you read.
   I even love the music of the Pacific, in all its forms, having spent time there in my youth. Last night I attended a party where a group of Tongan churchgoers were singing hymns, and even though I’m a non-believer the singing was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. 
   I also love some of the older Australian folk songs that were composed before Australians wrote Americanised songs and sang them in American accents. “Moreton Bay” and “The Woolloomooloo Lair” are examples of Australian songs that were written from the heart in a way that truly depicted the emotions of the composers, even though the latter song is humorous.
     And Chad Morgan? I love him! I like his melodies, and I love his brutally honest and unrestrained lyrics, which are totally devoid of any form of political correctness. His lyrics are pure Chad, a down-to-earth and irreverent Queensland, Anglo Celtic/Aboriginal country boy of his time just being himself. Many musicians sing and compose as if they were another person living in another country. Not our Chad. 
   Although I have listened frequently to most of Chad’s stuff, a couple of nights ago I listened on youtube to a song he wrote that I had not heard entitled, “The night I went below.” It was about how he dreamt he visited Hell, and how he overpowered the Devil and escaped from him at a speed that would have broken Herb Elliot’s mile. 
    Unfortunately, in his dream, he was caught by a sort who had also been sent below. He described her as having overgrown horns and told of how she wanted to marry him so they could produce little devils of their own. That really was Chad’s idea of Hell! When he awoke he was relieved when he realised he had been dreaming, which made him determined not to die. I have embedded the song below. 
   I have to accept that I also love much in the way of American music, such as the previously shown blues of BB King. Part of me wishes I didn’t, as I'm not a fan of American culture, but the fact is I do love much of their music, so having accepted that fact I simply enjoy it when I can.
    One American song that gave me inspiration as a young man was entitled, “ Pamela Brown.” It was written and sung by Tom T Hall. He wrote of how, as a lad, he had dropped his balls over a girl named Pamela Brown, and how Pamela preferred another lad over him because the other lad drove a ute. 
  I may be entirely wrong, but I’m guessing the song is autobiographical, and if so the rejection must have broken Tom’s heart. The song suggests he didn’t get over Pamela for some time, so rather than find another girl and marry early he roamed around experiencing life as an unattached young man. 
     As he aged and thought about what may have happened had he not suffered unrequited love at the hands of Pamela, he became grateful to her for rejecting him. He realised that had she not rejected him he would not have experienced the freedom and joy one can experience when one is single and devoid of responsibility. He would have instead lived a mundane suburban life. I have embedded Tom doing his song below.
   What made me think about the messages of Chad and Tom, and what then motivated me to write this essay, occurred a day ago after a mate sent me a link to a Canberra Times photo and description from 1972. It shows and identifies a stunningly beautiful 17 year old girl who I had taken out a few months before the photo was taken. To use a modern expression, I was punching above my weight. 
    She is obviously no longer a girl and is entitled to privacy, which is why I'm not identifying her. For that reason I will just refer to her as “the girl,” as she was a girl when I knew her. She would be turning 63 this year and is probably a wife, mum and grandmother. Hopefully life has been good to her. 
   As I do not wish to identify the girl, I’m not going to give the link to the Trove archived Canberra Times page that shows her photo. A very large number of attractive young women had their photographs in the Canberra Times during 1972, and for that reason I don’t mind mentioning that she was just one of them. Other than that, her identity should not matter. The purpose of this essay is philosophical, as in its objective is to argue that apparent misfortunes should always be put into perspective. The implications of what occurred could apply to anyone in similar situations.
   In describing her as stunningly beautiful, that is of course only my opinion, as beauty and ugliness are not absolute, whether we are referring to inner or outer beauty. They are nothing more than subjective perceptions.
     I met her at Mick Catanzariti’s small and informal gathering to celebrate his 21st birthday. It would have been in September of 1971. Mick didn’t know her. She came along with her female friend and a couple Mick and I knew.
    I had a really enjoyable time at Mick’s gathering when I was with her, and I dropped her and her friend home that evening. My mate, Colin Bishop, who had come with me, had by that time linked-up with the girl’s friend. 
    I took her out the next night, and I got so much pleasure from her company it seemed too good to be true. 
   The photo above if of my old mate the late Geoff “Fitz” Fitzgerald, taken in or around 1998. When taking “the girl who made the Canberra Times” out the night after I first met her I first took her to the now demolished Scottish Bar at the Canberra Rex, where I ran into Fitz. Because they had threatened to ban him from the place he told us he was going to behave himself that night, but within a few minutes he was having a scrap with a barman. I had to restrain the said barman because the other barmen were restraining Fitz and giving his opponent an unfair advantage. The girl was drinking Ouzo and lemonade when I was with her. At that time I had not developed the dislike I now have for alcohol as I had not seen or experienced the full extent of the damage it does. 
    As I was dropping her home she seemed keen to see me again, so we arranged to meet at a set time at the Canberra Rex, in the Jet Club.
    But, she stood me up! 
    She may have sensed I was not a normal lad of my age, and my other shortcomings may have also become apparent to her during our night out. For that reason she may have thought it best to ensure the contact ceased. 
