Arthur Benton is in da house – and some post-baby philosophy!

WP_20140130_005He’s arrived, my second child, the once and future king. Arthur weighs 4.2 kilograms and is 56 centimetres tall. These impressive statistics suggest he won’t be called on to play the hobbit in twenty years if they remake the film. Arthur will tower over his 6 foot 2 dad. There’s still time for me to prepare ingenious ways to beat Arthur in sports where height is an advantage. I will design a basketball hoop that possesses an invisible, ball-blocking barrier activated by a remote control (conveniently located in my pocket). Backyard basketball matches will be mine for all eternity!

Life trumps art, every time. Life inspires art. One look at my beautiful family and the metaphors start to flow, the plots thicken. Spending time with loved ones also puts things into perspective. It helps to reset the compass after a bad day.

Peppa Pig (my oldest boy’s favourite show) puts things into perspective too. It should be mandatory for politicians to sit down together and watch an episode of Peppa Pig before making decisions that affect our children’s future. The leaders I admire the most are the ones who don’t lose touch with their inner child. I’m not suggesting turning parliament into a bouncy castle, but please put the miracle of life (in all its wondrous forms) at the centre of every decision.

Enough about politics. Arthur is practicing his smiles on the couch with his mum now. I’m about to practice my similes for my new book, like a sailor tying knots before a boat race (I’ll have to lift my game based on that example!). As Roberto Benigni said in the title of his film: ‘Life is Beautiful’. So is Arthur Benton.

Signing off

Jonathan K Benton – one very proud dad

First experiences must count for something or am I judging a book by its cover: Jonathan K Benton

c 3 chruch 2A friend invited me to the C3 Church Christmas concert in Bridgeman Downs Brisbane.

C3 Bridgeman Downs is based in an impressive complex with a great café and a large air-conditioned hall. I was expecting to listen to a few hymns sung by monks in brown robes followed by a lengthy sermon from an ancient priest carrying a gold sceptre and who glared down at the masses through a pair of steel-rimmed spectacles – such was my Roman Catholic upbringing. This simply was not the case.

People sat on the floor inside the vast hall on picnic rugs and small chairs. The children gathered at the front – the concert was more for them than the older generation, evidenced in jolly Santa being pulled down the aisle by a group of fit youths wearing antler hats. I found myself clapping along with everybody else. Laughs aplenty.

A talented young band provided live music to the equally talented singers and dancers. Great choreography was on show. It was a well-organised event full of positive energy. A brief sermon by an energetic pastor highlighted the symbolism behind the star that sits atop most Xmas trees. Jesus is that star, his light leading us to him (the pastor’s words were far more eloquent than my own).

A good church creates a sense of community – I felt this sense of community at C3 Bridgeman Downs. Representatives of Ronald McDonald House and Foster Care Queensland received generous donations from the church to their respective charities.

Like most religions, The C3 Global movement encourages its members to donate money to the church. The hall and café wouldn’t be possible without these contributions. I believe in freedom of choice. If someone wants to donate money to their church, who are we to judge. To make an analogy: sports clubs wouldn’t survive if people didn’t pay their membership fees … As long as an organisation doesn’t force its members to give money through bullying and threats of divine retribution.

My thoughts – some churches take advantage of the perceived weak to increase the church’s coffers. These churches lure potential members by promising security and well-being to those who possess little of either. Then there are the churches that genuinely care for their members. First impressions, and based on the wonderful evening I experienced, I believe C3 is a genuine community-based church.

Thank you for the lovely evening, C3 Global.

 

Jonathan K Benton

Please note: Before joining any church I highly recommend talking to as many people as possible to make an informed decision. Prayer also helps, one would think!!!

2014 – the year we woke. Philosophy is inspiring!

2014I believe that most people are good. If the reverse is true then humanity is in a whole lot of trouble.

Being good doesn’t mean being perfect. We are all capable of behaving selfishly – perfection is mostly subjective anyway. An example of good is this: if we saw a child crying, and if it were obvious that child was lost, we would ensure the child’s safety by delivering him or her to the appropriate authorities or caregivers. I believe 95% of people would act this way, their sole motive to protect the child.

Anything can happen in the future and I’m sure it will. I think our concept of wealth will change: is changing. Various forms of evolution like technology will redefine our notion of what a reward actually is. In the distant future, money will not exist. Greed will be a thing of the past, assigned to the history books. Reward will be defined by the depth of the relationships we have with ourselves, with each other, with the Universe itself. These things are infinite – material possessions are not.

