ISSUES FOR DISCUSSION
There are many issues that need to be discussed if Australia is ever to become a sovereign and independent nation, and the following Synthesis raises some of these that have been well known for many decades
WOMEN (1927 to 1955)
Women tend to be dominated by four systems of authority, which are part of the whole, century’s old, feudal - patriarchal –ideology system associated with religion, royalty and aristocracy. These four systems of authority are politics, clan/family, religion, and men, particularly in a husband and wife relationship.
The political authority is the backbone of all the other systems, but if that can be challenged, and changed, all the other systems begin to crumble.
A democratic society has a duty, and obligation, to recognise the interests of women by helping them to participate on an equal footing in all work and effort in promoting the progress of their society.
Men and women must receive equal pay for equal work. Genuine equality between the sexes can only be realised by transforming the society as a whole, and thereby, building a greater and better nation. To a large extent, this means that women should be responsible for women’s issues and men should not be involved other than in a supporting role.
STUDY (1936 to 1957)
For a nation to advance, the society as a whole must be good at learning.
Change is the only real constant in today’s world, and if one is to adapt one’s thinking to the ever changing conditions, one must study.
Even those with a good grasp of current issues must continue to go on studying as the issues evolve and new problems arise.
Everyone has an opportunity to learn something they do not know, and while that new knowledge might demolish old concepts, it can be essential in building new and better ideas.
If we adopt the dogmatic approach of learning from others, simply by unquestioningly transplanting knowledge, we contribute to fossilising dogma as fact. This is not worthwhile study.
If we continually use our heads to learn and study the way things are, and the way they are done, to relate them to changing conditions, and absorb the experience we thus gain, we will all contribute towards building a better society.
A number of theories have universal application, but they should not be regarded as dogma. A theory is nothing more than a guide to action. And if the theory cannot be translated into practical and worthwhile action, it has little relevance for improving society.
Studying is not merely a matter of learning terms, phrases, or formulae; the acquisition of knowledge is part of the science of evolution.
Studying isn’t just a matter of understanding the general laws of nature and science, it is the ability to relate that knowledge to real life, and real experiences, and developing a methodology for examining and solving problems.
It is no use having a correct theory, a good theory, a beneficial theory, if it cannot, or is not, translated into practice. In essence, a theory is the foundation for a policy, or a set of policy guidelines, which can then be transformed into a practical working system. If that theory, policy and system works for the benefit of mankind, it will be a good result, if not, the result will lead to disaster and chaos.
In studying theory, the purpose is to master the knowledge so the theory can be transformed into a practical application. The more problems people can solve through comprehensive study, the greater will be the benefit for mankind.
There is a common Chinese expression of “shooting the arrow at the target”, but if we approach our study without a target to aim for, it will be difficult to achieve any significant progress.
Practical experience will be enhanced through studying the principles and basic theoretical foundation upon which the success of the practice is based. This will allow us to systemise and synthesise the knowledge gained from experience, and apply it in a wider and broader application.
Reading is a form of learning, but the application of knowledge is the more important kind of learning. Thus, learning from experience can be the precursor to more intense study relating to the examination and rationale associated with the experience.
While there is often a gap in the level of knowledge between any two people, it is not a gap that can’t be closed. The key is to learn thoroughly and apply skilfully, the knowledge we acquire.
Again there is a well known Chinese saying, “Nothing in the world is difficult for one who sets his mind to it.” It is not difficult to cross the threshold and close the gap if one sets their mind to it, and studies conscientiously.
We must take the opportunity to learn from anyone, no matter who they are. We must esteem them as teachers, learning from them respectfully, and not pretend to know what we do not know.
Knowledge is a matter of science, and no dishonesty, or conceit whatsoever, is permissible. Honesty and modesty are the essentials to learning.
Complacency is the enemy of study, and until we rid ourselves of that attitude, we will not be able to learn. The attitude we need is, “to be insatiable in learning”, and to others, “be tireless in teaching.”
A thorough knowledge of any subject is a combination of intense study and exposure to the practical application of that knowledge, and ideally, close contact with the people actually involved in that application. We need to speak the same language if we are to communicate between theory and practice.
YOUTH (1917 to 1955)
The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigour and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed on you.
Because of their lack of political and social experience, quite a number of young people are unable to see the contrast between the past and the present. It is difficult for them to comprehend the hardships people have suffered to bring this nation to its present status. That is why continuing education is an imperative, so that they can always be told the truth about the difficulties that have been faced, and how they must surmount them in the future.
Young people are the most active and vital force in society. They are the most eager to learn and the least conservative in their thinking. Society must encourage the full play of the energy of the young and not ignore their special characteristics.