    And if my shortcomings were not consciously obvious to her, it may have just been a matter of chemistry. I say that because on a number of occasions in my youth after I was initially attracted to certain girls, and took them out once or twice, I lost interest, and it was unrelated to the girl’s looks, personality or prospects. It came down to the inner workings of my brain and mind, which were beyond my understanding or control. The beautiful young lady I had taken out may have had a similar experience with me. 
     She may have also become conscious of the laws of supply and demand, and realised that if she had a relationship with me she would have been underselling herself. With her looks she would have known she was  in high demand and could attract someone who was better looking than me and a proven provider earning good money. All I possessed was a few dollars and a dark blue 1958 Holden FE panel van with a white roof. 
   Then again, maybe I’m being over-analytical. When I think about it, judging from my conversations with her, it’s more than likely she had far more depth and did not think like I have suggested she may have thought in the previous paragraph.
     Whatever the reason, had she had an initial attraction to me it had obviously vanished. And when it’s gone it’s gone! Only fools cannot accept reality, and I have often seen fools persist in such situations, even though those around them could plainly see that the attraction was one-sided.
        The marriage game is based on barter. Looks and chemistry obviously play a large part in the equation for most people, as do personality and temperament, but in the case of blokes they usually also need to prove they are either good providers or have the potential to become good providers. Women are choosier than blokes when it comes to giving their bodies because they want someone who will hang around and provide for any kids they may bring into the world. 
    I am not saying these thoughts necessarily come into the heads of young women consciously; I am saying that women are descended from a long line of women who have behaved in that way in order to increase the chances of them finding men who will hang around and look after their children. And as a result genetics or epigenetics probably plays a role in how they behave. Said another way, the behaviour of their female ancestors led to them reproducing their genes, and women of today possess those genes. 
   Obviously there are exceptions, as we can easily observe men and women who have badly undersold themselves in the marriage game, but they are a minority, and they often do not know they've got a dud until the marriage has begun. 
   Above is the FE Holden panel van I owned in 1971 during the period of which I write. Beside it is my old mate, Jan Aamodt, who introduced me to “the girl.The panel van had windows on its sides despite it being a panel van. The photo was taken in White Cliffs, NSW. When we moved on from White Cliffs the car continually boiled, and at one stage we had to piss in the radiator because of a lack of water. After the engine seized I sold it for $15 in Boggabilla.
   Yes, she could have contacted me and told me she had changed her mind and didn’t want to continue to see me, instead of having me turn up, all excited, waiting for her, only to be let down badly when she failed to meet me as we had arranged. But, who am I to cast stones? She was only a teenager, and the thought of telling me she didn't want to start anything would have been very daunting for her. And when it comes to acts of immorality, her standing me up fades into insignificance relative to some of the immoral acts I carried out in my youth.
   People’s basic personalities don’t change much throughout their lives, but because their frontal lobes develop and they experience more of life, in other respects they usually become entirely different people after they have entered adulthood. If we are to speak metaphorically, we could say our former selves die. I would not like to be judged today by the way I was as a teenager, or the things I did during that period. Yet some people I know still hold grudges against certain people they went to school with over 40 years ago, and in doing so they are crediting those school kids with having been developed adults, when in fact they were just kids with kid’s brains, even if they were old enough to drive cars. 
      Regardless of what occurred, if I am to think about the girl I have very fond memories of her. I remember her as a lovely girl to talk to, and that aspect of her held a greater attraction for me than her physical beauty. She was also very pleasant to me on the few occasions I ran into her after she stood me up. I last saw her sometime in 1972 and I have no idea what happened to her after that. 
    I didn’t truly fall in love at the time I had contact with her because it was for such a brief period of time, although I would definitely have done so had I have continued to see her. I did however, experience some withdrawals from the intense high she had given me. But, again, because the contact was brief, and because I had accepted the reality of what had occurred, and because she was not my first “Pamela Brown,” I was able to deliberately not give her much conscious thought after the rejection. 
    I actually can’t recall, prior to my receiving the link to her photo in the Canberra Times, when I last became conscious of her existence. But despite that, having been reminded of her, when I do think about the time I spent with her I can recall in detail almost every moment, as is the case with many other events in my youth that were of an intense nature. 
   Although I was never a sheila-magnet, I went on to experience plenty of very short term relationships prior to my marriage at the age of 29, with only 2 or 3 lasting more than a month, and none lasting more than 5 months. For the overwhelming majority of the period prior to my marriage I enjoyed being unattached and devoid of responsibility.
     Remaining unattached for that period was made easier because other than my not being a normal person I showed no signs of having the potential to become a good provider. And for our species, when a lad does not have the ability to show potential marriage partners he has the potential to become a good provider it's the equivalent of a peacock not having a tail to display to peahens. I didn’t actually become a good provider until after I married. My wife, to her credit, took a big risk. I don’t think I would have married me. 
