The Number 36

The Number 36

Here’s a morsel of numerical quirk to chew on and bust apart the mundane. We like the unusual at Ponderings, so we drew a number out of a hat and we got 36. So how is this number special?

In 1936 Jesse Owens smashed Hitler’s Aryan race in the Olympics. Jesse was an American track and field athlete. At the Berlin Games, he won 4 gold medals. Hosted in Berlin, Germany chancellor Hitler opened the games, and much of the world would be fooled with propaganda. Many international guests were unaware that the regime had temporarily hidden anti-Jewish signs and the roundup of Roma in Berlin. 800 Roma residing in Berlin were arrested and placed under guard in a special camp in the suburb of Marzahn. Jewish sportspeople were unable to compete. Boycotts rumbled but never took off. Interesting fact; Adi Dassler, the founder of Adidas convinced Owens to wear a pair of his sneakers and Jesse became the first sports-sponsored African American. 

Zoologist, activist and superstar academic David Suzuki was born in 1936. The advocate for swift climate change response is a leader around the world and an expert on nature. His foundation states: The right to a healthy environment is the simple yet powerful idea that everyone should be able to breathe fresh air, drink clean water and eat safe food and to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future.

 

“When we forget that we are embedded in the natural world, we also forget that what we do to our surroundings we are doing to ourselves.”

According to Jewish legend in every generation, there are 36 saintly people Lamed Vav Tzadikim who will save the world. Unrecognized by their fellow humans and unknown even to each other, they are said to pursue humble occupations such as artisans or water-carriers.

36 is the perfect number. Perfect number: a positive integer that is equal to the sum of its proper divisors. The smallest perfect number is 6, which is the sum of 1, 2, and 3. 

+36 is the country code for Belgium 

Ethel Scull 36 Times was Andy Warhol’s very first commissioned portrait and the genesis of his business- making portraits at the request of wealthy celebs. 

36 Gods assembled the various parts of the first human before Tāne, the god of forests and birds breathed life into its nostrils, according to Maori legend. 

In Numerology the number 36 represents energies that accomplish creative goals for helping humankind.

A checkers board has 36 tiles.

1836 (MDCCCXXXVI) was a leap year and is the year Spain recognizes the independence of Mexico. 

Pontius Pilate, the guy who gave the order to kill Jesus, died in 36CE. He was also a Roman knight. 

Harvard University was established in 1636. 

Barbara Streisand has 36 Studio Albums.

Marilyn Munroe, Bob Marley and Princess Diana all passed away tragically at age 36.

Last but not least in gematria (a form of Jewish numerology), the number 18 stands for “life”, because the Hebrew letters that spell chai, meaning “living”, add up to 18. Because 36 = 2×18, it represents “two lives”. (Zwerin, Rabbi Raymond A. (September 15, 2002). “The 36 – Who Are They?”)

Now I wonder if you start noticing the number 36? If you do, drop us a line! media@ponderings.com.au 

Ponderers and counting...

Related Articles

Related

The Number 36

Here's a morsel of numerical quirk to chew on and bust apart the mundane. We like the unusual at Ponderings, so we drew a number out of a hat and we got 36. So how is this number special? In 1936 Jesse Owens smashed Hitler's Aryan race in the Olympics. Jesse was an...

read more
Image Melissa Griffiths Ponderings Magazine

Talking Transgender Truth and Trials with Melissa Griffiths

Words by Jasmin Pedretti We sit down with Melissa Griffiths, transgender authority and advocate, to talk about her personal experience as a transgender person and her role in raising awareness and inclusivity in the workplace. What is your favorite thing about being a...
Image Lucille Ball Ponderings Magazine

Lucille Ball -More Than Just A Funny Face

Words by Cassidy Krygger Who doesn't love Lucy? One of the most recognized and beloved female comedians of all time, with her famous red hair and hilarious antics that captivated audiences and changed the face of television forever. Lucy was a trailblazer in smashing...
Kate Forsyth

Pondering with Kate Forsyth

Internationally bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty books, Kate Forsyth ponders with us about her childhood, lifelong love of fairy-tales and her new book The Blue Rose. Cubby House or Tree House? Treehouse! Biggest literary inspiration?  Probably...
Follow Us

Join

Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

Written by Montanna Macdonald

These Asiatic black bear cubs’ names are Nikko and Nara, the cutest two bear cubs you have ever seen saved by organisation FOUR PAWS; a bear rescue mission in Vietnam. 

