Andrew O'Sullivan

Perth, Australia

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Andrew O'Sullivan
Posted about 3 years ago
i dont know
This statement, for me, is quite profound. It's an honest primal expression of the human condition at it's most basic, stripped bare to a point where it can utter only two truths in all honesty; - I am, and I don't know. These truths take wisdom to realise, courage and humility to admit, but are ultimately healthy and empowering I believe. Lifes adventure, and all that we come to celebrate and value, can be spun out on the conundrums such a revelation poses. Some might say it undermines all that we come to hold precious and true, but I believe to the contrary that it's a life affirming, healthy foundation from which to navigate your way through life. Knowing and admitting how little you do know being the first step in extending your reach.
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Andrew O'Sullivan
Posted about 3 years ago
What are 10 things YOU know to be true?
I am. Uncertainty is the only certainty. Life, meaing, the universe is a mystery. Be skeptical of all those who profess to have 'the answer'. Humour is, or at least can be, good. Life, is, or at least can be good. Same can be said of people. Doubt is sincere, honest. If it feels good, it may or may not be good. Life is uncertain. Death is a mystery. So is life. Nothing cannot exist.
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Andrew O'Sullivan
Posted about 3 years ago
Who is God?
In reference to Pranor Sundars comment: also.. if we can not explain something...it doesnt mean that its the work of god... Exactly. Well said.
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Andrew O'Sullivan
Posted over 3 years ago
Who is God?
If heaven and hell exist, then I'll deal with which ever I have to when the time comes. How can I possibly hope to resolve whether or not God, heaven and hell exist in this lifetime. I can see no compelling evidence to suggest they do, and likewise can't prove they don't, nor want to waste my time with such speculation. Solve the problem of God? What's to solve? Where is the problem?How is thinking about God going to make the world a better place or me a better person? Why would God want me to think about God? To what end? Time is going to be finished and death is coming, I suspect you are right in that respect. I fail to comprehend how pondering God is going to change that one way or the other. If God condemns me to eternal hell because I doubted his existance, then so be it. But it seems such far fetched and outlandish notion I couldn't get worked up about if I tried. There are far more pressing concerns such as eating, life style, and trying to be a good person, do the right thing, have a positive rather than negative impact on those around me.
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Andrew O'Sullivan
Posted over 3 years ago
Who is God?
God is a projection into the unknown. An attempt to answer to the unanswerable. For me, God is a concept born of humanities innate need to find earthly meaning, boundaries, stories; to explain and contain life within a framework that not only validates us and our place in the universe, but is within our mental grasp. It's a reaction against the mind boggling enigma of life, and the mystery of time, space, and the infinite. It's a coping mechanism; Our fear of uncertainty becomes denial, wrapped in a security blanket of cosy belief, huddled against the great dark unknown, reassured in the conceit that we have 'the' answer. I'm sorry if some find this offensive. It's not my intention; just an honest attempt to describe what 'God' means to me. Maybe there is a God, maybe there isn't. Who ultimately knows. I'd like to deeply sincerely believe in a good and just God, but I simply can't. It just doesn't ring true, and never really has. The deeper I look into the question, the more unlikely it seems. If someone else believes, that's fine, as long as they don't expect me to as well. Why belief is such an issue mystifies me a little to be honest. Surely how you lead your life is more important than whether or not you believe in God. I try to lead a good honest life, to be kind to others, uphold values I've come to consider worthwhile; respect, consideration, compassion etc. I try to do the right thing because it seems like the right thing to do, not because some higher being ordains it. I like to think others will judge me by how I lived my life, rather than whether or not I 'chose' to believe in God. Not that I understand how you can choose such things; You either believe or you don't.
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Andrew O'Sullivan
Posted over 3 years ago
Influence one person at a time!