    Anyway, I can relate to the words of Chad and Tom, even though both of them married, as did I.  When I reflect on my life prior to my marriage, and the years I had of roaming around enjoying myself as an unattached young man devoid of responsibility, I’m very grateful to the beautiful young girl who was photographed by the Canberra Times in 1972 for giving me the slip. I would have only just turned 19 when I took her out, and although I would have adapted at that age to a serious relationship by getting a career of some sort, saving my money, buying a house, remaining faithful, etc, etc, I was far too young to have my wings clipped. 
    I know two couples, now in their late sixties, who became couples when they were 14 years old. Although their marriages could be considered successful, it seems to me they must be conscious of the fact that they did not experience a full youth, to the extent that they must realise that the life of an unattached young person incorporates many experiences couples cannot experience. 
   I escaped several relationships prior to my marriage because of incompatibility, and several more, as occurred with the beautiful young girl who made the Canberra Times, stopped before they started because I was, fortunately, rejected. 
     My advice to young unattached people is for them to realise that although marriage does suit some, there is always a price to pay. Something like a third of marriages end in divorce or separation, and that figure only accounts for actual marriages; it does not include serious defacto relationships. And I know many married couples who live very separate lives, even though they remain married and live under the same roof in a house that remains under both names. Those sorts of couples have no interest in remarrying, and simply can’t be bothered selling everything and going through the trauma of divorce and financial separation. The Bureau of Statistics has statistics that erroneously suggest that such couples have had a successful marriage, when obviously they have not. 
   As a guess I would say that truly successful marriages and defacto relationships are something like 1 in 4.
    I reiterate, marriage is not the answer to life, and there is no such thing as a free lunch. After first meeting someone who pushes all the right buttons the initial hit of bliss one receives through brain chemistry of the type I enjoyed when I was with the beautiful young lady who made the Canberra Times in 1972, does not last. The bonding usually takes on a different form over time, but as it does the intense thrill diminishes. It’s all nature’s trick; a way of bringing people together for the purpose of gene replication, irrespective of whether the coupling increases or decreases one’s quality of life. 
    Marriage often includes conflict, boredom and drudgery. And it can also include having troublesome kids, or worse. Imagine the suffering of parents who have kids who are serious drug addicts, or criminals, or who have severe mental health problems or disabilities. Some parents have to attend their kid’s funerals. 
    If you are young, single and unattached, heed the advice of Chad, Tom and me, and enjoy your freedom and lack of responsibility while you canThose who dislike being single usually do so because they think they are missing out on something by not being married. That is where “The other man’s grass is always greener” comes into it. 
   Instead of yearning for married life, why not just make the most of your situation by enjoying your free time and savouring life’s simple pleasures? As I have said, there is a price for everything.
  PS Although I believe my grandad made a mistake by volunteering to fight in WW1, because unlike WW2 it was a war that should not have involved Australia, his experiences and how he handled them were an inspiration to me from a young age.
    Whenever, from my late teens onwards, I suffered a pain or hardship, I would compare it to how my grandad must have suffered on Gallipoli and the battlefields of France. Other than him receiving a fractured skull and shrapnel wounds, he saw many of his mates blown to pieces before his eyes and innumerable other horrors that could not be adequately described. 
   By being conscious of what he went through it meant that whenever I felt the pain of tragedies such as a hard day at work, a hard sporting event, very cold or very hot weather, having my car break down, breaking a shoe lace, and in particular being rejected by a girl, I asked myself if my suffering could be compared to that of my grandad during WW1. It was of course a rhetorical question.
    Yet my grandad went through it all, and after he returned to Australia he simply put his head down and worked for the rest of his life. And he also enjoyed tending his bee hives and fruit trees in his spare time. I never heard him complain about what he had suffered. His attitude was very Buddhist, without the religion attached, to the extent that he had accepted the reality of what had occurred and then turned his attention towards living in the present.
     Part of the reason many people in Western countries cannot handle being sacked from a relationship or experiencing  unrequited love is because they have a romantic and almost supernatural view of what it’s all about. In reality it can all be reduced to brain chemistry, and for that reason when leaving a relationship one will suffer in the same way one suffers when coming off a drug of addiction. But, if one can accept the pain, eventually the brain chemistry rights itself, unless of course one becomes idle and consciously dwells on the breakup or the rejection. And unless one looks like the elephant man one can usually find another person who will produce in oneself the same sort of brain chemistry one produced prior to the breakup or rejection, if that is ones wish. 
    But, should a person who is destined to live a life without a spouse accept that reality, that person should make the most of the situation and remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch, as in, there are pluses and minuses to being single or married. “The other man’s grass is always greener.” 
  The late Russ Hinze, shown above, became an angel as a result of him becoming a really good bloke just before he died. He often visits me, and he reminds me that he had no problems getting onto sheilas when he was living in QLD as a mortal. He never suffered unrequited love.
For more mainly Canberra-based yarns hit the Home button above.

