Peter Volkofsky | Author & Life Coach

Peter Volkofsky is an author, spoken word poet and life coach. In 2017, Peter published his thriller Mia's Magic Wand. In 2015 he published Beautiful Quest as an Ark House imprint. Peter has been married to his wife Penelope for thirty-three years and together they have reared seven children.

Catalytic (cat•a•lyt•ic)

(adj.) a process that precipitates an event

The Vision

Individuals and teams reaching their goals.

PETE'S BLOG

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A Peculiar Kind Of Nothing

'Don't be afraid to fail. Instead be mortified by that careful abuse of yourself that comes from doing nothing: the peculiar kind of nothing that masquerades as brilliant conversation, a brilliant career and brilliant entertainment.'

(anonymous)

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Deep Magic

 

In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” [CS. Lewis: The Weight of Glory (excerpt from the essay]

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Double Standards

'"Frankly, I don't confront many students who are postmodernists ... For all the faddish talk I think it's a myth. Students are not generally relativistic and pluralistic except when it comes to ethics and religion."'* In short their postmodernism is selective.'

'The reality is that modernism remains firmly entrenched in the fact realm—the hard sciences, finance and industry. No one designs an airplane by postmodern principles. Postmodernism is typically held only in the values realm: theology, morality and aesthetics. Think of it this way: We are often exhorted not to impose our values on others but we never hear people say, "Don't impose your facts on me." Why not? Because facts are assumed to be objective and universal.'

Interestingly the word 'objective' means 'something that is capable of being true or false' and has been hijacked by those who hold to the doctrine of 'empiricism', which is the idea that 'all knowledge is derived from the senses: what we see, hear, hold, weigh and measure. 'Obviously moral truths cannot be stuffed into a test ube or studied under a microscope. As a result moral statements were no longer considered truths at all, but merely expressions of emotion.'

The outcome of such thinking has lead philosophers to ludicrous conclusions as, 'If it can't be measured it doesn't exist.' And if you want to see how this works out in our public life, one good example is the fact that Australian school curriculums will only assess what is regarded as 'measureable'. So, unless you can measure the force of the punch with which the student hits the teacher, then nothing happened. Hate does not exist until it can be measured in a bomb blast or a bullet.

This great train wreck of western thinking got going in earnest via the work of the empiricist philosopher David Hume who argued that if knowledge is based ultimately on sensations, then morality too must derive from sensations—pain or pleasure. We call things good when they give us a certain kind of pleasure. We call them bad when they cause pain. As Hume put it, morality is a matter of 'taste and sentiment.'

'In reducing morality to personal taste, Hume took a step that altered the course of western thought. He split traditional philosophy into two opposing categories. Traditionally, truth had been conceived as a comprehensive whole, covering both the natural order and the moral order. But Hume tore those two things apart. The natural order is something we perceive through the senses, so according to empiricism that qualified as genuine knowledge. But the moral order is not perceived through the senses, so that was reduced to subjective feelings. The great moral truths that people thought were transcendent truths were not truths after all but only preferences.'**

Going back to the 'selective postmodernism' of university students I would suspect that few of them realise that their double-standard way of thinking has been conditioned into them by our society, which has allowed empiricism to assert that there is only One Way of knowing. But knowing—as in knowing deeply on such things as faith and worldview—has always been regarded as too serious to be left to the 'shopkeepers and makers of things'. It makes so much more sense to cultivate a Way of Knowing that involves the whole person: mind, body and soul; community, family and neighbourhood. And—fascinatingly—this is exactly what is happening to this great secular dream right at this moment: it's once-were-great advocates are broken-heartedly acknowledging that they have lost their way and there is a crisis of meaning. Surprise! Surprise!

* Wiliam Lane Craig (as quoted in Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcy p. 28)

** Nancy Pearcey. Saving Leonardo pp: 24-29

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Conversations Against Poverty

'See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God—that no root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble and by it the many become defiled.' (Hebrews 12:15)

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Question Seventeen

This scary and beautiful cosmos was designed with you in mind: your dreams and your pride, your creativity and your immaturity.  Has the tunnel vision of your self-interest made you deaf to the voice of this honest and helpful stranger simply because you have already defined goodness on the grounds of your fast-fooded, health-cared, Coca Cola-ed, Christian-Santa Claus-ed culture with it’s two inquisitional questions: ‘Does it hurt? & ‘Is it unfair?’ Anything that answers ‘Yes,’ is automatically dismissed.*

 

* from the list of questions included in my blog Is Your World View Punching Above Its Weight?'