Retirement Dilemma

In a contemplative mood, I visualise: work for another 5 to 10 years or more; then rough it out on a meagre age pension.
Alternatively, in view of the upcoming federal election, a political career sounds attractive, whether in the lower house or the senate.  Over the hill for an athlete but still in prime years for an MP, my time of reckoning may be dawning.  As for political experience, in our younger days, some friends and I, for a bit of fun, unofficially formed a hypothetical party, called the ‘Schnapps Party’.
With clairvoyant vision, I would promise to make the ‘Schnapps Party’ great again on 1 policy: a government funded schnapps allowance of 1 litre per household per week, faced in as a pilot program by 2024, later supplemented with a beer & wine allowance (one item per upcoming election), all this will be fully implemented by 2050.
I would run a good chance of getting elected, considering the nuclear disarmament party got in on only one policy, so do many independents. My chances are furthered by the fact of the situation, that there is no-one worth voting in but many to vote out.  Wearing the local football team’s jersey or the baseball team’s hat etc. for the usual popularity contest called election campaign, should easily swing some votes my way.
The Germans had and may still have a party that stands for equal rights for garden gnomes.  I should add: “End cruelty to garden Gnomes ”, after ‘Otto’ the garden gnome in my backyard was vandalised repeatedly by the crows and toddlers.  Considering the dominant presence of gnomes already in parliament, I would fit in perfectly, the downside being that equal rights would place politicians ‘on par’ with everyone else, losing their lurks and perks; there goes my retirement plan of a handsome political pension.
No worries, my cunning re-election strategy of 100 days of games and shows, fireworks and all, in the ‘Circus Maximus Australis’ sounds almost fool proof.  This would keep me sleeping on the back bench in parliament, in paid time, rather than at home for nothing.
Should I fail to deliver on my promises or become scandalised, there is always the prospect of landing a cosy ambassador’s job somewhere on the planet, as long as it’s not exactly, God forbid, Somalia or Syria. With an ever increasing life expectancy and the colonisation of the universe imminent who knows, I may even get, a bottle of duty free schnapps in the carry-on baggage, posted to become the first ambassador to Mars!

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Help Yourselves and Others

In 1980 my girlfriend and I were backpacking in Africa. Running low on money but still high on travel fever, we thought it would be a good thing to work on a mission station for a while. Decision made, we went to visit the priest of the nearest parish, telling him of our intentions. Naturally he asked why, to which we answered “to help people”. Without hesitation he replied “to help yourselves and others?” It turned out the recruitment process was quite complicated, so we hitchhiked on, enriched with this unforgettable truth he had shared with us. How often do we believe or pretend we are helping others, when in fact we primarily have our self-interest at heart. Look no further than the countless so called Non-Government Organisations, many of whom, as I have experienced on my travels, are purely profit driven and manipulate world politics in their own favour. Activists of all calibres, e.g. peace, human rights, environmental etc. live a comfortable ex-pat life style funded by tax payers and donations from well-meaning people, doing little other than keeping the problem alive in order to justify their reason for being. Try the Middle East or Southern Asia, it’s bustling with them. Genuine activists, i.e. those who truly intend to bring about change, usually work on the front line or in a day job and they cease their activities once their goal is reached. We ought to ask ourselves: Are we doing charity to help people, or to suit our own needs, to be seen and recognised?

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Inspired by boredom

It is common knowledge and logical that we are able to think more clearly when relaxed, in absence of distractions. Some of the greatest scientific break-throughs and inventions were made in a state of relaxation, such as the principle of Archimedes or Einstein’s E=mc2. Both were inspired and stimulated by the elements of the moment, such as water, landscape, flora and nature’s physical forces. On the other hand, I find that active boredom has a similar effect i.e. when combined with a monotonous task, like cleaning the house or weeding the garden, during which time much of what I’ve written in books and blogs occurred to me. The best plants grow out of manure, active boredom is the manure of the mind. Having exhausted all the inspirational capacity of weeding and cleaning, which didn’t take long, my mind now wanders freely and effortlessly, brushing a frameless canvas.