Sunday, 26 March 2017


by Dave Wheeler
   If you have a limited attention span and/or no interest in philosophy you may not wish to read the rest of this essay, as most of it will probably bore you shitless. You may instead wish to hit the “Home” button above and read one of the other essays, which are much lighter reading. Many are humorous, some are historic and most are Canberra-based. Several of those essays have not been written by me.
   If however, you are philosophically inclined and have an open mind you may wish to continue to read as you may benefit from what follows.
    I will also let you know that this essay meanders, and it may appear disjointed. Remember, one thing leads to another. Said another way, within the universe what occurs is a result of what has previously occurred. Hopefully, what I have raised in this post will all seem to link together for you after you have finished the read, and if it doesn’t it’s not the end of the world.
    I will also state that some of this essay is self-centred, to the extent that it partly focuses on my own characteristics as opposed to most other essays I have written that focus primarily on what I have experienced, and other people. I do not apologise for the essay partly focusing on my characteristics as it is necessary in order for me to expose the reader to the philosophy I espouse and to explain the logic behind that philosophy. 
     To begin, although I’ve always had plenty of mates and I’m very close to my family, in another respect I’ve been a virtual loner. From late primary school onwards I was aware that I was a Rationalist, even though I was not familiar with the term until my teens. And if we are to define a Rationalist as someone who consciously strives towards (but does not necessarily achieve) rational thought, as opposed to the great majority of the population (the herd) who swallow without question political or religious dogmas, or the values of their peers or their community, (even if the dogmas and values have no foundation in fact or reason), that definition has always fitted me perfectly.
     Committed Rationalists appear insane to mainstream society even though mainstream society sees nothing insane about believing in angels, a bloke walking on water and rising from the dead, etc.
   I have actually been, from a very young age, an aggressive Rationalist, to the extent that I would not just strive to be rational and objective when presented with questions; I would actively seek-out and attempt to answer fundamental questions that were not presented to me, as well as questions of a moral nature. The fundamental questions of which I refer are of the kind that are rarely contemplated by the herd, and I doubt those fundamental questions will ever be answered.

      To elaborate, from infants school I found the concept of our being created and ruled by a deity ridiculous, but as I aged I still wondered what it was all about. And when I was being taught in class subjects that were of such a shallow and mundane nature relative to the big issues, I was bored shitless. To attempt to escape the boredom I would daydream about being outdoors and doing something interesting, or muck around with my mates, or get lost in my thoughts as I tried to solve fundamental philosophical questions.
    If what many scientists tell us is correct, humans need, as well as food, water and a need to maintain a constant body temperature, stimulation. And obviously, in the same way one man’s food is another man’s poison, (eg peanuts), some people need different, or more, or less, stimulation than others. Some kids thrive in a school environment because they receive the right kind and quantity of stimulation for their particular brain’s needs. Others, like me when I was a kid, need more intense and/or different forms of stimulation. 
   In my case I found sitting in a class and being bored shitless by what I was being taught extremely painful. It was painful to the point that if I was to be punished I would take the cane before detention if given a choice. Forcing kids to suffer hour after hour of boredom can only be described as child abuse. My only relief was through daydreaming, contemplating philosophical questions, humour and mucking-up with my mates. 
     With all this being the case what I was taught in class would mostly not reach my conscious attention, and if it did it would go in one ear and out the other, unless of course I was being taught a subject that actually interested me, and that did not happen often. Had I been born thirty years later I would probably have been diagnosed with ADD and medicated with Ritalin.
    Knowing what I knew at a very young age was a lonely business, and because I considered myself intellectually superior (I refer to intelligence on a philosophical level, not scholastically. There are many different forms of intelligence.) to those who taught me, as well as most other adults, including those who controlled mainstream society, I regarded most people as “simple.” It also made me dislike authority intensely.
    I still dislike authority because I regard almost all of those in authority as simpleminded fools, but dislike is not the same as hate. So, other than when I instinctively react to an immediate threat by way of the more primitive part/s of my brain, my sustained anger has disappeared entirely because of the following three factors:

1/Although I knew it in primary school, I became fully conscious over the years that contra-causal free will does not exist, and therefore I have realised that immoral and stupid people have no real “choice” in regard to whether or not they carry out immoral or stupid acts and as such in one way cannot be blamed for what they did. Knowing that fact alone can erase longterm anger. (That would not prevent me from ensuring, without anger, those who I was convinced were murderers, rapists, paedophiles, etc, were never able to return to live within mainstream society.)

