3.05pm.

Im @ the same spot by the side of a gravel road me & H spent the night of 24/4/03 on (see ‘12/4/03 – 24/4/03’) bcoz I wanted 2 bgin @ a btiful place (Vic Roads Country Directory : map 62 @ 1.9 x C.8). The road is called Old Gobur Rd & the nearest towns r Merton & Yarck. Ive just bn talking 2 the owner of the hills on either side, Tom Jones, who saw us here then when him & others drove through the gate Im next 2 on a fox eradication program. He says only 1 or 2 cars drive past a week if th@. The property is called ‘Brilliant’ & hes givn me prmission 2 walk about if I want. Hes travelled in inl& australia 2 various places I know & is nfatuated with it bcoz it looks so diffrent. I promised 2 send him a copy of the writing. His address is Yarck 3719. I am writing sitting on the clothes box @ the foldout table on the lee side of the van (as the breeze is chilly) 2 the sound of the curious music of chewing, burping, mooing & peeing as several of the black bullocks we were watching tearing around the last time have come 2 look me over. I think their days of frisking & crazy accelerations r over as they r already looking bulkier. You would b mpressed with the change honey over the ntervening 5 weeks as the hills r vivid green & the creek I crossed is running over the road & there are field mushrooms @ my feet (Tom says hes never seen so many) …. Ive ntrrupted 2 have a couple of buns of turkish bread with prosciutto, tomato & spanish onion. The feeble sun has gone bhind the hill. Some galahs have come 2 roost in the gum tree towering over the van. Tom Jones drove by heading north in the direction of Merton. Ive noticed there r bullocks of dffrnt ages in the paddox & the 1s which have come 4 a look now r much younger than the previous lot & they r practising their head wrestling & capering about. They can sprint uphill 2. Zorca with whom I woz talking yestrday evening @ the “exclusive preview of the magnificently restored DOMED READING ROOM” of the state library (the subject of the main poem I put out last year in a set titled ‘IN MY FATHERS HOUSE’) @ a function 2 which I woz nvited by Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, Chief Xecutive Officer & State Librarian (yes, Adriana, I mix in them kind of circles) would have bn mpressed by all these mushrooms. She tells me she cant distinguish a horse mushroom from a yellow stainer which surprised me as otherwise she is much better nformed on the subject than me. We were quoting John Cage (who said there r old mushroomers & bold mushroomers but no old bold mushroomers) @ each other & both of us have poisoned ourselves 2 the xtent we thought we might b about 2 kark it but Ive done better as when I woz a kid I also poisoned me mum who survived after a night of swooning fits & staggring about. Zorca tells me that she would like 2 live 2 140 (unfair as its double the biblical 3 score & 10) but 1 of the mushrooms she most njoys eating is the 1 that is most easily confused with a death cap. It occurrd 2 me later th@ the real topic of our conversation woz ndeed death & 4 me, who has had more than a fair innings, it may b time 2 rsume my former nterest of xpermenting with mushrooms. I
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know now where 2 get the best info. @ the function (which I @ended with Kate (not 2 b confused with Kate of Eaglemont C/O newsagency, via Noel & Ivan (of the Eaglemont sprmrkt), who is Smart but will b Perera on the 3rd of january & who accuses me of doing 2 many head miles but agrees that the ‘coincidences’ I like 2 write about have nothing 2 do with the mathmatical variety (where events r dfined so as 2 b xactly comprable; Blaise Pascal would b the 1st 2 agree) & who did not have a copy of ‘12/4/03 - 24/4/03’ though I had given an xtra 1 2 Noel & Ivan (as per usual) (18/6/03. this morning under terrorgation Noel confessed th@ he never passed it on) 2 pass on 2 her) my daughter) I met Alec Drummond who it turns out woz rsponsible 4 a major mail-rt (arte-postale) xhibition @ the media xhibition centre years ago. Th@ woz in connection with a Campaigne 4 Ntrnationl Coopration & Disarment (CICD, founded in the 50s & in turn 1 of the founders of People 4 Nucular Disarment (PND)). The collection is available 4 viewing as it woz donated 2 a uni or some such nstution. I am telling u these things Adriana Cozzolini (presidente dell’associazione culturale franco-italiana (association culturelle franco-italienne)) 2 mpress u with the quality of the type of person I knock about with but the truth is when I sent u the collected (17/6/03. mostly by Andrew Saniga but also by Danius Kesminas & Sebastian Salt) works of the project which I done on a trip 2 the Gulf of Carpentaria & which u xhibited du 15 Fevrier au 9 Mars 2003 in your 4 eme Exposition Internationale “Mail Art” (del esposizione dedicata all’arte postale) in Menton on the french riviera I woz barely aquainted with th@ niche of the avant-garde practice or th@ it traces its lineage back 2 Dada nfluences or th@ the term mail-art woz 1st coined by l’artista americano Ray Johnson in 1962. Thank u for the info. I am sure my motives were closer 2 those of Mallarme, Picasso, & Matisse who were doin it b4 any1 had thought 2 call it rt. In fact I no longer think of myself as any kind of rtist finding the word 2 have bcome soiled by overuse & have dleted it from my logo. & yet I feel xtremely chuffed 2 have bn the face of australie wthin your nternational xhibition where u presente aussi un apercu des etonnantes echanges “Mail Art” en Australie, ou les objets les plus divers s’envolent par la voie Postale …. I am boasting 2 every1 about it & even think I dserve the honour 4 if truth b known, Adriana, most of my friends would rather b in Paris or New York or Berlin or 4 gods sake Vilnius, anywhere xept australie whereas I travel the minor byways of this country (17/6/03. but hav just dcided 2 get litho citznship so my kids can travl easily in the EU should they ever b able 2 affrd it) in a state of bmused ntoxication. I notice in the foto u sent that the cards which r vsible accur@ly rpresent my nclinations. Most were written in pubs. I can c 1 cut from a VB (most popular beer drunk in ozzie) carton; a set of pub coaster cards (I seem 2 rmember that the Royal Mail Hotel 1 woz from Booligal where our famous poet Banjo P@erson also got drunk); I can c the 1 with the recipe 4 a Pina Colada cocktail (much drunk by tourists north of Cairns but if u ask 4 1 in Melbourne the barmaid is likely 2 give u a strange stare & if u ask again shell go out back 2 get the manager); I c the stamped beanpod which woz sent from Kurumba on the gulf & which I didnt xpect would get through; & I notice thers 1 sent from Hungerford which is 1 of the places Tom Jones said he went through on his last trip (& which has featured in an issue of the french geographical journal) …. Am interruptin 2 boil up a cuppa on the metho heater…. The ntry is getting 2 long. H has asked me not 2 burble on & Im wondring how long it takes 4 the flouro light, which is very bright, 2 fl@en the b@ry but I still havnt thankd u 4 the btiful scarf u sent 4 H. She wore it the very nxt time we wnt 2 the Bocadillo Bar where Peter (who writes poetry & short stories) failed 2 notice it whn he brought my sangria. Victoria (joint owner) also did not commnt when she brought the sardines but Paul (whose sense of humour has bn sharpned by the fact his father has bn married as often as Mickey Rooney & who keeps his money “perfectly legally” in a US account 2 evade the taxman (but not a US girlfriend) & who as chance would have it grew up on the corner of Locksley rd & Maltravers rd. only a few 00 yrds from our place (bt hd lft b4 we came 31 years ago) & who when H pointed out 2 him (when he told us the other day his surname is Brickhill) th@ his namesake had written 2 books which bcame films of iconic fame, The Dam Busters & The Great Escape, told us Paul Brickhill the writer now dead woz his uncle his fathers brother) whom Ive mntioned in a prvious piece & who had popped in 4 a chat said it would have done justice 2 Zsa Zsa Gabor (who got married almost as many times as Pauls dad said H). I dont know if its Hs style cing as she usually wears jeans, but I think its btiful & if she stops wearing it I
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will. & thank u 4 the xtravagantly lavish commnts u make about my writing (16/6/03. Just as Ive dcided 2 make it undeciphrbl). I cope well with praise. I hope your health (“so…so…”) mproves & your pacemaker rmains faithful & u put on many more xhibitions 4 Menton. Back here in australie my 1st stop after leaving Melbourne @ about 11 woz @ Ian Liddells place in Whittlesea. Ian gave me the magnfcnt picture of his gr&father leading a team of 13 draughthorses (4 rows of 3 & 1 lead horse) I nlcude with the notes.