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Happy New Year

Having breakfast on the balcony for the first time since March last year without freezing my butt off, I have survived the festive season and the exceptionally warm Winter & Spring that was forecast but happened to be the opposite, i.e. cold and windy. I haven’t made any resolutions. If I want to make changes to the way I live, I ‘just do it’ and forget about resolutions, no matter what time of year, saving much stress and disappointment. Weary of all the daily crime, disaster, scandals & doomsday prophesies I am trying to focus on the good & positive. Here we go: emission reduction targets have been postponed to 2050 , and logically, so would have the long predicted environmental apocalypse, keeping both, the ‘Climate Change’ activists and deniers occupied and trading for another three decades. Haven’t heard from Kim Jong-un for a while, perhaps he has taken a break from missile testing to celebrate Christmas, as his contribution to ‘World Peace’.
The ‘Trump Wall’ hasn’t been built yet, maybe ‘another good omen’. My prospects for 2019 are good, considering that almost every appliance and power tool in my household has broken down & been replaced in the previous few years, hence they are now all under warranty, should this be anything to go by for ‘peace of mind’, especially since I’m pretty much broke. Not to worry, the government has forecast a massive economic boom. What a comforting prophesy I mean “who wouldn’t trust a politician”?
My books still haven’t found a new distributer after the last one went bankrupt 5 months ago, however, authors are well used to waiting and being ignored by the publishing industry that’s not exactly known for its efficiency or service.
Fortunately what I write is eternal, so my books don’t expire.
Let make take this opportunity to wish you all the best for 2019.
“May your wishes come true”.

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With Good Intentions

In the 1970’s our parish took up collections, supposedly to support the Church in Cambodia, which in fact was no more. The ruling Khmer Rouge had exterminated all religious and educational institutions. Little did we or our priest know that our donations, made with good intentions, not only failed to reach its target, but fell into the hands of the perpetrators, facilitating the genocide of millions of people. On my African travels I have found sacks/cans of food labelled ‘donation from USA, Germany, France etc.’, meant for the poor, being sold in expensive shops. Living standards in some countries and communities have sunk dramatically and once functioning political and social systems have collapsed, after living on foreign aid for decades. Special privileges and excessive funding given to certain countries and communities have resulted in social in-equality in favour of the recipients, some of whom have turned arrogant and are ever more demanding. Let’s be vigilant, read the signs of the times, ask questions, and try and verify the answers we receive. Be mindful of the possibility that your donation may have an adverse affect to your intention. Let’s give and help with good intentions, but also consciously and responsibly. Should things still go wrong we may find consolation in the famous lyrics: “I’m just a soul who’s intentions are good, oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”.

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Hitting 60

When I was a child, at sixty years you were considered old and almost written off, at seventy you were considered ‘pretty much dead’ unless you were a freak of nature. The world has changed and so have Homo Sapiens, who’s life expectancy has dramatically increased. During a recent visit to the cemetery in my hometown, I was surprised by the number of people who had made it into their nineties, this included several of my relatives. Now, we not only live longer, but we also work longer and are retired for a longer period of time. Some have a ‘bucket list’, others just let things happen. Some get depressed when they reach a milestone birthday, others ‘live it up’. I find much truth in the lyrics of the song my sister and brother in-law sang at my birthday party: “ mit sechzig fangt das Leben erst an” (“life really begins at sixty”). In fact, life begins every time we leave something behind and begin afresh, participating in a continual natural process of renewal and a progression to a higher level of existence.
Now that I have hit 60, life has become more comfortable, viewed from the perspective that most of my work is done, I am now more appreciative than productive. When shit happens I let it flow away rather than fight it ‘head on’.
Car manufacturers leave cast iron engine blocks out in the weather for several years until the metal has lost all its stresses, making it enormously resistant to the heat and pressures of a running engine. After 60 years on planet earth, seasoned by the turbulent ‘weather of life’, I feel like a human version of an engine block, relaxed, content and highly resistant or immune to stressful internal and external influences. I watch the parade rather than participate, distant from all the hype and fanfare. An engine’s power is generated within the engine block, so is our ability to ‘perceive clearly’ generated in a seasoned, or mellowed mind e.g. one can tell the prime minister is lying as soon as he/she starts talking. I have no career to make and in view of the realisation that most things can wait and the ones that can’t are not worth chasing, deadlines have mostly become a thing of the past. My pace has slowed as I travel the road of life at a beautiful age indeed.
God willing and circumstances permitting I shall follow up on this blog at seventy.

