Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Comprehensive Overview Part One

BOOKS I am reading at the moment:

Heisenberg, The Uncertainty Principle.
Hawkins, Truth Versus Falsehood.
Diamond, Collapse.
Tracy, Million Dollar Habits.

COMPUTER AND INTERNET interests at the moment:

How to get StubleUpon to actually work.
How to get Firefox to import my comprehensive Safari bookmarks and favorites.
How to blog the best I possibly can.

ENTERTAINMENT I am watching at the moment:

Numb3rs, the math education in a tv show.
Simpsons, as usual.
Everybody Loves Raymond (the classic episode where Ray records over his wedding).
Spirited Away (who would've imagined that the spirit world is common to almost every culture?)
Australian Princess (I am SO ashamed of THAT one!)

BLOGGING interests at the moment:

Life sciences as usual.
Contemplative practice as usual.
I am inspired by the Thomas Leonard quote: "Facts and informaiton are valuable but rarely profound. What IS profound? People, emotion and concepts." What a great concept to guide my giving the best possible contribution to readers!
I just joined technorati yesterday.


I am screwing up my courage and committment to attempt Bill Phillip's Body For Life challenge a second time. The first time I almost finished the first week before quitting. This second time - while I would love to finish all 14 weeks of this transformative program of course - the aim is to be doubly dedicated with tracking progress and planning meals and exercise meticulously. If I want to master fitness I need to do what masters of it such as Mr Phillips actually do.
I have committed to working every day in my friend Bob's garden. It is hard work and I slack off a LOT, but that's life.

HOBBIES I am drooling over getting into:

The nerd game Set, as profiled recently on
Monopoly, backgammon and risk games with Bob (which he so far has defeated me in!)
Surfing, as usual. My fantasy hobby.


Much discussion about the Iraqi constitution centers around the PROBLEMS of the situation (as opposed to the opportunities). As President Bush pointed out, seldom has any country made so much political progress in such a short period of time. And my view is that the constitution is the responsibility of the people of Iraq and NOT of anyone else. If a civil war needs to be fought to sustain the process of coming to freedom in the new Iraq, so be it. Time will tell there.


The next trip I have planned is a day on the beach with Johnny at Grange. I am contemplating teaching him Cornish wrestling if he is willing. Or even if he is unwilling.

WORK... freaken freaking me out. I feel scared, blue, and honestly just plain old run down. And you know what? I've also never felt more excited, fulfilled, and hopeful IN MY LIFE! And while I seem to acheive so little, inwardly I am changing and growing a lot. So these will pass.

HapMap, SNPs, Haplotypes, and disease treatment

The latest issue of Nature Magazine is a chestnut!

Their podcast this week features the HapMap and human genetics, Saturn's rings, sharks, and the missives of Darwin and Einstein.

The HapMap is a new map of the human genome that shows the "haplotypes", ie - the neighbourhoods of the genome where one human's gene are different from another. It promises to illuminate with greater speed and precision to the location of the genetic correlate of disease, performance and behaviour.

These different genes, called SNPs or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, are remarkably few in their effects. According to the Scientist website: "The findings suggest that only 260,000 to 470,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are needed to capture all the common genetic variation in the populations studied, despite the fact that there are an estimated 10 million common SNPs in the human genome." Researchers took 296 DNA samples from four populations in Nigeria, Tokyo, Beijing and Utah.

The significance of the HapMap is that suddenly searching among populations for the genetic markers of disease becomes an estimated twenty times cheapter.

So what's the next step?

A proteomic map of all the proteins involved in the genome?
A glycomics map of all the carbohydrates involved?
Notes of variation around specific areas of the genome?