FOUR PAWS is a global animal welfare organisation supporting animals, creatures who are victims of human battery in varied and horrific ways. The organisation is a noble one, and their work includes projects in emergency rescue and ongoing care for a great range of different animals. 

This year, FOUR PAWS Vietnam rapid response team saved two bear cubs from smugglers from the illegal wildlife trade. The legal and illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam is a billion dollar industry. Bile farming is the process of breeding bears in captivity. The terrible conditions are made even more atrocious by the shocking bile extraction process from the bear’s gallbladder while alive; only to be sold in markets, restaurants, online and used in pseudo-traditional medicines. 

There are two types of rescue missions FOUR PAWS do to save these bears. One where bears are voluntarily handed in by owners willing to give up bile bear farming. Two: bears are confiscated from illegal traders. FOUR PAWS act quickly in a short time frame to rescue bears just like Nikko and Nara.

On the 21st of July, FOUR PAWS were notified of two Asiatic black bear cubs that had been confiscated by the environmental police from wildlife smugglers who were trying to sell the cubs online via social media.

On the 22nd of July, the small FOUR PAWS team made an 11-hour journey to Lai Chau Province at the Vietnam border where they rescued the cubs and brought them to their new home, Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh. 

“Both cubs were very stressed and huffed at anyone trying to approach them. The male is quite protective of the very timid female, hiding in a corner and nestling under him. They will now receive all the care they need to calm down and recover from a turbulent start of their lives. Both cubs are in stable condition, but slightly underweight. Our vets are examining them thoroughly, and once we are sure they are disease-free we will socialise them with another bear cub we rescued earlier this year from similar circumstances,” says Emily Lloyd, Animal Manager at Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh.

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

The Vietnamese Government announced on the 24th of July the banning of imports and trade of wild animals.

While this is promising after years of effort from FOUR PAWS and fellow animal welfare NGOs, the organisation hopes the Government’s efforts to enforce the ban will be effective. Still today, there are over 400 farmed bile bears in Vietnam. 

“Although the sale and possession of bear bile are illegal in Vietnam, it still exists as due to weak enforcement of the laws. We hope that this new directive and subsequent revised enforcement efforts will also affect bear farming and eradicate the illegal sale and possession of bile products,” says Kieran Harkin, responsible for Wild Animals in Trade at FOUR PAWS.

The Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh where Nikko and Nara now live is a wildlife conservation education centre and a beautiful, safe home for these furry friends while they heal and grow. Nikko and Nara have made a fellow friend, bear cub Mochi. 

The sanctuary, which began construction in 2016, now has six outdoor enclosures, three bear houses, a quarantine station and veterinary unit, a feeding kitchen and an admin building.

It can house up to 50 bears now, but once fully finished with construction will be able to provide a species-appropriate home for up to 100 rescued bears. Currently, all 33 Asiatic bears in Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh were victims of bile farming and illegal trade. 

“Our bears often arrive with a multitude of health issues; some are obese, some emaciated, some are even missing paws or limbs from being trapped in the wild. Dental disease is common along with mobility issues and gallbladder and liver infections from the unsanitary bile extraction process.”

It is admirable the work FOUR PAWS do to give these bears hope for a better life and future. We asked FOUR PAWS spokesperson Elise Burgess, what does a day in the life of the Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh look like?

For FOUR PAWS, they do a variety of tasks, from essential rehabilitation and quarantine processes for bears newly rescued, to feeding, medication, general enclosure maintenance but also what they call “environmental enrichment”. 

“An essential part of animal care is ‘environmental enrichment’, which is necessary for the optimal physical and psychological well-being of our rescued bears. The five main categories of enrichment are sensory, cognitive, social, physical habitat and food.” 

“Our outdoor enclosures provide a complex environment where the bears can forage for food, dig, climb, swim, play, hide and rest, all things they would naturally do. In the wild bears spend the majority of the time they are awake looking for food. By presenting our bears’ food in different ways such as scattering and hiding it throughout their enclosures or using puzzle feeder toys, for example, we are allowing our bears to express this natural behaviour. Bears are thought to have the best sense of smell of all animals on earth, 2100 times better than humans! Therefore olfactory (scent) enrichment is particularly stimulating for bears, so on certain days our bear caretakers put out different scents such as cinnamon, or peppermint, for the bears to investigate.” 