2/I have become fully conscious over the last 45 or so years of the logic behind accepting the reality of what one cannot change, and instead diverting one’s attention to the here-and-now by way of mindfulness. This means accepting any pain the here-and-now delivers, and when possible, savouring the sensory pleasures of one’s here-and-now. Surprisingly the logic of that concept however, did not fully hit home to me until I was in my early 20’s. (The concept has become more popular in the last few years. Prior to that it was only practised by weirdos like me).

3/Again, although I was aware of it from mid primary school, I became fully conscious over the years of the significance of the paradoxical “fact” that nothing can be proven, which made me aware that my philosophical reasoning may be flawed. This obviously made me uncertain of anything, which made me more tolerant of those whose actions and attempts to reason seems to me absurd. (In that respect I subscribe to a form of Solipsism that suggests that I can know nothing other than the content of my mind at the moment I become aware of it. And if that is all I can know obviously my philosophical reasoning could be flawed.)

    I will seem to be contradicting myself in regard to number 3 considering I have stated that the two points that precede it are actual facts. And I am contradicting myself in that respect unless I qualify what I have said by explaining the way I use the English language, which is a language that evolved for the use of the herd. Remember, the herd by its very nature is shallow and therefore never needed to create language to assist its members discuss deep philosophical concepts, because they did not discuss deep philosophical concepts. They were more interested in surviving and engaging in activities that led directly or indirectly to the reproduction of their genes.

   Our ancestors, who were hunter gatherers and subsistence farmers, evolved brains that functioned in a manner that maximised their chances of surviving and reproducing their genes in hunter gatherer, and to a lesser extent, subsistence farmer, environments. In such environments any tribal member who spent too much time contemplating the nature of the universe or other deep philosophical questions would not have been focussing on surviving and reproducing, and as such would have had far less chance of passing on his or her genes. His or her thoughts would best be focussed on how they, their tribe and their progeny, could survive and reproduce. It is probably for that reason most modern humans have no interest in philosophy unless it is of a shallow variety, such as that found in the literature of Alain de Botton. 

   To explain how I use the language in greater detail; in order to live all we can go on for day-to-day reasoning is our “memory”/“knowledge” and our ability to “reason”. And if my “memory”/“knowledge” and "reasoning" tells me that it is in my best overall interest to make a certain decision, that is the decision I will make. So, when expressing myself in everyday English I write as if reality is how I perceive it and that my “memory”/“knowledge” and “reasoning" is objective and accurate. If I were to say before everything I write that I use the words “believe” and “facts” loosely, and that any conclusion I come to is based on what my “memory”/“knowledge” and reasoning delivers to my conscious mind, and that I realise that my “memory”/“knowledge" and "reasoning" may be inaccurate, it would be far too longwinded. That however, is how I see things, and, paradoxically, I don’t even know if I am accurate in that respect.
    When I look back I think it unfortunate schools did not, and still do not, teach philosophy, and within it aggressive critical analysis of the established values and beliefs of mainstream society, with the objective of encouraging students to strive to be objective, truly rational, critical and aggressive in their reasoning. 
    I may as well wish for the tooth fairy. The system does not like to be challenged, because those who run it do not like their cherished beliefs to be challenged. Most are intellectual cowards.
   Also, very few people would have the capacity to teach the sort of philosophy of which I refer. From what I have seen of most academic philosophers today, and most of the courses that are supposed to teach critical thought, very few academics would have the depth to carry out such a task, let alone school teachers. What is currently taught is relatively shallow and restrained.
   Although my own reasoning gave me a good foundation in philosophy I did not begin to educate myself properly until I was about 20, and my self-education continues to this day. This has enabled me to read people like a book, collectively and individually, which means seeing the ugly side of human nature, an ugly side which almost all humans, including me, possess. But, I can now live with reality and thrive, partly because of the reasons I have already outlined, partly because I do not have too much to do with too many people and partly because I am very discriminatory in regard to who I associate with.  
   Although as a kid I did not have a mentor who could have taught me about mind-body awareness as well as using mindfulness in general in order to accept reality and to savour life’s sensory pleasures whenever possible, I nonetheless, as a kid, on occasions entered the here-and-now and got joy doing things of a physical and stimulating nature in the company of my mates. This could occur because other than being philosophical I was still a kid. And if as a kid I had not been able to change my mode in order to make friends, and had I not been able to revert to a simple state-of-mind while in the company of my dog and mates, life would have been much more difficult than it was.
    Having said all that, had I have met a good mentor at an earlier age my earlier life would have been far more pleasurable and far less painful. But, we can’t turn the clock back.