I woz Ians nglish language teacher in high school & now he is a gr&father (whch I aint). Afterwards I had a lunch of rissoles & veg ($8.50 + $2 = $10.50 + $2.60 4 a pot of beer) on a table made out of a keg by the stove @ the Flowerdale hotel. Goodnight. Wednesday 4/6/03. 8.43am. Last night I woz seething with words so I barely slept. (14/6/03 :

the tranquil night moon mocks the eye of day & i am like a leaden weight suspended by a human hair im spinning like a disk in space

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) I hope 2 settle them by writing, the purpose of the trip. I woz awake when the 1st birds started b4 dawn. Large trees mean large birds : magpies, sulphur crested cock@oos, kookaburras, crows (australian raven – Corvus coronoides) … Just bn talking again 2 Tom & bn ntroduced 2 Bob who is on a trail bike. They brought c@le up the road 2 put in the paddock with the others. 1 woz a large bull. Then Bob (who might b a brother) brought a mob past me from the other direction. I wont need 2 shift the van again as there is only a lone bull left 2 come in from the other side. The property carries mainly sheep 4 shearing & most of it is much hillier than the paddock with the c@le. Theyv had good rain this autumn 4 the 1st time in 6 years. I woz telling Tom th@ when he rturnd past me a 2nd time ystrdy evening I had guessed that he would have taken down my rego & I had prdicted there would b a lock on the gate by the time I sent him the writing @ the nd of the month. After all Im by an unlocked gate 2 a paddock of btiful bullocks on a road which only gets a car or 2 a week th@ have had 2 b h& fed by him over summer. But Tom, who is a Richmond supporter, says there is no histry of stock rustling here, nor of burglary. Until his father died 4 years ago the farmhouse used 2 b left open though now his mother is alone she locks up. In many parts of the country however gates 2 paddox r routinely chained & padlocked. My xperience is that farmers r bcoming more suspicious of travllers as the underlying level of fear in the community rises. Ystrdy over lunch @ Flowerdale I read an rticle I had cut out of the Age in the morning. Its about new law-n4cement powrs that r being signed in2 ffect or proposed since the passage of the USA PATRIOT (Uniting & Strenthening America by Providing Appropri@ Tools Required 2 Intercept & Obstruct Terrorism) Act of 2001 (14/6/03. There must be a whole government department somewhere in Washington where the articulate and switched on yanks with literary degrees from shonky universities in California or the Carolinas sit around and make up those amazing acronyms. I’d love to get a job there, as I really enjoy doing stuff like that – what about BULLSHITS (Bush University of Lame and Lacklustre Spies Hyping Interminable Terrorist Stories)? - helenz) which woz the greatest roll back of civil liberties ever in the US of A. Last year the Bush admnstration proposed an initi@ive called Operation TIPS (Terrorist N4mation & Prevention System) which would have rcruited a million volnteers 2 rport ‘suspicious’ activities 2 law n4cement agencies. It aimed 2 rcruit postal workers, utility workers, dlivery people, cable technicians & any other citizens who might have axess 2 peoples homes & back yards 2 spy on them without the need 4 warrants. The public outcry woz such the proposal woz dropped but on April 18 a new citizen-snoop program called Eagle Eyes has bn ndorsed. The program creates a network of local, 24 hour telefone numbers 4 voyeuristic citizens 2 call whenever they observe “suspicious activities”. Eagle Eyes regards the use of still or video cameras, note taking, drawing diagrams, using binoculars or annotating maps as suspicious activities th@ should b rported. How suss does it make me look!? – I do all those things. & Ive just had a number 2 haircut . The huge US program 2 store personal info on every1 that woz titled Total Information Awareness (TIA) has been renamed Terrorist Information Awareness (still TIA) so ordnary people wouldnt think they r targetted by the project. Whats in a name! They hope 2 b able 2 idntfy potential terrorists by their p@erns of bhaviour. As in all things australia is following in americas ftsteps. As the underlying level of fear in the community ncreases people strt bhaving strangely. Some get over dfensive others overggrssive. Ive noticed that there r people who r shocked if u ask them a question unxpectedly in the street. (14/6/03. That’s because you insist on that convict haircut, darling – helenz). The ncidence of roadrage is ncreasing. I wont go on about it as its dealt with in the film ‘Bowling For Columbine’ much better than I could but I prdict (Tom just drove by with the dog on the ute tray) the level of fear will keep ncreasing so th@ rdiculously minor ncidents (often caused by people who r unwell) will lead 2 major dslocations (eg. mptying of large buildings bcoz a letter with white powder is found) & even major systems (eg. financial) will run the rsk of collapse. People will want 2 wall themslves off from each other & other countries & will only vote 4 govrmnts that assist them 2 isolate themslves from perceived threats. All these powers the state is gathering makes me more frightened of it than of terrorism & they wont help prvent it. The proof ther r no would-b terrorists here is th@ most bushfires r still strted by lightning & the 1s th@ rnt r usually strtd by kids & volunteer firemen even though both Malcolm Fraser & ATSIC chairman Geoff Clark have hinted th@ if ther is a
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failure @ reconciliation with ndigenous people they might strt a few. The ncreasing complxity, size, globalization, & interlocking of systems make opprtunities 4 sabotage so numrous th@ maintaining good will & trying 2 undrst& other views bcomes more mportant than policing & nforcement. But we have chosen 2 go in the oppsite drection. Ncidentally Ive brought the Good News Bible with me bcoz it woz being h&ed out free @ a stall outside the Young & Jackson pub on the corner of Swanston & Flinders st. Its a version that uses ozzie spellin, weights & measures, & nglish as spoken here. & it really is very easy 2 read. It woz being h&ed out by a little guy almost as old as me dressed in full rmy gear. I think he woz a dfender of the faith. (14/6/03. “I promise the chastity of my body, and poverty, and obedience to God, Holy Mary, and You, to the master of the teutonic order, and your successors, according to the rules and practices of the order, obedience unto death” – Oath sworn upon admission into the Teutonic Order (Knights of the Cross))… 2.50. I left @ 11 & drove through Merton & Strathbogie 2 Violet Town where I ate a hambrgr & read the paper (they r hasslin iranian people now, probably 2 please the yanks) over a beer in 1 of the 2 pubs. It struck me as a pretty town. Its on the rail (Sydney/Melbourne), has a bit of a main strip, is tidy & is about 20ks from a lrge town (Benalla). & guess what, honey, they have a muncipal library. It has about 600 people & a bit of a park. A good 3 bedroom brick vneer with ductd heating sells 4 under $150,000. This could b the sort of town 2 buy a house in as security 4 the kids whn we sell Ivanhoe. Ive pulled in2 a swamp rserve off the road from Violet Town 2 Shepparton 2 write this. Bsides Im buggered from lack of sleep so I may take a nap. The plan is 2 head 4 Echuca & northwards 4 sunnier weather. Sorry about the bit of journalese this morning. Its boring & Ive said it all b4 & I shouldnt have added 2 the typing. An event which finished well a few weeks ago in Melbourne woz the 1 I titled ‘An anatomy of a public disturbance’ (see ‘March 11’, p1) where I dscribed an altercation with Maz Salt over a guy dstrbuting peace litrature 2 the patrons of the café (Time Out) that he manages. A few weeks later when I wnt 2 pay 4 our drnks the waitress n4md us they had bn on the house courtesy of the manager. Cing as I had nstgated the rgument I thought it woz a generous & elegant gesture by Maz; a fine way of putting it bhind us & I thank him. A week later I had another 1 of those days which Ive bn dscribing which probly have nothing 2 do with coincidence but more with a sense of familiarity or of the connectdness of evrything (yet people say life can b lonesome & anonmous in the big city). I woz already in the mood on