Vasilios Theodorakis – An Online Author is a digital repository of all my written work (in text and podcast formats)…

May 29, 2009

Site Update

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 8:17 am

I’ve got a few more commentaries to do next week but after that we should be back to poetry for a while. This week’s piece – Knight Waiting is from the “Growing Up” anthology circa 1988.

It discusses the procrastination experienced by a medieval knight who reaches a fork in the road and can’t decide whether to go left or right.

The highlighted author for this week is the children’s writer: Roald Dahl

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

May 22, 2009

Site Update

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

I seem to be going off on tangents at the moment and writing commentaries  on things that have recently come up in conversation about my past. This is not something I intended or intend to continue doing in any big way, but I thought while it is happening, I might as well document the thoughts and put the material up on the blog.

Great Is Truth – is another autobiographical snippet written on Tuesday about why truth and honesty have become such an important part of my life. The piece is filed under the general post category.

The highlighted author for this week is an Orthodox Christian Theologian – Alexander Schmemann whose material I greatly admire. I wish more of his work was available in print, but I am very grateful for the books that have been released.

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

May 19, 2009

Great Is Truth

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

Over the central doorway of the Forgan Smith Building at the University of Queensland is a quote that reads – “Great is truth and mighty above all things”. The line comes from the Bible’s Apocrypha – I Esdras 4:41. Its Latin equivalent is: Magna est veritas et praevalet, and for centuries appeared on army shields as the acronym M.V.P.

I spent the best part of 8 years at this university, finally leaving with a social work degree (not science) and this quote embedded in my psyche. The idea that truth does matter and is the only thing that can traverse death became an integral part of my worldview. Being honest and encouraging others to do the same was my way of putting the principle into practice – even though it caused me and those around me, all sorts of problems.

When life went horribly wrong in 1991, at the hands of those I most trusted, the need to communicate what really occurred was the only thing that kept me alive. I figured if I died, the other’s lies would have been my epitaph and no one would ever know what really happened to me.

Needless to say I was naive and a bit of a fool. What I didn’t understand, but soon learned, was that relatives (and friends) don’t necessarily care about the truth or want to know the truth. In my case, most of them chose to believe the lies being circulated because the lies were far easier to accept than having their illusion of reality shattered. The liar, who generated the lies, understood this principle well and milked the process for all it was worth. So much so, that even today, most of my family in Melbourne continues to believe this person’s misinformation about what happened in Brisbane in the 1990s – after all, lies are much easier to stomach and much more convenient to share, especially if the truth makes you look bad.

What pains me, is that experiences were turned into a “perspective” and suffering was made “invalid”, “covered up” or “erased” by both the liar and the believers of the lies. In spite of this, I have tried to treat everyone the same (both the good and the bad) and I have no intention of changing this approach. Contrary to popular opinion, I was not “brainwashed by anyone” or convinced to adopt my perspective, but have deliberately chosen not to lie about the events and not to protect the liar’s honour or hide their shameful actions.

I believe that one has to accept that certain things are right and certain things are wrong if one is to adhere to a civilised and moral code of conduct. I also believe that one needs to take responsibility for their actions and the consequences of those actions on others. Honesty should always be part of every human being’s way of life and people need to own up to having done something wrong; otherwise, trust can never develop between individuals.

As might be expected, trust no longer exists in the context I’ve described, and even though the path ahead of me looks no easier than the path behind me, I continue to denounce the lies created by both family and society in general. Presenting the truth is what I’ve come to stand for and if this upsets people (as it has done in the past), then so be it. Were I to cease presenting what I have witnessed, then what I went through in August 1991 (and since) will have been in vain!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2009

May 15, 2009

Site Update

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

This week’s piece is a poem from 1988 – Eroded Innocence

It investigates the idea of what might lie ahead for one self if one could start over again as an infant.

