The winners of New Philosopher Writers’ Award XIX ‘Life’ are: Winner: Australian academic and last quarter’s runner-up Phiona Stanley for…
1. What is the biggest threat to our minds?
2. What is freedom?
Non-compliance and creativity.
3. What illusion do you suffer from?
Other peoples’ illusions.
4. Where are humans heading?
To hell, as always – but you have to go through hell and survive it in order to get to heaven. So in the unlikely event that you do get to heaven, you’ll be in a pretty bad shape and then things are not so heavenly after all.
5. The most important part of your education?
6. Which “thinker” has had the greatest influence on your life?
For all I know it may have been the butcher who employed me to clean up his shop every Saturday morning when I was a kid. He was a thinker in the ordinary sense – as most people are. The heart thinks too. The early primal unconscious or semi-conscious influences may have been as important to my developments as the writings of Lao Tzu or D. W. Winnicott.
7. What do you doubt most?
8. Your favourite word?
9. If you could change one thing about the world, what would that be?
Myself – obviously.
10. The question you’d most like to ask others?
I wouldn’t like to ask anyone a question unless they inspired a particular curiosity.
11. What is a good death?
I’m not sure what the choices are but I’d like to doze off smiling after lunch in a quiet, sunny paddock near the forest, listening to the birds and not wake up; a death where the coroner’s report says ’cause of death: unknown’.
12. What do people accuse you of?
I have been accused of many things and they all amount to a nicely balanced and hugely varied array of offences, shortcomings and failures. Pretty much the full spectrum. I regard many of these accusations as compliments or testimony to my more interesting nature.
13. What is the meaning of life?
For humans as for all the plants and creatures: know yourself, grow yourself, feel yourself, heal yourself, grow yourself, be yourself, express yourself.
Michael Leunig, by Carlos Egan