I had a bit of a run-around to do this morning – had to drop my bike off for a service at the bike shop and get the car, so I rode the bike to the shop early before it opened. Then Sue picked me up from there in the car, and I drove her to the station to get the train to work. Loitered for half an hour or so in the car waiting for the bike shop to open, then went in and chatted to them and dropped off the bike. Then I had an appointment with an accountant to discuss our property investments, and that was on the other side of the city.
So all in all I was in the car for about an hour and a half, mostly by myself, just listening to the radio and driving. I listen to the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the publicly owned station here) Brisbane station most of the time, then flick over to the ABC’s Radio National service if I’m finding the Brisbane program boring.
In that driving time I heard at least three things that fired my attention and got me interested… and this is why I love listening to the ABC. So anyway, this is a blog posting with subheadings!
Our Amazing Bodies
There was one story about a 6 or 7 year old girl in Perth (from memory) who needed, and got, a liver transplant. In a checkup a few months later the doctors were amazed to discover that her blood group had changed from what it had been to that of the donor. They were even more amazed to find that her whole immune system had been switched to be like that of her donor – so now she no longer has to take antirejection drugs like most transplant patients, because he immune system ‘recognises’ that liver. (Not sure why she doesn’t start rejecting her own organs.) Anyway, a pretty amazing story. It obviously doesn’t happen that way for everyone, but what a boon for transplant recipients if it did. Or if it were possible to study her and find out how to better deal with rejection issues. (And by the way – have you got your donor card filled out? As the slogan says ‘Don’t take your organs to heaven, we need them here’.)
Genius and Bad Behaviour
There was an interview with Patrick Gale, a novelist who had written about a woman artist who was a great artist but a terrible mother. He was asked ‘is genius an excuse for bad behaviour?’ He said it was, and although I’m sure he was half joking, said ‘Oh, the kids can have therapy but the work of art endures’ or words to that effect. But I disagreed on two grounds (perhaps hence my strong negative reaction to the novel Leaning Toward Infinity by Sue Woolfe as well). First, if we betray the next generation, society will eventually crumble and its members will be too busy scrambling through their nasty, brutish and short existences to appreciate works of art anyway. And second, what is the proportion of people who think they are geniuses to the proportion of people who actually are? So how do we decide who gets to neglect their children and be horrible to everyone around them because they are geniuses, and who does those things but creates complete crap? I know artists play around with this idea, but I firmly believe that a great artist must also be a great soul and a great person, and would therefore be someone who treats those around them with respect, care and affection.
Can’t remember the other issue I was going to chat about here, although there was a heartbreaking story on child sexual abuse in Aboriginal settlements in northern Australia, and the woman had a very sensible framework for the kind of generational changes that are needed to address it. But I guess my point is that brain food is useful and necessary – and as close as the radio dial.