I took my six-year-old boy to the park the other day. There was only one swing and another boy wanted to play on it too. Without any adult intervention, the two boys decided sharing was the best option, and ended up taking turns, and becoming friends.
Then I read an article about a potential war between two nuclear powers over a piece of land. The war will lead to the indiscriminate deaths of millions of innocent people on both sides. The leaders would have us believe it’s a complicated issue, but it’s not. Break it down and the cause of the war comes down to insecurity and egos, traits that didn’t motivate my boy and his new friend in their decision making.
Poverty, pollution and overpopulation cannot be resolved without first creating a safe and respectful world in which ideas are exchanged between cultures without these dickheads sabre rattling. It is on them, and them alone, if war breaks out. Murder by murderers.
This world needs a collective voice, created by the hundreds of thousands of citizens in every country sick of the threat of war. Let’s call this collective COPE (Citizens of Planet Earth), and show our leaders that they are in the minority, that we can get along, that we want all children, everywhere, to have a bright future, that we can share Earth’s swings.
Regrets: everybody has them. They come in all shapes and sizes and can ambush you at any time. There’s a plethora of quotes about regrets. Here’s one from William Shatner: ‘Regret is the worst human emotion. If you took another road you might have fallen off a cliff’.
I often look into the past. I need my experiences to write. But personal history is a dangerous place to go fishing for ideas. Regrets lurk there, like sharks waiting to bite into the present. I used to have too many regrets. Groundhog Day was (and still is) one of my favourite movies. It’s a well-made film, but I liked it for different reasons. I wanted Phil Connor’s day to happen to me so that I could get things right.
‘I should have …’ I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve said that.
But something happened to me five years ago that helped me to overcome regret. When my first child was born, and I looked into his eyes, I understood that I shouldn’t regret a single moment of my life. If one of those moments hadn’t happened exactly the way that it had, and my personal timeline was different, I might never have laid eyes on Harrison. I wouldn’t give him or his brother up for all the second chances in the world!
So – I’ll leave you with someone famous to tell you exactly what to do the next time you feel a bit of regret. Click here
United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the world on Saturday: “… Today we face a profusion of mounting challenges,” he said. “People are crying out for protection from greed and inequality. The United Nations must answer the call …”
The United Nations is a wonderful concept that cannot reach its full potential without the majority will of all free people behind it. Ban Ki-moon’s speech was a plea for help and a warning to us all: ‘This year the horizon of hope is darkened’.
We must act!
Here’s an article outlining the key elements of the speech. Worrying, isn’t it?
I found this beautifully written article by Hannah Richell about the loss of a loved one and the impact it had on Hannah and her family. It was real ‘tissue box’ material, and reminded me how important it is to live each day like it’s your last. It also reminded me to keep on keeping on, no matter what life throws at you.
A deeply moving article. Peace, love and huge dollops of happiness to Hannah and her kids. Thank you for opening up about your loss. It will surely help others.
Jonathan K Benton
I was sitting on the train watching the suburbs pass by. Picket fences, parks, factories and commercial real estate. Someone was hanging washing on a tiny balcony in a tall apartment block. I felt alone. Insignificant. This is why we need an ego. It makes us the centre of the Universe, despite the Copernican reality of our existence. Egos are our existential gravity.
Problems occur – and I believe this is the root cause of a lot of humanity’s issues – when insecurity starts feeding the ego. It becomes difficult to see past our picket fences, if our existential gravity grows too strong. People and their personalities start to seem paper-thin, as the expanding ego distorts reality. It’s easy to neglect the one-dimensional.
In conclusion … Even the humble have an ego. It keeps us centred. The trick is to accept our insignificance. Then we can truly appreciate that each of us plays an equal part in a much bigger picture, in which even the smallest thing is perfect and beautiful.
Jonathan K Benton
It’s not me for whom I’m scared. It’s my boys. I must believe there’s more good than bad in this world, but sometimes, jeez, it’s hard. Beautiful Alison was murdered by her husband: the media thinks it’s okay to splash his sordid past all over the papers and television so that Alison’s daughters cannot hide from the kind of man their father was. Lock him up. Forget about him. His daughters won’t. They’ll be scarred for life. Let them come to terms with what happened without having to hear it from their peers at school – inevitable now that the media have dragged out every last detail.
A terrorist thinks it’s okay to shoot down a civilian plane full of innocent men, women and children. Lunatics strap bombs to themselves and governments on all sides call blowing up children ‘collateral damage’. Economists are slowly coming to the conclusion that the widening gap between rich and poor is causing increasing instability spurred on by over-population, and climatologists have come to a consensus that climate change is a serious issue. No one listens. Not enough, anyway.
I know there’s beauty in the world. I hear it in a child’s laugh; I see it in their shining faces. Is it unrealistic to believe we can deliver them a safer world than this one? Are we big enough, are we strong enough? Simply put, are we good enough?
Jonathan K Benton
Roger Federer inspires me. I admire Nadal’s snarling ferocity and Djokovic’s quirky athleticism and sense of humour. Both these players are great ambassadors of the game. But Roger Federer transcends tennis with his magnificent behaviour on and off the court. Give him a light sabre instead of a racket and he’d make the perfect Jedi. It might be because I love the arts. I remember watching the Paris Opera Ballet perform Swan Lake in Sydney – the principal dancer playing Princess Odette pirouetted onto stage and took my breath away. I’d only seen one other person in possession of that kind of balance and perfect poise. Roger Federer. At his exquisite best, he’s unstoppable. Approaching 33 years old – an age when many players have retired – he is still one of the best players in the world. That’s how good he is. I love those slow-motion shots showing Federer’s eyes never leaving the spot where his racket hits the ball. His face is serenely still: there’s no snarl or grimace – regular features on other players’ faces. He’s the only player whom regularly conjures this much emotion from the grandstands. Win or lose tomorrow, thank you Roger.
Rage – I experienced it yesterday morning before work. I logged onto the Internet to skim through the news. A judge sentenced a thug to nine years in jail for viciously assaulting a refugee who had arrived in Australia seeking a better life. The assault had been caught on CCTV, which had been linked into the article. I watched a soulless thug savagely mug an innocent person. Extremely confronting. The thug’s accomplice loitered at the end of the alley making sure there were no witnesses. My heart goes out to the victim – I hope his future is filled with happiness, peace and love.
I want to believe life is beautiful. It can be, but for a lot of people it’s not. This was just another example of the empty scumbags with whom we share the planet. I make no apologies for believing that if someone is capable of such a ruthless crime, then they are undeserving and in most cases incapable, of rehabilitation. Murder, assault and sexual offences stay with the victim forever, lest we forget.
The CCTV footage served notice to me. Pink Floyd summed it up perfectly in this song … Don’t turn away. The more we support the victims of these crimes, and the more bullies, thugs and sexual predators we remove from society, the better off we will be.
Jonathan K Benton
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
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