I write about human behaviour in relationships; between people, with the environment and with the cosmos. And the effect that behaviour has on the quality of each relationship. I explore the lifelong struggle between the human need for belonging (love) and the need for individuality (status or importance). That means looking at the connection between spirituality and politics. Another way of putting is that I write about the spirituality of politics in everyday life, as distinct from religion. My aim is to express my views on this in terms that appeal to both religious and nonreligious people because of the real and proper need to keep religion and politics separated.
I have to somehow make sense of the world, and my place in it, while carrying the baggage that comes with being an accidental white, male, Australian, Christian. Each label adorns a separate bag of rules, customs, expectations, values and biases that hamper clear and objective thinking.
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
My work differs from others of its genre in that it is about my journey of awareness, coupled with the need I have to put theory into practice. Thinking about the complexity of the human condition and human behaviour is difficult enough but my background in electronics has left me with a very real need to show how theory works in everyday life. In my books, I draw examples from the family setting to illustrate my points because we all experienced some form of family life that provided us with our early training in forming relationships and solving relationship problems.
Whatever our family setting was, it was where we began accumulating the baggage we now have to deal with as we struggle to become individuals who belong in relationship with other people, the environment and the cosmos.
What I centre on in each interaction with other people reflects the stage I am at in the struggle between my two needs; to belong and to be an individual.
WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
Even in my early teens I was drawn to read nonfiction books, mainly on culture or history. Then for twenty years I alternated between those and very technical books on electronics and physics, which may explain my interest in people and my need to understand how things work. However, I seem to have always felt compelled to understand people and life because my earliest memory of school was questioning what I was being taught about religion in year two of primary school. I questioned it but I still have a passion for studying religious and nonreligious belief systems.
My belief in the equality of all people has me wanting to describe a practical spirituality without religion. In other words, how to be an individual who belongs, no matter what belief system we were born into.
HOW DOES MY WORKING PROCESS WORK?
I don’t seem to have a set working process. Maybe that’s why I sometimes have great trouble writing. I hear of people who can write great long essays in a short space of time but I usually agonise over every word. Sometimes I just sit down and write whatever comes into my head about a topic and then go over and over it until I think it's right. Sometimes I think of a heading and a few main points that I later flesh out but writing is seldom easy for me.
However, writing about human behaviour is complex and usually requires a great deal of thought. For example; trying to work out the difference between consequences and punishment, or the connection between religion and spirituality. I find that walking is the best way to help me work through these sort of complex problems and that suits me fine because I walk for an hour every morning. I refer to my walks as my meditation time.