Today I decided to restart the count

51 years have passed and it just seems a bit dry. I kept finding myself remembering, in surprise, that it was my birthday and  I was 51. My mother rang this morning as we were going out and I was a little anxious why she was calling and asked her, “What’s wrong?” She replied, “Happy Birthday”.

So I decided that I would restart the count. So now I am ONE (1), again.

We had friends who are travelling from Estonia, here last night.  Soroor made pancakes for breakfast. We went to a Baha’i devotional meeting. Everyone brought cake. So when I told them I was only ONE, they only put one candle. I blew it out with false gusto. I was asked, “If you are one, why didn’t you cry and wet your pants when everyone sang Happy Birthday.” I said, “That is for my next First birthday.”

It has been a joyful birthday. 51 seemed dry and forgetful. But being One has been truly uplifting.

Resilience and Stoicism

Melbourne University Press’ Little Books, Big Themes series has added an essay on resilience by the daughter of a holocaust survivor who migratred to Australia. Elizabeth Whynhausen describes the resilience of her mother and family, drawing on the traits of: a resolute exceptance of reality, a sense that life is meaningful, and an exceptional ability to improvise. With clear sighted wit, Whynhausen suggests that resilience gets such good press that we tend to gloss over that the tendency of resilient people to view problems from a different perspective may also lead them to become a “little too inventive in finding solutions”.  This latter resonates with the work of economic behaviourists who note that an economic theory of criminality can be derived from the daily behaviours and choices of all of us, well perhaps the most resilient of us.

Whynhausen’s essay has been lauded for her clear recognition of the difference between stoicism and resilience. Stoicism creating a mask of indifference to pain, perhaps allowing it to manifest in a number of other ways. Resilience meaning accepting the pain and bouncingback with affirmation for the beauty of life.

Resilience not only allows people to pick themselves up from difficulties, but to advance through the exploration of new pathways. Stoicism helps them to stay on an ethical path, doing less harm to others along the way. Resilience helps us laugh in the face of trauma. Stoicism helps us stop crying in the face of unending grief.

Rural Resilience

Finally my old friend Professor Hegney’s team’s research on resilience of rural people has been published online. Here is my bottom line summary. Find the full paper here

Individual resilience in rural people: a Queensland study, Australia

Hegney DG, Buikstra E, Baker P, Rogers-Clark C, Pearce S, Ross H, King C, Watson-Luke A.  Individual resilience in rural people: a Queensland study, Australia. Rural and Remote Health 7 (online), 2007: 620. Available from:

Resilience = perserverance (internal toughness), adaptability (individual capacity and skills), social support (community capacity, belonging in community and family),  hope (future visions), spirituality (external faith), connectivity to the environment (belonging in place).

Resilience is undermined by multiple stressors.

How many dimensions?

The mathematician assured me that there is a thing called a point. It can’t really be seen. It has zero dimensions. There are infinite in any length of line. But no, that dot you put on the paper with the pencil, that is not a point. That is not even a line or a plane. That is a volume because the graphite has width and depth.

There is a thing called a line. It also cannot really be seen because it only has one dimension. But be assured there are infinite in any surface. No that line you draw with your pencil is not a real line. It is also a volume. Just a bigger one than when you drew a dot.

The plane or surface also exists. Well you experienced it when you sat on your chair and leaned on the table. Your surface sat on the other surface. But, no it doesn’t really exist to pick it up. If you shave of the top of your table, you are shaving off a volume. There are infinite planes in a volume and you can’t even remove a single one to prove it.

The volume, though, you can know that. After all everything you can experience is a volume, a 3 dimensional thing. Your brain cells and nerve cells are a volume, and they are attached to a volume of your body, so you can experience other volumes.

And there are points and lines and planes in every piece of 3 D stuff that we experience.

Is there a 4 D creature somewhere saying 3d stuff? Can’t see it but it makes for a great backside.

Jokes and thinking

I saw these 3 jokes appended to an email. I liked them, not because they are belly-laughing but because they do that thing of all great jokes – go lateral of the subject and come up with a very different way of looking at it. These are not the jokes that none too subtly hide an aggression. These are jokes that evoke the expansion of mind toward solving difficult problems

  1. The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.
  2.  The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his  work.
  3. To write with a broken pencil is pointless.