Of course, young people need to learn from their elders, but be open minded and not accept everything as dogma.
Society must care for the youth and show concern for the growth of the younger generation. Young people have to study and work, but they are at the age of physical growth. Therefore, full attention must be paid both to their work and study and to their recreation, sport and rest.
METHODS OF THINKING AND OF WORK (1930 to 1964)
The history of mankind is one of continuous development from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom. This process is never ending. In any society where classes exist, there will always be an element of conflict between “them’ and “us.” Even in a theoretical “classless” society, there will be conflict between the new and the old, between falsehood and the truth.
Mankind is making progress in the fields of production and science, and as a result, nature is in a state of constant change. Nothing can remain at the same level. Mankind’s destiny is to go on discovering, inventing, creating and advancing, for we cannot stagnate and become immersed in pessimism, inertia or complacency.
Natural science is one of man’s weapons in his fight for freedom. For the purpose of attaining freedom in society, man must use social science to understand and change society. For the purpose of attaining freedom in the world of nature, man must use natural science to understand, conquer and change nature.
A fundamental element of a philosophy must be its relationship to practicalities. It needs to emphasise the dependence of theory on practice, because a useful theory is based on practice, and in turn, serves practice.
Understanding, and being able to explain the laws of the objective world is not always the most important problem, what can be more important is applying the knowledge of those laws to actively change the world.
Where do correct ideas come from? They aren’t innate in the mind, and they don’t drop from the sky, but depending on a man’s upbringing, his background and his experience, these characteristics determine his thinking. When these ideas touch a nerve, they develop a force of their own that is capable of changing society, and even changing the world.
In the course of life, people engage in various kinds of effort, which enriches their experience, both from their successes and their failures. Countless phenomena of the objective world are absorbed through the five senses to create perceptual knowledge in the human brain. The leap to conceptual knowledge occurs when sufficient perceptual knowledge is accumulated. This leap is the first stage in the whole process of cognition – the stage leading from objective matter to subjective consciousness – from existence to ideas. These ideas include theories, policies, plans and abstract concepts, which can only be proven correct when translated into practice, and thus proven successful. Generally speaking, those that succeed to produce the anticipated results can be considered correct, while those that fail are incorrect.
This is especially true of man’s relationship with nature. The test of practice determines which ideas are correct and it is through practise in the objective world that the truth is determined.
One can acquire knowledge by taking part in the practice of changing reality. If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it. If you want to know the theory and methods of a given practice, you must participate in that practice. All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience.
Knowledge begins with practice and theoretical knowledge, which is acquired through practice, must return to practice. The active function of knowledge manifests itself in the active leap from perceptual to rational knowledge, and possibly more importantly, from rational knowledge to physical practice.
It is well known that when you do anything, unless you understand its actual circumstances, its nature and its relationship to other things, you will not know the laws governing it, or know how to do it, or be able to do it well.
If a man wants to succeed in his work by achieving anticipated results, he must bring his ideas into correspondence with the laws of the objective world. If they do not correspond, they will fail in their practice. There is a lesson to be learnt from this failure, which gives him the opportunity to correct his ideas and turn the failure into success. This is what is meant by the Chinese proverb, “A fall into the pit is a gain in your wit.”
When we approach a problem, we should start with objective facts and not abstract definitions. The guiding principles for resolving a problem must stem from an analysis of those facts.
The fundamental method of work is determined from the actual, and existing, conditions prevailing at a given time and in a given place.
Idealism and metaphysics are the easiest things in the world, because people can talk as much nonsense as they like without basing it on objective reality. Their nonsense cannot be tested against reality. On the other hand, rational thinking and physical practice needs a lot of effort because they must be based on, and tested, by objective reality.
When we look at a thing, we must examine its essence and treat its appearance merely as the threshold for analysing its essence in a reliable and scientific way.
The concrete analysis of concrete conditions is an essential approach in studying the nature of anything. Every problem must be analysed for its essential and main aspects, but first, the non-essential and minor aspects need to be dealt with, one by one. In this world, things are complicated and involve many factors, and each factor needs to be analysed if the problem is to be resolved.
It is quite superficial to approach a problem without considering all the circumstances, and getting to the nature of the relationships involved with the problem. Subjectivity and superficiality will not satisfactorily resolve a problem; only a comprehensive and objective analysis of all the factors involved will lead to a lasting and correct resolution.
When Sun Wu Tzu said, “Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat,” he was referring to the two sides in a battle and not being one-sided when faced with a problem.
Wei Cheng of the Tang Dynasty also understood the necessity to consider the totality of a problem when he said, “Listen to both sides and you will be enlightened, heed only one side, and you will be benighted.”