The highlighted author for this week is the Sci-Fi writer: Alan Dean Foster

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

May 14, 2009

Wisdom Gained, Wisdom Lost…

Filed under: Culture And Society — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

Every generation’s accumulated wisdom has been lost in Western cultures since the 1950s. Why? Because, our over emphasis of youth culture has built into it, the notion of “re-inventing the wheel” or should we say, “re-discovering the wheel” every time there’s a coming of age. This ensures that culture regresses to an infantile and stunted state on a regular basis. By the time one generation has grasped what’s really important in life, the next generation is making all the same mistakes, and refusing to acknowledge that those older than themselves, already know what counts. There’s no passing on of insight from one generation to the next and no learning from past mistakes as we find in other cultures.

A society that doesn’t listen to the wisdom of age and instead looks to its youth for guidance is not sustainable. Its operational basis is that of experiential waste – just look at what happens when it’s taken to extremes like the killing fields in Cambodia. Unfortunately, we are at risk of never becoming a mature society, and if we continue to also taunt nature with our jibes that the planet is our offspring’s to do with as they please – our eradication by the Earth is all but guaranteed. The planet will eventually scratch us off its surface, like a dog scratches off fleas – indiscriminately.

It’s a shame that this is what we’ve become, because this wasn’t always the case in Western countries like Australia. There was a time when we did advance our culture, adding to our civility as gentlemen and ladies, and passing that onto our children – but that was prior to the baby boomers taking over the world, and setting up the current youth orientated standard for all subsequent generations to follow. One can only hope that we’ll eventually produce a generation that challenges the current status quo and begins respecting the insight of its elderly.

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

May 13, 2009

Staying Invisible

Filed under: Religion And Theology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

There’s a Sci-Fi short story called “Lets Go To Golgotha” by Gary Kilworth which explores the idea that time travelling tourists were present at Christ’s death, got coached to do what the locals where doing and participated in His condemnation. The reader eventually discovers that the locals of Christ’s time had nothing to do with the event, and that the crucifixion only occurred because those who travelled back in time, participated in the spectacle.

The tale is quite haunting and I’ve often thought about its implications in regards to how much of a public figure Christ was in his own time. The thing that’s most intriguing, is that reading between the lines of scripture and what the traditional Church teaches, one can’t help but notice that Christ himself did not seek the limelight or even like it. The best supporting evidence we have of this is how He implemented numerous techniques that emphasised his own words and works but not Himself. One of these techniques was of course never writing anything down. In spite of this, His story has been passed down from generation to generation, and it’s often retold as though His presence brought Jerusalem to a stand still – on more than one occasion. I fear this is inconsistent with the nature of the God-Man, who we are told was quietly spoken and “did not even break the bent reed” (1 Ki 14:15; Isa 42:3; Mt 12:20).

Like many of the greatest figures in history, what he said and how he lived his life was so inspirational that people couldn’t help but place him on a pedestal for others to worship – our species has done this from the very beginning – idolising those who have something new to offer. I expect that He Himself was quite invisible outside of those who knew him. The message he left behind was so amazing however, that it changed the course of human history (and spread exponentially).

At the core of the oldest forms of Christianity, this humility is still acknowledged and followed. We who fall under the Orthodox Christian umbrella are taught to live our lives well, follow His example and not make a big deal out of our way of life. In the East, this approach is understood to be the best way of encouraging others to do the same. The original Christians, the Orthodox, still don’t proselytize as many of today’s Protestants do. Sincere Orthodox Christians offer up their lives as an example of the Faith – and in so doing, hope that people who choose to join the religion, do so because they like what they see in regards to the Orthodox lifestyle and worship.

Unfortunately our media driven world has led many people, even within Orthodox Christianity, to choose the opposite road to anonymity. The need to be the centre of attention is a very seductive thing – just like the rest of our Western lifestyles.