What a wonderful world to live in!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Weekend Report

It was a tiring weekend, but fulfilling, up on the Murray River, and I saw more of the river than I ever imagined I would. Lots of driving about with a carfull of under ten year olds makes for interesting stimuli... i am glad to be back in the peace and quiet of my home with Shakti the Siamese... It was an emotional weekend for my hosts, which clearly took a lot out of them. They spent much of today Sunday slumped against each other sleeping.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Going away for the weekend

About the go away for a weekend up the river with a couple my age whom I have been chatting with for some months now, and I'm feeling nervous.

What a day it's been! The constant noise of the jackhammer outside as they dismantle the carport is a mild friction in the background. I have felt like a prisoner here, unwilling to do outside into the chaotic noise, and yet wanting to leave the house for the entire day - go anywhere at all - just to get away from the damned noise.

So a small space for reflection only.

The McDonalds house clean method

Today I considered the domestic situation and came to the conclusion that without adjusting my actions somehow it would never be clean. More to the point, without new habits I would never be the kind of person who is clean and tidy, which would be a greater loss.

So I considered what is in the way, and immediately the sense of weariness I have felt for the last few weeks was clearly the culprit. Duh, I realized, it's all about pacing. Making sure the flow of energy doesn't flag completely between breaks. Making sure those breaks are rest and recreation - not just IM and nintendo.

So it's complex and very simple at once. I ask myself: What would be the ideal refreshment for myself between working on my house?

Immediately the yellow and red decor of McDonalds, and the smell of hashbrowns, and the sound of pleasant yesteryear pop arises in my mind... ahhh I can have breakfast of fastfood. And for that day at least it will be breakfast of Champions!

Because I can eat a tasty breakfast means I can get into the meat of cleaning in the latter morning with fresh eyes. So that's the plan for this Wednesday - a day of cleaning the pigsty of Babylon I live in. And a case for creating a delicate new thread of a habit, the habit of tidiness which I have aspired to for months.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Before work in the morning

It's nine O'Clock in the morning. With a full day ahead of me, I pause to plan and consider.

On the weekend I summarized Brian Tracy's book "Million Dollar Habits." It is quite a simple message presented superbly well.

The essence of the book is the life-sustaining relationship between two key habits: self-discipline and self-esteem. The habit of liking oneself, he reveals, strengthens one against failure, fear and rejection. And the habit of carefully planning one's habits in advance gives a greater sense of liking onself and control.

These two habits are tied together in symbiosis. If you like yourself, you will be disciplined. If you are disciplined, you like yourself. He breaks both concepts down into smaller concepts, of course. The first two chapters are the anatomy of self-esteem, and the rest of the book is the anatomy of self-discipline in the context of success, wealth, relationships, sales, marketing, and health.

Also on the weekend I rearranged my house somewhat, creating more space and light and openness in the place. It certainly feels a little different, and more is to come. I have a great day of editing, writing, gym, yoga, cleaning, and planning ahead of me.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sacred Music With A Twist.

Im putting together a collection of music, which I have entitled "Sacred Music". With a twist.

It starts with Santana, goes onto a rowdy piece of Louis and Ella's.

Then I inspect my "most played" log to discover the sacred music there. Guy Sebastian goes in. Then the Masses and Sacred Chants en masse. And... voila! a kind of music to make my soul dance for joy, and make my heart warm like I've just drunk chicken soup.

The new Doctor Hawkins' interview came out thismorning, and much to my delight it is breathtakingly good. The topic is "Resistance", but it is FUNNY AS! It may be found here, or by clicking the title.

Click on "Listen to now".

Friday, October 14, 2005

Normal versus morally relative

I'm having an online exploration about normalcy versus moral relativism. Here's a norm bite:

"A person who tempts innocents is as dangerous to society as an outright criminal with a gun to one's head. Perhaps even more so, because such tempters are allowed into everyday circles under the cover of moral relativism, expediency, or the simple desire to fit in with our norms of multiculturalism.

