About

zac_alstin

Zac Alstin is a writer, philosopher, and stay-at-home dad from Adelaide, South Australia.

Having accepted as a teenager the conventional wisdom that “you can be anything you want to be”, Zac spent the next twenty years trying to figure out what that was, before finally realising that it wasn’t meant to taken literally in the first place.

In the meantime he wrote more than a hundred opinion pieces for various online publications, delighting in finding new perspectives and insights into all the world’s problems, including problems it didn’t know it had. Having solved all the world’s problems, Zac turned his attention to fiction, lured by the inevitability of untold wealth and glory.

Zac currently lives with his wife and young son in a battered shoebox by the side of a major arterial road, from which vantage point he contemplates eternity, worries about the future, and compulsively checks his amazon sales rank.

He loves martial arts, comparative religion, roasting his own coffee, brewing his own beer, pickling his own vegetables and now writing his own books.

This blog’s starting point was originally a quotation from Confucius: ‘The Superior man is not a utensil’, but has since been upgraded to an Yi Jing quotation translated by Pierre Ryckmans: ‘In springtime the dragon is useless’.

Having invested time, energy, and idealism in a range of skills and interests that are, from a worldly and commercial perspective, utterly useless, this blog is in honour of things that go beyond the merely ‘useful’.

Or as the late Pierre Ryckmans paraphrased Shaw:

The successful man adapts himself to the world. The loser persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the loser.

 

9 thoughts on “About

  1. Saw your article !want … on Mercatornet. Thank you. Will follow your blog. I am up to my eyeballs caring for my 92 year old father who has Alzheimer’s. There is a lot of philosophy and mystery involved in his care . All the best in your studies. This world needs a few good philosophers! Paula, Canada

    • Thanks Paula.
      I’ve just come from a job with an aged care provider and spent some time in a number of Dementia Care facilities. It’s a very challenging illness and you’re doing an amazing thing caring for your father. As far as I’m aware the current research on the care side of things is all about finding ways to make the environment and personal interactions as easy, reassuring, and comforting as possible for people with dementia.
      But you’re entirely right about philosophy and mystery. It really challenges the common idea of personal identity and our ‘normal’ sense of how to relate to other people.
      Zac

  2. Zac, just read your article on Gaia. Interesting comment on the belief behind this. I have a site devoted to probing the religious influence behind alarmism, including environmental alarmism. It is traceable back through 19th Century Declinism (Arthur Herman- The Idea of Decline), to Christianity, Zoroaster, and all the way back to Sumerian Flood mythology. Interesting lines of descent. http://www.wendellkrossa.com for any interested. Regards, Wendell

    • Thanks Wendell. When I wrote that article I had an impression of “good and bad religion”, in the sense that religion is a fundamental human inclination, yet one that can be cultivated in good or bad ways. My concern at the time was that aspects of the global warming movement were unwittingly tapping into this religious instinct. I’m not sure where things stand now regarding global warming, and in terms of religion I’m probably more interested in narrowing down “good religion” for my own purposes and benefit. So, for example, in terms of Jesus’ role and message, while I agree that the message is unconditional love, and I also agree that a lot of the atonement and sacrifice stuff seems off-key, on a deeper level the two are connected: even if we view the need for sacrifice as a fault in the human psyche, God’s self-offering as sacrificial victim is nevertheless an act of gratuitous love. In other words, it makes sense for those who mistakenly believe that an angry God requires sacrifice, but it also makes sense for those who realise that the craving for sacrificial atonement is human in origin.

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    • Hi Bob.
      I’m not convinced of the need for a fifth temperament. From what I’ve read, it appears to be a new idea brought about to fill a gap in a different two-factor system than the traditional model. However, I’ll do some more reading about it and maybe do a post on the subject.

  5. Zac, I shared your article The rise and fall of religious music a year ago – was there a follow up article? (It discusses an issue close to my heart)

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