Wednesday, 22 November 2017


By Dave Wheeler
    As I’ve reminded the reader in previous posts, within Australian culture, or for that matter virtually any culture, you’re not supposed to talk about yourself too much, and if you do it's best to do so by way of putting yourself down. I have definitely done the latter in this essay/anecdote/rave, as it shows up some real flaws in my makeup, or at the very least the makeup I possessed as a young man, even though what was and was not me at the time is debatable. And if what I just said makes no sense to you it may as we progress.
   It's also difficult to not talk about yourself if your personal experiences are intertwined with how you see things, particularly if you’re putting forward philosophical reasoning when the reasoning revolves around one’s personal experiences, which is what I will attempt to do. Actually, personal philosophies are created by combining acquired knowledge with personal experiences. 
   Putting that aside, some who read this essay may get a laugh at my expense, but it is mainly for the benefit of those who are interested in how the brain and mind may work and/or who are philosophically-inclined. 
    So, be warned; if you have no interest in philosophy or how the mind and brain works, or if you have a small attention span, I advise you to read a different anecdote or essay within this blog by simply scrolling down or hitting the “Home" button and making a choice. You could also close your computer and go on a shopping spree in Captains Flat.
   I would also like to say that if you are not familiar with aggressive Rationalist philosophy and have not made yourself consciously aware of the implications of our bodies (which of course includes our brains) being a part of the material universe, and as such subject to the forces of the universe that act upon them, much of what I have to say you may regard as insane. It may even seem insane to those who subscribe to religions that require followers to believe in the supernatural. 
     What I have to say relates to certain events I experienced within the walls of the since demolished YMCA in Civic, even though I rarely visited the place when it existed. 
    The first event at the Civic YMCA that involved my having an altered state-of-consciousness I regard as a fascinating but negative experience. I didn’t make an arse of myself on that occasion but I was very confused during and after the event as it seemed to defy logic.  
    My memory tells me the event may have occurred in 1971, but it probably occurred in or around mid 1970. On the night it occurred I had been at the Canberra Rex with my mates when one of them, a lad named Terry Gates, asked me if I could take him to the YMCA in Civic where his girlfriend was playing basketball so we could give her a lift home. Terry did not own a car. 
    I didn't know the girl very well, but I remember her as an attractive girl a couple of years younger than me, and my faded memory also tells me her name was Megan and that she went to Lyneham High. But, I’ve received a lot of blows to my 1952 vintage head, and because I was a forceps baby for all I know her name may have been Sheila, Cheryl or Beryl and she may have been a hairdresser from Queanbeyan.  
Update-January 2020. I recently found out my memory is correct and her name was and still is Megan and she did go to Lyneham High. I was told this by a good mate of hers who is a good mate of mine. They still stay in contact with each other. Its easy to worry about dementia planting false memories in your brain as you age.  
   The Civic YMCA, which has since been bulldozed, was located at the corner of London Circuit and Constitution Avenue Civc, as shown above, where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade building now stands. Imagine the CO2 that was produced when the current buildings were erected. 
   The above is a photo of the said Civic YMCA, which was taken in the 60’s. Thanks to Anne Cameron for finding it for me.
     Anyway, I agreed to give her a lift home, and when we arrived at the YMCA I told Terry I would wait in the car while he went in to get her. But, after going inside for a very short period of time Terry returned to me in a state of absolute fear and horror, as if he’d just seen a ghost. He said to me, "It’s packed with sheilas in there! There are no blokes in there at all! I can’t go in there by myself! You’ve got to come in with me!” 
    I said to myself, “What’s his problem? Surely he can handle a bunch of girls?Yet Terry was usually a very gutsy sort of lad, and he had never showed any signs of shyness or fear when it came to girls. His reaction was completely and utterly out of character. 
    So, I reluctantly got out of my car and began walking with Terry through the main entrance of the YMCA. I felt a bit smug at the time, thinking to myself that if I had a girlfriend I had to pick up from the YMCA I would not need a mate to walk into the place with me.
    It was however, a very different story when I was actually inside the Civic YMCA, even though I was in the company of another bloke. I felt a sort of fear I had never felt in my life. For some reason unbeknown to me the fear I felt was so strong I had an immediate urge to race outside. 