Now, Ponderers, we hope envisioning bear cubs safe in a beautiful haven sniffing for cinnamon and peppermint brings you all the heart smiles for your day. 

You can donate to FOUR PAWS at their website, and follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for updates on the incredible work they do with not only bears but other projects around the world. 

If you would like to know more information about the Bear Sanctuary  Ninh Binh, follow them on Facebook, and when international travel is allowed again, go visit Ninh Binh! You can see the bears in their tranquil haven, purchase locally made souvenirs and enjoy some traditional vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese dishes at the onsite restaurant. 

 

Our Sponsors

Ponderers and counting...

Related Articles

Related

The Number 36

Here's a morsel of numerical quirk to chew on and bust apart the mundane. We like the unusual at Ponderings, so we drew a number out of a hat and we got 36. So how is this number special? In 1936 Jesse Owens smashed Hitler's Aryan race in the Olympics. Jesse was an...

read more

Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Written by Montanna Macdonald Author Dacre Danes is one to keep your eyes peeled for with his newly anticipated release of the novel Danyon. The pro-surfer/photographer from Queensland has entered the publishing foray with charm and a book filled to the edges with an...

THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

A size 12 in one store isn't always the right fit or style for a real size 12, and who can really afford a personal stylist? An Aussie app has taken this problem and created a breathtaking solution. Meet, Mys Tyler.  When it comes to shopping, returns are a huge...

FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

Written by Montanna Macdonald These Asiatic black bear cubs' names are Nikko and Nara, the cutest two bear cubs you have ever seen saved by organisation FOUR PAWS; a bear rescue mission in Vietnam.  FOUR PAWS is a global animal welfare organisation supporting animals,...
Follow Us

Join

Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

I Was Four When I First Saw Him

I Was Four When I First Saw Him

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

I was 4 years old when I remember my first interaction with God.  I was very scared at the time and feeling very powerless.

Remembering what my Nan had told me I gripped my hands together, and I prayed. I asked Jesus to help, to help me be brave and to help it stop. In my mind,  I could see beautiful fields of green, flowers and animals with a man sitting there. He did not look like the anglo version I had been shown in pictures. But that didn’t matter, I knew who it was. He asked me to come and sit. So under the covers of my blanket, hugging my rabbit tightly and squeezing my eyes shut just as tightly,  I walked to him and sat. I knew somehow that God was here. He told me all about the animals and how loved they were. He told me it was okay I could sleep now, to lay down my head. So I did. I fell into the deepest slumber of calm and wonder.

There began the discovery that would last a lifetime; a cryptic riddle. Did “He” stop what was frightening me outside my room at the time? I don’t think so. But, there’s a big but here; when I asked for help, it always came. Every time. Without fail. Did it stop perceived terrible things from happening every time? No. Would answers, guidance and calm come every time? Yes. Were the actions of others stopped? Not always. This started a lifelong search on the discourse of free will, divine design and science. I never told Nan that his son didn’t have blue eyes and blonde hair. But maybe we all have our own version. The other day my mother found poems I wrote as a child about my relationship with God. This friendship has been a constant in my life.

(Sidenote: I am using the word He because whilst I fight the suffocating patriarchal rule of hundreds of years, my experience of God is He. My understanding of mother is Her. I also have moments when I speak with God and right out of the pages of the book ‘The Shack’ Papa G is a woman cooking pancakes. We are so porous.) 

As I grew up, I sometimes forgot to ask for help, until I was well and truly tangled and in the darkest of messes.

My Nan once told me; if you feel distant from God, you’re the one who moved. When I did call out, I was sometimes so tired from the fight, a pile of torn pieces, it was then I  handed it over to God. In the surrender, the calm and answers would come. Forehead slap. Wouldn’t you think when you have a calming trick up your sleeve known since toddlerdom, you would whip it out every time? Faith is no party trick or soothing blanket.  It occurred to me in the last few years that intervention is a bit like a teacher telling a child the answers to a test. How do they learn if you do everything for them?

 

I have discovered through this journey with faith that life is indeed a quest. 

 

It occurs to me we indeed may be the sum of our collective choices as a species. Choices of our ancestors may have impacted our genetics, our sociological makeup and our DNA progression or regression. We may have very well created manipulated bacteria, atoms and technology for one purpose and ended with another unintended outcome. Our species most certainly has interrupted the lifespan of endangered humans and animals, along with botanical wonders of this planet. 

