Soapbox Speakers

Mr Bashful’s topics.

I’m Mr Bashful and this is my page on this site. I used to talk about happiness and resilience but my regular listeners have heard it too often. I now present new topics each week, but here are just a few that I do repeat now and then:

The Meaning of Life – version 1.
Everything is meaningless until it is given a meaning. That includes Life. So, life is meaningless until you give it a meaning.
  Don’t assume that the Meaning of Life is out there waiting for you to become wise enough to discover it. It isn’t.  It’s your job to give Life a meaning. It’s a scary but liberating responsibility.

The Meaning of Life – version 2
We have subconsciously given life a meaning. I might ask my grasshoppers to spend twenty seconds picturing life as an image. They are told to allow any image that presents itself. Then I ask for a volunteer and together we analyse their picture of life. Sometimes the person discovers the meaning they have subconsciously given Life. And sometimes they don’t.

Leadership.
Orson Welles once said that “we are born alone, we live alone, we die alone.” I explain why that’s true and pertinent to us.

Communism & Socialism.
I explain the difference.

The difference between rational beliefs, irrational beliefs and emotional beliefs.
Watch a scary film. If you know it’s just a film with actors and special effects, that’s a rational belief. If you think it’s a documentary, that’s an irrational belief. If you’re screaming in your head, “Quick, get out of the room!” that’s an emotional belief. Emotionally you believe it’s real.
  What emotional beliefs about ourselves do we have that might be disabling us?

Do you have a questionable belief that you know for certain is true?
If so, I’ll ask you five questions to determine if your belief is an emotional belief that you hold tightly.

We need to burn the Mona Lisa
Our NSW Art Gallery is an investment house, not a true art gallery. The staff don’t buy paintings to enrich our hearts and souls, they buy collectibles. They trade works of art like a schoolboy trades football cards. The Mona Lisa is the most valuable collectible on the planet, and we need to burnt it to express our displeasure in how art has been so monetised.
  Come to Speakers’ Corner to hear the full reasons why, and to sign the petition to have it burnt. When we have 1,000 signatures we will present the petition to Canberra’s French Consulate. So far we have 12 signatures. Unfortunately, four of them are ‘Leonardo de Vinci’.

The Positive Thinking myth
It’s no use telling people to think in a positive way because many people don’t want to think in a positive way. They’re afraid that if they do, they will be setting themselves up for failure and disappointment. They prefer to think in a negative way, to prepare themselves for the worst. That means: if you’re not already a positive thinker you can’t simply choose to be one. If it were that easy we’d all be doing it.
The happiness gurus have a lot to answer for.
  The only way negative thinkers will begin to think in a positive way is when . . .

Homosexuality.
I explain why homosexuality is as natural as a person having green eyes.

New Age guff.
– the science behind fire walking
– the four reasons why ghosts don’t exist.
– “water divining” explained.
– The tricks “psychics” get up to.
– the reason behind premonition dreams.

Employment.
Australia can solve its unemployment problem by creating balloon factories: one third of the unemployed make balloons; another third blows them up; the remaining third burst the balloons and clean up the mess.
  What? Is there a problem with that idea?
  Yes, there a difference between employment and productive employment. Yet, many of us support balloon jobs and protest strongly when they are threatened.

Artificial intelligence
Will androids ever choose to take over the planet, without being programmed to do so? The answer is ‘no’. An android would first have to desire to take over humanity before it could choose to do so, but desire is an emotion. We may have come a long way towards manufacturing logical thought, but we haven’t even begun to think about giving computers emotions.
  I draw upon the John Searle’s room, and Frank Jackson’s room for Mary, to support my view.

Space.
– We will never colonise Mars or any other planet.
– We will never encounter aliens.

James Hardie Industries should not be obliged to compensate asbestos victims.
Let’s say that two years ago you bought a fish & chip shop and since then have run it well. Then you’re told you’re being sued because 15 years ago the previous owner cooked the food in contaminated oil and now people are dying like flies. You argue that you didn’t own the place then. You’re told that doesn’t matter: your shop has remained a legal entity throughout that time. You ask, “Why not sue the people who owned and ran the shop 15 years ago?” They reply that those people are dead or can’t be found, so they’re suing you because you have the money to pay compensation.
  How fair is that?
  Yet that is precisely the situation James Hardie Industries is in today. The current company is being sued for what happened fifty years ago, despite the fact that there are new owners and new management.
  The Media have influenced our point of view. They like to make out there is a ‘David and Goliath’ battle, because that inspires emotions and sells advertising blocks.

There is no such thing as a Scotsman.
Or a Samoan. Or an American. Or an anglo-Australian . . .   After hearing my explanation people reluctantly agree with me.

The gender pay gap.
I explain the reasons behind it.

Should Australia become a republic?
We should not become a republic and I give my reasons why.
We should not have a monarch and I give my reasons why.
I’m in favour of the third option . . .

Policies:
– Repeal the unfair dismissal laws.
– No one over 45 can vote.
– Reform of the justice system.
– An entire city is to become, over time, a city with no gambling or alcohol.
– Significant improvement with the way we farm and slaughter animals.
– Changing the curriculum so that children gain life skills.
– No free trade.

The seven reasons why we have religion.
I don’t, however, talk about the existence of non-existence of God. That’s one of the few topics I don’t discuss.

The Americans purposely lost the America’s cup To Australia II in 1983.
  The American syndicate that won the right to defend the cup was the San Diego Yacht club. But they knew that even if they defended it successfully, the trophy would remain in the New York Yacht Club. But they wanted to display it.  So, they planned to let us win it, and then win it back from us four years later. Then, because they had won it from Australia and were not simply defending the cup, they could display it at the San Diego Yacht Club.
  That was their plan all along.

Lots of stories, fables and paradoxes.

Ban public memorials.
A person’s death in a mass killing is no more important than that of an individual who dies in a more mundane car crash or in a hospice, so it doesn’t need recognition every ten years. The councils organising them don’t want to do it, but they’re frightened of appearing callous if they don’t.
  Here is a video of me saying that on the Ladder of Knowledge.

 

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