friday evening after Paul Brickhill told us it woz his uncle who woz the writer. Saturday morning I spotted the peace activist in the Vic Market who had bn h&ing out the litrature @ Time Out so I got his name, which is James, & his address (a unit in Elizabeth st) & promsd 2 send him a copy of ‘March11’ even though I had rferred 2 him in it as the ineffectual peacenik. I have a policy of trying 2 give copies of my stuff 2 people mentioned. Id send him this piece 2 xept Ive lost the address. H caught up with me in the rvo & we wnt 4 a walk through the dockl&s 2wards Southbank. As we were passing Jeffs Shed (I nglected 2 mntion in ‘March 24’ that Dan crossed paths in europe with Jeffs son whom he knows from the catwalk & whos still in the ndustry & having a good time) we noticed that ther woz an xhibition of fotos on so we wnt in 4 a look. 1 of the pics woz of Dan. It woz the 1st occasion Id come on a picture of him by chance. We walked through Southbank 2 Time Out café in Federation Square & there woz Maz Salt st&ing out front (usually hes out back) lookin pleased with himself. Earlier th@ day (or the prvious, I cant rmember) he had jumped out of an aeroplane 4 the 1st time @ 14000 feet & he says hes going 2 do it again. In the evening as we wer going back 2 Miller st I spotted James again looking 4lorn in a doorway @ the top nd of Swanston st. A few days later Frank Lovece told me he had a poem 2 give me which woz written by Fran Malone in rsponse 2 my poem about st&ing on the edge of a cliff (see ‘March 11’, p10). It woz writtn about the time Maz did the jump as if 4 the occasion. Fran dsagrees with H that my urge 2 jump off a cliff or swim out 2 c is a death wish. She claims every1 has those urges & pradoxcally they r an urge 4 more living & it seems 2 me th@ @ their xtremities opposites sometimes come very close. Its as if they reach out 2 the other side of a circle. Agony &

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ecstasy almost touch. Fran (a libarian) woz 39 when she took her 1st jmp & she wnt on 2 do 34 more. She says she was terrified every time. Thursday 5/6/03. Alec Drummond reckons Warren Burt said he is going 2 avoid per4min in places where people drink & smoke bcoz his music has a spiritual ntention. I rspect Warrens views so I m surprised such linkages have bn @ributed 2 him. Prhaps Alec misheard or msrported. I have listened 2 many dffring accounts by people of what they mean by the word spiritual & will not rview them here but I cannot imagine how any of them say anything either +itive or –@ive about smokin & drinkin. I must ask Warren next time I c him. His @itude mplies that people in nstutions 4 the mntally dsturbed (who cannot cope with our society) r lacking in spirituality as they r almost all smokers. They love a puff & in many of these places cigarettes r the main item of xchange. & they love a pot of beer 2 xept many r 2 shy 2 go in2 a pub & cant a4d it anyway since their ntire sickness bnefits r dducted 2 pay 4 their board. I saw a bag lady neatly rranging a row of butts of diffrnt lenths she woz picking out of a rubbish bin in Swanston st in2 a beautiful gold cigarette case that she must also have found. I suppose by Warrens linkage she would be a prticularly unspiritual person. I would b able 2 undrst& u, mate, if u didnt want 2 per4m in venues wher people smoke & drnk bcoz the mood in such places ncourages ch@ing rather than listning & your music is not dsigned 2 break in2 convrsations. Or if u said it rquires a long @ention span (which I know it does) & people r not geared 4 it in bars. I bring 2 your considration the fact that smoke, ntoxicants of various kinds, & drugs have bn prt of religious practice since ntiquity. Pipes have bn passed around, arom@tic herbs burnt in confined spaces, ncence nhaled, candles lit, mushrooms consumd. If 2 lead a spiritual life means 2 do the things which r pleasing 2 the gods how have u bcome privvie 2 their prfrnces? I know u r a humble person with no prtence 2 b sharing a table with the mighty but prhaps in a capacity of doorman or caterer u have overheard sn@ches of their convrsations? I want 2 know bcoz I dont ndrst&. What I can say clearly & with certainty is th@ smoking damages lungs & xessive lcohol the liver & brain. If we worship the deities of ndustry, commerce & productivity then it is mportnt 2 b fficient, healthy, have a long working life & rtain a clear head so as not 2 make mstakes in counting out money. Or prhaps we worship the body btiful, smooth complxion, silky hair & nrgetic per4mance. Smokin & drinkin r bad 4 all of these so if thn we r 2 lead a spiritual life, 1 which pleases the gods, we must xclude those habits. Persnlly I have no knowldge of their prfrnces either in music or othrwise (though I suspect music pleases thm) (but is it the kind of music u play @ feasts, or as u march 2 war, or as u bury the dead, or th@ u make in churches, or 2 jmp up & down 2, or th@ u play on sporting occasions or on saturday nights in pubs? & I do not xclude the possibility they r tone deaf) but make the observation th@ jesus of nazareth woz rputed 2 b capable of turning water in2 wine & th@ wine woz consumed @ the last supper & he said it woz as good as his blood. More can b said clearly about what it is we do when we make claim 2 knowldge about what is or isnt spiritual as a
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number of musicians that I know r nclined 2 do. By making it we ncrease our mportance dmnishing th@ of others by comparison. 4 what could b more nnobling than if it woz god himself (or 1 of them) who woz speaking 2 an audience through our music. Not many r chosen 2 b such nstrmnts. The question is what comes 1st. Is the language of spirituality (the usage of) dsigned 2 dsguise a power trip? The role of high priest (always nvolves a mxture of gr&iose & humble gestures; the pope spnds a lot of time on high pl@4ms rms spread out in blessing but also kisses tarmacs) is easily assumed by musicians bcoz of their relationship 2 an audience. It is a tmptation which should b rsisted unless u can also do miracles bcoz great xpectations can b aroused. They r legitimate xpectations which can lead 2 dsppointment if let down. If I were a musician I would not want 2 make the claim my music woz an xpression of the spiritual or had a spiritual ntent or rquired a space suitable 4 the spirit. My rquirements might b silence, an audience prpared 4 the kind of music I play, good quipment, good accoustics … 6.05. Hay N.S.W. I wrote this mornings ntry in an @ractive reserve on the Broken River about 10ks east of Shepparton which I probably would have trouble finding again. It woz flowing well along a s&y shore. The trees were river red gums (e. camaldulensis). Then drove northwest avoiding Shepparton 2 Barmah where I had a hambrgr & read the Age in the pub & on 2 here. The idea woz 2 get north of the bad weather. Ive just bought a stubby of beer & 1 of Sheaf stout & am parked 4 the night on the edge of a drop overlooking the Murrumbidgee. Heard on the news the lousy weather will continue 4 days down south & I hope the roller door doesnt blow down again @ Miller st or a tree drop @ Ivanhoe. Possessions bring worries (but not as many as not having em). Ive just opened the Tooheys New & continue my commnts on m@ers spiritual. On sunday evening I filled in 1½ hours playing a pokie @ the Crown casino. Th@s how long it took 2 use up the $5 I woz prpared 2 lose. I woz playing a sngle line on a 10c machine & woz up 30 bucks 4 awhile. Observing the people woz more njoyable than pressing the button as I havnt bn in ther 4 a year or more. Aftrwrds it occurred 2 me Im a kind of counter-hare-krishna or anti-krish since I favour meat in my diet, drink lcohol 2 xess, gamble & am ndulged in sx – the 4 sins according 2 thm. Earlier in the day I had eaten lunch @ litho house in Errol st. wher Nijole Kairaitis showed me an rticle about her brother Marijonas Vilkelis from the Weekend Australian Magazine (March 8-9). The rticle ncludes his recipe 4 ‘kugelis’ which is regularly on the menu @ litho house xept he doesnt nclude fried chopped up bacon (which I reckon is ssential) as he is a vegan. There is a colour foto of him looking remarkably like a Michlangelo frsco or William Blake etching of god. He has a web site (www.heaven-on-earthproject.com) which contains his recipes, phlosophies & stories which he says sound like mumbojumbo but make prfct snse 2 him. He does long fasts. On the 35th day of the 1st he had visions which he says have left him with a prfound nsight in2 the nature of life & death. He set up a vgtarian restaurnt where customers paid by donation in2 a bucket from which they could take change. I had heard of him b4 as he has legendry st@us in the Lismore & Byron Bay area wher he has also had vgtarian restaurnts. I admire xentrics like him & the hare krishnas bcoz they show by practcl xample there r altern@e ways of xisting in society. But not of the ways they xpress their ideas. Still doing it is what counts wheras my 4te is the talk. It turns out that Nijole knows another xentric of litho background. This is the person that Raymond Gaita mentions in his outst&ing book ‘Romulus My Father’ who lived in a shelter btween 2 granite rocks & pickled vgtbls in his own urine. Gaita also talks about his gentleness & affinity 4 animals in his latest book currently on the shelves ‘The Philosopher’s Dog’. He has vsited him in the nstution in Ballar@ where he now lives. Nijole who visits him every 6 months or so with a group of phlanthropic women connected 2 litho house says when he cs them the 1st thing he says, dspensing with greetings or any signs of appreciating their fforts is “Have you brought the cigarettes?” But the last time they hadnt she says bcoz the hospitl asked them not 2. Apparently they r not good 4 his health. I ask u – here is an old man who hasnt even got the dough 2 buy himself a fag & whn some good hearted womn want 2 give him some 4 nothing the hospitl prvents thm – can u blieve it Raymond!? Can u do somethin bout it? Mayb pull rank as a phlosphr or ethcist & go & xplain a few things 2 them. Friday 6/5/03. 8.45 am. Its cold but the sky is cloudless & whn the sun clears the big trees on the other side of the bank it will wrm the van quickly as I sit writing
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nside. @ 8.00 I heard church bells, sevral joggers have gone by , a man took his dog 4 a run by driving his car while the dog ran bhind. It should b a good day. After talking 2 Nijole on sunday I woz xplaining 2 Andrius Vaitekunas my objections 2 the use of the term ‘lithuanian genocide’ 2 dscribe the @rocities suffred by lithuanians @ the h&s of the soviets during & after the 2nd war. In lithuania they talk of 2 genocides : of the jews by the germans & of lithuanians by the russians. I woz njoying his company 2 much & the glass of red wine he always buys me 2 adequ@ely make my point or 2 make it sufficiently 4cefully. The topic came up bcoz ther is a dsplay of fotos being prpared (mayb 4 the yearly commemoration (15/6/03. It woz 2day) of the victims & the dported) & some1 had rferred 2 it by th@ misnomer. I am taking the opportunity 2 make the point again as he is 1 of those in the community who get my writing. By its derivation the word genocide means the annihilation of a race or tribe of people. The litvaks were dstroyed; the ethnic lithuanians were not. No order 2 xterminate ethnic (non-jewish) lithuanians woz ever issued. If the soviets had ordered their xtermination as the german leadership had of the jews thn they & their collaborators (which most (I had a lot of trouble dciding whther 2 say many or most & crossed each word out sevral times. I havnt done a straw poll but my mpression is th@ even those who dont make the claim mply or blieve it) lithos claim wer dsprportiontly (or only, or mostly, or acted as a 5th column) jews) would have annihilated thm just as completely (they had more time in the nd) as the germans & their collaborators (lithuanians) did the jews. The soviets who had since Lenins days adopted state terror (nowadays u would call it state terrorism) as a legitimate means of effecting social outcomes murdrd, torturd, brutlizd, perptratd barbarisms, dportd 2 siberia (my fathers brother (a vet) ddnt know his wife who had bn separately rrested woz in a camp only 100ks away nor did she th@ he woz (neither had known of the others rrest); when he woz able 2 return after Krushchevs dstalinization minus his toes which had bn lost 2 frostbite & unable 2 take prt in family life (17/6/03. his children who had bn designated ‘children of the enemies of the people’ & wer dnied state privileges in a country wher every1 dpended on them had bn raised by a crazy aunt. His father (my gr&father), a peasant owning 12 hectares of birch swamp, woz dispossessed & also classified as an ‘enemy of the people’) bcoz he woz emotionally dysfunctional he found out she had died there) but they did not order the xtermination of the lithuanian race. Those who collaborated with soviet state terrorism did not system@ically round up all the people of lithuanian ethnicity (in the 1940 dportation jews were overreprsented) whom they could find regardless of age or sx & shoot them @ short range 2 b buried in pits (dug in advance) nearby. Th@ is why when I hear lithos say ‘lithuanian genocide’ (not th@ the word blongs to any1 & by now it has bn dluted (16/6/03. over the period of my lifetime) 2 the point of having bcome useless. Ive heard koori activists rfer 2 the glue sniffing epidemic in the nland as a white genocide of aborigines & talk of “cultural genocide”. So why use it@ all?) I always thnk of the holocaust (burn all of it) which is not their ntention when they say it. Guilt draws @ention 2 itself by the way it keeps silent & blushes – the parallel in language is its dliberate misuse. The term I favour, should a title b given 2 the dsplay, is RED TERROR IN LITHUANIA. …. 4.00. Maude, N.S.W. Some claim th@ language (labelling) by structuring the way we prceive the world dtrmines how we will act. But 2 say it like th@ is msleading & suggests a rversal of the order of what happens. The primary sources of action r mute & simple by comparison 2 the elaborate linguistic systems that evolve from thm. We act 1st thn xplain or justify later & thn we act again & construct further elaborations (some might call them tissues of lies). Th@s why the sins of the fathers r passed down the generations & lies r multiplied. We view ourselves backwards but must live 4wards (Kierkegaard). We cannot nfer the eye from what it cs (Wittgenstein). (15/6/03. we know we have eyes bcoz we c ourselves in mirrors & each other but the meaning of what we c as ndividuals is 4ged by agreemnts & what we c jointly does not allow us 2 dduce the configuration (or nature) of our joint eye (gaze).) A consquence of our progressive complxfcation in language is that it is mpossible 2 learn from the past – history doesnt rpeat itself…..6.00 The bank of the Murrumbidgee (see ‘12/4/03 – 24/4/03’ p 4 ) near Maude. Norm, who lives in the pub & has gout, says the river is the lowest hes cn. Whole stands of full size river red gums r dead. The fishing is good apparently : yellow belly & cod r plentiful & there rnt as many carp as there used 2 b. I saw the lttle bearded guy in the pub who woz barracking 4 Collingwood when we watched the footy (vs North)
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when we were stuck here but he didnt rcognize me. Woz tmpted 2 pull a stunt on him by saying I reckon u r a magpie fan but rsisted. I came here bcoz I wanted 2 read the paper in a pub & the choice woz btween Booligal (which isnt the Royal Mail I realized whn I passed it @ Booroorban on the way 2 Hay & which is operating again) 90ks north & Maude 60ks west. Chose Maude bcoz of the spacious well lit bar. In this country it means I havnt gone anywhere. Flocks of white geese r still waddling about in front of the pub & they mix well with the pelicans on the weir. There is a bush toilet here of local dsign & construction which is a beauty. Its made by cutting the side of a corrugated iron water tank vertically & pulling 1 edge nside the other so u have an ntry but r out of view from outside. Never cn th@ b4 & its a great idea. In the morning I topped up with water & ptrol, fotografd a mural on the sprmrkt wall, got a more dtailed map of western New South, had a look @ the weir a bit out of Hay off the road 2 Maude, bought another biro. The wind is still strong & there is some cloud in the west. The strngth & direction suggests there wont b serious rain otherwise I wouldnt b parked here. The sign says 60 people live here. Bsides the pub ther is a genral store. Saturday 7/6/03. 