     I don’t think I felt fear that was of the same intensity I would feel if I was shoved into a cage with a Kodiak bear, but it would not have been that far off it. The difference however, was that if I was in a cage with a Kodiak bear I would know why I felt fear, as it would be totally warranted. Conversely, when I was within the walls of the Civic YMCA on that night, surrounded by laughing and boisterous teenage girls who were too busy playing basketball or conducting activities related to playing basketball to notice our presence, along with a sprinkling of middle-aged women who were organising the games, I had no idea why I was feeling any fear at all. 
     After taking a few more steps inside it was all too much. I could have gone on and endured it if it was a life and death situation, but if you’re suffering an intense form of pain of any sort you need a very good reason to not make it stop, and the obligation I had to support Terry by accompanying him was outweighed by the desire I had to get out of the place. 
   Poor Terry walked on by himself not knowing I had slipped out without telling him. I don’t know if the fear he felt was as intense as mine, but later on he told me that when he turned and saw I wasn’t there he was panic-stricken and didn’t know what to do with himself. That caused me a lot of amusement.
     What fascinates me is the question of why the situation gave me such fear. I was not trying to make a line for any of the girls, so my ego was not in any danger. There is no way it could be compared to the fear young men feel when they are about to ask a girl out, not knowing whether or not they'll get a knock-back. And why did Terry react in a similar way to me when it was so out of character for him? I had never before suffered from any form of anxiety, paranoia or had any sort of panic attack, nor have I since the event occurred. And I had been in very similar situations before the event I described occurred and I have been in similar situations after the event. It was only on that one occasion I felt such inexplicable fear. 
    So, was the state-of-mind I experienced at the YMCA on that one occasion simply the one and only time in my life I suffered a form of mental illness or was there more to it? 
     I told the story to a workmate several years ago, a lady whose name I cannot recall as I only worked with her briefly. I do however, remember her being a bit new-age and a committed feminist. She told me that Terry and I were probably subjected to a sort of girl-power women can produce when in large groups to protect themselves from males. She said it was by no means an unusual occurrence. 
    To augment what she was saying she reminded me of the fact that trees can communicate with surrounding trees chemically to protect themselves against herbivores or other things that are a threat to them, and she is correct about the trees as the process has been observed by many reputable scientists. See the following link.
    In regard to how the girls may have put up an anti-male shield she came up with two theories. She thought the girls may have created a magnetic field which produced fear in the male brain or they may have produced a collective smell that males could perceive non-consciously, and that the smell may have caused the male brain to feel fear without it being consciously aware of why it felt fear.
    It all sounded and still sounds too far-fetched for me and I’m very sceptical, because other than our having been no threat to the girls and there being zero evidence to support the smell or magnetic field theories, there is a simpler theory. To explain, although I don’t know the extent of Terry’s fear, I see the fear I suffered as more likely to have been created by my undeveloped teenage brain without any external catalyst of the kind my workmate described, even though I was not conscious of why I felt such fear and it was the only time in my life I have felt that sort of fear under those sorts of circumstances.
     I will however, place a caveat in my criticism of her theories by saying that although highly unlikely, and totally lacking in supporting scientific evidence, the magnetic field and smell theories are not theories that involve the transgression of the laws of physics. Therefore those theories and others like them are possibilities, albeit remote possibilities. 
    And, if we are to discuss human behaviour in general, when it comes to processes of a quantum nature occurring, such as entanglement, and how we may be affected by, or utilise those processes, our ignorance on the subject is unlimited. 

    The car in the above photo, which is my FC Holden station wagon, was the car I was driving when I picked the young lady up from the YMCA in Civic. The late Bluey Cowan is sitting on the bonnet and I am standing on the roof wearing a full leather coat that was worn by my grandad in the trenches during WW1. I don’t know where the photo was taken.
    The next two events I am about to describe that occurred in the Civic YMCA resulted in my making an arse of myself twice in one day. What occurred has all sorts of implications of a philosophical nature, particularly in relation to moral responsibility, since I am discussing free will. 
    Before continuing I will say that I have previously said on this blog on several occasions that our having contra causal free will is an illusion, and I have qualified what I have said with argument and a reference to the following link, which takes the reader to a very well-written and hard-hitting essay on the matter, even though there is nothing in the said essay that is new. I will not however, go there very much for the purpose of this essay, as I will be discussing free will, or our lack of free will, in relation to when our bodies move, by way of reflex, without our consciously “directing,” for want of a better word, them to move.
