Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 217

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The Martinshof Story - A Philosophy of Happiness - Life Awareness - Maps & other Text series

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Thursday - Sunday, July 21 - 24 2011 (diary)

Cadel Evans, winner of the 2011 Tour de France

He finally did it !!   After 10 years, finishing several times in the top 10 and twice as 2nd placed rider on the podium in Paris, Cadel Evans fulfilled his dream by becoming the first Australian to win de Tour de France this year.
Thirty years have passed since Phil Anderson as first Australian wore the yellow jersey and finished 3rd in 1981. Since then the number of Australian riders has gradually increased and has become a more visible and potent force on the Tour. Now Cadel has reached the ultimate, winning the most difficult and most prestigious sporting event in the world.

Having won the mountain bike World Cup twice in his younger years, becoming cycling's World Champion last year he has now won the Tour at age 34, the oldest rider to do so since the end of World War 2. By many he is now regarded as "the most complete rider of his generation".

This year's Tour was by far the most exciting one for many years, not until the final day was it clear who would be the winner. Most importantly for this event Cadel is a well known "clean skin", not tainted by any suspicions (like some previous Tour winners) and a committed anti-drugs campaigner. It will do much to restore credibility and respectability both to the Tour and the cycling world at large.

Australia's sporting awareness is to a large degree inward looking this time of the year (focused mostly on its local sports AFL and NRL), but Cadel's emphatic win this week has jolted it (at least temporarily) from its rather parochial slumber. This is largely thanks to the SBS TV station which broadcasts numerous International soccer matches, many cycling events and in July every Stage of the Tour de France live, with daily half hour reviews before the day's evening news.
Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in this country, and I understand that next year an all Australian cycling team may enter the Tour. Australia's soccer A-League, short of badly needed sponsor money (which all goes to the two local codes) is doing what it can and improving slowly, but it has still a long way to go before it catches up with the rest of the world.

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Monday - Wednesday, July 25 - 27 2011 (diary)

With my German Grandparents, 1938 It was my German Grandfather who taught me the traditional German card game of Skat. During his regular visits to our home Martinshof (in the 1950s) the three of us, my Grandfather, my father and I, would play this great game just about every evening after dinner.
These days it appears that only the older generation in Germany still know and play this game, which is a great pity.
I have intended to write an English description of Skat for some time and this past weekend I have finally managed to do that and uploaded it onto my website.
I hope to get a few members of the Arafura Bridge Club interested to learn this game so that we can play it on our forthcoming social day, a visit to an inland lake (at Berry Springs), where we will play any game except bridge itself.

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Thursday & Friday, July 28 & 29 2011 (diary, Philosophy of Happiness 16)

This thought has been floating in the back of my mind for over a year now. Finally I have got around to expressing it in words.

Tapistry by Else Furstner Some time ago a friend of mine (I will call him Phil) did a good deed for someone else. Initially this made him feel very happy himself. But then he started to worry :

"Did I do this for the recipient, or was it largely a selfish act for the pursuit of my own happiness ?"

So he asked a friend (I will call him Dave) for advise, what did he think about it. Dave answered that indeed it was largely an act of selfishness because he had done it to improve his own happiness.
Phil then went to see John and asked him the same question. John immediately replied that Phil had been entirely unselfish with his good deed. Of course he would feel happy afterwards for having given someone else's life a positive or happy lift.

Well, who supplied the correct answer to Phil, was it Dave or was it John ?   The replies do not really provide a reliable answer to Phil's dilemma. They are instead a litmus test revealing the nature of the repliers themselves.

  • Dave, who considered Phil selfish is by nature selfish himself. His answer is derived from his own perspective. (Or possibly he never has thought the proposition through properly.)

  • Likewise John's answer, who considered Phil's act as being unselfish, is also a reflection of John's own nature, not necessarily of that of Phil.

In other words, Phil can only answer his question himself.   But is there any tell tale sign he can rely on ?
I believe so. The very fact that he started to worry about his motive is (I believe) a clear indication that his good deed was indeed an act of unselfishness. If he had done it out of selfishness he would never have worried about his motive at all.

Bjorn Grinde Although I only know about this theory from what I have read in the Wikipedia (so please keep this in mind), it is tempting to view the above from the perspective of Bjorn Grinde's theory of Darwinian Happiness.

As I understand it many (if not all) of our feelings are in fact (biological) emotional levers nudging us into directions which benefit ourselves or the propagation of our species (or away from conditions which may harm us or adversely affect our species).
If, regardless of our personal nature (being either selfish or unselfish), we become happy when doing a good deed towards someone else, this emotion (within the context of Darwinian Happiness) is therefore acting as a double edged sword :

  • For on the one hand it is the reward for an unselfish person's good deed,

  • while on the other hand it provides the motivation for the selfish person's act of the same.

Conclusion ?
No matter what motivates you to do a good deed towards someone else, it is a positive act which contributes (in whatever small way) to the perseverance and positive development of our species as a whole.

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Saturday & Sunday, July 30 & 31 2011 (diary)

French Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot I have no idea what started it all, perhaps the Australian "Yellow Tail", apparently very succesful in the USA, but recently funny, creative brand names for bottled wines in Australia are all the rage.
Just writing some down browsing through the local bottle shop I came up with over 30 names.
Here is a sample :

  • Four Sisters
  • Black Thursday
  • Legs Eleven
  • Monkey Bay
  • Monkey's Cousin
  • First Frost
  • Catching Thieves
  • Scrubby Rise
  • Overtone
  • Long Row
  • Barossa Blonde
  • Fifth Leg
  • Queen Bee
  • Sunstone
  • Kiss & Tell
  • Heaven's Gate
  • Nature's Harvest
  • Faith
  • Jump'n Jive
  • Gossip
  • Shotfire
  • Poet's Corner
  • Two Fat Ladies
  • Arrogant Frog

Even the French have joined the craze with their (fully imported) Arrogant Frog, in one quite clever move transforming their derogatory English nickname ("frogs") into a rather elegant brand name. It is also not a bad wine at all and I just bought half a dozen bottles of it for our regular Monday evening bridge sessions.

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