The myriad of choices we fashioned under this umbrella of free will is all-encompassing and has self-imposed consequences.

 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Choices are very, very important. As a child, we don’t get many.

Grown-ups need to teach their children well, and as a parent, I know this isn’t an easy role. We bring these fresh little souls into the world. The gravity of the responsibility can be overwhelming, we are raising future adults, and our job is to teach them how to survive and how to be fair and how to be happy, how to forge ahead in times of difficulty and we need to give them the resources for life. I am so grateful my grandmother taught me the resource of faith. 

I was going to need it. 

When you sit in an office, and a surgeon tells you are more than likely not going to live long, life is never the same again. You question the very essence of your being, what does life really mean? You want to teach your children, hold them close and never break their hearts. But the fear is as giant as a building about to fall down and crush you. You see buildings are not frightening until you think one might fall. 

An aneurysm is a sneaky taker of lives, and I know from experience that bleeding in one’s brain isn’t a pleasant experience. There are moments during this time that are etched into my soul like deep cracks in concrete. One was the surgeon conversation, the other was the realisation that I would be blind. No one told me I would be blind. No one insinuated I would be. But a solid inkling arose that I would be blind for a time. I threw a huge tantrum that day, my one and only. My Mum was there. She asked me not to think negatively, be positive. I told her to fuck off. My poor Mama. That had never happened before, and she held that space like a champion. 

She stood there with me, I threw porcelain at the back wall. It wasn’t my finest hour. I knew I would be blind. Think what you will, but I knew it to be true. As we sat down on the grass and picked up all the shards of cups and saucers ( we usually throw eggs when we are upset -family tradition), I prayed. Again, a calm came. 

I remember the night vividly before my first operation.

With a house full of beautiful family and friends. Watching them interact made my heart ache so much because the stark reality was that this might be the last time I see them, a bit like a soldier about to go to war. It is a very unnatural psychological event. When everyone went to bed, I paced the grass, talking to God. I cried and told him how scared I was and how I wanted to be his miracle. I knew it was a big ask, but I would dedicate my life to writing about hope, I was doing deals. (It is a survival thing and very human thing to do- seems we cannot help ourselves.) In the nakedness of that moment, I felt the calm rise and warm me. It feels cliche to use these words, but for me, warmth, love and calm are the only words to describe grace and they are nowhere near adequate. I was guided to go to bed, sleep and all would be well in the end.  

I kissed my children’s heads and hugged them without frightening them, I had to get in a car and drive away with the thought of goodbye and see you soon rolled into one. I wrote letters to them. My fears went from where am I going if I do die? What if I actually do just become worm snacks and memories at special occasions- to -what is death? Will Travis give the kids the right guidance when their hearts are first broken? Would I be scarred for life? Would I wake up with my personality intact? No small fears. I kissed my husband goodbye and waved to him as I was rolled into a room and a needle put in my arm. How did I stay on the bed? Prayer. When fear knocked at the door, and faith answered; no one was there. 

When I woke up from brain surgery, I knew they saved my life, but everything that could have gone wrong did; and I had no sight- completely blind, could not walk, was hooked up to everything possible in the ICU, and I was calm. The operation went south, and the surgeon had to cut into a deep part of the brain, in the process the nerve operating eyeballs was injured. 

When I woke up and couldn’t see, I did not panic. I was prepared. It was all going to be okay. I would walk again, and my sense of humour was better than ever. Can I explain to you how I knew? Not in a million years. But thanks to this calm, I could focus on recovery and not get stuck in the trauma. My thoughts were; I’ve never been blind before, so what can this teach me? I also knew my sight would be restored regardless of what the doctors said, there’s that. I had a psychologist demand in rehab that I share my secret, where was all this positivity coming from? He was intrigued. 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

 

The second surgery 3 years later for an aneurysm much nastier and much more dangerous bought a different experience.

This time there was a lack of reassurance coming about my ongoing existence here with my peeps. I did not know if I was going to be okay. In fact, every time I prayed, I got very clear its all in the air. Try that one on. Ouch. I had not dedicated my life to writing about hope. I had focussed on recovery and getting well, on life and living it to the max. I felt cheated. I did not want to go through all this again. Some people very close to me thought this was negative thinking, but seriously, regardless of my faith I knew in my heart my life was up in the air and then came the process of being okay with this process. 