2.30. 2 get here u go 36ks north from Hay 2 One Tree (derelict house)(8/6/03. There is also a One Tree in the north west corner of N.S.W. 42ks south of Milparinka) & turn west along a single lane sealed strip 4 26ks 2 the Lachlan river & Im another 25 or so ks further along a dirt road. Ive bn driving through treeless plain but here Im on the edge of a sparse patch of black box in a dpression which in normal years would b swampy. Im about 300 yrds off what is a good road along which u would xpect no more than 1 or 2 vhicles a day. I left my spot last night @ 10.15 pm bcoz it strted raining lightly & even though I got going after only 10 or so mnutes the track woz already slidy. The black clay around Maude must b some of the tackiest in ozziel&. The publican said I could park 4 $5 in the yrd but eventually I settled on the park by the weir. I could hear all sorts of ngines strting & stopping & what sounded like amplfied radio commnts about water allotments though I dont thnk there woz any1 ther. Ther were weird calls throughout the night of the kind u xpect whn ther r lots of water birds about. The 1st wake up came from roosters which always rminds me of my childhood. Some people came 2 set up a bbq @ around 8am 4 a vntage car ownrs pcnic & a 4x4 with a tinny on top & 2 pig hunting dogs in a wire cage nside drove in & out. When I wnt 2 the store 2 top up with ptrol as I woz ntending 2 drive north through Oxley in2 the station country I dscovered I had lost my ptrol cap (15/6/03. cost $48 2 rplace back in Melbourne). So I drove back 2 Hay 2 find the Toyota dealer shut 4 the long weekend. On the way I had passed the column of 30 or so vntage cars heading 4 the pcnic. In Hay I saw an assembly, prsumably a diffrent club, of rstored Mini Minors. In the nd I had 2 make do with a temprary plastic cap which I have trouble getting on as its 2 small but @ least its air tight. Read the paper @ a table by the dsused heritage railway station (where wev stopped the last few times wev bn in Hay), bought a 6pack of Sheaf stout (coz it doesnt hav 2 b cold), & here I m. On the way I lstened 2 the Coodabeens on the ABC. Id 4gotten how good the program can b. Losing the ptrol cap shows how preoccupied Ive bn. My ntention 4 the trip from the strt has bn 2 give xpression 2 a perception I have which is clear 2 me but I m finding the language 2 xpress it (pass it on) elusive. Prhaps it will have 2 wait till another trip (if ever). The process by which it happens is baffling. In a mysterious way the ntire body & everything u do is nvolved. Kate (c/o) would b more concerned if she knew th@ I sometimes dream in a kind of wordless & image free (meaningless Wittgenstein would say) dialectic which is nterrupted when I wake up briefly & rsumes as I drift off 2 sleep again. If it is sleep? As the process takes hold during the days I wander about in a kind of abstracted daze & H keeps annoying me by asking if Im alright. (15/6/03. And you keep annoying me by being practically catatonic and not listening to a thing I say, so I have to keep repeating questions, bits of information etc. and steering you out of the way of oncoming buses – helenz). In this state u bcome 4getful (when driving 2) & u can fall in2 a ditch as the ancient phlosphrs were nclined 2. Socrates is rputed 2 have on 1 occasion rmained st&ing immobile lost in thought 4 24 hours. Every occupation has its dangers. In a set of lectures published under the title ‘The Politics of Truth’ (Semiotext(e) 1997) which bgins with a dscussion of an Immanuel (god is with us) Kant ssay ‘Was ist Aufklarung?’ (‘What is Enlightenment?’) Michel Foucault makes the claim th@ Kant naugurates a new kind of nquiry which has bcome the main preoccupation of subsquent european phlosphrs. Since ntiquity
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they have asked such questions as what is justice? what is good gvrnmnt? how should we bhave 2 mprove ourselves? how should we educate ? etc., but since Kant their primary concern has bcome what is it th@ I am part of, this present, this ntensity, this here, all this, this ….? Specifically he lists Nietzsche, Heidegger, Habermas & others but significantly not Wittgenstein who woz 2 humble (in the nd), I suggest, 4 such an ambitious project (17/6/03. we know from his corrspndnce & his sister th@ although he knew b4h& th@ history would honour him he would hav prferred 2 hav bn able 2 write poetry or hav composed 1 good piece of music 2 his ntire output of phlosophy) I do not read Kants ssay which is about mancipation from tutelage (women r ncapable of it he says (15/6/03. Ah well, some of us Kan and some of us Kant – helenz)) as illustrtve of Foucaults claim & I doubt if any of those phlosphrs would have xpressed what they (& Foucault himself) wer doing the way he does yet I rcognize in the way he puts it th@ I m prt of the nterprize. But it is not so much a matter of asking questions but of providing a language 2 share an amazement. All of us can c & hear but if we cant put it in2 words its as if we c without cing & hear without hearing. @ any rate its how it is 4 wordy people like me. When you find words 4 it u feel rested & your friends show their appreciation by buying u glasses of wine. Vaidas (of Birds gallery) who is back in lithol& 4 a couple of months (see ‘March 24’) tells me his gr&fathers uncle woz a godmaker (‘dievdirbys’ in litho) by trade. These wer itinerant craftsmen like tinkers who wandered from village 2 village 4 a living carving roadside icons & wooden statues 4 religious ceremonies. I work with words. Sunday 8/6/03. 9.30. I can tell th@ the clayey dirt Im on which is the colour of baby shit(15/6/03 How would you know (she cries in indignation)? You boast unashamedly (shame!) that you never changed a nappy in your life – helenz)(dsimilar 2 the dark grey river bank @ Maude) turns in2 mud of supreme tackiness with the +ition of the slightest moisture. The surface is pitted @ r&om with sinkholes about the size of rabbit holes but which go vertically down 4 a foot or more. Cant imagine how they 4m but theyd b easy 2 drop a wheel in2 as u cant c some o them bcoz of the grass. Ncidentlly the plains r green & ther is st&ing water in clay dpressions. It is amazing that u can b nxt 2 xellent (whn dry) roads that go 4 00s of ks in complete prvacy (no1 has drivn by) on a long weeknd whn ½ the poplation of australia r on the road. They go 2 set spots. My rward 4 having riskd going off the road is th@ bcoz I faced the van in2 the wind (as I always do), which woz coming from the west, the back where I had brekkie sitting on the bumper & am writing now @ the card table is warmd by the full strngth of the early sun. Last night woz cold but & I had 2 go out 4 a crap. Had 2 dig a hole in the tacky clay as I hadnt thought 2 in the evening. Back in Melbourne last sunday I also met up with Algy Klimas 4 the 2nd time since I had mntioned in ‘March 24’ th@ he hasnt managed 2 learn a guitar tune in 40 years of lessons. The previous time he told me his current teacher, a rltively young man, had had a heart @ack since I wrote the rticle. I didnt like 2 suggest 2 him th@ his teacher might have bn flabbergasted by the least talented student hed ever had & anyway hed pulled through (a flat tray truck wnt by) but I think Algy must have rung 2 nquire about his health or whn the nxt lesson woz coz his teacher has had a relapse. (a ute wnt by). Algy woz complaining ther woz a rumour going round he woz some kind of music moron. His mum (she sends her rgards 2 u, mum) rminded him ther wer other nstruments hed failed 2 master. Viva who runs the credit union (TALKA) joined a table I woz @. He blongs 2 a club which draws its members from the finance ndustry, bankrs etc, called the WANKERS CLUB. They elect a WANKER OF THE WEEK. During the week I saw 2 films : ‘Russian Ark’ & ‘Matrix Reloaded’. The 1st is 4 people with a long @ention span & the 2nd 4 those with short 1s. Dennis Spiteri had said ‘Russian Ark’ woz the most rdiculous boring film hed ever cn & woz ntrestd 2 hear my commnts after I saw it. I make them now : the nd sequence 4 which the rest woz a build up woz, in my humble opinion, 1 of the great cinematographic achievements. Met Cynthia (sister of Kate across the road @ Miller st) @ the market who had a diffrnt ntrprtation of it 2 mine (how confident they had bn; how it woz all swept away). She said shed like 2 b dancing like they had. I ddnt want 2 spoil it by telling her how their serfs lived so I recommnded she read Pushkin. During the week the papers had bn rporting the rsults of a long term study in the US which had 2 b ab&oned bcoz it woz doubling the rate of dmentia in the study group. Doctor after doctor woz coming out with the reassurance there woz no need 2 worry coz the ncrease woz only small from an ncidence of 1% 2 1 of 2%. Years ago when a