   The year in which I made an arse of myself twice in one day at the same Civic YMCA was 1977 or 1978. During that period I was obsessed with Rationalist philosophy, which had also got me into philosophical Scepticism in its various forms as formulated by several ancient Greeks. And to give my brain relief from philosophy I had a slightly milder obsession with martial arts. I really enjoyed its practice and I enjoyed searching for the ultimate style, although I was aware that the word style was an inappropriate concept if one is looking for what works best. I have always been into Eclecticism.
     My pursuit of the best form of martial arts was not based on any desire I had to become the world’s best martial artist; it was the process I enjoyed, particularly since the choice of techniques and counters for varying situations are virtually endless, and working out the feasibility of choices based on the physics of the processes gave my brain great mental workouts and much ongoing pleasure.
     To give further background on why I made an arse of myself at the Civic YMCA in 1977 or 1978 I will go back to 1976. I had entered a martial arts tournament in that year at the Turner PCYC, as did my mate, Tony Quinn. The tournament was open to anyone and the rules allowed full contact to any part of one’s opponent’s body other than the head and balls. And any part of one’s own body could be used as the attacking weapon, as in fists, elbows, feet and knees. One could also however, score points by striking with any part of one’s body towards one’s opponent’s head, as long as the technique was pulled and no contact was made. 
   I did not do well in the tournament because my timing was slightly out and I made very light contact when kicking towards the head of a bloke I fought. I was quite rightly disqualified. My opponent, who went on to win, did not suffer any damage as I had pulled my kick, and I apologised to him after the event. 
    Tony Quinn did a lot better. He had three fights in his weight division, which had a large number of competitors, and he won all of them convincingly. But despite that fact, when the finalists were announced he was not one of them. 
     The late Bruce Vincent, who was the Berra’s best heavyweight boxer of his era, also entered the tournament, and like Tony and me he did so as an individual and not as a member of one of the established clubs. He lost on points in one bout and was disqualified in another. I believe however, that if his fights had have been judged fairly he would have won both of them. In my opinion he was robbed! The organisers seemed to resent outsiders doing well, although in my case my disqualification was entirely warranted. 
   When Tony approached the bloke who seemed to be the main organiser, a highly ranked instructor from Wollongong named Mehemet, (I’m not sure of the spelling of his name. He was an Anglo Celt despite his name sounding like it came from the Middle East), he was told he would not advance to the finals and that he would share an equal third place despite the fact that he had not lost a fight. Tony was given no explanation. 
    Although at the time I was conscious of the fact that Mehemet did not have contra causal free will I was frustrated at how the forces of the universe had acted upon his body, causing it to treat Tony unfairly, and it pissed me off. 
   Accepting reality by way of understanding and becoming consciously aware of the fact that we cannot control the forces of the universe that act upon our bodies, and therefore, to state the obvious, nor can those who own bodies that do us wrong control the forces that act upon their bodies, does not always result in the negative emotions that arise because of the actions of others and ourselves not existing. Emotions are real in that they are caused by real chemistry even if there are sometimes no rational reasons as to why the chemistry is activated. 
   Sometimes however, when one’s emotions take over and one forgets that contra causal free will does not exist then one calms-down and suddenly remembers that it cannot exist, an immediate reduction or elimination of anger and frustration can occur. The ability to utilise that knowledge varies from person-to-person, and it also depends on how long one has been consciously aware of our being at the mercy of the forces of the universe that act upon our bodies. Usually, the longer one is aware of that fact the closer that fact gets to becoming fully embedded into one’s conscious mind. 
    Intense stressors can also of course beget intense emotions, which can make it more difficult to be aware that one has no control of the forces within the universe that act upon one’s body.
   Although I was consciously aware of our not having contra causal free will before I hit my teens, that fact took many years to become fully embedded into my conscious mind.
     Should you have just become conscious of our not having contra causal free will I suggest you read the essay I have referred to on the previously shown link everyday at least twice a day. Once the fact becomes fully embedded into your brain and mind it will improve your quality of life to the extent that you will become more accepting of reality and as such better able to spend more of your time savouring the present rather than creating anger and regret by dwelling on the unwise and/or immoral actions of others and yourself. 
       Let’s now return to the Civic YMCA in 1977 or 1978. It was a year or two after the tournament at the Turner PCYC and I had entered into another tournament that was to be held at the said Civic YMCA. It had similar rules to the tournament at the Turner PCYC in that it allowed full contact to the body other than the balls, although it differed to the extent that it also allowed full contact to one’s opponent’s head, but with any part of the legs or feet only. This of course meant contact to one’s opponent’s head by way of striking with fists or elbows was forbidden.