The presence of such people is not specifically a social issue. The important thing to know however is that "norms" are not "social" to most spiritually aligned people, but the substance of the heart, which sustains love and caring in everyday matters. Norms are very much spiritual matters. They are not overly part of the social agenda, however, which is still struggling with issues of integrity (versus fear) and optimism (versus materialism and arrogant presumption)."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

ID #2

On my return from South East Asia I inventoried what I had witnessed. I had seen:

- A benign dictatorship (Singapore).
- A successful democratic multi-ethnic muslim state (Malaysia).
- A buddhist monarchy (that only one left, Thailand!).
- A failed communist state (Laos).
- A successful multi-ethnic communist state (Vietnam).

Not only that but I had travelled with a Swedish journalist, South African clothes importer, with the proverbial buxom Swedish twins and with the embittered anti-capitalist Malay banker-dropout. In Bangkok I had drunk with Belgian mechanics and female Australian soldiers with post traumatic stress disorder and Thai schoolteachers and gone out dancing with the buxom thai girls who worked at the lobby of the hotel I stayed in.

I had grieved over the shattered demilitarized zone in Vietnam, been repelled by the sleazy corruption of Laos, had visionary experiences in the jungles of Thailand, discovered politics in Malaysia, and fallen in love with the Chinese people in Singapore. I was a changed man.

But I returned home to a country which had also changed. It was like going back into the womb to come back to Australia, and yet the accent and the easy relaxed welcome I got!... well, it reduced me to tears to hear my countrymen's funny twanging English.

Back to the Australian summer, with the too-bright sun and the too-dry bush turning brown on the side of the highway, I wondered what I was going to do here.

I knew I wanted to leave again, and soon. Within the year. And I knew I wanted to be where the rest of the world touched Australia... Sydney.

But I had created a lot of writing while I was away, and I first went back to country Australia, to my mothers' house, and spent two weeks creating a slim book of stories and poems I had written while I travelled. I still have it here somewhere, first impressions of a new world. Then I plunged back into Sydney, Australia.

I stayed in King's Cross, the center of travellers and Sydney decadence, above the strip parlours on the street level.

(If you have seen the film, "Moulin Rouge" you may have a good idea what it was like for me to stay in such a place; in fact that film is the archetypal patriarchal melodrama, where the Goddess Satine is needlessly sacrificed for barbaric male ambition.)

And I remember how, one night, in a profoundly detached state, I sat at the window of the backpackers unseen and unnoticed and observed the bouncers going about their work.

At the strip joint door was Big Gorilla and little Ape. Big Gorilla was ebullient and welcoming, then warning and even cruel, to the incoming crowd. Little Ape was subservient to Big Gorilla and arrogant and cruel to incoming men, and sleazy and needy to incoming women.

I watched as Big Gorilla sent little Ape in for something. Little Ape returned with a "woman", and a certain chemical reaction shot through the men milling about on the street. I watched it from above. The men spun like electrons catalyzed by the proximinity of a magnetic field.

The woman was extremely beautiful, her beautiful heightened by the surroundings and the vulgar men around her, and yet... something was amiss, somehow.

I looked and looked, relaxing my body to observe dispassionately. She lit a cigarette and stared about her coolly. I saw in her shoulders that she was a slave. Her eyes shone like a queen but I caught the look of oppression... a slave, here! in Australia! Disgust filled my heart. And then I noticed something else.

As she looked around she NEVER ONCE looked at the Big Gorilla. In fact, she ignored him and focused all her energies on the little Ape. But when I looked, the men milling around excitedly were focused on Big Gorilla, and not on her! It was as if the alpha male had stolen her feminine radience and perverted it.

And then I saw to the heart of what was wrong here... the feminine was dishonored and enslaved to the masculine. Power was misused. I had witnessed half a dozen different power systems in the last four months and now I was witnessing the most basic misuse of power in human nature, the misuse of the feminine, common to every system I had witnessed. And now I saw it in my home country!