It is obvious that in order to really know an object, we must embrace, and study all its sides, all its connections and mediations. We can never achieve this completely, but the demand for a comprehensive analysis is the safeguard against mistakes and rigidity.
When people approach a problem in a one-sided manner they may see it as being positive or negative. Being positive means we only see the good and not the bad; to tolerate praise, but not criticism. This approach is at variance with the facts of objective reality; there are always good and bad aspects in everything.
A frog in a well sees the sky as being no bigger than the mouth of the well, but that is untrue, because the frog only sees one small part of the sky. He is unable to picture the sky as a whole and it is this type of restricted vision that denies people the ability to correctly resolve problems.
We should always use our brains and think everything over carefully, because careful thinking yields wisdom. People will benefit if they learn the methods of analysis, and cultivate the habit of analysis.
It is not enough to set tasks without defining the method needed to accomplish the task. Unless the method is defined, and proven practical, it is pointless to expect the task to be achieved.
When setting tasks, it is always necessary to establish priorities by defining the principle task, and where necessary, the sequence of subsidiary tasks that need to be accomplished before tackling the main task. At any one time, there should be only one central task, and it is a responsibility of leadership not to create confusion by setting multiple tasks without defining their priority.
Leaders must look ahead, be enthusiastic, act with a calm state of mind, and not allow problems to pile up before trying to solve them. If they do this in an orderly manner they will offer leadership by being proactive rather than reactive.
SELF IMPROVEMENT (1929 -1956)
Modesty helps one go forward, whereas conceit makes one lag behind. This is a truth that should be recognised. No matter how successful one is, there is no justification for feeling conceited or arrogant.
While a successful accomplishment provides a sense of satisfaction it also contains the seeds of inertia to progress and seek improvement. The flattery and praise that is often associated with success can be like sugar coated bullets and inflict great harm on one’s character.
In our passage through life we inevitably accumulate a degree of baggage, which can become unwieldy encumbrances if we stick to them blindly and uncritically.
For example, if we become dispirited because we have made some mistakes in our life, it means we are limiting our ability to improve by accepting that unnecessary baggage. On the other hand, if we believe we haven’t made any mistakes that can be the harbinger of conceit, pride and arrogance.
Lack of achievement can lead to pessimism and depression, but it is the sort of baggage we arbitrarily, and perhaps unconsciously, choose to carry, because we don’t avail ourselves of critical awareness. None of us, no matter what our achievements, are free of shortcomings.
We should always strive to do things honestly, for without an honest attitude it is absolutely impossible to accomplish anything worthwhile in this world.
When confronted with a series of tasks it is not a good attitude to take on the lightest task and leave the heavier tasks to others. In the same principle, if a task is part of a larger project, we should always try to see it in the context of the whole, and accomplish the task accordingly.
If we are to avoid dogmatism, we must exert a level of independence to ask questions and use our initiative, but it is wrong to assume that the doctrine of independence is wedded to the “me first’ attitude. We live in a society and it is impossible to avoid, or deny, relationships with other people in that society.
We should not be indifferent to the difficulties of other people, but when we have the opportunity, and the capability, we should offer our assistance.
Often, we are faced with choices to let things slide for the sake of peace, or friendship, when we clearly know something is not right. Other times, we may deliberately avoid examining an issue in detail for the sake of maintaining good terms with someone, or an organisation. This type of liberal approach will prove to be harmful to both ourselves and the other party involved.
Likewise, it is wrong not to speak up when we know, or believe, something is wrong. If we are unprepared to speak to a person face to face, we should not talk about them behind their backs.
Neither should we let things drift if they do not affect us personally, even though we are well aware that something is wrong.
We must avoid tackling our work in a half hearted, perfunctory, manner, or be willing to “muddle through” without a definite plan and clear direction. This is akin to, “Remaining a monk and continue tolling the bell.”
These attitudes can become quite corrosive and eat away at one’s character. They undermine cohesion, cause apathy and create dissention.
It is not hard for one to do a bit of good; what is hard is to do good consistently over a long period of time, and avoid doing anything bad. That takes a strong character, resolve, integrity and a code of ethical behaviour.
Within a society, we cannot do without freedom, nor can we do without discipline, and we cannot do without democracy and a government. They are the two opposites of a single entity, contradictory as well as united; freedom and discipline, democracy and government.
It is obvious that dust will accumulate in a room if it is not cleaned regularly. If we are not diligent, ‘dust’ will accumulate in our minds in the form of ‘baggage’, which needs to be swept aside. We need to develop the process of regularly clearing our minds, which is emphasised by the Chinese maxims, “Say all you know and say it without reserve,” –“Blame not the speaker, but be warned by his words,” – “Correct mistakes if you have committed them, and guard against them if you have not.” In other words, fear not genuine criticism and be willing to face up to self criticism to see yourself as others see you.