Deeper contemplation and conversations with God went on for hours in those weeks leading up to surgery. The question arose- what is death? A word we give to the animation of our cells here and now. But what of consciousness? Was heaven, not some Zeus like an imaginary place in the clouds we humans conjure up to save ourselves the terrible notion of no longer existing? What if we romantically returned to the Cosmos as magnificent dust, part of the circle of life? Grown-up thoughts. 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

 

Volunteering for total surrender in true faith is not easy, even for someone who has spent a life knowing faith consistently. There was no guidance saying you are going to be blind, you are going to live, you are going… it was just peace.

A deeper, more profound understanding began to unfold. It was a mighty and vast and calm joy without needing to scratch the human itch of satisfying conclusions. We, humans, get irritated when we don’t understand when the door and its mechanisms evade us. Closure and acknowledgement oscillate around us always. 

 

I did not wake up blind, but I woke up knowing. You cannot touch the ether without bringing the sand back on your feet, and the leaf you see on the surface is only the tip of a deeply rooted tree. There is much more but now is not the time. It will come. We are so visual, and limited. 

 

I can’t rely anymore on the wisdom of the world, because I have felt beyond it, behind it. An egg cannot go back into the embryo once cracked. Untangled from the clatter. An existential crisis creates a whole lot of magnificent possibility. This is not a test. This is not a punishment. This is a university with icebergs, trees and bad breath. We are magnificent, and we are loved. But we make choices, and they are a gift. So we have to spend them wisely. Death is not final. 

 

When you hold a personal truth so large in a world of cynicism and pain, hurt and disdain, you do not want to share it. Because when everyone touches it, holds it, questions it, it loses its lustre. The shine wears off, and it feels like a beautiful creature you let everyone pet until it tires out and dies in the corner. My choice has now been superseded by something much greater, the whisper in my ear to speak boldly about my faith. As Rudyard Kipling said, Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.

 

As a kid, I was bought up in a house that firmly stuck to the idea that you if you told other people about your beliefs you were shoving it down their throat or assuming your faith or beliefs were better than someone else. You had no right. Whilst this is based on mutual respect, I have discovered that for me, it leaves no room for the joy of communication or seeing each other without the small talk. 

 

The most incredible conversations I have had have been with Anglican ministers who have spent a lifetime studying God, Atheists who have spent a lifetime denying God, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Shaman and Wise women. When we speak our truth with respect, we are not condemning anyone else. I spent years studying religions of the world and different scriptures as part of an Anthropology degree (unfinished – turns out epilepsy, narcolepsy and short term memory loss are not conducive to the PHD dream)

 

One thing became evident through all that study; many of these religions- so completely unrelated and often at odds with each other shared a common truth; God is the name we give a creator, an architect so complex; defying human understanding and with a simple covenant; love and faith conquer.  It seems from texts cross-sectioned across faiths that many messengers have been sent to tell us how to survive. Many interactions have even happened with divine beings sharing the same names but in different times and different languages. Interesting right? According to many scriptures, codexes and scripts; we are pretty unique critters designed for continuing creation along with boo-boos. 

 

The words of these records have been translated, repaired,  interpreted, rewritten, repurposed and used in ways inspiring but also in some cases in ways most foul and corruptible; because the lure of power amongst the patriarchy is very strong. But when you start believing the power of people and not the message that sits in all of our hearts, we get in trouble. People start wars. Religion is the structure through which we experience and explore belief. It is a man-made construct, and in many cases, it serves as an excellent scaffolding for this purpose. Power, on the other hand, is anything but.  

 

“He wrapped himself in quotations- as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors.” R. Kipling

 

We wear the social narratives we are given like coats; the stories we are told form our own threads and layers. But sometimes we have worn them so long the fibres have etched into our skin, and we forget the simple truth; so long as you seek the light and open your heart to hope you will find it. 

Ponderers and counting...

Related Articles

Related

The Number 36

Here's a morsel of numerical quirk to chew on and bust apart the mundane. We like the unusual at Ponderings, so we drew a number out of a hat and we got 36. So how is this number special? In 1936 Jesse Owens smashed Hitler's Aryan race in the Olympics. Jesse was an...

read more

Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Written by Montanna Macdonald Author Dacre Danes is one to keep your eyes peeled for with his newly anticipated release of the novel Danyon. The pro-surfer/photographer from Queensland has entered the publishing foray with charm and a book filled to the edges with an...

THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

A size 12 in one store isn't always the right fit or style for a real size 12, and who can really afford a personal stylist? An Aussie app has taken this problem and created a breathtaking solution. Meet, Mys Tyler.  When it comes to shopping, returns are a huge...

FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

Written by Montanna Macdonald These Asiatic black bear cubs' names are Nikko and Nara, the cutest two bear cubs you have ever seen saved by organisation FOUR PAWS; a bear rescue mission in Vietnam.  FOUR PAWS is a global animal welfare organisation supporting animals,...
Follow Us

Join

Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

How Books Save Us- A Pondering by Karen Brooks

How Books Save Us- A Pondering by Karen Brooks

Written by Karen Brooks

Here we are at the tail end of a year that, in its numerical configuration alone (2020) promised so much.

Instead of clarity, pragmatism and all the other positive meanings that arise when we used to think of 2020, many of us have encountered sickness, death, loss of income, stability, isolation, family crises, never mind sadness, fear, and familial, social and state divisions. 

Throughout these long months, the arts – music, dance, poetry, prose, films, TV, clips and events on social media etc – have played an enormous role in helping us cope with the harsh reality of Covid-19 and its fallout – including the endless dismal and doom-laden news-cycle. This has enabled us to appreciate, perhaps in ways we haven’t before, the integral role the arts play in helping us understand and define what it is to be human.  

Books and fiction especially provide a measure of unquantifiable comfort in harrowing times.

 

They allow readers to escape, even briefly, the cruel or mundane veracity of the everyday and walk vicariously in someone else’s shoes, to safely experience their emotions and undergo a journey that, more often than not, resolves in a satisfying way.

More than just bibliotherapy (which is how the psychological and emotional consolation books offer is sometimes described), books can be personally transformative and, most certainly, transportative as well.

After all, when the going seems tough, there’s always a story to fall into, a lexical journey to embark upon, and sometimes quite literally lose yourself in.

According to recent studies, reading has increased anywhere from 37% – 41% during  the pandemic.

While some folk sought eschatological narratives (end of the world scenarios) in order to perhaps channel their own fears, others turned to the classics, re-read old favourites, reached for their enormous TBR piles – some of which contained books they’d been promising themselves for decades (War and Peace anyone?), found the time to increase their knowledge around certain topics (racism, politics, history etc), or took the opportunity to read genres they’ve never tried before.  

One British study simplified people’s choices as those who “read for exploration and those who re-read for safety”.  

At home, curled up in a chair or in bed, reading of other people, periods and places, is a panacea that both soothes the soul and fires the imagination. It reminds us that while we might be doing it hard (whether that’s because of the pandemic, loss, grief, sad memories, poor health, relationship issues, anger, parenthood etc), struggling or triumphing, these are what humans have done since time immemorial. We’re remarkably resilient. Sometimes, the only way to recognise and appreciate that characteristic, to understand we too will get through this, is within fiction.  

What’s evident is that books offer something few other options can: they’re the word equivalent of comfort food and we’re hungry for it.

Gratitude for what creative artists have given us during lockdown – through their books, art, music, film, dance, TV, social media, cyber-performance etc – has been loud and clear right around the world. What a pity our government cannot acknowledge the importance of the arts and artistes; their intrinsic social, cultural and personal value, choosing instead to cut funding to important bodies and prizes, or offer meagre and competitive grants and loans – and at a time when both the creators and the grateful public need the arts most.

Creative artists are both inventors and curators of culture, of our collective imaginations and hearts. Their work worms its way into our souls and minds, becoming part of individual histories, our memories; they’re a short-cut to a moment in time, even to a version of ourselves we no longer recognise – for better and worse.

Books allow us to escape the nightmare of the present (or past) and dream of other spaces, possibilities; of different ways of being. They enable us to move beyond the present and imagine a different future and even, in our darkest moments, a better one.

About Karen: 

 Dr. Karen Brooks: is an Author,  columnist, social commentator and academic. Karen is also a part of a gorgeous brewery in Tasmania with her partner. The brewery and the authory keep her busy!

www.karenrbrooks.com

Twitter: KarenBrooksAU

Associate Professor and Honorary Senior Research Fellow IASH, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland.

Join Karen for great conversations and sharing on FaceBook: Karen Brooks Author – love to have you!

 

Our Sponsors

Ponderers and counting...

