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What philosophy do you apply to your day-to-day living?

My personal philosophy is a complex mishmash of Confucianism, Taoism, the works of Robert Anton Wilson, Bakunin-style anarchism and a good slab of Nietzsche.

I’m also heavily influenced by science-fiction writers Philip K Dick, Frank Herbert and Robert Heinlein, journalist and political writer PJ O’Rourke, 17th-century rationalist Baruch de Spinoza, Karl Marx’ less proactive ideas on materialism, Swedish transhumanist Anders Sandberg, 13th-century Sufi mystic Jalal ad-Din Rumi and Lebanese-American poet Khalil Gibran.

If I could sum it up briefly, it would include such maxims as:

  • Give respect where it is due;
  • Most battles are not worth fighting;
  • Reality is much weirder and more beautiful than you give it credit for;
  • God does not fit in a box;
  • Almost nothing is black-and-white;
  • Most people find it easier to be ignorant, and this ignorance causes most of the world’s problems;
  • No one religion has a monopoly on arseholes;
  • Most governments (and religions, for what it’s worth) are thinly-disguised protection rackets; and
  • Women are often more competent than men, though they usually refuse to admit it.

Of course, this isn’t all, but it’s a good start to understanding the mind of Dave.

In which century would you like to have lived and why?

That’s a difficult one. Although I find the cusp of the 20th and 21st centuries an exciting time, full of promise, I’m appalled by the ignorance and superstition that persists in the world.

I could rail against the excesses of Judaeo-Islamo-Christianity, Hinduism and other religions, but that could fill many, many posts. In a more secular vein, people still don’t get Adam Smith or many other philosophers from the Age of Reason—upon whom our society is ostensibly based.

In the end, then, I guess we’re not much better off than we were in the Dark Ages. Materially, we’re much wealthier, and we live much longer lives, but we’re unhappier than we’ve been since, say, the 6th century, when suicide reached such epidemic proportions that the Church declared it a mortal sin.

Nostalgia always sees history through rose-coloured glasses—not many times in the past would’ve been particularly desirable to live in—and the future is too uncertain to predict. If I had to pick a time and place, though, it would be one of those rare islands of progress, tolerance and peace, such as la Convivencia in mediaeval Andalusia.

What puts you in a great mood?

Beyond the satisfaction of basic needs, I’d have to say that I find absurdity utterly delightful.

What makes your blood boil?

Hypocrisy and bigotry really piss me off, in particular. I can’t stand people who moralise from a soapbox, then turn out to be be worse that the people they rail against. Take most televangelists, for instance.

Who is your role model and why? What part of them influences you?

As strange as this may sound, I don’t think I have one. My rabid childhood distrust of authority figures, and the realisation that my circumstances were fairly unique, led me to muddle things out on my own.

It’s not that I don’t admire other people, just that I don’t see much point in emulating them.

What would you be like to be remembered as being or doing in your lifetime?

To be honest, I’m not sure I’d like to be remembered. I’d like to leave a lasting, positive legacy of some sort, but I don’t really need the credit. No one knows the name of the guy who invented the wheel, for instance, and no one got killed debating the wheel’s deeper meaning. Could Marx claim the same? Christ? Mohammed?

Do you want a life with a wife and kids?

Maybe. I’d like to have my own flesh-and-blood to bring up in (some of the better) traditions of my family, and to care for better than I was. However, I also question the ethics of subjecting the world to more of my relatives, and I’m not sure I can afford kids at the moment. It’s not a huge issue at this stage of my life, but it would be nice.

As for the wife, I’m not huge on formal marriage; it seems like a scam to keep the clergy in business, and de facto partnerships deliver pretty much all the same legal benefits anyway in Australia. I wouldn’t mind a handfasting, though; I like the vows.

Where would you like to be living and what would you like to be doing in five years time?

I’m not sure, really. I’d like to be in a large city, still, making more money and doing less actual work—that leaves a lot of options open. I’d also like to get back to writing (hopefully on my second or third book, at least) and spend more time painting, taking photos and generally indulging my creative side.

If the world was going to end tomorrow, what is the one thing you would regret never doing?

Learning to play the trumpet. I never really had the opportunity to, but I love the sound, particularly muted. I’d love to be able to play, then do something bizarre and unexpected with it—like become the John McCrea of post-industrial metal.

If you could create your own job what would it involve?

Flexible hours, a creative outlet, a bit of travel and lots of conversation with interesting, intelligent people. Oh, and huge wodges of lucre that I might do the same outside working hours.

Describe your ideal puddy-tat.

Friendly, intelligent, talkative, quirky to the point of being slightly mad and not too clingy. Probably female, definitely shorthair and possibly mostly black in colour—I like black cats’ personalities.

Why are so damned determined to be employed by DIMA? Is this your true life quest?

The main reason is because I have friends there and because the pay’s not too bad, the hours not too long and flextime is an option. I don’t really have a burning urge to work for DIMA itself, but it meets all those requirements; if I’d formed bonds elsewhere as strong as I have with DIMA workers, say, from DVA or another government body, then I’d want to work with them just as much.

If you could travel back in time and change anything in your life, would you really go back and change much (accepting that you need to make mistakes to learn)?

I think I would have liked to have spent more time with interested women who I’d knocked back simply because I was too wrapped up in my own brooding. It’s not so much about notches on the bedpost, but I do feel guilty about hurting their feelings. Falling in love’s hard enough, but if it’s with some jerk who’s too self-obsessed and insensitive to care, it hurts all the more.

That said, I’m not entirely sure I could have done things much differently. Most of the big decisions in my life, I made in reaction to grave threat, and I think that had I taken other paths, I might not have the good things in life I have now.

Is the glass half-empty or half-full?

The glass is engineered to provide 100% volume redundancy. Whether that redundancy is necessary in its entirety remains to be seen. Nonetheless, it does allow an surplus capacity of fluid to be stored in case of excessive thirst.

A more to-the-point answer would be that I don’t believe the glass to be half-empty, nor half-full, but somewhere in between.

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