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majr study on pot came out ther wer leading doctors thn 2 who said the ncrease in schzphrnia from 1% 2 2% woz only small. They should b made 2 live with thm – thn they wouldnt think it woz so small. A Sydney prof woz rported 2 have said very few womn of 65 in australia get hormone replacement therapy – only 10%! Th@s small?! Meaning is rel@ive (Wittgenstein). My doctor checks my oesophagus yearly bcoz he worries about changes in problities of several units per 000. If hardly any doctors had bn using the treatment theyd all b shouting how large an ncrease it woz. One prof said there woz no need 2 get 2 concerned about other simlar hormnal treatments bcoz the study (the only longitudinal 1 done in the field) hadnt shown thm 2 also b dangerous (like saying Saddam has no more WMDs bcoz wev found some). Others wer saying if old womn r doubling their rate of dmentia young womn getting the same treatment neednt worry. Id b worrying more! I reckon any woman who takes the treatment from now on already has early signs of dmentia. In the same week I read an ssay by Norman Malcolm & some ssays in rply dscussing whthr or not Wittgensteins point of view woz a religious 1. Ncidentally he woz quoted as saying on sevral occasions th@ the suffring of the whole of humanity can b no greater than the suffring of 1 man. George Luis Borges (a couple of Andrew Sanigas post grad students (archtects from spain) xplained 2 me that I had bn wrong 2 rfer 2 him as Luis since George Luis in spanish is a sngle name though not hyphenated; I notice that in his book ‘The Game’ John Clark calls him George) says similar thngs. Borges certainly thnks its a significant thng 2 say; Wittgentstein usually makes statements 2 draw @ention 2 problems in language use rather than 2 ndicate a position. The statement makes no sense. Its resonance comes from @ributing characteristics of ndividuals 2 humanity (anthropomorphizing the group). Suffring blongs 2 the ndividual. The use of the word (facial xpressions, appropri@ gestures, vocalization) is learnt by practice & imitation. We dont know what the word means if its applied 2 humanity. If we talk about the suffring of 6000 as compared 2 6000000 or 60000000 all we r doing is showing we can count, dmonstrating our consensus about what numbers mean … The whole is not the sum of the prts – we cannot know what it is. In the book there is a letter from Wittgenstein 2 his friend Drury wher he xprsses his concern th@ he might have undermined Drurys (who had 1ce thought of ntering the priesthood) rligious faith. I have the same worry (19/6/03. I hope th@ prply ndrstood my point of view does not ndrmine either rlgious practice or the dvotions of mystics but reinforces thm nstead. Howver the rout I take may not b availbl 2 most. I do my best 2 give xplntions but it could be Im ndrstood only by those who dont need thm while othrs msuse thm. Building a structure may nvolve ntial dmltion wrk.) specially as I have a habit of @acking the claims of rligious nstutions & hierarchies, something Wittgenstein never did. I do not mourn the death of the cartesian god (the dead god of Nietzsche) but my weapons of dconstruction r aimed primarily @ reductionists, & scientism …. 5.15. In a fl@ featureless plain. Going east this track comes out @ the Cobb highway about 28ks away @ a point about 42ks north of Booligal. The sun is slipping below the horizon now. There is a drlict homestead & shearing sheds nearby which Ill nvestigate tmorrow. I ate t 30ks back in a patch of old man saltbush under a few scrubby trees. U get ntimidated out in the open by its hugeness & ck any feature @ which 2 stop. There is always broken glass in those places. The soil here is of a dust fine silt & Id hate 2 c the track get wet overnight. When I woz writing in the morning a couple more cars wnt by but I havnt cn a vhicle since. After the writing I strolled among the black box 4 a short time & heard the flute like calls, one of the most hauntingly btful of bird songs in australia & characteristic of the inl&, of the pied butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis). Its going 2 b a cold night again. Not many ozzies c this kind of country yet it goes on 4ever, & u can camp anywhere along 000s & 000s of miles of roadside. Just get out of it if its gunna rain. Drinking Sheaf stout. Dug the hole. Monday 9/6/03. 10.11am. Nvestigated the ruins. Everything is 2gether & thoughtfully ntgrated. Homestead, meat shed, gnrator shed, the shearers 1/4s which r drectly out back of the house so the main kitchen served it 2, & the lrgest structure is the shearing shed. The rubbish dump is a few 00 yards away & there r 2 clumps of the very lrge cactus with 20ft high flower stalks which lean about in a chractristic manner when they dry out. U get thm all over australia but they were ntroduced from america. Waves of scavngrs scour these places 4 collectbles till nothing small of the slightest value is left but without the dstractions it makes the xellence of the overall dsign more apparent. The mpty rooms prvide good sites 4 nesting
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swallows & they fly about your head twittrin. Now th@ Im back @ the van Im being buzzed by flies. The weather has changed. The wind has dropped 2 a slight breeze from the east. The sun is bhind a layr of cloud whch is clearing from the south west. I reckon the best weather of the trip is coming over the nxt few days. @ The Errol in Errol st. H drew my @ention 2 an rticle about some rsearch that is being done in2 the happy centre in the brain. Apparently this is a smallish area something like a walnut in appearance called the amyglia (if I rmember rightly). The universty don doin the rsearch is rported 2 have said that now we really know that buddhists r happier bcoz his rsearch prvides an ndpndnt measure of whther people r happy. What crap! I can xplain the flaw in the assertion 2 a school kid. How come a rsearch scientist cant c it? The ntrstin thing though is that this kind of faulty assertion is frquently made by otherwise sensible people so u have 2 ask yourself why it happens. The fault lies in the fact that this is 1 of those words wher we hav no clear notion of what it is that we mean in the 1st place so we dont know what we r measuring. What some call happiness others may call bovine contentment. We may hav no trouble in agreeing we r happy during ntercourse but some may dspute th@ a state of buddhist contmplation is their idea of happiness. The word is used in a baffling variety of contrdictry ways but whn the rsearcher woz measuring which prt of the brain woz sparking whn people volunteered they were happy prhaps on a scale of 1-10 he had 2 hav a preconceived idea of his own about the meaning of the word so as 2 eliminate those who told lies or who didnt spark up in conformity with the dgree of happiness they claimed on the scale. & I spose those who didnt spark up @ all & who pleaded they were telling the truth just didnt know their own mind or the meaning of the word. The point is the ncentive 2 look 4 an ndpndnt yrdstick in this case comes prcisely from the knowledge th@ we cant agree on what we mean by the word otherwise wed know whos the happiest simply by asking. Even if no rsponses r eliminated u still nd up only with avrages ndicating the dgree of consensus & th@ peoples rsponses r dstrbuted along a norm@ive curve (boy! those flies). I spose prozac which Im told is used by a huge number of people these days puts the amyglia in2 a state of prmanent glow & many will confirm they have bcome happier but significantly some wont. Thats 2 b xpected since language comes from (xtenion , xpansion, complxfcation)the body. (car wnt by). But the dbate about what constutes happiness will continue & will not b settled by a so called ndpndnt yrdstick bcoz 4ging meaning is a social task (its what Wittgenstein means when he says th@ the st&ard metre in Paris isnt a metre long) 2 which many groups contribute bsides the scientists. Should we dcide happiness is something very diffrent 2 what we had prviously thought then all th@ would rsult is th@ a rsearcher would find a diffrent bit of the brain is aglow when we say how happy we r. The history of language shows such changes take place. The dsire 4 an ndpndnt measure comes from a dsire 2 mnpulate & control by those who by owning the measure would lay claim 2 the meaning (usage) of the word. (same car came back)…. 