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Fact and Opinion

Every child is born with a unique set of genes, inheriting a variety of characteristics from its ancestors. Immediately it enters the world, it is subject to a variety of influences, some good, some bad, and these all go to form an individual with a range of abilities, needs and aspirations.

For those in countries where education is mandatory, to the influences of relatives and care givers are added those of teachers and peer groups, to gradually develop a complex personality.

More than two decades ago, I got involved in a very ill-chosen relationship during which I became someone I did not like. A few other people in my life have had a similar effect.

So, over time, I became aware that we are all probably much more complex than we appreciate. If you were to get a collection of friends and chance acquaintances to describe how they see you, you would probably emerge with an amazing combination of pictures. Some, who have encountered you in darker days, might come up with a picture you would rather not accept as you.

The instigator of the appalling massacre of Muslims in Christchurch is probably seen by his friends as a hero for acting out what they would all like to do. Why?

Elements of education which, unfortunately, are not experienced by everyone, include critical thinking and empathy raising. In relation to the latter, literature on the development of the brain indicates that the part of the brain which allows the individual to empathise appears not to have developed fully or at all in psychopaths.

If you cannot see life through someone else’s eyes or walk in their shoes, then you might well be unable to accept them as valid people. You could even be oblivious to their needs.

Many people do not appreciate that Judaism, Christianity and Islam have the history of the Jews as a common background to the development of their faiths, sharing the same single god but differing mainly in the importance they pay to the various prophets. My understanding is that Islam sees Jesus Christ as an important prophet, but Muhammed as the most important, while the Jews reject the claim that Jesus Christ was god-made man.

Our individual knowledge and opinions are what form our essence, and the more open our minds are to new knowledge and experience, the more informed we are and the more accepting of the difference of others.

We each have our own set of individual talents and abilities and it is sad that some of these are rated more highly than others.

All the above is essentially common knowledge yet we still fall short of developing the skills in our early educators and medical personnel to identify the children whose circumstances have delivered them a far from ideal set of experiences in early life.

We all are entitled to our own opinions as long as that does not cause us to act in ways that harm others. It can be impossible to persuade someone that their views are essentially antisocial – and that is where the law comes in.

The Australian facing trial in New Zealand appears to have personality defects which result in his inability to understand why his actions are wrong. But the rest of society deserves to be protected from him and the cohort that supports him and his actions.

And government has a responsibility to identify others whose behaviour puts law-abiding citizens at risk, rather than demonising those being attacked on the grounds of race of religion.

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19 comments

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  1. Ken

    Great words by Nelson Mandela

  2. TwainAndHume

    Very well, succinctly and truthfully put. Thank you.

  3. helvityni

    “The former Australian”

    Is he, Tarant, not an Australian anymore?

  4. AJ O'Grady

    When did he become’a former Australian’?

  5. Michael Taylor

    I’m sure RosemaryJ36 won’t mind if I change that.

  6. Joseph Carli

    Words, words, words…. so many words..

    Jacta alia est.

    Jacta alia est..; The die it is cast.
    Caesar quietly mumbles the words;
    His own secret intent
    Mixed with the tumbling Rubicon’s waters,
    And when he whispers this secret,
    Who does he direct his knowledge to?
    What lines do the poets place on page
    To enlighten the knowledgeable?
    Is there those who will like the rhyme,
    But curse the metre?
    Will like the notion,
    But curse the action?
    Jacta alia est..; The die is cast.
    But there is no-one left
    Who knows what chance is.
    None want to take the risk.
    Caesar knows the hazard,
    So he says it quietly..under-breath,
    And leads the dumb and blind
    On to their deserved death.

  7. Kaye Lee

    Rosemary,

    Things are improving in early childhood education. My daughter is an ECT and she is doing some great work, liaising with parents and health professionals to develop individual programs for children. She has also started a group for members of other centres to get together and swap ideas. She regularly travels to other centres and conferences (even interstate) and visits local primary schools to liaise with teachers there about transition. She also mentors other staff.

    Sadly, she is not paid adequately for the long hours and great work she is doing. But she cares enough to see the importance.

    PS Joseph, I don’t think this is the time or place to talk about leading people to “their deserved death”.

  8. Joseph Carli

    Kaye Lee….There’s always a “Ps” with you…..YOU…don’t think?….perhaps you could mind your Ps and Qs…. but then, you never were one for understanding the obvious.

  9. Kaye Lee

    I’d like to say welcome back Joseph but if you are just here to try to pick fights with me or to advertise your own blog, I would rather stay on Rosemary’s topic thanks anyway.

  10. Joseph Carli

    And thank YOU Nurse Ratched…Goddess of the ward..I was “on Rosemary’s topic” with the poetic allusion to Caesar’s secret intent in leading his followers over the Rubicon…THEY believed they were going to liberate Italy, Caesar had intent to establish a secret monarchy with himself as Emperor…The “dumb and blind” being the working-class followers of the right-wing agenda of the ruling classes……but…ahh…getting now into tricky territory where I may have to explain every nuance of the poem…and would YOU like that notion?…would YOU curse that action?..
    Yes…better you stick to Rosemary’s topic..