      What are you going on about Wheeler? I thought this post was going to be about a bike trip you did as a kid and how you recently received a head injury. I can’t see you linking what you have said to those events.

   You’re an impatient bastard, 2. I was about to explain to you and the readers how it's all linked. 

    I will progress from what I have said about attempting to accept, and when possible, savour, the here-and-now by way of mindfulness. Although the concept is about facing reality and therefore not escaping from it by way of deliberately daydreaming, when real dreams occur during real sleep, should they be sufficiently lucid they can be as  painful or as pleasurable as reality. And I have acquired over the years skill that has enabled me, to a small degree, to control my dreams, although when I had a very lucid dream a few nights ago I definitely did not have the capacity to become aware of the reality of the situation or to control the dream’s outcome.
     Now, if you take into account what I have said so far, and particularly what I have said in the last paragraph, even though I’m in my 65’th year I still intermittently experience the thrill one receives when one participates in hard contact sport. But that’s not all! I still occasionally receive the euphoria one receives after one performs extreme athletic feats; the sorts of feats that go far beyond the capacity of anyone other than those with superhuman abilities.
   Why, it was not long ago I dreamed I was playing 1st grade rugby league. I played an incredible game! It surpassed the best games played by the best rugby league players in the world, past and present!
   The fact that I stopped playing competitive footy after the age of about 19, and the fact that I was by no means Kangaroo or Wallaby material in my youth, is irrelevant. Who cares about details when you’re enjoying yourself? And as I have said, if a good dream is sufficiently lucid a person can enjoy it as much as he can enjoy experiencing the real thing. 
     I’ve experienced lucid dreams all my life. Sometimes I’m conscious of the fact that I’m dreaming and I can change the dream's outcome, and on odd occasions I have experienced sleep paralysis, which involves realising one is asleep but being unable to wake or move one’s body. I could write another post about those experiences, and describe how horrifying they were for me as a kid and how I learnt to control them over the years and turn them into positive and sometimes euphoric experiences. 
     The dream I have referred to which I had a few nights ago was by no means as joyful as the dream I had that involved my playing 1st grade rugby league. My recent dream did not have a good ending, and I’m still feeling its effect.
    It was brought on by my receiving an email from an old schoolmate named Doug Ladd, who was contacting me about a planned gathering of ex Dickson High lads and lasses from our year. I did not knock around with Doug very much as a youth, but he was a good-natured kid and his email made me recall what I got up to with him and two other kids the day before our first day of high school in early 1965. We had left North Ainslie Primary in 1964 and were about to begin 1st form (now called Year 7) at Dickson High. 
    During the 64/65 school holiday period kids going into 1st form were given an extra day of holidays to enable their schools to prepare for their arrival. So, on that extra day, while the Berra kids who were not our age were at school, Doug, Dazzle (aka Dale Willis, who was going from North Ainslie Primary to Yanco Agricultural College), Brownie (the late Owen Brown) and I rode our pushbikes to the Black Mountain dump. The Black Mountain dump had closed sometime in 1964, but we were not going to let that stop us. We knew we could get into it through the fence.
   The Black Mountain dump was located at the top of O’Connor at the base of Black Mountain behind the CSIRO and next to an area of land that was to become the Botanic Gardens. It was directly above where the ACTEW Civic zone substation now stands. I wrote a bit about that dump on this blog under the title, “The Search for the cave on Black Mountain.” It is on the following link.
   When we arrived at the dump and got through the fence, as planned, we enjoyed ourselves by throwing large rocks through the windscreens of dumped old cars that were either going to be buried under soil or compressed and recycled. On the way home we observed an angry bearded dragon in the grass outside the O’Connor caravan park. That caravan park no longer exists.
     Nothing of any great significance occurred during that trip. I do however, have a memory of being a part of a gang of four kids who had an enjoyable day. Little did I know at the time that 52 years after the event I would receive an email from Doug that would trigger the memory of that day and the Black Mountain dump. Nor would I have thought that when I had the memory of the Black Mountain dump triggered it would in turn trigger a dream that involved me visiting the said dump.