5.40. Staying here again 2night. Im much less active than I would b back home wher Im on the bike. Stood about the van lisning 2 the footy. Cmon the pies! Last week I prmised 2 shout the boys 2 the game (17/6/03. Joe, Dan, & me saw them play their worst 1 of the year) @ the MCG nxt sunday whn Im back whn they take on the hawks if they catch up with me @ litho house @ lunchtime. A few genrl commnts @ how words r used. Wittgenstein is very good @ dmonstrating th@ certain words such as ‘cause’ but specially words dscribing so called nternal states such as ‘ntention’ & ‘memory’ dsintegrate under scrutiny. It happens 4 a variety of reasons but my observation is th@ in many cases its their role 2 b vague & even contradictory so th@ the struggle over their usage provides fulcrums 4 social change. As the inside/outside metaphor loses @ractiveness as a way of dscribing human beings the ‘nternal state’ words which have supported it & bn in rturn supported by it will bcome less clear in their meaning. Another reason words can collapse under scrutiny is bcoz we use some words 2 shunt aside our failure 2 underst& a situation. We label something & it feels under control. An xample is whn we use the word coincidence 2 dscribe xtrrdinarily unlikely events in daily life. In mathmatics it has a precise meaning otherwise its used 2 disguise the unknown. A couple of weeks ago I woz asking H about hypnosis bcoz I woz wondering if there r common factors in the relationship of gurus or cult high priests 2 their followers with that of a hypnotist & his subject. It seems the subject willingly h&s over his autonomy 2 the hypnotist & in rturn in some cases can be
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rlieved of pain eg during a tooth xtraction or even an operation. If it really happens its most mysterious & byond my undrst&ing. It would help me accept the possibility that Master Li of Falun Dafa really does transfer powers 2 his followers. H rmarked that its just another eg of ‘mind over matter’. Well if u can blieve in mind over matter u can blieve in anything but especially in miracles. But most people like H would dny they blieve in miracles. Here the phrase mind over matter & the scientific sounding word hypnosis hav bn used 2 shunt our ignorance in2 a siding. Living in a world of 2 many unknowns is dstablizing & prvents action. Most of us opt 4 certainties. By the way u get great sunsets on a dead fl@ plain. There woz a red 1 2night. Thers 1 of those rings around the moon which r supposed 2 mean good weather nxt day. Its getting cold. Im turning in. Tuesday 10/6/03. 9.40am. Another bit of rportage on rsearch caught my eye. Apparently a geneticist in the US has shown we share 95.5% of our genentic code with the chimps. This is up from the prvious estimate of 94% or some such. What diffrence does it make? What if he found we were 99.99% the same or only 30% the same? Has anything changed now we know we r more similar than we thought b4? A lady I once knew used 2 look meaningfully @ me & tell me we were no diffrent 2 animls. She had read a book called ‘The Selfish Gene’ by Lyall Watson who coined the word replicators 2 dscribe people & xplained everything from why blondes prfered rich men 2 why doctors married nurses (they used 2 thn) by the dtermination of our genes 2 survive. U can talk like th@ if u want 2 but it means uve overlooked nearly everything we do : our books, our music, our rligions, our cities, aeroplanes, nucular weapons, our poetry, our capacity 2 dstroy ourslvs. The fact is within the animl kingdm chimps r more like cats & dogs or elephants or b&icoots than they r like us. Even if it is only 0.000001% of the genetic code which is rsponsble 4 language it has wholly seprated us from the rest of the animls. We can xamine the liver, heart, brain & the other organs which constitute us without getting the slightest knowledge of what a person does. We cannot know the shape of an organ or what it does from xamining the cells of which it is made unless we already know the organs role. The most careful xamination of the ½ doz or so elements which make up cells doesnt give us the faintest hint th@ they can b rranged in2 a cell. ( a brown falcon (Falco berigora) perched on a twig of a dead bush is keeping me under obsrvation; its a btiful still day; flies). If u want u can say we r 100% like the chimps bcoz we r composed of the same few elements. But we r as diffrent as r our appearances & practices. @ every new level of orgnization in the genealogy of the human body the components which go 2 make up the nxt level show a greater range of dffrnces among themselves. We can view each other as a play of dffrnces. What chance is ther thn th@ if we in turn r the components of another levl of orgnization, of a greater whole (prhaps in lnguage) th@ we can hav any notion of it? Can an @om conceive of a cell? or a cell imagine a pancreas? can a finger or an eye or a nose imagine a human being? ….. 4.08. Maude @ a pcnic table in the weir park. Id 4gotten 2 mention that on sunday not far from where I camped I drove past 3 feral pigs. They trotted off without being overly concerned. This morning I left @ about 11.15 & drove 2 the Cobb highway. In the time I woz @ the ruins (sunday evening – tuesday morning) 3 cars had driven past. All these roads have tracks going off thm 2 windmills about 6 of which wer vsible from wher I woz parked so u can drive a few 00 yrds along 1 of these as I did & park nxt 2 it. I realize now it makes better sense 2 park by the main track bcoz with so little traffic u get enough prvacy & it gives a chance 4 some1 driving by 2 stop 4 a ch@. Even owners rnt prpared 2 come out 2 u if u r 00s of yards away as it makes them appear nosey. I njoy talking 2 people & they like 2 have their curiousity satisfied. Strictly speaking the right 2 camp by the road only xtends a chain (22 yrds – ie a cricket pitch) either side so u should ask prmission if u go on2 1 of the windmill tracks which r private. Drove south along the highway past Booligal & when I drove past One Tree (17/6/03 : in my desert there is a single tree tree of life
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desert birds perch in its branches their calls echo in silence there are no visitors all is wilderness flat to the horizon nothing needs doing just lie in the shade gazing past branches into a deepness of sky one day men will come with axes chop down the tree and scatter the birds then there will be a burning sun in silence

) again Id done a full circle. Back in Hay I woznt able 2 get a ptrol cap from the Toyota dealer but did get an Age from the newsagent. Mainly 4 the footy stats. Rmembrd 2 check the mobile b4 I got 2 far out of Hay & there woz a message from H left ther on sunday evening. Shes fine. She caught up with Kate who is in a very postive mood having bn givn top marks by her suprvisor. He advisd her 2 apply 4 schools 4 non-mainstream kids like @ Swinburne & 2 put herself down 4 VCE xam correction. Joe & Tony r loading up her new computer with various programs which theyve pirated. H rang mum 2 wish her a happy brthday. Shes rsigned 2 having 2 giv up driving after the stroke.(a huge flock of wood swallows & galahs have taken 2 the air & r twitterin & doing aerobatics overhead whch has set off the watr birds squawking). B4 H finished talking the b@ery on the mobile conkd out & I havnt bn on the road long enough 2 rcharge it so Ill ring from the booth outside the store 2night. She said every1 else woz OK 2. Though she hasnt cn Joe & Ben, Dan vsits thm all the time. Down here its a prfct, cloudless, still evening. Later Ill go down 2 the pub 4 a beer & try & catch H b4 she leaves 2 vsit Vi. Then Im getting 2 stubbies & going down 2 the rvr bank 4 the night mayb, honey, 2 the same spot we were stuck in … Rang from the pay fone in the pub as the 1 in the booth outside the store is out of order though it had bn working earlier 2day. H is getting her eyes tested on friday. Dan reckons hes heading 4 the US in july (18/6/03. 