Author Archive

Groping for the truth

Why does a lie offend us? Why is it that a lie — especially a lie to our face — vexes us so? Our efforts to identify the veracity of a claim (sometimes a very basic claim), can be frustrated by liars and rogues. So much of our lives can be taken up with efforts to […]

The power of an appeal to decency

A recent reference to a made-up threat of ‘Death Panels’ led me to recall a famous political showdown. Legend tells us this interchange sparked the beginning of the end for Senator Joseph McCarthy. While McCarthy was not without opponents to his paranoid demagoguery, lawyer Joseph Welch went down in history as a giant-slayer. Welch was […]

Falling into error: when we think we know why…

Fundamental attribution error It’s intriguing how often you will stumble across someone’s hallucinations about another person’s motives for action. In earlier posts I’ve discussed the character attacks that a critic (any critic) can commonly expect to endure in response to them giving their gift: ‘Oh you’re just saying that because you’re … [fill in the […]

Remembering Karla

They can be strange lands, the pathways of our memory. Our recent discussions about animosity and forgiveness and letting go of disappointment and anger has provoked recollections of a case which I haven’t thought about for long time. When I was a news reporter twenty years ago I covered the search for a young girl […]

“Do I believe in the forgiveness of sin?”

I heard this question in a BBC Heart & Soul documentary today about a family where the father had sexually abused his young daughter. The wife described how she had come to a place where the question, “Do I believe in the forgiveness of sin?” arose when considering her husband’s actions towards her daughter. Her […]

The Paradox of Animosity

I’ve been thinking, prompted in part by a comment from Chowbok who said: Hatred is the easiest of emotions to invoke. Is it possible to be trenchantly, even violently opposed to what you perceive as wrongdoing without slipping into HATRED of the perpetrator? If we agree (you and I) that bitterness of spirit is a […]

Reflections on grief and mortality

A recent death in my family – the latest in what seems like a bad season for us – has provoked some musings about this haphazard procession of events we call Life. Is there any novel thing one can say in response to the death of a loved one (whether parent, spouse, child or friend)? […]

How to have a FAIR argument

For a number of years I worked as a political reporter at Parliament Buildings in Wellington (New Zealand). During my time in that highly competitive pressure-cooker environment I learned a lot about truth, perception, political ‘reality’, and human nature. I hope I also learned to be careful with what I say. While I was in […]

Heart warming

Pearl & I performed street theatre sketches with our friends and squirted our guests with water pistols at our wedding… these guys have the same spirit. Heart-warming! Done anything this ‘crazy’ lately? – P

Daring — if there was no risk it wouldn’t take guts

I like this image for two reasons: One – the graphic design speaks to me. Two – it kind of makes my point: ‘Many saw evil. They dared to stop it.’ I can’t tell you how many people will cheer from the safety of the sidelines, or grumble uselessly about something they perceive as not […]

Moral courage — being willing to stand in scorn

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls […]

Is there a ‘whistle blower’ personality type?

It’s emerged that the latest book by economist Gareth Morgan After the Panic is being recalled because there’s “a mistake that must be corrected” (see notice from the publishers here PDF) … a new edition is being readied to replace the first edition (now a collectors’ edition?) This self-styled “straight shooting” book was launched just last month […]

A day with the Rich Dad team

I had the luxury of spending time with the good-hearted folk heading up the Rich Dad franchise over the weekend. An old friend of mine Kelly Ritchie is the franchisor for Robert & Kim Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad company, and he was in New Zealand — briefly — to conduct a training for the local franchisees […]

Gulp. Surely they’re not talking about us …

from Nick Carr‘s ‘Roughtype’ blog (June 27, 2009) … The sour Wikipedian Forget altruism. Misanthropy and egotism are the fuel of online social production. That’s the conclusion suggested by a new study of the character traits of the contributors to Wikipedia. A team of Israeli research psychologists gave personality tests to 69 Wikipedians and 70 […]

Remembering the cyber world is not the real world

Keep in touch. Today’s clear winter morning. Wow. It was refreshing to feel my eyes drawn from the computer screen to this view from my study.