As you may recall, in my visionary experience in Thailand, as I related to you, I told how the higher being had witnessed his civilisation overrun by barbarians and he himself murdered in war. Now I witnessed the enemy barbarians in our midst, insulting and overruling the feminine energy for their own ends. And what I witnessed galvanised me to an overwhelming sense of purpose.

ID #1

I was travelling Thailand on a little motorbike three years ago, speeding through primaeval rainforest. I had just left behind years of yoga and energy work (mostly striving to come to grips with the feminine aspects of self, body and emotions), and a professional career as a journalist in Melbourne. Australia though big physically is like a little bubble of consciousness really, and leaving it burst that invisible membrane of Australian shallow high spiritedness within me. It was like being reborn. It was the fruition of my years of seeking for truth.

As I rode, a great swelling storm of emotion rose up through my spine and heart and burst out the top of my skull and suddenly I was lifted clear of my body and into a visionary space. A living memory from another world and another soul, that was much more "me" than the person I had been striving to become in my worldly pursuits, arose and I became this other person.

He was an aryan-style warrior, fighting on a bloody field. His name came to me as he died, he was a higher being, one of the arya, witnessing the end of some primaeval civilisation he had been part of, a great matriarchy full of wisdom and beauty. His heart was full of sadness and wonder at the coming transition, and he knew that the great civility of his time wouldn't die with him but be reborn again and again until it won over the barbarians that had defeated him.

All this flashed in a timeless instant into experience. I don't know how I drove the motorbike whilst out of my body, but I did safely. And in a flash of ecstacy I returned to my body and pulled the bike in by a little waterfall. I threw off my damp clothes plunged into the icy water and felt incredibly alive and exciting by what I had experienced. The water felt amazing. Everything was so bright!

So began the loooong struggle to integrate this aspect of my self. Which is, perhaps, another story for another time.

Anger = Compassion? Rest versus Recreation?

Yesterday I went to my friend's house to dig in the garden as usual. It was fun. But when he discovered I have a doctor's appointment he sent me off early to get to her on time.

So I arrived in the city with an hour on my hands before I needed to be at the doctors. I walked into Borders and ordered a coffee and read the end of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's novel "Good Omens". It was nice, but nihilistic and preaching moral relativism under the cover of cynicism. It was also funny and well written, however, and though I liked it it dissuaded me from reading any more Neil Gaiman. Having read some of Pratchett's books before I have found them charming light entertainment so it is not to be expected to have any more quality than that.

I also bought a large packet of chips which I ate through the night, and I was kind of in a floating state of mind for the evening for some reason. It was only the doctor who brought me down with a kindly bump to earth.

"Why didn't you confront the gardener for poisining your seedlings thismorning?"

"I couldn't think what to say," I said.

But she had a good point. I was pissed off with the gardener and had no intention of sharing that with him. In fact, I do not see the use of anger in any circumstance. It just seems problematic.

She pointed out though that anger is the fuel for compassion. And I couldn't but agree, although I didn't buy her "anger-turned-inwards-creates-depression" theory, which seems a bit too pat to me. But does it? Do we need to be furious in order to be kind?

I do not think so. I think reason and enthusiasm is sufficient. And I do not agree that extremes of any emotionalism are worthwhile long term.

In any case, I stayed up late the last few nights and regretted it. Trading off rest for a few hours of recreation seems a poor exchange, and that is precisely what I do when I stay up past midnight. Ideally one would combine rest with recreation!

The doctor took blood in an attempt to discern if there was any physical condition allowing my state of exhaustion much of the time. I doubt it.

Contemplating Hawkins' science of consciousness, I feel asleep in the waiting room of the surgery, only to be woken by a pale wisp of a girl entering. She stank of marijuana. She sat and stank, and I was grateful when the doctor immediately appeared.

