Tuesday, 26 June 2012

(Day 87) The Opinion of Others

Saturday 27th May (Day 87)

The opinion of others

(This took me a few days to write but it is probably my favourite post to date, please read it all and enjoy!)

When I go for a run I always do the same route which involves running to Hyde Park, round the war memorial and back home again.  My plan was to stay with this route until I could do it without needing to walk some of the distance and then start making the route longer by running further into the park.

Today though Marten was going for a run and asked me if I wanted to come with him.  He suggested we run through the Botanic Gardens, the gardens were way beyond Hyde Park and far out of my comfort zone but I didn’t want to be outdone by my Dutch housemate so I agreed and went with him.

The Botanic Gardens are an amazing amazing place and I will talk about them soon.  However today I want to talk about (or write about rather) some very interesting people I met.

Marten and I were running along a path that runs up to the Art Gallery of NSW near the Botanic Gardens when we saw some random guys stood on boxes alongside the path.  There were 5 or 6 of them all spaced out along both sides of the path and they were all stood on something (wooden box, ladder etc) and they all had several boards in front of them with signs and printouts.

Penny for your thoughts

They were there because they had an opinion on something that they wanted to share with people who were walking through the park.  I guess you could say they were street preachers but in a none religious way.

I will just give you a quick list of the preachers and what they were preaching about.
  • One guy was dressed normal and was preaching about anger.
  • One guy was dressed in a suit with a top hat and sunglasses, he was preaching about politics amongst other things.
  • One guy was dressed like a tourist and he was preaching about public nudity.
  • One guy was dressed like a weird old science teacher and was preaching about science.
  • One guy was dress like a weird conspiracy theorists and was preaching about a new language he had devised.  He also had a t-shirt on that said something about UFOs and how they were everywhere.

What makes you angry?

We stopped by quickly to have a look at what was going on and to read some of the boards.  The first guy who spoke to us was the guy preaching about Anger.  He looked at Marten and I and asked us “What makes you angry?”  We paused for a second to think, I was in a good mood so thinking about stuff that made me angry was difficult.  After a few seconds of internal debate I replied “my landlord, my landlord makes me angry”.

He corrected me by saying “no, your landlord doesn’t make you angry, you get angry because of your landlord!”

He then explained what he meant by this, basically in changing the statement from “someone making you angry” to “you becoming angry because of someone” empowers you.  Rather than someone else being in control of your anger, you by taking responsibility for your anger become in control of your anger.

He did of course acknowledge that my landlord might have been a deeply unpleasant person (which he is) and gives me good reason to become angry (which he does).  He wasn’t trying to say “you should never get angry”, he was just explaining a different way of perceiving anger which gives you more control.

I liked this guy and I thought his idea was a very good one which is why I am writing about it in this level of detail.  Really you can extend his idea beyond anger to just about anything in life.  Rather than blame other people and let other people pull your strings you can take responsibility and in taking responsibility you also take control!
(His actual name was Mr Bashful and you can checkout his website at http://mrbashful.com/)

Mad as a hatter's tea party

With the words of wisdom from the angry man we moved onto the next guy on the same side of the path.  He was the one who I described as looking like a weird conspiracy theorists.  He had badges on his jacket about aliens and UFO and that shit.

I am sure he had a lot of interesting and wacky opinions he wanted to share but today he was pushing forward the idea of his new language.  Something he probably devised during his second lobotomy.

His first big statement was that dyslexia doesn’t exist and that it is the fault of the English language and the way it is taught.  I found this statement annoying because I have dyslexia and I believe it exists.  If you want proof that dyslexia exists, just ask me to read you a paragraph out loud.

After making this statement he then showed us an example alphabet and sentences using his “new language”.  It just looked like English with a few letters missing; to be honest it looked stupid and kind of reminded me of Welsh.

Marten could read the sentences but I couldn’t, I just thought the whole think looked stupid and it would look better if he wrote his language using a crayon.

The mad guy said quite boastfully “you could take this to Japan and they would be able to understand it” Marten immediately replied saying “no you couldn’t because in Japan they speak Japanese”.

Marten has a great ability of giving very quick and blunt responses and I had to stop myself from laughing.

