Tuesday, December 31, 2002


New Year is traditionally a time for optimism about the future so I thought I might reproduce here a New Year message from a self-described �incurable optimist�. As a Swede who manages to spend much of his year on the Isle of Capri in Italy, perhaps he has grounds for optimism.

A message from Gunnar Adler-Karlsson:

Dear Friends,

My Christmas and New Year question is: Do nine out of ten of us live thanks to the birth of the symphony orchestra some three hundred years ago?

The "Mediterranean Museum" in Stockholm recently arranged a concert with the first known keyboard instrument, a water organ or "hydraulis". Fascinated, Marianne and I listened to the sounds from 19 longer and 14 shorter pipes, united into a small organ, the inspiration for all later organs in our Christian culture.

Suddenly, I saw in front of myself a shepherd of the sort that you still can see in the Greek countryside, with his flock of sheep and a flute under his arm. Then another came, and still others until in my fantasy I saw 19 shepherds with long, and 14 with short flutes. Together they played a beautiful concert, like the one by "hydraulis".

Then came a lyre, a cymbal, a trumpet, a drum and a bit later, a violin. An orchestra was forming. Out of this joint effort came then more advanced music, such as Bach�s Brandenburg Concerti and Pergolesi�s neapolitanean Opera Buffa, a few decades later perfected in the symphonies by Mozart and Haydn.

Then it came to my mind that the population of the earth has increased tenfold since the birth of the symphony orchestra! Do nine out of ten of us thus live thanks to heavenly symphonic music? Or is there some other, possibly less crazy relation between these two phenomena, the symphony orchestra and the increasing number of children in our global Christmas cribs?

I do think that is the case! Even if only thanks to a "spurious" relation.
Both phenomena are born out of an improved ability to co-operate. Slowly the shepherds learned to play together. With the help of more instruments we got ever more beautiful music, enjoyed by ever more people. Now, for instance, refined into the Santa Cecilia orchestra Marianne and I recently heard in Rome under a Japanese conductor, a Georgian piano soloist, and five other nations involved.

What is easy to understand and accept in music has also happened in society in the form that in my latest books I have termed "co-thinking Superbrains". Thanks to co-operation and "co-thinking" between individual brains, both within and between ever bigger nations and companies since the early 1700, we have also achieved fabulous economic results. The number of those who can enjoy symphony orchestras is probably a thousand times bigger today than in 1700. And , even if many still exist in dire poverty, about ten times as many human beings can live.

Now, when we peacefully have united almost all of Europe, couldn�t we, in spite of all, also imagine a Christmas vision with a water organ transformed into a global symphony orchestra? In which, even if with different instruments, both Greeks and Turks, Hindus and Buddhists, and even Jews, Christians, and Moslems play together in a beautiful symphonic community. In order that all the world�s people may enjoy that global harmony, of which our Christmas cribs can make us dream!

Happy New Year from

(Latest book: Meditations on Western Wisdom. If you want a copy, just tell me)



Prof. Bunyip is a great favourite of lots of people. Here is an example of why. He is reporting something he once said at a Christmas dinner party made up of Leftists:

These words (or something very much like them) tumbled unbidden from the Professor's lips:

"Ronald Reagan won the Cold War, revived the American economy, brought freedom to Eastern Europe and ended the Soviet Union. Why are any of these things bad?"

Pandemonium erupted. One simply can't utter such bald truths in what passes for the left's version of polite society. The right to demand that an alternate point of view be examined and rationally discussed can never be granted. The left fears scrutiny as a vampire shuns sunlight.



Two of the most articulate political writers of today are Christopher and Peter Hitchens -- who happen to be brothers. For many years, Christopher was far-Left and Peter was far-Right. Recently, however, Christopher has had a change of heart and moved to the Right. And he has become a vigorous supporter of war with Iraq. So what has Peter done? Anybody who has read Freud on sibling rivalry would not be surprised. Peter has just come out in OPPOSITION to war with Iraq! Fortunately, however, his arguments are so silly that it is unlikely that anyone will take him seriously. He argues, for instance, that it is a pity that the USA has not become a true empire!



Sport is very popular in Zimbabwe and Australian Prime Minister John Howard has just called on the Australian cricket team to cancel their forthcoming tour to Zimbabwe as a means of putting pressure on the horrific Zimbabwe government of Robert Mugabe.

Michael Darby tells you how you can support that call.



Tim Gillin has written in with some good thoughts and links on human cloning. He compares the current controversy with earlier controversies about advances in reproductive science. See here.

There is also an article in �Spiked� on the Clone Wars.


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