  The tournament was open to all local clubs, be they kung fu, karate, kickboxing, etc. 
    In my search for the ultimate martial arts style I had practised several styles of martial arts and saw at the time some merit in Wing Chun, which I practised at the time to increase my overall knowledge and experience. I have since discarded most of what the WC style espouses. 
    Anyway, our Wing Chun club decided to enter the tournament at the Civic YMCA, so I was happy to be a part of it. 
    I had two fights during that tournament. I was to find that my first opponent was the previously mentioned instructor from Wollongong, Mr Mehemet. I was still a bit pissed off at the fact that the forces of the universe that acted upon the brain and mind of Mehemet did not allow Tony to advance to the finals in the tournament at the Turner PCYC, despite my realising that contra causal free will does not exist and that Mehemet had, in-effect, no real say in any “decision” he may have made about Tony. 
   I was also however, aware that the chemistry that creates emotions is real, even if we are not consciously aware of why they are created. 
    I therefore became aware that my feelings towards the situation resulted in my possessing a very aggressive state-of-mind at the time, and I was aware that the aggression would be utilised when I fought Mehemet. I did not however, have any desire to transgress the rules when I fought the man.
    When it came to the actual fight it did not last long. Mehemet put his head down and I “instinctively,” or by way of a “reflex" action, for want of better words, gave him an uppercut which caused him to lose consciousness and fall to the ground for a few seconds. 
    Now, even if we, for the sake of argument, assume we do have contra causal free will, whether I “chose” to give him an uppercut at the time can be a matter of philosophical debate. I say that because at the time I struck him it felt like someone else gave him the uppercut. I am saying that I did not consciously “choose,” again for want of a better word, to make contact with his head. My striking him in the head was a reflex action.
    If you insist on believing we have contra causal free will surely you do not believe that that goes beyond conscious “decisions” and also applies to “reflex” actions, such as occurs when one blinks when one suddenly becomes aware of something heading towards one’s eyes?  
    Nonetheless, I felt as weak as piss, as the rules specifically stated that there was to be no contact to the head in regard to striking with fists or elbows, and he was playing by the rules and I was not. Had the tournament allowed full contact to the head for all I know he may have knocked me unconscious. 
   I was again quite rightly disqualified, and I felt worse after the event when Mehemet placed the medal he had won around my neck. I felt like crawling under a rock until I gathered my thoughts and again became consciously aware of contra causal free will not existing, and that other than that when I gave him the uppercut it was not even a conscious “choice,” for want of a better word. It was an action that occurred by way of a non-conscious reflex. Still, it did not make me feel great about what had happened and I wished it had not occurred.
    So, I reiterate, for the purpose of this essay let's pretend contra causal free will does exist and that we can do what we consciously “choose” to do, because I am now writing about how by way of a reflex action I “lost control” of my will to the extent that I did not consciously choose to give the man an uppercut.
    If you still dismiss what I have to say about reflex actions I will first ask you to think of the times when, out of the corner of your eye, you have seen a stray football heading in your direction. Without consciously choosing to do so, within an instant you would have raised your arm protectively and/or ducked in order to avoid getting a whack to the head. You would not have consciously decided to take evasive or protective action; it would have been an instant action in which you reacted “instinctively” (again, for want of a better word) and non-consciously (by way of reflex) to the threat. 
    Think of the times you may have, while driving, out of the corner of your eye noticed a car coming through an intersection you had not noticed until the last minute. You may have, without consciously choosing to do so, moved your leg to apply the brakes and/or moved your hands and arms in order to swerve to avoid a collision. 
    To be less dramatic, if someone flicks a towel towards your eyes you will blink without consciously choosing to blink. The decision to blink will in-effect be taken out of your control. 
    Neuroscientists tell us that such evasive and/or protective actions in emergency situations, which involve our having no conscious control over them, occur as a result of the work of one or both of our amygdalas. The amygdalas are two small almond shaped parts of the brain. Apparently the information we perceive with our senses goes via our amygdala or amygdalas prior to it going to our frontal cortexes in order for conscious decisions to be made.
    In situations where a threat to our bodies is not an issue the amygdala/s is/are not activated and the information can go straight through to the frontal cortex so we can consciously act upon it. The amygdala/s somehow have the ability to take over when there is an immediate threat to the physical wellbeing of our bodies that requires an instant response.