Related Articles

Related

The Number 36

Here's a morsel of numerical quirk to chew on and bust apart the mundane. We like the unusual at Ponderings, so we drew a number out of a hat and we got 36. So how is this number special? In 1936 Jesse Owens smashed Hitler's Aryan race in the Olympics. Jesse was an...

read more

Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Written by Montanna Macdonald Author Dacre Danes is one to keep your eyes peeled for with his newly anticipated release of the novel Danyon. The pro-surfer/photographer from Queensland has entered the publishing foray with charm and a book filled to the edges with an...

THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

A size 12 in one store isn't always the right fit or style for a real size 12, and who can really afford a personal stylist? An Aussie app has taken this problem and created a breathtaking solution. Meet, Mys Tyler.  When it comes to shopping, returns are a huge...

FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

Written by Montanna Macdonald These Asiatic black bear cubs' names are Nikko and Nara, the cutest two bear cubs you have ever seen saved by organisation FOUR PAWS; a bear rescue mission in Vietnam.  FOUR PAWS is a global animal welfare organisation supporting animals,...
Follow Us

Join

Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

Radical Tech Companies Helping and Not Commodifying Humanity

Radical Tech Companies Helping and Not Commodifying Humanity

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Artificial intelligence is the art of a computing system making decisions with the capability of performing tasks without human prompting.

This entails assembling and evolving algorithms so quickly and seamlessly, it is a form of intelligence. Now more intelligent according to the experts than us. This is not a plot to a movie; this is the internet space of twenty-twenty. Did you get the notification? 

Seamless algorithms are a welcome agency when you are saving lives, sending information, access to education or assisting in times of crisis along with the capacity for positive social cohesion. Algorithmic designs can be like a beautiful mathematical dance of logic and coding genius. However, when used for persuasive techniques designed to capitalize on human weakness for profits we have on our hands a superpower, only a few have access to with unclear rules. A problematic dilemma one might say. 

To protect our privacy rights, our democratic freedoms, we require a code of binding and global guidelines and laws, A.K.A- ethics.

However, the chicken has come before the egg, and the horse has bolted out of the computer basement. There are currently no AI codes of conduct legally binding across the planet to protect people. Psychological growth hacking is a booming economy amongst players who are aware of what lurks beneath but do it anyway. 

Elon Musk says AI is the greatest existential threat to humanity. Where is Sarah Connor when you need her? 

Don’t panic, no need for tin foil hats just yet. Whilst some seek to profit to the detriment of our human frailties, there are those seeking to create ethical standards. In addition to a flourish of intuitive courage, there are humans ahead of the curve. There are technologists, entrepreneurs, policymakers, investors, and others who are deeply committed to humane technology. Platform founders not only ethical on purpose but with purpose with the precise intent of restoring integrity. So what does this mean exactly? 

It means using technology and building algorithms ethically, and in a way to enhance humanity, not harm it. According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, AI should be used in ways that comply with human rights law, and AI should be used in ways that minimise harm, improving our lives. We ponder two standouts in the tech sphere doing it with finesse. 

Next Address

 

Next Address is a real estate platform that has taken centre stage in disruptive prop-tech is one such hero. The buyer-seller platform has the unique intent not to destroy in the disruption process but rather to enhance and develop the models on offer. 

Founder Julie O’Donohue says “authentic relationships and radical transparency drive every action at Next Address. This is the only way we are going to bring positive change to the real estate sector. A sector much maligned for many years but a sector that all of us need to use. We saw algorithms would streamline processes and activities, and they do. But ethics are core; we use our algorithms as a tool to enable people and not to manipulate or feed the attention economy. Our algorithms match data between buyers and sellers. We do not use these clients data for any other purpose than connecting the buyers and sellers. Our proprietary technology reduces transaction costs and saves our clients money.” You can find out more about Next Address Here

 

Bounce

 

Bounce is an app empowering people via positive psychology. It is an app and an intuitive bot hybrid designed to boost optimism, increase resilience, build connections, meet goals in real life. Their catchphrase is “Practice positive thinking, and learn to notice and expect the good things in life.”

Founded by friends Christopher Weeks and Alastair Byrne, their mission is inspiring. According to Chris, they started Bounce because:

“A large number of our friends, family and close ones were suffering from mental health issues, and we found that solutions were often reactive, heavy handed and hard to access. We wanted to create something better. We wanted to create something that would take a preventative approach to mental health, while being simple, easy to access and available to anyone, anywhere at any time. We wanted a solution that is fun and engaging, while removing some of the stigma surrounding mental health. Everyone has mental health and everyone needs to look after it. Finally, we wanted our work to be based on science and help push the boundaries of mental health research.”

