Balancing the budget is important. I’m not an economist but it makes sense. On a micro level, if my own household cannot balance its books it would sink. Here’s the problem, though. The median income in Australia is around 58k (the average income is skewed to approximately 75k because of the hefty salaries earned by Australia’s wealthiest citizens). The population is growing – it’s incorrect to think that if the economy (under its current model) grows the whole country benefits. The reality is that the median wage is not rising anywhere near as fast as the cost of living, as prices are increased to grow profit.
For example: the cost to use the trains in Brisbane has risen by at least 22.5 per cent in the last 2 years. Power has risen by over 20 percent too. Petrol will likely rise more than it normally would in light of the new federal budget, and do not dismiss the effect $7.00 per person per visit to the doctors will have on a family budget that is already squeezed tight.
I’ve seen no evidence from either of Australia’s two major political parties to suggest they can solve the real problem, which I have already outlined on an emotional level in a previous blog.
There’s a lot to be grateful for in Australia. It’s a beautiful democratic country alive with culture and brimming with talent. Pure socialism works in a kibbutz, but not at a national level where large administrations sick with self-preservation and greed suck up money and resources that should be for the people. Nobody wants to experience communism. Some bright spark – someone a lot smarter than me – needs to create a new sustainable evolutionary economic model that encourages entrepreneurial talent and yet does not forget the median, or the needy. I believe we need to change our perception of ‘reward’ and truly transform (at an emotional level) how we perceive ‘status’, while not losing some of the core values, like freedom of choice, that underpin our society.
Jonathan K Benton
Writing isn’t easy, and when it gets really tough, I sometimes need to remind myself why I stick at it. Here are the top five reasons I persevere:
5) Books saved me:
Books changed me, as I wrote in this article in the Sydney Morning Herald. They saved me, too. I went through some tough times – I’m not asking, and nor do I expect, anyone to break out the violins. It’s not a sob story. It might be inspirational if I peppered the prose of my life with flowery images! But I know that books helped me through some harrowing times. Winston Churchill once said: ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going’. I say: ‘If you’re going through hell, keep reading!’.
We have our own universes inside our heads. Buzz Lightyear summed it up perfectly: ‘To infinity … and beyond!’.
3) Trying to understand this crazy old world:
Whether murder-mystery or Mills and Boon, books cut a slice from the chaos that we call life and bake it into something mouthwateringly comprehensible. It’s fun, sometimes terrifying, innately revealing, and frequently difficult.
2) To make a difference:
To inspire. I like the thought of someone finishing a novel that I have produced and feeling uplifted. Books do that for me and I want to do it for others.
1) Because I have to:
Yep. I have to write. It’s not a choice. If I don’t, I wilt. It took me a long time to realise this. I wish I’d known earlier – I probably did deep down. I’m glad I know now.
Jonathan K Benton
The world is full of remarkable talents – being a good person is the single most inspiring thing anyone can be. Occasionally I stumble across someone or something that makes me leap out of my chair and punch the air with excitement. This happened the other night during The Voice Australia. Several elements combined to give me that fuel-injected moment of elation – that ‘life rocks’ feeling. Harry Healy sang one of my favourite songs of all time and he sang it well. He chose Romeo and Juliet because it was his wedding song. True love – it gets me every time.
But it was not Harry’s performance – as brilliant and polished as it was – that made me leap out of my chair. It was his proud family standing in the green room watching him transfix a nation. It was their moment too. Love, in its many forms, is truly inspirational.
Jonathan K Benton
I have faith in many things. I believe laughter is the best medicine and there’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ cry. I’m certain that life is worth fighting for and that if we all loved our neighbours there’d be a lot less wrong with the world. I believe it’s my paternal duty to try to leave Earth in a better shape for my boys than it is now. I also know that I can positively affect the big picture by concentrating on the small one. Each interaction we have in life, ripples.
I’ve got no idea if the Bible is fact or fiction – some aspects of it I find confusing and contradictory. Other aspects, like the fruitages of the spirit, are truly beautiful. Some theologians suggest the Bible is open to interpretation. Perhaps they’re right – it would be arrogant to think us mere mortals could understand God and all of his infinite wisdom. ‘God is love’. That is what the Bible says and perhaps that’s all we need to know. It makes it easier for me to believe in him anyway.
Someone who understood life a lot better than me and who seemed to have a much deeper understanding of faith than most wrote the following:
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe’ —a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Einstein’s words are a blueprint to happiness. Cut and paste them into your own life and see what happens.
Jonathan K Benton.