   It needs to happen under such circumstances. In emergencies when instant action is required to protect ourselves we don’t have time to consciously decide what to do with our bodies. If decisions in such situations were made consciously we would be run over by the next car we had not seen that was heading our way and almost upon us.
    It’s quite clear that our amygdala/s and/or another part/s of our brains can take over in defensive situations, which can include blinking and more, but can our amygdala/s also take over from our conscious minds (us) by it or them choosing to defend our bodies by way of it/them ordering our bodies to commit acts of violence upon someone or something that is threatening us? 
    We all know that sometimes the best form of defence is attack. And if our amygdala/s can make some of us commit acts of offensive violence for the purpose of defence, how long can it/they take over for?
    I’m not talking about when a boxer loses his temper and gives his game-plan away by his emotions clouding his judgement and him consciously choosing to attack his opponent wildly and angrily with poor technique instead of going about his fight in a cool and methodical way. That is not a reflex action. When that occurs a conscious but foolish “decision” has been made as a result of the boxer’s thought processes being sabotaged by heightened emotions (anger). When a boxer “loses his temper” he is sure to lose against an opponent who is equal or even one who is, to a degree, inferior.
    When however the amygdala/s take/s over and performs an act with the body without a conscious decision having been made, the conscious mind is emptied of thought and as such entirely focussed in the here-and-now, which ensures the body and mind work in perfect harmony, and as such with perfect coordination, to ensure the body is moved instantly in a manner that maximises the chances of it avoiding being damaged. The process may involve raising a defensive arm, ducking or running away. It may also however, at least for some people, involve perpetrating an act of physical violence for the purpose of defence. 
     Good mind-body awareness and subsequent good coordination and technique does not  occur when a boxer loses his temper. 
   Nor of course does it always occur if someone is consciously trying to execute a physical movement that requires good coordination when the body is not being threatened. When the body is not in danger and the amygdala/s is/are not activated, emptying one’s mind in order to acquire perfect mind-body harmony and coordination is not so easy.
     It seems obvious to me my amygdala/s took over when I gave Mehemet an uppercut, and that it/they took over because of it/them deducing my body was in danger and that my conscious mind could not be trusted to do the job.
    I of course cannot prove that my giving the bloke an uppercut was not a conscious choice, and I will be accused of rationalising in order for me to not take responsibility for my actions. But, I know for a fact that the reflex action of my body at that time was entirely involuntary. 
    I was not in the same situation I had been in on many occasions when sparring lightly with mates where there was no threat to my safety and I had total faith in my mates to the extent that I was sure they would not punch me with full force in the head. 
   Although Mehemet may have also had no intention of violating the rules at the time I did not know that. And I had had plenty of negative experiences when sparring with people I did not know who betrayed my trust and made excessive contact to my head when there had been an understanding that we were not to make excessive contact. My amygdala/s at the time I fought Mehemet were also probably aware of those facts, and it would seem that it/they were not prepared to allow me to continue to fight within the rules.
    I’m absolutely sure there are many people who have been locked up for their lifetimes, or executed, because of the actions of their amygdala/s or whatever part of their brains took over from their conscious selves. Although that would be hard to prove in most circumstances.
     I recently read of a father in the USA who as a reflex action shot his teenage daughter, who, as a joke, had hidden when her dad was coming home then jumped out in front of him to scare him. The shooting would have been a result of Dad’s amygdala/s taking over, and Dad, who feared there was a real burglar in the house, having ready access to his pistol operating by way of reflex through his amygdala/s. That sort of thing has happened with guns innumerable times.
   In the times of bows and arrows, spears, and spears and woomeras, which take time to load and shoot, or to throw, accidental killings would be far less likely to occur, as the amygdala/s usually don’t take over for very long. 
    I could however, see how a club could be swung in the direction of the wrong person by way of the club-carrier’s reflex reaction to situations that were similar to that of the dad who shot his daughter. I say that because on several occasions I (or my amygdala/s) took reflex swings at my mate, Brownie, when I lived with him for a couple of years. He would take great delight in jumping out in front of me to scare me when he had the opportunity, particularly if I came home late in the night, as he knew how I would react. He however, always anticipated my reactions and kept out of range. Had I had my finger on the trigger of a pistol prior to him scaring me it may have ended in tragedy.