This question brings to mind what I consider quite a profound cartoon by Charles Schulz in which (I think) Linus announces his love for humanity, and is challenged by (I think) Lucy, who having performed a particularly unlovable act cries out 'Hah, so where's your love for humanity now?' To which Linus calmly responds words to the effect that his love for humanity is profound and all embracing; he loves humanity as a grand notion; when it comes to loving on personal specific, one to one basis; well then, that's another matter. The cartoon said it much more succinctly and humorously than me. But I think the cartoon has a wisdom that extends to all grand notions, particularly the idea of changing the world. Somehow, as a general rule, I put much more faith in people who seem compelled to change/help humanity for the better one person at a time. Not to say there are not people out there with visionary ideas and talents and the capacity to do great good for many, many people. Just that, for me, it starts with the small and personal. I tend to suspect that the grandest of visions for a better world, if they have any substance, are born of one person seeking to help another. In answer to your question; try to influence people, at least one at a time (when you have the possibility) to do and think better, don't be afraid! Is this a good idea? To my way of thinking, yes it's a very good idea, possibly the best you can have. The real challenge is to clarify what it is you feel you have to offer others by way of a worthy influence and how to do so most effectively. My own feelings on the latter are that example and actions are preferable to lecturing or preaching; You don't tell someone how to lead a good life, you just try to lead what you consider to be a 'good life' yourself, and have faith in humanity to recognise and be responsive to acts of integrity (Not losing sight of the fact that ideals are not something you embody, so much as continually strive to embody) .
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Andrew O'Sullivan
Posted over 3 years ago
Does a nation need a Face?
Thanks for your response. First point, I agree, and I don't think I was arguing in favour or support of nations, just stating them as a matter of fact; good or bad, no matter what you think, they just are and as such have to be dealt with. The second point, also a very good one. Let's assume there was no public face. The decisions would have been the same? Maybe, though I'm not sure, have to think more about that one. By not having a public face, you're actually transforming something fundamental that may very well have an impact on the sort of decisions made, and also how those decisions might be perceived by the outside world. In the absence of a face, wouldn't the anger have been directed at the US as a nation? A good point, and yes, I suspect that would be the case. Maybe, by taking away the face, and with it the idea of it being a 'personal vendetta', you can throw the focus (or at least give it a good shot) onto reason; why a nation feels duty bound to go to war with another? Not that reason alone is a safeguard against armed conflict. But at least by making it less Bush's and Blair's war, and more a war of concerned (united?) nations, with less emphasis on the leaders themselves and more on perceived imperatives for getting involved… -and this is starting to sound naïve I suspect- but replace a face with ideas; It's more than just several elected individuals, it's billions of likeminded people (which runs into problems already I know) who are acting on the following reasons - a b c d. My thinking is, it's harder to rally hatred around a presentation of ideas, reasons, than it is a face. Reasons invite answers, a dialogue, thought… a face is handy just to peg all you frustrations and hatreds onto (and of course it swings both ways). Maybe I'm getting out of my depth here. I appreciate feedback, even if it's to point out the holes in my reasoning.
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Andrew O'Sullivan
Posted over 3 years ago
The Creativity Revolution: The more creativity the better? What does creativity do for your daily life?
Creativity is about being able to step outside of the normal paradigms to see the familiar from a fresh and unusual perspective. In such a process, it's not so much about what looks different that matters, but the contrast between that which changes, and that which stays the same. You throw everything our of kilter in order to see what remains familiar; what are the constants. The more you do this, the greater an insight you get into the inner workings of a thing. Also, you open up the chances for new and unusual connections or juxtapositions which occasionally throw everything into a new light and can lead to the sort of inspirations that result in a better and more effective way of doing things, or sometimes suggest completely new things to do. This can be a conscious or unconscious process and is not the exclusive domain of the creative elites such as artists and scientists. It is something that everybody can and does to a certain extent do, and not only leads us to better ways of doing things, but affords wisdom by offering a greater insight into ourselves and life in general. It can also be fun, is the bedrock of good humour, and helps make life more interesting.
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Andrew O'Sullivan
Posted over 3 years ago
Does a nation need a Face?
That's a good question and I'm not sure I know the answer. However, it's another argument, and whatever verdict may or may not be reached, my question still stands. The reality is, like it or not, we've got nations. We've had them for a very long time, and I imagine will continue doing so for the foreseeable future. And that's despite a multitude of alternative cultures and subcultures people identify with, and often in a much more meaningful way. We still remain bound to others by virtue of geographic proximity, and for better or worse, collective identification be it on a national or local scale seems an innate part of our need for community. Do we need nations? Maybe not, but if we did away with them I suspect something else equally big and impersonal would take their place, and to an extent, that process may already have begun. Either way, with or without nations, and by any other name, the tendency to represent enormous magnitudes of people by singling out just one individual seems also an innate part of human nature, and as such, will not go away just because we decide nations are no longer necessary and do away with them. So I stand by my question, that given things as they are, or as they might become, would it not be in our best interests to consider carefully this impulse for group identification, and if not do away with it (which I'm not sure is desirable nor possible) look at ways in which leadership can escape from the cult of celebrity and promote a process of inclusion instead of always seeking out the next face; the saviour who's going to lead us to victory.