Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef.  Just outside our unit is a marked underwater reef that one can follow, either with a snorkel or by renting a  flat board, to view the coral. The island is shaped like an equilateral triangle. Each side of the triangle is 11 kilometres in length. The edges are scalloped by numerous inlets or bays, with sandy beaches where you can swim during the "safe" season. Magnetic Island is a suburb of Townsville, which is only a 20 minute, 8 kilometre ferry ride away.  A very independent and environmentally aware population of 2,000, resides on the island.  The council has erected a large solar panel, which enables the island to supply 40% of their electricity needs, given that they are blessed with over 300 days of fine weather. It's part of the "dry tropics" with rain falling only in summer.  The guide who drove a group of us around the island has brought up his young family here and is passionate about it.

Psychology as a Field of Study

Psychology is a relatively recent discipline, arising from pioneering work carried out by the American philosopher and psychologist, William James (1842-1910). Depth forms of therapy, sometimes known as psychodynamic therapy, consider past events in a person's life from a causal perspective. They rely on in-clinic experience, and the close relationship between the analyst and the analysand. Cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT) rely more on evidence-based research, and involve retraining of clients' thought processes, emotions and behaviour, without the necessity to recover repressed memories from the past. [caption id="attachment_13988" align="alignnone" width="640"]freud's couch Freud's Couch[/caption]


I had my first taste of philosophy at Armidale Teachers College in 1961. This was one of the options that I chose to study, apart from the more mundane teaching subjects that were mandatory. Miss Margaret Mackie enchanted us with stories of the Delphic oracle, as well as introducing me to a long-term love affair with Plato, and Platonic ideals.  I did not realise it at the time, but this gifted teacher was opening up the foundations of Western philosophy and science to me and to others in the class.


Plato (428-348BC) has been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality. Plato's teacher was Socrates, and much of Plato's works are based on Socrates' ideas. We studied Plato's Republic, an amazing work about the just society. Our teacher focused on the allegory of the Cave, which has fascinated students of philosophy and mysticism ever since.