My notes on the science of consciousness are at my other blog on blogger. At least I managed to get a rest at the waiting room in the midst of my busy day yesterday!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Top Priorities, Goals, Responsibilities, Needs, and Values

Today I redefined my priorities in life. The seven top priorities for me in life now are as follows:

1. Sharing spiritual principles such as generosity, etc.
2. Calming the mind and cooling the heart.
3. Caring for myself when I'm weak by being productive when I'm strong.
4. Making certain I have fun everyday.
5. Kaizen, constant small steps, in gym, clearing, writing, and other things.
6. Joy from weeping, laughing and having good sex.
7. Reassessing priorities as I achieve any of my top five goals.

The basis for these priorites are the top five goals, responsibilities, needs, and values as follows:

Top five goals:
1. Spiritual growth.
2. Writing Gaia Project.
3. Doing the Body For Life program.
4. Getting a bicycle.
5. Learning to surf.

Top five responsibilities:
1. Self, wellness, fitness and diet.
2. Landlord: rent.
3. Utility Corporations: bills.
4. My cat: support.
5. Self; writing.

Top Five Needs:
1. Space and tidiness.
2. Release from the pain of wantingness.
3. Varied tasty food.
4. Fun.
5. Expansion of ability.

Top Five Values:
1. Contemplation of God.
2. Acceptance of life on its own terms.
3. Sufficient clarity to be productive.
4. Orderliness in overall style.
5. Good health and fitness.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Last night I sat in my favorite cafe with my new buddy Boris and chatted about everything under the sun. It was nice and then I walked the hour long walk home.

A mate online introduced me to a site which touches my heart... it's called, and it's dedicated to dispelling myths about manhood and restoring the classical reverence and respect which bonds men together. The realization for me that many other men are aligned with caring and spiritual values when it comes to mateships, friendships, and sharing with other men - and that many behaviors marketed to men to get together through are actually destructive and degenerate - is an exciting revelation for me.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Procrastination is sweet

I love doing sums for a novel project.

For Gaia I have to write 36 pages fourteen times. Five hundred and four pages, in other words.


I have to write 6 pages 84 times. Hehehe.


I can write 12 pages 42 times.



I can write 25 pages 20 times.


20 pages 25 times.


22 pages 23 times.

Ah! the life of a writer.

Procrastination is sweet.

An Infection and A Personal Confession

After gardening yesterday I was sore today.

Slumped outside rereading Orson Scott Card's wonderful latest novel, Shadow of the Giant, I happened to notice my left middle finger looked... misshapen.

I squeezed it and... man that felt good. So I squeezed a little harder.

All of sudden a flash of relieved sensation and a spurt of pus rewarded my efforts, and I discovered I had an infected finger.

Minutes later and several runs of bicarb soda and vinegar to sterilise it, I rubbed a garlic clove into the area to make the healing easier by minimising the everyday bacteria gathered there. And repeated until the inflamed throbbing sensation subsided.

Now the swelling persists but the inflammation is replaced by a healing sensation which is a welcome relief in any healing episode.

And now also I have a confession of responsibility to make. Here goes:

I bite my nails.

I bite them savagely, carelessly and without remorse.

I bite them til the skin shows then I bite the skin til it's calloused and hard and then I bite sometimes until it bleeds.

Looking at my nails now, one observes the misshapen wedges and layers, like multiple miniature pink fans, made by the bite marks. The little fingers on my right and left hands have sores at the beginning of the nail where it was bitten too hard. Only my right thumb looks evenly shaped.

The pad of the fingers protrudes half as far as the nails themselves beyond the edge of the nail. Except in the infected finger where the left side of the finger swells out as far as the nail itself.

I am grieved and repelled by this habit which - in combination with having my hands in the dirt - brings on an infection. I wish I could stop. I have tried but I have not been able to so far.

Any advice would be welcome!

Gardening and writing

Today I wrote the first two pages of Gaia, folling the Focus Plan I have spent the last month writing.

I also planted about fifty plants, dug over four beds of dirt, and slept over at a mates place, from whence I got the plants. We watched 12 Monkeys last night and thismorning and yesterday planted a chestnut. I will plant another nut tree on Friday there, which I am looking forward to.