    Oh..Goodbye.

  11. DrakeN

    Yer off then, JC?

    Just as I was about to reach for a new can of Bullshit repellant, too.

  12. Kronomex

    Joseph, give it a break with the bloody class obsession it became tiresome and worn out months ago. “And thank YOU Nurse Ratched…Goddess of the ward..I” petty, petty, and petulant.

  13. Diannaart

    If you cannot see life through someone else’s eyes or walk in their shoes, then you might well be unable to accept them as valid people. You could even be oblivious to their needs.

    Very apt words, Rosemary.

  14. Phil

    Learning follows various roads
    We note the start but not the end
    For time and Fate must rule the course
    While we see not beyond the bend

    The best of knowledge is a dream
    The gainer holds steadfast, uncowed
    By ridicule, and moves serene,
    Despised and lonely in the crowd.

    KAHIL GIBRAN.

  15. Uta Hannemann

    Kaye Lee,
    why do some people hate so much? Did they learn as children that it is right to hate and that it is right to be violent towards people they hate?
    Mandela says no one is born hating. But people can be taught to hate. They could also be taught to love, right? I agree with Mandela that loving comes more naturally to the human heart . . . .
    You mention individual programs for children, where specially trained early childhood teachers (ECTs) do a great job. For sure this is a very important job teaching kids to respect others no matter what their colour of skin or religion or background . . . .

  16. Uta Hannemann

    Alcibiades, ‘Walk a Mile in my Shoes’, thanks so much for this very stimulating video! There is also:
    “Games People Play” – Joe South – 1969 and so on . . . .
    Good music!

  17. Uta Hannemann

    Kaye Lee, you tell Joseph that you don’t think this is the time or place to talk about leading people to “their deserved death”.

    I must admit I could not properly express in words what it meant ‘to cross the Rubicon’. So I looked it up in Google.

    Here is an explanation from Google:

    “n 49 B.C. on the banks of the Rubicon, Julius Caesar faced a critical choice. To remain in Gaul meant forfeiting his power to his enemies in Rome. Crossing the river into Italy would be a declaration of war. Caesar chose war.”

    What does it mean to cross the Rubicon?

    “Irrevocably commit to a course of action, make a fateful and final decision. For example, Once he submitted his resignation, he had crossed the Rubicon . This phrase alludes to Julius Caesar’s crossing the Rubicon River (between Italy and Gaul) in 49 b.c., thereby starting a war against Pompey and the Roman Senate.”

    Which Legion crossed the Rubicon?

    “Julius Caesar Makes His Historic, Illegal Crossing of the Rubicon at the Head of a Legion of Soldiers, Starting a Civil War Within Rome. On this day in history, 49 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with a legion of his soldiers, which was against Roman law.”

    What is a Rubicon moment?

    According to some authors, he is said to have uttered the phrase “alea iacta est”—the die is cast—as his army marched through the shallow river. Today, the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” is an idiom that means to pass a point of no return.

    So Caesar chose war. In war people get killed. In terror attacks people get killed too. Probably Caesar thought this kind of war was justified, the way the Christchurch shooter may have thought shooting people like this he had to do. Who knows, what he thought. How can people hate so much that they can plan such horrible crimes? In wars people are always told to h a t e the enemy. How else would people be prepared and able to k i l l the so called enemy? Terrorism is a dreadful business. But so is war. Humans would always prefer peace. All of us should never cease to do everything in our power to promote peaceful solution, talk to people, love people and in any case avoid hate speeches. These terrible killings in Christchurch brought people together in their grief. They showed compassion and love. May all peace loving people show the world again and again that love is stronger than hate.

  18. RomeoCharlie29

    It is a necessary corollary to war that we must be made to hate the enemy otherwise how to kill them? In first taking us into the illegal Iraq war, John Howard had not only to convince the military that Iraqis, the former allies of the US, were a lesser people whom it was ok to kill, he also had to convince the Australian people of the same thing. Some years ago, I think on this site, a man talked of his daughter joining the defence forces as a tolerant person only to be turned into one who used language he had not heard from her before, denigrating those they were fighting. It should come as no surprise that the inheritors of John Howard’s parliamentary legacy also inherited his implicit hatred of those we went to war against because we are still at war with some of them. It should also come as no surprise that as the influence of those in our military spreads in the community, there develops a sub-culture of contempt or perhaps merely dislike, for the other. The current Liberal leadership not only inherited the Howard legacy, they perpetuate it in many ways and at every opportunity. It is they who are ultimately responsible for a climate in which a young man can think it is somehow acceptable to do what he did in Christchurch. That there are people like Fraser Anning who can implicitly approve the actions show how far we have to go back but no amount of weasel words from Morrison and his mates can erase their culpability.

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