Australia Day and the Group Soul.

For the past few years the annual Australia day celebrations have troubled me. Each year I see more displays of a false, in-your-face aggressive patriotism, particularly by younger people. There are more flags – as flags, as beach towels, stubby holders, eskies, underwear and bikinis. I’m waiting for the Australian Flag glow-in-the-dark condom.

This year I was reminded of some scenes from Mad Max as I stumbled across several drunken, aggressive groups of half naked youth with ‘tribal’ Australian makeup over their faces. The words “Australia – ya fuckin’ beauty” were scrawled in letters five feet high on a wall near my local beach.

From an esoteric viewpoint what I perceive is the partial manifestation of a dark, violent undercurrent within the group soul of Australia. After all, our young nation still carries the scars of the violence and racism which allowed colonization (or invasion) in the first place. The shallow grave of our violent, racist past spills open periodically and we are then all aghast at the results – such as the Cronulla Riots in 2005.

Australia Day, rather than being a day of unity and expression of a collective – the nation – which transcends the self towards a higher, social goal, is becoming a festival where the shadow is allowed some form of expression. In the guise of celebrating the nation, acts like public drunkenness, nakedness, aggression and scapegoating are legitimized. It is all rather like the medieval Feast of Fools or the ancient Roman Saturnalia.

I really do not want to sit back and just let this happen, but am at a loss of where to begin a critique, let alone how to help change the situation. Of course, I could be wrong here. But my reading of the nature of our group soul and the occulted violence within it tells me that one year, quite soon, Australia Day will be marked by some shameful, bloody happenings. Any ideas, anyone?

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4 comments

  1. Rachael · January 30, 2008

    I like how you’ve written this and wholeheartedly concur! I too do not want to stand idly by but alas, I’m also at a loss for ideas on how to help change the situation. Sigh.

  2. David · January 30, 2008

    Agreed, most of the people I know who went to the fireworks told stories of large fights taking place almost everywhere they looked. It beguiles me as to why it is at this event that we seem to see the negative nature of of our culture shown rampart, whilst the people who witnessed it talk of it as a great and inspiring site.

    To be honest though, I think its a bit limiting to say this is just a manifestation of a dark undercurrent in Australia, events like this aren’t just occurring here, they are occurring world wide. It seems to be a pattern the world as a whole is following not just us.

  3. Emily · January 30, 2008

    I have also noticed something troubling about the way Australia day is celebrated, but have been unable to place my finger on just what it is that is troubling me. Each year there seems to be more and more violence occurring on this day- so much so I would never even consider taking my children to the sky-show.

    I particularly noticed the abundance of Australian flags this year, which seems to me an American 4th of July celebration import.

    No idea what to do about though

  4. Simon · January 30, 2008

    I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say the Group Soul of Australia has a problem.

    I believe that the last 7 years of “War on Terror” has fostering Nationalism within the population – something Western Governments and the media are encouraging. Aren’t we constantly being told there are terrorisms living amongst us? Aren’t we bombarded with advertisements to phone a number if we see any “suspicious” behaviour? Race riots in Cronulla, renegade clerics and innocent Indian doctors. Isn’t it any wonder more people want to wave a flag?

    Youth Culture = yob culture = drink, then drink some more. Once a violent outbreak occurs in a crowd it quickly spreads out of control. The Group Mind or egregore of the crowd is in full control of people caught up in it. People loose their individuality and submit to the group mind. I wonder how many of these people who behaved like idiots on Australia day regret what they did and don’t understand why it happened.

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