Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Ideal and the Practical

The Great Way is not difficult,
If you have no preferences.

Spending time in Auckland over the past weekend, it always makes me feel grateful to get back out to the peace and quiet of the island. Only a 35 min ferry ride, it can seem like the other side of the earth at times. For me, Auckland is a nice mid size city (1.5million - I guess that would be termed small for most) and that is the point. It has all the disadvantages of a city much larger, but very few of the advantages. Never mind. Talking about the traffic is something Aucklanders tire of very quickly.

This trip was a bit different.

No shopping or visiting friends or even being a culture vulture around the film festival. No, it was an opportunity to listen to a prominent speaker. He travels widely every year, speaks to large audiences around the world, and this time stopping off in Auckland on his way to Sydney. Three days of discourses, dialogue and generally expanding the current scope of understanding on topics as wide ranging as spiritual maturity, becoming a better human being, understanding v knowledge, and the ideal v the practical was invigorating. About 1500 came each day, and the cumulative effect was one of fullness and gratitude. I am always keen to learn, and this was no exception. Absolutely riveting. If I am going to attend events, then I want to come away with something, and this session did not disappoint. It could only be termed as a significant paradigm shift in my thinking.
It was one of those events that rarely happens in this life.

If you have ever listened to Bill Moyers speak on PBS, or read any of his work, the former theologian and presidential advisor to Lyndon Johnson presents some of the most humane logic and heartflet wit in the otherwise ethical void covering U.S. policy. Now another great columnist, Molly Ivins, has made public her desire to have him elected president.
A great article. Not a hope of success really, but ideas are the first step in the creative process, and certainly some creativity is needed there!

And if you are a Ricky Gervais (The Office and The Extras) fan, YouTube has a great little exchange with him on the Letterman show. Brilliant. Pity his podcasts are not free anymore, I nearly wet myself with laughter listening last summer.

The "online social forum of choice" MySpace, has caught the eye of many advertisers who want the attention ( and spending power) of its 90 million plus users. But it seems a bit "over the top", as they say, when the U.S. Marines, desparate for young live bodies to send to Iraq use it as a recruiting tool.

The reasoning has gone that Asian diets rich in soya protein of various kinds have seen populations with less heart disease and certain types of cancers. As this Guardian special report points out, there is more to the story, and buyer beware. I have recently been drawn more to the fermented soy product called tempeh, that apparently has less of the downside of the processing. Does anyone really know what they are getting in their food when it comes to the industrialised diet? I am, as it were, suspect of anything that is packaged.

The global markets multinational food companies target and "serve", means that the thousands of air, land and sea miles travelled by many food "products" require the additional processing to get it there looking anything like food. Shelf life is king for the retailer. Try reading almost any food packaging label and see if that is what you really want to be eating. Our lifestyles fit their business model perfectly.

Local food rocks. What more important consumer relationship is there?

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