We can all learn from our mistakes and setbacks to become wiser and better able to handle our affairs in the future. It is hard for anyone to avoid mistakes, but our aim should be to make as few as possible. What becomes important is to recognise the mistake and correct it as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
We must always go into the whys and wherefores of everything, use our own heads, and carefully think over whether or not it corresponds to reality, and is really well founded. On no account should we follow blindly and encourage slavishness.
We can set an example in being practical and far sighted, because that ensures we will keep our bearings and move forward. This means we must always remain students of life and reality, but at the same time, become teachers when the need arises. Avoid at all costs becoming a bureaucratic politician.
Each of us has a responsibility to integrate with our society. It is a pointless life not to face the world and “brave the storm” for it produces no benefits for mankind.
We should listen attentively to the views of others, and welcome any new knowledge they are willing to impart, but if their views do not conform to reality, or lack a cohesive rationality, we can either patiently explain the alternative, or choose to ignore the comments.
We should not reject the views and opinions of others without listening to their reasoning. If we disagree we should use persuasion, but only if they are prepared to be open minded and consider alternative points of view.
Forceful argument, or compulsion, will never persuade anyone to genuinely change their mind.
If people are given timely instructions and guidance, they are able to make full use of their initiative. To the extent of their ability, they should be given a free hand in their work and encouraged to take responsibility.
Leadership involves two main responsibilities; the first is to work with ideas, draw up plans, make decisions and give directives. The second is to support the people who must put the plans into action, to see they have adequate resources to accomplish the job, to delegate responsibility and to weld the people into an effective team.
INVESTIGATION (1930 -1942)
The purpose of an investigation is to seek the truth by establishing the objective facts relating to the actual conditions of the subject being investigated. When people are involved in the practical application of any activity, they should always acquire as sound a knowledge as possible in respect to the physical and social conditions related to that activity.
All practical activities and many theoretical ones, when translated to a policy and applied as a system, have an impact on people. As a result, there are always social aspects that should be taken into account.
It is a valid assertion that people, who have not made a thorough investigation of the actual conditions applying to a given situation, do not have the right, or authority, to make comments.
Many people are wont to express opinions, to criticise, to jump to conclusions, to condemn or support proposals without taking the effort to investigate and ascertain the facts. Society often suffers from these people who spout theories, but do not have the investigative knowledge to relate them to practical conditions. Such people are groping in the dark and lack perspective and genuine foresight.
Proper investigative practice does not rely on subjective imagination, or momentary enthusiasm, nor on academic books, but must seek the facts that exist objectively in order to draw correct conclusions.
To indulge in subjective verbiage is to behave like “a blind man groping for fish.” It is necessary to study the conditions conscientiously and to proceed from objective reality rather than subjective wishes of how one might want things to be.
The only way to solve a problem is to investigate the present facts and the history relating to the conditions as they now apply. To investigate a problem is, indeed, to solve it.
To understand social conditions one must investigate the conditions in real life, and from a range of different aspects.
In practical terms, one must allow ample time to carry out an investigation, and prepare in advance, an outline of the purpose and procedure that needs to be followed. Appropriate questions need to be asked and notes taken of the discussions that evolve. An investigation should be carried out with zeal, and a determination to avoid being pretentious, to have a thirst for knowledge, and most importantly, to become a willing student.
Correct decisions stem from correct judgement, and correct judgement stems from correct accumulation of the facts. The complete process of knowing a situation and developing a strategic plan involves selecting the essentials, discarding the dross, eliminating the false and retaining the true.
In the words of Sun Yatsen, who was the gentlest and mildest of men, “Reforms are not the answer to tyranny”, and he knew tyranny cannot be cured with words.
When we talk of "revolution" it is to sweep the house clean and start rebuilding it on a better foundation. But this type of "revolution" will only succeed when the concepts can be easily understood by everyone, and that pre-revolutionary mental state becomes a reality. That pre-revolutionary mental state is when the conscientiousness of change begins to solidify and becomes capable of specific demands for a genuine, practical, common sense and positive answer to the irrational, and money centered, politics currently practiced.
It is this understanding of concepts easily handled by everyone, ordinary people as well as officials, which must occur if there is going to be any success in achieving a proper change.
When "WE" live in a state of tyranny, as is the most appropriate description of the current political system, reforms are not the answer because, tyranny cannot be cured with words.
Unfortunately, this psychological pre-revolutionary mental state is a phenomenon least understood of all.