    In attempting to explain how, when the mind is emptied, we acquire perfect harmony between the mind and body, think of the times when your mind has been empty and you have taken out your key and inserted it into a lock. When your mind was emptied and as such devoid of conscious thought you would have found the key went straight into the lock without you having to slow down your hand and consciously line up the key with the hole. If you try to consciously place a key in a hole you will find you have to slow right down to do so, and some people may have to move the key around the hole before it’s properly lined-up.
 There was more bad behaviour on my part on that day at the  Civic YMCA, and I will now describe it and its implications. 
   My next fight was with a black belt from the Berra who was a practitioner of Zen Do Kai. I never knew him, but rightly or wrongly someone told me his name was Adrian. I’ll call him Adrian anyway. He seemed to be around my age. (I mean my age at the time. He was not in his late 60’s. I would have been around the age of 25 at the time).
     Well, one thing can lead to another, and prior to the fight, by way of his body language and him mouthing the word “cunt” at me, we both knew there would be no rules when the fight was on. He probably felt the way he did because he had seen how my body had transgressed the rules when fighting Mehemet. He would not have realised that my amygdala/s was/were in control at the time, and he would have thought that it was me (my conscious self) who had consciously and deliberately transgressed the rules. He would have therefore thought I was not a very nice bloke and that I was also going to transgress the rules when I fought him. 
    I don’t blame him, as he had no way of knowing that I did not consciously choose to give Mehemet an uppercut. Adrian was probably a nice bloke outside of the environment we were in. I would have felt the same way as him had I been in his situation, and as I knew what he thought I of course also went into the fight with the objective of not fighting within the rules. And it was all because of my amygdala/s.
  Come on Wheeler, you’re rationalising! “It wasn’t me it was my amygdala/s!” Please! What a pathetic excuse! You chose to give Mehemet an uppercut. Just admit it. Adrian, when mouthing an expletive at you described you accurately.
   How would you know what I chose to do or not do 2? It’s okay for you to just sit inside my/our brain and criticise, but as I’ve told you before, I’m the one who makes the decisions for both of us, when I am capable of doing so and if I was not consciously aware of giving the bloke an uppercut that is my reality. Next thing you’ll do is tell me the blinking reflex is a result of my making a conscious choice to blink when something suddenly heads in my direction. You’re very brave sitting inside me knowing you’re protected. If I had a chance I’d kick you in your/our arse so hard your/our nose would bleed.
   You’re gutless Wheeler! You’re threatening me because you know I can’t hurt you. And even if you didn’t consciously choose to hit Mehemet in the head, the order came from your brain, and unless you’re a Dualist you would realise that your brain is part of you.
If you were to claim your body by way of your amygdala/s assaulted someone in the street without you consciously ordering it to do so, do you think a magistrate would understand if it went to court?

  First of all 2, in regard to Dualism, nobody knows how or why we’re conscious. You know that. And I know there is no proof of there being a ghost in the biological machine, even if it is possible by way of some unknown laws of physics or some unseeable force coming from another dimension. But, if consciousness did arise from inanimate flesh and chemistry it means something was created from nothing. And how can something be created from nothing?
And if consciousness did arise from inanimate matter in a way that is beyond our understanding, a different form of Dualism does exist, because consciousness is something that stands apart from the physical world even if it is created by it. I suppose it depends on how you want to use the English language.
So, when you refer to me as me, should you define my consciousness as me, I am not responsible for giving Mehemet an uppercut because I did not consciously choose to give Mehemet an uppercut.
But, if you define “me” as all the atoms I am made of and leave the question of consciousness and the decisions made by my amygdala/s out of it, as well as the fact that we do not have contra causal free will, then yes, I, as in the atoms that make up my body,  was responsible for giving the man an uppercut, even if I did not consciously choose to do so, because the parts of my brain that caused the uppercut to occur are a part of my body. Although having said that, we are continually replacing our atoms, and the ones that formed me back in the 70’s are not the same atoms I possess today. 

As to attempting to explain to magistrates that we don’t have contra causal free will or that our amygdala/s were responsible for an act of violence, I would not fancy my chances. Although many are highly intelligent in some respects, the overwhelming majority of them are so conservative and inflexible their minds could only be described euphemistically as non-philosophical. I think however, more accurate terms would be primitive and simple.
If magistrates were truly conscious of our not having contra causal free will very few could carry out their duties, as they would be conscious of the fact that they needed to lock up dangerous people who were not responsible for their actions.