This guy was getting very impatient because we were disagreeing with him and not taking his idea seriously.  But he was the one wearing the badges and hats with UFO and alien symbols on them.  How could we take him seriously?

After talking to the anally probed nutcase we continued the run going around Mrs Macquarie’s Point and then I headed home whilst Marten continued to the Opera House.  When I got back I decided to go back to the garden to hear more from the mad preachers.  Plus I didn’t take my camera with me on the run and I wanted to take some photos for this post.

The origin of the Earth!

I arrived back to where the mad preachers were and listened to the mad scientist and the guy in the suit and sunglasses.  I didn’t get round to the public nudity guy, sorry.

The mad scientist wasn’t really attracting much of a crowd but I stopped off to listen in to what he was saying.  He was having a discussion with some random guy who had the patience to sit down to listen and discuss his ideas.

At one point during the conversation the mad scientist made a quick statement, he said quite calmly “I believe the Earth is a burnt out sun”.  After that the conversation went quiet.  I am not going to pretend I know the facts but I believe if you asked most scientists they would disagree with his idea and brand him as a bit of a nutter.

The system is broken

The final guy was the dude in the suit and sunglasses.  He had various views about politics and corporate corruption but none I remember well enough to give you an example of.  He had a strong opinion on various issues but he rambled on too much so his ideas were not clear.  He did start talking to me and asked me where I was from, when I replied that I was from England he said “welcome to Australia”.  I think that is actually the first time anyone has said that to me.
Overall I really enjoyed listening to the interesting and sometimes strange ideas from these quirky individuals.  The anger guy to me made a lot of sense but the others I thought were a bit wacko jacko, though entertaining none the less.

I also took some videos of these guys so check out my video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFP43kALSXc&feature=plcp

Additional note

Through additional research after I finished writing this post I found out that I actually stumbled upon an event called Speaker’s Corner.  You can check out the website here at: http://speakerscorner.org.au/

Also you will find that Speaker’s Corner is not exclusive to Sydney but is held in many cities in Australia and the UK.  So if you live near one check it out!

Mr Bashful gives me a smile

The answer is no

Not sure what his point was but he was a very interesting man



  1. Hey Mike, well it sounds like you tried to meet some interesting people (not to rain on your parade) but to me they all sound Wacko, especially the 'science guy' who if he knew anything about science would know that the Sun is a star, and when a star dies it can either end up as a cooled white dwarf or an explosive neutron star (that forms a supernova and sometimes if dense enough a black hole) neither of which would end up as anything that even resembles Earth. As for the 'anger guy' he's just rearranged a sentence - anybody can do that - and unfortunately whichever way you say "My landlord makes me angry" won't give you anymore or any less power over your anger or your landlord - but like you say you've now seen a new part of Sydney and when you build up to it you can start running through there more often :)

  2. It isn't just a different way of saying a sentence. It is the way you think about it in your head.
    "my landlord makes me angry" the landlord is the protagonist in that sentence.
    "I get angry because of my landlord", I am the protagonist in that sentence.
    It is the protagonist who has the power. Does that make a bit more sense Sami?

  3. Vicky, I understand it's all about viewing things from a different perspective - and that I suppose is powerful in certain circumstances (like positive thinking about things you don't truly know the outcome of - survival chances of a cancer patient). However, in this situation the landlord is and always will be the one in control (whichever way you think about it in your head) he will always hold power over Mike because Mike must pay him in order to live in that house, obviously Mike can move somewhere else but if he wants to continue living in that house he must pay that landlord - and unfortunately that landlord makes the rules that cause Mike to be angry. By changing your view on what makes you angry may reduce your anger in the short-term but you're always going to be in disagreement with the things that make you angry in the long-term, for example you're not just going to suddenly say after a couple of months of thinking differently "I am angry about the landlord evicting me from my house, but by changing my viewpoint I feel in control of the situation so I feel better about it" - ultimately the landlord is probably a dick (as Mike says) and he'll have to put up with him making him angry until he can make enough money to move somewhere nicer that is dick-free (the way you think about it makes not one iota of a difference though)

  4. Btw this is still Sami writing but Blogger has decided to make me choose between adding Google+ or staying as an independent Blogging community (that is less sociable) - so I decided to stay with the independent blogging community and they made me change my name - the con artists :/