In the early 1970’s an Australian musician from Newcastle named John J. Francis wrote a song titled Simple Ben.
This song was eventually included in the soundtrack to the classic surf film ‘Morning of the Earth’ after producer G. Wayne Thomas arrived early at Copperfield Studios (which John J. Francis managed) in Sydney to record some of the other artists featured on the album and heard a song, which John had just finished mixing, playing through the studio monitors. G. Wayne thought it would fit perfectly into the movie and had director Albie Falzon listen to it when he arrived. The rest is history.
The Lyrics of this song have resonated with me ever since i first encountered The Morning of the Earth back in high school after a good mate lent me a copy of the film during a boring maths class.
The songs explores the notion that living more simple lives closely connected with the environment brings us in touch with the reality that in large our societies current ways are having a dramatic negative impact on the very planet that sustains us.
It highlights that whilst the creation of technologically complex man made structures, objects and machines may be seen to some as a wondrous sign of humanities success in the post industrial revolution world…. ultimately the waste & and other flow on social and environmental impacts associated with the development and creation of these man made wonders often compromises the planet that sustains us.
Today, some 40 years after this song was originally written, this message is arguably even more relevant as our increasingly globalized economies and techno-centric societies continue to think and there for act as if our planet has no limits to growth. The global population has also more than doubled in this time!
The sentiment of this song mirrors not only my name but also my values… as such i’ve chosen the name (simple-ben) for this here piece of cyber space real estate.
I hope that In this here age of technology I can grow and develop this into a space to collect, reflect and share some thoughts, stories and information around the general theme of how myself and others can aspire to peruse happier, more simple and in turn more sustainable ways of enjoying passing through our time on this planet.
Education- is all about connecting people with ideas.
Technology makes this super easy.
We are ultimately a manifestation of our beliefs and education witch inform our philosophy and determine our actions on a day to day basis.
In terms of passive vs. active or the conscious & unconscious dissemination and absorption of information in this evolving age of information technology it is ever important that we take responsibility of what information we expose our brains to and selectively explore topics to develop a greater understanding.
TV, most POP music and all those trashy magazines and increasingly the internet in general WILL rot ur brain.. its designed to by clever marketing companies to sell things. We now have access to such an abundance of information right at our finger tips yet no frame work to piece it all together…
Furhter more, these days people don’t even need to read!
Digital technology and video have in part replaced print and photography formats of the past and in part doing so provided a sensory over load that can expedite the rate that we are able to convey and absorb information.
So people can simply sit at home and absorb sights and sounds from a laptop or phones in the comfort of their homes and bombard their brains with what ever information they so choose.
This is largely just represents a one sided conversation with no opportunity for questioning, conflict, expanded explanations or feed back. That is to say there is less of a real connection.
For this reason more so than ever… in the day and age of the technology induced recluse we need more face to face discussions and interaction and real connection. This represents the most important and effective from of communication in helping inform, educate and challenge the current understandings and beliefs of us thinking human beings, if that indeed is what we really are.
Through continuing to develop informed understandings and opinions we need to continue to converse over topics, to critique, disagree and argue. In doing so we challenge and change our thoughts and ultimately our beliefs and philosophy.
Subsequently in changing peoples philosophy you begin to influence the decisions and actions they take and potentially how they live their lives as consumers.
The “information dissemination hierarchy” diagram above is something i came up with to try and visually convey the idea that more emotional engagement & connection on any given topic requires the collection and processing of information to form an opinion that can then be bounced off and challenged against others understanding to progress and challenge our collective understanding of information and knowledge. This then informs our behavioral patterns and the effect of our decisions on the people and the planet around us.
With the internet at all of our fingertips the saying “the more u know u know u don’t know shit” reigns supreme. It can certainly be a blessing and a curse in all its convoluted glory.
I think one of the great opportunities the internet provides is the that we can now share ideas and connect with people globally on a day to day! The opportunity exists for people to then explore these ideas and thoughts in their own time and hopefully share and discuss them with their friends and family. This means we can continue to evolve our collective understandings, philosophy and behavior alike for the better.
This more open minded approach is increasingly essential in our globalized world.
Some reflections from the Dalai Lama;
“We are facing problems because people are concentrating only on their short-term, selfish interests, not thinking of the entire human family. They are not thinking of the earth and the long-term effects on universal life as a whole. If we of the present generation do not think about these now, future generations may not be able to cope with them.”
“According to Buddhist psychology, most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities. The pursuit of the objects of our desire and attachment involves the use of aggression and competitiveness as supposedly efficacious instruments. These mental processes easily translate into actions, breeding belligerence as an obvious effect. Such processes have been going on in the human mind since time immemorial, but their execution has become more effective under modern conditions. What can we do to control and regulate these ‘poisons’ – delusion, greed, and aggression? For it is these poisons that are behind almost every trouble in the world.”
“The modern Western economist] is used to measuring the “standard of living” by the amount of annual consumption, assuming all the time that a man who consumes more is “better off” than a man who consumes less. A Buddhist economist would consider this approach excessively irrational: since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption.
The ownership and the consumption of goods is a means to an end, and Buddhist economics is the systematic study of how to attain given ends with the minimum means.
[Western] economics, on the other hand, considers consumption to be the sole end and purpose of all economic activity, taking the factors of production — land, labor, and capital — as the means. The former, in short, tries to maximize human satisfactions by the optimal pattern of consumption, while the latter tries to maximize consumption by the optimal pattern of productive effort.” – E.F. Schumacher
Words above from Bob Browns Book – Optimism.
What I aspire to achieve with this site..?
I wanted to create an easily accessible sharing space to collect and exchange inspiring thoughts, stories, encounters and conversations to share and help continually evolve a collective understandings, philosophies and in-turn… actions.. in a more positive direction.
“The most important knowledge is that which guides the way you lead your life.” –Tolstoy
I also hope to share more on what I’m about in order to aid in connecting with people as I continue to travel as the flow cries and in search of a place in the world and a cumulatively positive way to enjoy my time passing through it.
Eventually… I hope to create a shared collaborative space to connect and reflect with friends and invite them to share their insights, encounters and experiences.