   You have a point there Wheeler.
   My left and right hands have just shaken with each other and I gave myself a lengthy hug and a pat with alternate hands on my left and right shoulders.
     Anyway, the fight with Adrian began by my standing still and him approaching me and trying to kick me in the balls. He made some contact but it had no effect because he missed his target. The fight was stopped temporarily and I was given a point because of him aiming his kick towards my cods. 
    Prior to the tournament I had been arguing for some time with another martial artist about the efficacy of defensive martial arts. He believed in the defensive approach not only for moral reasons; he believed that waiting for someone to attack gave one a practical advantage over an attacking opponent.
   In other words, for what he saw as moral as well as practical reasons, he was of the belief that one should not retreat from or approach a person who is threatening, and one should only attack as a form of defence once the person who is threatening has approached you and actually begun his attack.
   I could see the moral benefit of the approach, and it is the backbone of many pacifist styles. I could also however, see it was a dangerous tactic.   
    But, I foolishly decided to use the semi-pacifist tactic anyway, because the only way such opposing theories can be truly tested is by way of practical experiment with both of them against worthy opponents.  I thought it however, highly unlikely I would get a worthy opponent, which was probably why I was willing to experiment. It was on my part an arrogant and stupid way of thinking. 
    To demonstrate the theory behind why the passive approach is dangerous, if you open your hand and get someone to drop a pencil through it after you have counted to three you will be able to catch it, because you will know when it’s coming. If however, you open your hand and allow someone to drop the pencil at an unspecified time you will find it impossible to catch, because, obviously, you will not know when it’s coming. 
    The lesson from this exercise is that if you think you’re going to be attacked you should attack first or walk away, or at least stay out of range of your opponent so he does not have the advantage of getting in the first blow by way of the element of surprise, as demonstrated by the pencil-dropping exercise. 
    The only positive in taking the passive stance in the street is that you will not be charged for assault, because it would have been your opponent who made the first move. And, you can retain the moral high ground. I reiterate however, it gives a potential assailant a huge advantage, as it makes one very vulnerable to a king hit, (coward’s punch), if you are standing within striking range of the said potential assailant. 
     When the fight began again my arrogance had gone and I did not wait passively to be attacked. I instead attacked Adrian, and he retreated out of the marked square as I attacked him, which resulted in the fight starting again. I don’t know if I was awarded points because he had backed out of the area, but I probably was. 
   I found having the fight stopped very frustrating as I had been in full attack mode and was really enjoying myself, but knowing I had to get back into that state-of-mind again after the fight was stopped felt very unpleasant. 
   I am not saying that Adrian, by backing out of the area, was demonstrating that I was getting the better of him, because had we been fighting in a boxing ring or an octagon or a field he may have been able to retreat and come back at an angle and get the better of me. Expecting participants to confine a fight to within marked lines on a floor is ridiculous. 
    When the fight began again Adrian again retreated out of the area, but this time my amygdala/s cut in and took control of my body by making it continue the attack outside the specified area. It was again, as if someone else was controlling my body. I had gone in for the kill and had gone back to a euphoric but primitive state-of-mind that was very useful in another era but mainly anachronistic in this one.
   It resulted in my being physically restrained by the officials and others. I then observed myself giving Adrian the fingers before my conscious mind regained control of itself.

   My amygdala/s and I always give two fingers, as shown above in the photo of my hand and fingers giving the fingers to Tony Abbott’s image on the  22/11/17. (As I was behind my hand and facing Abbott’s image I am not giving the reader the peace sign). 
    I am giving Abbott’s image the fingers even though he had no say in what he became and as such is not truly responsible for what he is. My amygdala/s and I dislike the single middle finger Americans use, which has become very popular in Australia. What has happened to our culture? 
   Although the photo is of the hand and fingers I possess today it differs to the hand and fingers I possessed in the 70’s when I gave Adrian the fingers, and not only because they appear to have been ravaged by time. The hands and fingers I now possess are not the same hands and fingers I possessed in the 70’s because the atoms that formed them have been replaced several times between then and now. Also, in the photo above I have a bandaid on my ring finger. I did not have a bandaid on that finger when I gave the fingers to Adrian at the Civic YMCA in the 70’s. 
   Adrian’s corner then made a threat of some sort to me, and I offered to take him on outside; an offer he declined.
  Because I had needed restraint and because I had given my opponent the fingers I was immediately disqualified, which was fair enough. 