Above is a recent photo of the remains of part of an old car in an area of Black Mountain that was once the Black Mountain dump.
   In the dream I had on the night of Doug’s email I was visiting the Black Mountain dump with a modern ute, which I do not in my real life own. It was packed with the rubbish I currently have in my backyard that is ready to be thrown out. In that dream I was my current age, even though the dump closed in 1964. I must have, in my dream, believed it had been reopened, as opposed to dreaming that I had been transported back in time. 
    While driving into the dump, in my dream, I had to take a long and steep dirt road, and I was to find that the gradient of the road was becoming so steep it was leading to the perpendicular, even though in reality no part of Black Mountain is that steep. Realising I could go no further I stopped my ute. I then got out to contemplate my next move, as I could not turn around.
    Somehow I found myself behind the ute, and I could see that it was sliding rapidly back towards me and that it would run over me unless I moved out of the way very quickly. Because of the speed it was moving I managed, with superhuman athleticism, to jump into the air and right out of the way of the sliding vehicle with the same power a professional basketball player displays when he performs a slam-dunk.  
     But, in the real world, I had actually leapt right out of my bed and into the air, although I did not realise it at the time. So, while I thought, in my dream, that I was going to land softly on the relatively soft earth of Black Mountain, I was brought into reality after I felt my head smash into the base of the chest of drawers that are located on the side of my bed.  
    It really hurt, and even though it woke me up it also made me feel a bit concussed and confused. I’ve had very few punches to the head that were as hard or as damaging as that blow, and I’ve received plenty of punches to the head in my time. As I write I have a bruise on my ear and far more pronounced bruising around a lump on the side of my head, just above the said ear. And it was all a  result of the head to chest-of-drawers impact. I can’t open my mouth to eat too widely as it aggravates the bruising, and I’ve put my neck out.
Above shows where the Black Mountain dump once was. The car bodies have been buried and trees have grown over them. A part of an old car sticks out of the ground.
   Going to bed is a dangerous business! I have had to move my guitar and guitar stand away from my bed because I have twice kicked its neck with roundhouse kicks as a result of fights I have had in my dreams.
    On one occasion, while dreaming I was on the back of a surf ski ridden by a suicidal person heading straight for a wharf, I jumped off just before it was going to hit. As a result I woke up on all fours next to my bed. On that occasion I didn’t damage myself.
    My room is too small to move my chest of drawers out of harms way, so I have screwed a foam mat onto the side of it and I am attempting to place padding on the metal railing that runs along my bed under my mattress. Hopefully this will prevent me from damaging myself should I move rapidly to avoid danger or lash out at someone in my next lucid dream.

   Above shows a foam mat I have screwed onto my chest-of-drawers to prevent me damaging myself should I have another lucid dream in which I react instinctively to danger, and in the process throw myself off my bed.  I have also placed my guitar behind the mat to prevent it from being kicked in its neck again should my dreams incorporate my perpetrating acts of physical violence.