Effective Hard Work

According to re-engineering guru Michael Hammer, "(W)inning does not depend on a clever plan or hot concept. It depends on how regular, mundane, basic work is carried out… Relentless operational innovation is the only way to establish a lasting advantage."


This striking statement says so much about hard work's simple effectiveness

Monday, October 03, 2005

Gaia Wakes In Mankind.

A few threads which I want to comment on in my Focus Plan for the novel, Gaia.

First: it has a number of utterly horrible events in it. The level of horrible-ness in what happens to these characters is quite beyond anything one normally reads. I will not give examples because the shock of the notions themselves is something I want to preserve.

Second: there is some extremely strange science occuring here. It is subjective or freeform. It is not what we now know of as science. It is quite strange.

This is easily explained. The original inspiration became what is now book two, a still-to-be-written sequel, and its science is more than strange. It is whimsical, weird, perverse and monstrous. It is gothic science. It is dream-and-nightmare science. So many years of exploration of this peculiar world have resulted in a first book of merely odd notions. VERY odd notions.

Third and finally is the apparent flouting of convention: events occur through one viewpoint character then another viewpoint makes sense of them in the following chapter. The sense is not of multiple independent threads but rather of a single comprehensive consciousness emerging through the characters. Again, an unusual sensation, but aligned overall with the intent.

The central idea - that Gaia, or the sum of all living systems, tends to become more conscious through human technology and culture - is explored fully and satisfyingly. In fact I have managed to boil it down to four words, which perhaps would make an excellent title, if they did not remind one of new-age mystical fictions. Those four words are:

Gaia Wakes In Mankind.

Finishing the Focus Plan for The Gaia Novel.

Today I finished the Focus Plan for my large novel series project.

Finishing the book, with a stream of suicides, deaths, births, escapes and catastrophes, seems odd to me. But the sense of having done it is enormously satisfying.

I reread it quickly and have been mulling over changes. Because part of me wants to Apply my plan NOW, starting writing at page one and seeing how far and fast I can go. And then part of me says: Hold on, wait. I intend this to be as good a novel as possible. Wait and review the Focus Plan in a little while with a calmer glance.

Enormously satisfying experience.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Joss Whedon soundbites back

I adore movies. Big summer action movies in particular, back when they were good. I want to make movies that you need to see again and again, like I did when I was a kid. The weekend Star Wars came out, I saw it three times, and the next Monday at school, the Tarzan club was disbanded and the Star Wars club was born."

I was very successful as a script doctor," he says. "I had written some movies that were getting made. But when I told people that I wanted to direct, nobody would even consider me. I basically used Buffy as film school, so I could have enough experience under my belt so that the next time I said 'I mean to direct', nobody would laugh."

I wrote movies every week, that's what I did. It was about finding that moment that is so good, so romantic, so heroic, so exciting - and I literally had producers telling me, 'You have too much visual information.' Because most television is radio with faces. But I kept pushing against it, so the show resonated, and felt bigger than it was.

The idea behind the show [Firefly] was to take nine people and say, 'Nine people look out into the blackness of space, and see nine different things.' But science fiction opens you up to every element of history that you want, because the future is just the past in a blender. So I could take anything from the human experience I've read about or felt or seen. Like, what is it like after a war? It doesn't matter which war or which country - what is it like for the people who lost?"

It's a little more timely than I'd hoped. The thing is, I do believe that when you try and force happiness on people, you find out that their version of happiness may not be yours.

People keep calling the Alliance 'the evil empire', and I'm like, 'Actually, it's not an evil empire, it's the most enlightened society in the galaxy - but they're making the mistake any big power makes, which is to assume that their version of enlightenment should be spread everywhere, and that they can justly govern people who are beyond their reach, or living on their own terms, be they somewhat strange or archaic or even barbaric.

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