    Had I truly lost control when I continued to attack Adrian after I was told by the ref to cease the attack? Yes and no. 
    I had definitely lost control to the extent that my amygdala/s had taken over the use of my body for an extended period as they do to a far smaller amount of time when someone ducks to avoid a wayward ball, but I had not lost control in the same way someone loses control of oneself when one has highly activated emotions which result in decisions being made which are not in one's best overall interests.  
   I was not the only member of our club who made an arse of himself on that day, although I was the worst offender. When the organisers of that tournament organised another one our club was not invited.
   After that tournament I returned to my bedsitter in O’Connor, read and wrote some philosophy, and continued on with the life of a single, unattached and abnormal young man on his quest for devising a rationally-based philosophy on life. That I eventually achieved.
     Time moves on, and as previously explained, between when the tournament occurred in the 70’s and now most if not all of the atoms that made up my body have been replaced several times. 
    And, as a result of the forces of the universe that now act upon the atoms my current body is made of, my testosterone level is probably much lower than it was in the 70’s. 
    I also possess today far more empathy than I had when I was a young man, again because of how the forces of the universe have acted upon my body. 
    As a result of these happenings, and despite the fact that I have a very low opinion of our species, I now find the idea of inflicting damaging physical violence on others, other than when one is defending oneself or others, abhorrent. It makes me wonder how parents and the schoolteachers of my day could have dispensed corporal punishment so easily. 
   The whole system ran on the threat of physical violence and it continues to do so in one way or the other. And it is by no means just a male problem despite it not being fashionable to acknowledge the existence of female violence.
   Actually, I never liked seeing others suffer, but when I was younger I had a very different outlook when it came to two evenly-matched adults choosing to fight each other. Nowadays, although I enjoy watching the techniques employed in MMA, I do not like it when the fights do not end in submissions, which often means they end with one of the contestants suffering a pounding to the head. I find it particularly disturbing when the ref lets it go on for an unnecessarily long period to satisfy the blood lust of the crowd. That however, is to be expected within the form of capitalism we choose to live under. 
      Although many people watch MMA to enjoy the technique many watch it because their brains deliver to them a cheap sadistic thrill when they see a fighter getting bashed. And they are prepared to pay for that chemical hit.  
    The more primitive part of my brain makes me aware that I would in one respect enjoy participating in MMA if I had my youth return to me, but if I am ever able to drink from the fountain of youth and retain the brain I currently possess I would not box or practise MMA on a full contact basis, as my primitive drives are outweighed by the sense of empathy I have acquired over my lifetime as well as my desire to protect my own brain cells. 
   I'm saying I find the thought of deliberately trying to bash someone’s brain disturbing, even if one is up against an evenly matched and willing opponent who has the same objective. I would however, continue to practise the striking arts in a non-competitive way with mates, because the process gives me joy. I would also grapple recreationally and possibly competitively, as the objective when grappling is not to damage one’s opponent. 
    That does not mean I would like to see MMA banned. In the system we live under some frustrated young men feel a need to participate in that sort of thing, particularly if they can earn a living from it and have been suffering as a result of being unemployed and living under an impoverishing dole or undertaking work they find pathalogically boring. Our species did not evolve to live in this sewer, and some people are better adapted to it psychologically than others.  
   Today’s Australian ruling class has emulated the Romans, who were able to keep the masses quiet and vulnerable to exploitation by providing them with the basics and bloody entertainment by way of the Colosseum (bread and circuses)Today’s “circuses” are in the form of professional sport, preferably of the type where the spectator is aware that the participants may suffer serious injury or death or may fight with each other, or that violence may erupt between supporters of opposing individuals or teams as occurs in many soccer games.
    (When watching major games today we are inundated with advertisements that attempt to encourage viewers to participate in wholesome activities like gambling, drinking piss and eating junk food. Yet the club board members, who mostly have the morality of tiger snakes, for the sake of their PR insist their athletes behave like choirboys in their private lives).  
    A link that follows will take you to another far less philosophical and more amusing anecdote that revolves around another martial arts event that occurred in the Berra in the early 70’s. It is entitled Give me back my butterfly swords.” It also goes into the history of the martial arts within the ACT. 
   The photo that follows the link will give you a hint of what it’s about.
   Otherwise scroll down for more stories or hit the Home button up the top and take your pick.

For more mainly Canberra-based yarns hit the Home button above.

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