Left-Right debates in terms of politics are largely pointless. It’s a bell curve, anyway, and most people sit somewhere in the middle. There are extremes (I’m not referring to ‘extreme’ in terms of terrorism) on both sides. We must remember that the people sitting on the edges of the bell curve are just as likely to be ‘good’ people as those in the middle. Everybody is entitled to an opinion. Extremes propel us towards a balanced future; they are the narrow walls of the river canyon. Humanity is the river that will emerge from that canyon into a tranquil meandering waterway leaving the extremes behind. The river is always more powerful than the rock. There will be no such thing as left/right, liberal/labour, democratic/republican in a few hundred years as we move towards an economic system completely alien to anything we know today. The goods and services will be different, the resources foreign. Freedom of choice – and I fervently believe in an individual’s right to choose – is the way forward. It nourishes and moulds our future.

Bill Gates gave his opinion (click here) on how the world improved in 2013: the worldwide poverty rate went down and so did the rate of child mortality. These are positive developments. Little steps towards a bright new future.

Serious exponents of change don’t lecture us on getting from A to C without telling us how to deal with B. B is the roadmap, the transition period. It takes real brilliance to understand B. Most ideologues who loudly advocate change possess no realistic idea how to achieve it. They will use key words to obfuscate their lack of understanding. Search for that rare and brilliant individual who can transition.

I’m aiming to finish my next novel by September this year. It’s a heady mix of fantasy and adventure with a pinch of literary cleverness. I’m excited to be working with an entirely fresh set of characters. Australia is a great setting for any book and I love Minaea.

Have a great 2014

You’re beautiful – yes that’s you. Everybody.

Signing off

Jonathan K Benton

I've had a gutful: by Jonathan K Benton

5.0.2I’ve had a gutful of dangerous criminals reoffending after serving pitiful sentences handed down at the discretion of sympathetic judges.

Some in the legal community argue the media is stoking these feelings of mine through sensationalist reporting that excludes the reasons why a judge hands down a particular sentence. Others in the legal community agree that the sentences are simply too light. These differences of opinion amongst legalese indicate that sentencing is, within reason, subjective: ultimately the severity of the punishment comes down to the sentencing judge’s individual values.

Judges who are more empathetic towards the victim will deliver a harsher sentence than judges who have convinced themselves that the law, itself, trumps life, and that they are the law. The root cause for light sentencing of serious crime comes down to a judge’s ego. The good magistrates do not let their appointed role numb their humanity; they don’t seek to impose their egos on society by handing down sentences that don’t reflect society’s expectations. The law is not medicine – it rarely save lives in the true sense of the meaning. Judges are not doctors. There is no room for egos. There is only the victim.

I firmly believe that sentencing for the worst crimes should only take into account the impact of the crime on the victim and their families. Murder should have a mandatory life sentence. There are more than enough examples of light sentences leading to further tragedy to warrant a complete review of the way our judiciary is run. Justice is not being served by the people responsible for delivering it.

As for the murderer: if they truly repent their crimes they would truly understand the impact of their actions, and have no desire to re-integrate with society. They would humbly accept life in prison. In fact, they would demand it. Rarely is this the case.

Jonathan K Benton

It’s personal – the music that changed me. Jonathan K Benton

musicMusic has always played (excuse the pun) a massive part in my life. I love how it makes me feel, what it means to me, its magic and its power. I listen to all genres, everything from the soaring rock anthems of Queen to Lorde’s 2013 hit Royals and Flumes haunting trance-like ballad Insane. Every once in while along comes a song that I need to hear. Timing has a lot to do with it. The song might have been around for years, centuries in some cases, but I stumbled upon it when I needed to hear it most. Here’s a list of ten such songs. I would love to know what songs have been there for you.

1)     Moonlight Sonata: Beethoven 1801

 

2)     Time: Pink Floyd 1973.

 

3)     Life on Mars: David Bowie 1976

 

4)     Back in Black: ACDC 1980

 

5)     Romeo and Juliet: Dire Straits 1980

 

6)     Street Spirit (Fade Out): Radiohead 1995

 

7)     Better off Alone: Alice Deejay 1998

 

8)     Lose Yourself: Eminem 2002

 

9)     Resistance: Muse 2009

 

10)  Insane feat. Moon Holiday: Flume 2013

Feel free to contact me if you want to know how these songs helped me to move on: pick a song and I will tell you what was going on in my life at this time.

Jonathan K Benton