You can read more about them here: https://medium.com/bounce,mind/bounce-the-start-of-the-journey-to-better-mental-health-4010f1ebfe1a

We look to the future where more leaders like these make the brave step to forge AI and ethical algorithms focussed on people and positive outcomes rather than a business model with a profit first people second mentality. The possibilities give us hope. 

Our Sponsors

Ponderers and counting...

Related Articles

Related

The Number 36

Here's a morsel of numerical quirk to chew on and bust apart the mundane. We like the unusual at Ponderings, so we drew a number out of a hat and we got 36. So how is this number special? In 1936 Jesse Owens smashed Hitler's Aryan race in the Olympics. Jesse was an...

read more

Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Written by Montanna Macdonald Author Dacre Danes is one to keep your eyes peeled for with his newly anticipated release of the novel Danyon. The pro-surfer/photographer from Queensland has entered the publishing foray with charm and a book filled to the edges with an...

THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

A size 12 in one store isn't always the right fit or style for a real size 12, and who can really afford a personal stylist? An Aussie app has taken this problem and created a breathtaking solution. Meet, Mys Tyler.  When it comes to shopping, returns are a huge...

FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

Written by Montanna Macdonald These Asiatic black bear cubs' names are Nikko and Nara, the cutest two bear cubs you have ever seen saved by organisation FOUR PAWS; a bear rescue mission in Vietnam.  FOUR PAWS is a global animal welfare organisation supporting animals,...
Follow Us

Join

Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

Children’s Book to Help Children and Young People Cope with COVID-19

Children’s Book to Help Children and Young People Cope with COVID-19

A new children’s book aiming to help children understand and come to terms with COVID-19 has come to life, created by a collaboration of over 50 organizations working in the humanitarian sector.

Organizations like the World Health Organization, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Federation of Red Cross, Red Crescent Societies, Save the Children and the United Nations Children’s Fund. 

With a little help from Ario, fantasy creature, “My Hero is You, How kids can fight COVID-19!” illustrates how children can protect themselves, their families and friends from coronavirus and how to manage difficult emotions when confronted with a new and rapidly changing reality. 

The book – aimed primarily at children aged 6-11 years old – is a project of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, a unique collaboration of United Nations agencies providing mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings. 

Over 1700 children and parents, caregivers, teachers and aides from across the globe shared their experiences along with how they were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. The input was an invaluable component to writer and illustrator Helen Patuck in ensuring the story resonated with children from all over the world; with inclusivity the key focus. 

Henrietta Fore, the executive director at UNICEF says; 

“All over the world, children’s lives have been completely upended — the majority of them living in countries with some form of restricted movement or lockdown. This wonderful book helps children understand and navigate this new landscape and learn how they can take small actions to become the heroes in their own stories.”

 

In order to reach as many children as possible, the book will be translated, with six language versions released and more than 30 others in the pipeline. It is being released as both an online product and audiobook. Click here for the audio version: AUDIO 

 

Click here to access your copy https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

Our Sponsors

Ponderers and counting...

Related Articles

Related

The Number 36

Here's a morsel of numerical quirk to chew on and bust apart the mundane. We like the unusual at Ponderings, so we drew a number out of a hat and we got 36. So how is this number special? In 1936 Jesse Owens smashed Hitler's Aryan race in the Olympics. Jesse was an...

read more

Bullying and The Gift of Individuality Explored by New Book: Danyon

Written by Montanna Macdonald Author Dacre Danes is one to keep your eyes peeled for with his newly anticipated release of the novel Danyon. The pro-surfer/photographer from Queensland has entered the publishing foray with charm and a book filled to the edges with an...

THE NEW AUSSIE APP SOLVING FASHION’S BIGGEST ISSUE

A size 12 in one store isn't always the right fit or style for a real size 12, and who can really afford a personal stylist? An Aussie app has taken this problem and created a breathtaking solution. Meet, Mys Tyler.  When it comes to shopping, returns are a huge...

FOUR PAWS Save Bear Cubs Nikko and Nara

Written by Montanna Macdonald These Asiatic black bear cubs' names are Nikko and Nara, the cutest two bear cubs you have ever seen saved by organisation FOUR PAWS; a bear rescue mission in Vietnam.  FOUR PAWS is a global animal welfare organisation supporting animals,...
Follow Us

Join

Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

%d bloggers like this: