The child who has no need to feign empirical knowledge about life can wonder and fantasise with great ease. The world is his oyster, or any other thing he wants it to be.

Clever modern man is so witless that he thinks moral silence and empty conscience are an advantage.

The relentless invisible storm of radio signals and electronic particles, the hustle and bustle, and the billions of petrol explosions in the engine blocks of trucks and cars seem to churn up the molecules of life and heaven so violently that the beautiful fogs are unable to hold together like they once did.

The human relationship to combustion is as mysterious as it is fraught with madness. From the candle flame to the nuclear blast, it has lit up the human imagination with fear and fascination.

In later life, we don't easily talk of fears, but instead we discuss our 'concerns.' Fear seems too primal and hysterical, but concern is polite and intellectual and nicely under control.

My father was a meat worker. He was a union organizer in the meat workers union.

A dear friend of my early childhood has worked as an anthropologist in Papua New Guinea for much of her life, and from the tiny island where her main work has been focused, she has brought me many funny and beautiful stories over the years.

I am probably not alone in sensing above me the huge corporations and monstrous banks, science, politics and technologies, spy satellites and stock markets, military systems and massive wealth - forces and dynamics I don't understand or can hardly imagine.

Making jokes is about the most wrong and stupid thing a bemused, middle-aged, white heterosexual Anglo Saxon sort of Celt Australian male can do these days.

Wisdom may best arise from a humbling reality.

Citizens, regardless of their political inclinations, carry a devout sense of their shared culture and its temperament - and, having contributed to it all their lives, hold decent and reasonable hopes for its continued integrity.

As a child, I heard many warnings from teachers about the perils of talking with strangers. Yet now, fairly late in my life, I can think of not many things better than to talk with strangers. The idea of being a stranger is also very appealing.

Wars don't happen on battlefields; they go on happening in people's hearts for generations and generations, and the ecological damage is unfathomably complex and dire.

I became a cartoonist because I'd sort of failed at everything else, really. I mean, it was by default.

I must warn you right here and now that I am a 'wet leftie,' a 'leftist' and also a member of the 'bleeding heart liberal left.' I had no say in it whatsoever. I woke up one morning, and these things were tattooed across my forehead.

Happiness, it's a small thing - just a very little thing.

Have I got the right to experiment with my child's life?

I just happen to believe that what's at stake in the early child's development is so vital and so important, and I think it is founded in the main, in the broad cultural sense, on the relationship between the mother and child.

Stay away from excellence at all costs; it stinks.

Sadly, semi-consciousness, along with daydreaming, is a capacity that is actively discouraged among children in schools, and our society is much poorer and harsher as a consequence. The value of liminal space and transitional imagination remain personally and culturally undeveloped.

It's terrible the way words get attached to you like barnacles.

In contemporary art culture, where good looks and clever strategic planning of art careers have become a feature, professional practice may be taught in art schools like a branch of public relations or political science.

The repression of virtuous instinct in the modern world is an incremental tragedy. Repress one instinct, and you repress many; other parts of consciousness go down, also.

I was a reflective child.

A good memory is surely a compost heap that converts experience to wisdom, creativity, or dottiness; not that these things are of much earthly value, but at least they may keep you amused when the world is keeping you locked away or shutting you out.

My children just want to get at the world; it is so pleasantly surprising to witness that.

Easter is not limited to the passion and death of Christ; it also includes the dismal tragedy of life unlived by the many, and all the loss of passion and truth that goes with it.

I think we live in delusional times, whether it's with a great ability to totally distract ourselves with technology, or with speed and the velocity of life.

Who can protest alone? Who dares rise up? It is not easy. One is all alone, and evermore shall be so.

There's a particular sensitivity required to be an artist, and a certain vulnerability, perhaps, and also, somewhere between, you're in your body a lot, too. It's much more physical than one would imagine because I think it's the body where the imagination lives somehow. I do feel the imagination isn't just in the brain up there.

Perhaps life is actually more confusing and unknowable to an adult than a child, but grown-ups have learned to deceive themselves and act as if they understand what's going on; and some are elected to high office on the basis of their ability to create this impression.

I don't think I have spiritual beliefs in the structured sense - but I believe in the absolute necessity of spirit and a healthy spiritual life. It grew inside me by itself, which is surely the very nature of spirit, and instinctively I protected and nourished it. I also absorbed spirituality by osmosis.

The world is philosophically booby-trapped; touch an interesting subject, and it just might blow up in your face. Some say it's better not to touch.

While the world may feel entitled and have the power to pronounce an individual crazy, are there times when the innocent genius, the insightful individual or just the old grandmother may reasonably declare the world to be mad? Probably, but what hope or happiness would such an individual have?

There are moments when great music can be the greatest service and charity.

Modern man is probably a more humiliated and depressed creature than he dares to know.

Any cartoon that can be liked by a committee is really not worth drawing; in fact, must not be drawn at all! Better to become a stockbroker.

If you're becoming weary and disillusioned with Australian values, Judeo-Christian values or Western civilisation, I recommend strangers - they're such a glorious, redeeming wilderness to wander into.

When I was a boy, my own dad told me in a smiling and wistful way that it's a wise man that knows his own father.

I think melancholy is part of the natural condition, you know. Anyway, I think it's the artist's function to have their melancholy and not hide it, you see.

A beautiful wake-up is one of life's most perfectly happy times.

A society that's provided for by television is a society that says it doesn't need too many parks or natural situations for children to play in because television will look after them.

It is difficult to imagine any time in history when so many people claiming to be so free have lived in so much fear of being unattractive.

There are times when the art world seems like a religious empire. There are great cathedral galleries and pilgrimage sites where treasured art pieces are displayed like holy relics, and this can certainly be a great pleasure on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

When all is said and done, it looks like the Palestinians have been massively robbed and abused, and are engaged in a desperate struggle for survival and liberation. Israel, on the other hand, would appear to be conducting an imperialistic campaign of oppression supported and substantially armed by the most powerful nation on earth.

It is at Easter that Jesus is most human, and like all humans, he fails and is failed. His is not an all-powerful God, it is an all-vulnerable God.

Try as I do to comprehend the human project and my part in it, I am further than ever from understanding the monstrous everyday things that seem like self-evident truths and existential necessities to so many.

In my adolescence, I think I felt very outcast; I felt lonely. I felt great loneliness, and sometimes I wouldn't partake in Christmas, and I would go off and wander in the streets of Melbourne.

Murk can be described as an enfeebled fog with a personality disorder; it is more troubled than ethereal, sulking moodily over our lives at the end of the day.