Reply to Tach

Tach,

Your music went very well with your video for ‘Artist of the Month’. I particularly remember how you closed your fingers and bent your wrist to convey your meaning in your video on your blog when you discussed your work. It was very expressive and effective.

My Sydney uni association is that I am completing a thesis there which will be due next week. I will not have it done on time and have opted to be failed (rather than withdraw). It concerns a matter for which I have lived the last 32 years of my life – to understand and have recognised the impact of mysticism on Western culture and its relation to a materialist perspective (my blog is an offshoot of this) and I will consider being failed as solely reflecting on a deeply sick, anti-intellectual and servile culture. I will be taking this matter up with the university after I complete my thesis and publish it on my blog.

The influence of convict culture (with its shame, cynicism, inferiority, guilt and religion of the ordinary) is as much present in Australian culture (in which the events at Gallipoli in the first capitalist world war – a military disaster following an attack on a foreign country on behalf of a dominant power – are held to embody what it is to be ‘Australian’) as that of the words of the Puritan John Winthrop – that their community would be ‘as a city upon a hill’ (words virtually copied by Chifley and recently aped by Abbott), watched by the world – is on American culture.

Despite all the criticisms that can and should be made of the United States and what has been and is being done on behalf of US capitalism, the recognition of the importance of vision has always been at the heart of that culture. It is on the basis of this that they constantly search the world to take to them ‘the best and brightest’ and they recognise the centrality of education to this.

When the GFC hit the US, one of the first things Obama did was to give a massive injection of funding to the US education system. What has happened in this regard in Australia, which, with its coal and minerals to dig up and flog to China, virtually escaped the GFC? It is an emblematic disgrace.

In his book The Lucky Country (every time an Australian refers to this country as ‘the lucky country’, an expression intended to be ironic, they expose their failure to think about and critique their culture and how little, in essence, it has progressed from that of Horne’s reflections) Donald Horne beautifully captured the Australian attitude to vision, paraphrasing a diary entry by Mrs. Marcel Dekyvere, chairperson of the Black and White Ball Committee (in 1964) in response to Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on 28.08.63 – ‘We must all keep our dreams, even if sometimes they don’t come true. Don’t you agree?’

Till the day I die, I will salute Utzon for leaving this country and refusing to ever be drawn back by the incessant attempts of Australians embarrassed and exposed not by his sudden departure (that could be excused by and contained to his differences with the Minister for Public Works) but by the international reputation his design for the Opera House won and desperate to cover over (not learn and progress from, despite all their subsequent hype and blather to the opposite – which can be seen every semester, as an example, when Australian universities compete to attract enrolments) their anti-intellectual littleness of spirit.

‘Intellect’ and ‘culture’ at heart do not refer to an accumulation of past achievements and their reinforcement, they are living concepts which embody an eager view to the future, towards what has yet to be discovered and achieved. To embrace them is to embrace difference, change and uncertainty – all of which are deeply threatening to dozy Australian conformism – as Keating said, at the arse end of the world.

My regret with regard to Utzon is that he was too much the Nordic gentleman to ‘break his silence’ on this most important matter.

Phil

Tach’s blog

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