4 3 months (work visa) & then hopes 2 hav an rrangement with a jap agency 2 go ther 4 6 weeks). Told H 2 tell them (ncluding Kate) 2 catch me after 12 @ litho house if they still want 2 go 2 the footy on sunday. @ the pub we dscovered we were all (3 others ncluding the little guy whos a pie supporter) practiclly the same age. Wednesday 11/6/03. 8.50am. My fngers r frozen. I m keeping me left h& in my right rmpit as Im writing & blowing on the fingers of me writing h& btween words. There r a pair of whistling kite (Milvus sphenurus) in a dead gum across the rvr. U can tell when theyr in the vicinity b4 u c them by their call. Some pelicans flew by using the rvr bed as a highway. A bit past the kites a pair of white-bellied c eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) r perchd on a low branch over the rver bed. U dont xpect them in the inl&. Their white breasts r brilliantly highlighted by the morning sun. The big news here is that ther is barely a trickle of water in the rvr bed bcoz it has bn held back @ the prvious weir while they rplace or rpair the gates on this 1. Th@ xplains why all the water brds r so xited & active. Its dsturbing 2 come back after being away only a few days 2 find a
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deep & wide rvr mpty. It makes u realize the 1ce mighty Murrumbidgee has bcome little more than a drain @ the service of the rrigators. The same is true of most of the streams running through the riverina. Bcoz the plains r so fl@ paddox can b made prfctly lvl with the aid of lazer technology so they can b workd by hugh machinery. It makes this marginal country where topsoil is easily blown away during windstorms more @ractive 4 agribusiness than more suitble country 2 the east & south. The dmand 4 water is nsatiable. U wonder wher the btiful & xtremely large (& tasty they say) freshwater crays hide when the river is drained like this. 2 th@ ddnt get away r mounted on boards on the wall in the pub. Thes r known as the Murray Crayfish & r the 2nd lrgest of the 90 or so freshwater crays in australia xeeded in size only by the huge Marron of WA. If there r any lrge old river cod left they must b trying 2 hide in holes in the river bed (whch ncidntlly is rmarkbly free of snags) which r few & far btween. There is 1 whch Norm pointd out 2 me wher I woz parked last time 4 awhile whch is nearly 40 ft deep. The locals know thes refuges & dangl hooks in2 thm. (Ive drivn 2 the Maude Weir Park 2 b in the sun; later Ill brush me teeth 4 the 2nd time on the trip & wash me face & h&s in the washbasin in the toilet; I can hear pied butcher-birds). Though technologies r xtntions of ourselves their rlative ugliness (straight lines, angularities, smooth & unnaturally shiny surfaces, hardness, sharp edges) stems from the fact they r outgrowths of only the smplest components of whch we r 4med bcoz thes r the easiest 4 us 2 brng in2 view. Now th@ our molecular sciences have progressed 2 the point wher we can tamper wth, manpulate, & duplicate our cells we have dvelopd a capacity 4 a new set of technologies wher we can 4m xtensions of oursleves @ the nxt (though still xtremely subsidiary lvl in complxty) lvl of the components th@ constitute us. I m not mpressd. Our knowledge of the elements has nabled us 2 prduce the nuclear bomb; now our capacity 4 catstrphic error is about 2 b xponentially ncreased. The powrs th@ we r gathering r mainly powrs 2 elminate & dstroy. We learn 2 free ourslvs from dsease (& relatively easy ways of dying such as from nternal bleeding) & we rplace thm with a slower death from old age, dcrepitude, cancers, altzheimers, dmentia & various other forms of stupor. I note th@ our ever ncreasing knowledge of molcular biology & genetic ngineering has not givn us the capacity 2 make even the smplst life 4m – not even a virus! We can only copy & dlete from what is already ther. Which is 2 b xpected as the eye is ncapable of viewing itself. The new technologies will b ugly in a more ntimate way (like cancers) than the technologies which dveloped from our harnessing of motion and @oms …. 1.35. The road 2 Oxley which is 40ks north of Maude is a sngle lane sealed strip. I turned on the radio & they wer talking about the opning of the state libary dome room in Melbourne. Nxt yr ther will b another set of celebrations 4 the 150 yr annvrsry. Prior 2 Oxley ther r a couple of real good spots 2 stop on the Lachlan river. @ Maude they keep saying ther is nothing @ Oxley but I found a weatherboard anglican church whch may never b opn but it has a brass bell held up by 2 beams out the front. Ther r about 10 houses ½ of whch look occupied. U can tell it woz 1ce much bigger bcoz ther is a small cemtry nearby & shattered glass glittrs in the paddox in the town & around the outskirts. Ther is a big fancy sign saying : Oxley Lodge. Family Restaurant. Good Food. Lovely Garden. 9 Hole Golf Course. Airstrip. Join the Crowd that has Discovered Oxley is the Place 2 Be. 2 of the houses r 4 sale & I reckon theyd give u a good idea of how cheap a house in australia can go 4. I m in a sparse black box forest a k or so off the good gravel road which goes 90ks from Oxley 2 Balranald. I m going 4 a walk 2 c wher the faint wheel marks I took in2 here nd up. Ive hardly done any walking this trip as from the outset my purpose has bn the writing. Ive come this way bcoz the map shows the road as going along the northern edge of the Great Cumbungi Swamp 1 of the worlds most xtensive wetlands fed by water from the Lachlan & the Murrumbidgee. Sooner or later Ive got 2 get 2 know it a bit. I used 2 have an intro 2 1 of the bordering stations but never activated it. I can c on the map there is a turnoff ahead 2 a station 8ks off the road called Chillchil which mayb the 1 but I wont hav time 2 call in. I m not vsible from the road but a vigilant prson from the local station would spot my tyre marks wher they come off it. … The track petered out a couple of 00 yrds futher among a st& of lrge trees whch cast xellent shade. The ground underneath many of them is littered with skeletons of bullocks & sheep. It bcame apparent 2 me th@ the trees marked the shoreline of a shallow dry lake. It took an hour 2 walk around. People came here in better yrs as I found broken glass & small stacks of mpties @ ntervals along the shore. Mpty
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shotgun cartridges litter the lakebed. I picked up a rams head & 2 tortoise skeltons 2 take home. Its worth rmembring a spot like this as ther is no ndication of it from the road. Evdently its public l&. The people whod come here would b mainly from Balranald Id reckon. Ther r kangaroos about. Might as well spnd the night here. Thursday 12/6/03. → Balranald (where the girl @ the info centre knew absolutely nothing – hadnt heard of the Great Cumbungi Swamp) → Moulamein → Barham (ptrol; brdge over the Murray) → Cohuna (hmbrgr & Age) → Mitiamo (2 stubbies; when I came through here on a bike 4 yrs ago on the day the paper had published an rtcle from the bureau of stats saying it woz the poorest town in Victoria the publican whose tax woz being looked after by an accountnt in South Melbourne chuckld & said it could mean it woz the smartest) → Terick Terick National Park (4ks north of Mitiamo whch is 60ks north of Bendigo). This is the final ntry 4 the piece I put out. Last night I again had 2 wrggle out of me sleeping bag & go in2 the cold pre-dawn night with spade & paper but 2morrow night Ill b @ the Bocadillo Bar @ the window seat staring vacantly in2 the street while sharing a meal of sardines with H washed down by a sangria poured by Victoria (right 2 the brim) & brought by Peter. I hope I managed 2 xplain myself. I keep saying the same thngs slightly dffrntly. 2 finish off I propose 2 others who like me r prhaps rtired & with nothing better 2 do than build edifices out of words th@ they measure their constructions against the following propositions which r 2 b taken as true : THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF THE PARTS & a consquence of it is th@ WE CANNOT KNOW WHO WE ARE.

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