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Walls

Having a break from visiting friends and family, I stroll, in perfect weather, through the streets of Berlin, for the first time in 32 years. The refreshing ‘Berliner Luft’ (Berlin air) soothes my ageing lungs while I rejoice at the sight and vibe of this rejuvenated ‘City of Peace’. Passing through the ‘Brandenburg Gate’ to the former east feels strange yet enormously liberating. Soon ‘Checkpoint Charlie’, now a museum, brings back memories from a very different era. A bit further down the road I ‘hit the wall’, minus the death strip and guard towers I remember so well. Resting on a bench I ponder at this small section of a concrete structure left standing as a reminder of a wall that once imprisoned a nation and divided the world.
Dividing walls of matter were built throughout history to keep people in, out or segregated. They are a physical form of human thought and easily noticed, as is everything we build or produce.
Walls of the mind however, often lie dormant or undetected and they carry the potential to create division and segregation within society and oneself. Fear and envy create walls. People imprison themselves and segregate others within the walls of hatred and arrogance. A lack of communication skills or self-confidence creates walls of social confinement. We may find ourselves confined within the walls of narrow mindedness or ignorance.
In contrast, I reflect on my recent travels, catching up with numerous longstanding and long lost friends and relatives in various places of the globe, and found no walls exist between us.
The human mind is malleable, adaptable and open to re-programming. If we were able to bring down one of most infamous physical products of negative human thought, such as the ‘Berlin Wall’, there is no reason why we can’t do the same to the walls of our own mind.

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ARSIS-DARSIS

In the 1968 comedy ‘Carry on up the Khyber’ lives a tribe called the ‘Arsis – Darsis’, that do everything back to front. Comedy aside, call it an Orwellian style of vision come true or whatever, this fictional character has now pretty much become a global reality, calling for a re-definition of words and phrases and an overhaul of the dictionary.
For example, ‘treason’ has lost its meaning and is now met with impunity, e.g. the government outsources a major military port to a foreign power and allows the broadcast of enemy propaganda such as Bin Laden’s threatening videos.
It is no longer ‘unethical’ for the ‘honourable’ prime minister to place his money in an overseas tax haven.
Balance and contentment, beautifully depicted in the yin- yang symbol, has always been free of charge. Now we are experiencing a reverse yin-yang scenario where everything is a sensation, hype, and a cut throat competition, i.e. extremes without balance. People now go for courses and pay money to try and re-discover and cultivate the balance in the yin-yang.
Democritus, would probably turn in his grave, if he saw the face of contemporary democracy, the ‘Rule of the Majority’, turned upside down by noisy minority groups who have infiltrated the political parties and rule from the side lines by means of acoustic volume, intolerance, intimidation, blackmail and even violence, all based on self-fabricated political correctness in the quest for self-gratification.
‘Isms’ and ‘schisms’ have done a 180 degree turn; communists own companies, peace activists create obstacles on the roadmap to peace; were there peace, they would have to work a day job. War mongers, such as Yasser Arafat receive the Nobel peace prize.
People used to consider themselves as being healthy unless diagnosed with an illness. In today’s world of ultra- competitive health marketing and invented medical conditions, we are made to believe that we are sick unless proven healthy.
Spare a thought for the many who choose to book a holiday in hot countries, only to turn the air conditioning up to freezing point when there, and the locals doing likewise only to rug up in clothes fit for the Arctic.
We have to apologise for telling the ‘politically incorrect’ truth, while those who lie and incite hatred and violence are promoted.
Acts of communication that say one thing and mean another are common. Promises, especially political, are meaningless. Aggressors are largely portrayed as the victim and vice versa, from the individual all the way to state level. Much of what we perceive as reality is now virtual, i.e. ‘not real’. Reality TV shows are mostly scripted, again, ‘not real’ and so the list goes on.
I wonder, how are we to re-evolve from this arsis-darsis world we have created and become normal again without consulting highly charging experts?

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ANNOUNCEMENT

Dear Friends
I am sad to say that my book distributer, Dennis Jones & Associates, has gone into voluntary liquidation this means my books are temporarily unavailable for download from some or all the traditional retailers until a new distributer is found. Of course, I will keep you posted on the latest developments.
Regards
Hubert Schaub

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A Slice of Reality

For professional philosophers or authors, their philosophy or authorship creates their life style. My life style, based on reality, creates my philosophy and authorship. Sometimes I get carried away doing abstract philosophical theorising to the point, where I could almost qualify as an intellectual, but then ‘sobriety‘ comes to the rescue and takes the better of me.
I don’t get paid for theorising, and writing books has placed me in a financially negative zone, but I do earn a living doing manual work including ‘digging holes’. So, nowadays more metaphorically than literally due to my ailing physical condition, I still dig holes.

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