Beyond Borders: Prologue

This panorama is assembled from photos taken at my special place in Coogee.

My first book Seen and unseen: A century of Stories from Asia and the Pacific, begins a short distance from this very site.

The Prologue to my work

Reactions to my work

To paraphrase one reader’s response to my latest work, Beyond Borders: Conversations across boundaries, they note that this work reflects the perspective of a geographer mixed with anthropologist, and underscored with acute political and geopolitical awareness. And it is profoundly humane and spiritual.

They also write that I was able to interact deeply with people at the point where they are dealing with the big questions/mysteries of life and death and their meanings. What links all is common humanity, and the differences are in their handling of the mysteries.

If this is the impression I’ve conveyed then I’m happy. I have been successful in telling these stories. I don’t say this in a simplistic way.

My sense is that we all possess many spiritual connections with God’s creation. This is not to say that I subscribe to simplistic understandings of creation. My theological views of the cosmos sit side by side with my scientific understanding. Perhaps this is best summed up in these two quotes.

The same dialogue of communication and mystery of communion is detected in the galaxies, where the countless stars betray the same mystical beauty and mathematical interconnectedness. We do not need this perspective in order to believe in God or to prove His existence. We need it to breathe; we need it for us simply to be. The coexistence and correlation between the boundlessly infinite and the most insignificantly finite things in our world articulate a concelebration of joy and love.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, “And God Saw That Everything Was Good: The Creation Story and Orthodox Theology”

It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected. Time and space are not independent of one another, and not even atoms or subatomic particles can be considered in isolation. Just as the different aspects of the planet–physical, chemical and biological–are interrelated, so too living species are part of a network that we will never fully explore and understand. A good part of our genetic code is shared by many living beings. It follows that the fragmentation of knowledge and the isolation of bits of information can actually become a form of ignorance unless they are integrated into a broader vision of reality.

Pope Francis, Laudato Si 138

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