For better or for worse, I have tried to live my life the way I believe Christ did, though not always successfully. Rather than stand at the front and postulate, demanding that people look at me, I stand at the back and hope that what I have learnt and how I have lived is a helpful guide to others. My philosophy is therefore – “stay invisible”, for in so doing, you may in fact have a personal impact on those around you and you will in fact be following in Christ’s footsteps.

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

May 8, 2009

Site Update

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 8:03 pm

This week’s pieces include a commentary and autobiographical snippet written on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

The commentary: Hope For The Planet… is a thought I had while on the train heading into Brisbane. Pulling into Roma Street Station I noticed a slab of concrete that had grass growing through a crack in its centre. Contrary to what Queensland Rail might think, I found this very encouraging.

The autobiographical snippet: Having No Desk… is something I’ve been wanting to write and upload for some time, but I didn’t have a place on the blog for autobiographical prose. In the end I’ve decided to just list it as a general posting.

The highlighted author for this week is a Futurist and Inventor – Ray Kurzweil

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

May 6, 2009

Having No Desk…

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

Back in May of 1989, I had no money, no qualifications and no real job. I found myself in a share house with the Brisbane youth sector’s very own Casanova, as well as, a chain smoking Japanese exchange student who hadn’t grasped the notion of emptying an ashtray. Each time he filled a tray, he’d go down to the shops and buy a new one. For some reason, he preferred to do that rather than empty the contents into a bin. Invariably, no one could get into his room because of the piles of cigarette butts and ash, strategically positioned on the carpeted floor. What made this truly disgusting is that I’ve always been a non-smoker.

Most of that winter was spent in a tiny uninsulated room, trying to complete my degree’s third year social work subjects. I had to turn a drawer upside down and balance it on boxes on either side of my legs – just to get a level surface to write on. I can’t remember how much material I wrote in this setting, but it was horribly uncomfortable and incredibly demoralising. I was supposed to become a Physicist, for goodness sake, and here I was churning out Marxist dribble on the bottom of a drawer in Brisbane’s dampest suburb – Graceville.

During my darkest hours in 1989, I often thought about my grandparents and how they had migrated to Australia in order to ensure their descendants had a better standard of living. My parent’s actions inevitably put an end to that dream leaving me to fend for myself. Ill health and a lack of resources subsequently left me homeless. The fact that Graceville’s resident Casanova was kind enough to let me use his spare room, before I froze to death in my antiquated Subaru Sherpa, was my only break.

As someone who values writing above all else, it is interesting to note, that each time I found myself homeless in the late 1980s / early 1990s, the main thing that bothered me was having no desk. My lack of food and the absence of a bed seemed to come a distant second. When I finally bought a new desk, I was so used to “not having” possessions that I found it difficult to give myself permission “to have” the desk – even though it was desperately needed.

Now that its 2009, and life has greatly improved, it’s time to make way for a more functional writing environment, especially if I want to complete that piece of speculative fiction, that has clung to me like a 400 pound gorilla. :) Once the room is set up, I’ll post a few pictures of my custom built writing environment. Regarding my writing from 1989 – thank goodness for wide drawers and cardboard boxes! ;)

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

May 5, 2009

Hope For The Planet…

Filed under: Science And Technology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

What I find hopeful is grass growing out of crevices on a concrete wall or weeds appearing through a crack in the pavement.

These defiant acts of nature remind us that life is waiting in the wings for humanity to stumble. And were we to trip and fall, the Earth’s ecosystem would take over and run things the way they should have been run in the first place.

It’s heartening to discover, that life will out last our destructive presence even if we don’t.

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

May 1, 2009

Site Update

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

The poem for this week is: A Lie???

This piece of verse belongs to the “Growing Up” anthology and was written in April 1988 – the exact date in April was not recorded. As with many of my pieces from that era, it too is about the emotional turmoil associated with identifying a partner or life long companion. If I had just focused on finding someone that wanted to go out on a date first instead of marriage, I may have had better success! :)

The highlighted author for this week is another children’s writer – Beatrix Potter

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

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