UPDATE 9/4/17
    If you are not into philosophy and found this essay a dry read you may find what I am adding more so. If however, you are not a member of the herd and you felt you got something from it you may also get something from what I am adding.
   I was asked what occurs when two genuine Rationalists meet and have different points-of-view on a particular subject and consider that subject important enough for it to be discussed/debated.
     To answer that question I will first say that for the reasons I have explained in the body of this essay two genuine Rationalists should not hold strong views on anything, because they would be conscious of the “fact that their reasoning could be flawed, even if otherwise the results of their reasoning told them it was not. 
   To reiterate, I have explained in the body of this essay that the evidence suggests it is irrational for a person to be certain of anything but the content of his own mind at the moment he becomes aware of it.  However, even if we are to not go that deep and assume that what our senses tell us is real, is indeed real, we can still obviously be subject to manipulation and self-delusion as well as mechanical errors in the way we reason. And I would assume that a committed Rationalist would be conscious of all those factors and as such should also be conscious of the “ fact that his reasoning could be flawed.
     So, if two Rationalists meet, who, unlike me, were sure their perceptions of reality and reasoning were correct, should they disagree with each other on a particular subject they would usually debate like most people in mainstream society, which is usually very poorly. I have observed this on Sceptics/Skeptics forums. I consider very few of today’s Sceptics (I am referring to those who wish to expose spoon-benders as frauds; not those who, unlike me, subscribe to one of the earlier Greek forms of Scepticism). committed and aggressive Rationalists.
    If however, two Rationalists who, like me, were each conscious of the possibility of their own reasoning being flawed, or the “facts” upon which they based their own reasoning being incorrect, they would be motivated to use each other to attempt to seek the truth or what the evidence suggests is probably the truth, as opposed to win an argument simply for the sake of winning the argument and possibly gratifying their egos and/or turning around the other’s viewpoint.
   To begin to explain how this could be done, I will mention that a Yank psychologist, the late Carl Rogers, put his own spin on an ancient method of debate that involved paraphrasing the argument of one’s opponent. Rogers method is now called, “Rogerian argument."
     Where it differs to the traditional form of debate by way of paraphrasing is that Rogers, who was a psychologist, aimed for participants to seek common ground and empathy through mutual understanding, which resulted in him deviating from the original method/s. 
    The purpose of the ancient forms of the paraphasing method was usually to debate for the purpose of seeking what is true or probably trues, which should be the sole objective of the true Rationalist.
   With that in mind, should two true Rationalists meet and discover they have different viewpoints on a particular topic they would begin the debate by one of them, who I will call “Philosopher A,” stating something like:
 “I believe X for the following reasons, etc etc.” 
   His opponent, who I will call “Philosopher B,” is then required to paraphrase to the best of his ability Philosopher’s A’s argument, and he must do so to the satisfaction of Philosopher A. And if he does not do so to the satisfaction of Philosopher A he must do it again until he gets it right.
   After paraphrasing Philosopher As argument to the satisfaction of A, Philosopher B is then allowed to come back with his counter argument.
  Philosopher A must then, to the satisfaction of Philosopher B, paraphrase Philosopher B’s argument to the satisfaction of Philosopher B before he is allowed to respond with his own counter argument. And so-on, and so-on. 
    This form of debate can be sudden death to one’s cherished beliefs if one has sufficient capacity for rationality, which is why the concept scares many people shitless. It is very hard to get anyone to debate on matters that threaten upsetting their emotional apple carts by using that method, because most humans are intellectual cowards and do not want their cherished beliefs challenged. 
     Like most of the rest of society, the great majority of otherwise very brave young macho men who are prepared to lay their lives on the line for something of which they believe, and who are more than willing to partake in hard contact sport, will do everything they can to avoid such challenges.
    If given the opportunity I would love to debate brainwashed youth who had been programmed to be motivated to commit acts of terror in the name of their belief system. They would have to be forced to debate with me using the paraphrasing method, and I would make sure I kept a few white feathers in my back pocket so I could present it to them if it looked like they were backing down by not addressing the issue when their belief systems were challenged.
   As many of these victims of brainwashing consider themselves brave warriors and identify as macho young men I may have some success if I forced them to challenge their beliefs by calling them out as intellectual cowards if they refused. There would be nothing to lose by trying it. 
   Unfortunately many of those who try to deprogram brainwashed terrorists and cult members belong to established religions and hold established values and are no different in one respect to those they are attempting to deprogram. Those they are trying to deprogram can see that, which may be why the success rate at deprogramming people is not great.
   For that reason I cannot see my suggested method of countering terrorism getting off the ground, as it would involve those in power also challenging their own belief systems and values, which if applied to mainstream society would open up a real can of worms, as mainstream society is also run by intellectual cowards who do not want their cherished beliefs challenged. 

PS. There exists in Australia an organisation called "The Rationalist Society of Australia Inc.” I wish them good luck because like me they advocate science and reason over dogma, and  they want a secular Australia with a clear division between state and religion. They promote free thought and a secular and ethical system of education, although considering Rationalists can have very different ethics I do not know how they would decide what is and is not ethical.
   I was a member of the latter society at one time but I am not motivated to rejoin as I think their efforts at making significant political change are “pissing into the wind.” The other reason I would not be interested in rejoining the group is because their form of Rationalism differs markedly to the type I subscribe to, as I have described it in this post. 
    For a start, my reasoning tells me that a truly Rationalist society like theirs should not have any political agenda in regard to what they want from mainstream society, although as an organisation it should be officially openminded about everything with no set beliefs other than a “belief” that their society should have no set beliefs or policies, other than to have ordered meetings. 
     If I were to attempt to start such a society its sole purpose would be to bring true Rationalists together so they could, by way of organised paraphrasing debate, attempt to find the truth or probable truth on whatever topic they wished to discuss. 
    If someone wants to attempt to start such a society I would be prepared to join, but to be quite frank, which I always am, I could not be bothered making the effort of initiating it myself, as I doubt it would have many members and I do not have the need to belong to any set tribe of people. 
   If however, someone wishes to establish such a society in Canberra or elsewhere they are welcome to get in touch with me if they think I can assist. 
   Maybe I would be keen to start such a society if I were a young man wanting to find likeminded people, but I am in my 65th year and I am happy with the company of my non-Rationalist family and friends, my grandog, and most of all, myself.
    I was once a member of an organisation called the Canberra Skeptics. I resigned, not because I have anything against them, as they do a good job debunking the superstitious. I resigned because I could get nothing out of being a member. I found no other member who subscribed to the sort of aggressive Rationalism of which I subscribe and I could not be bothered challenging spoon-benders.