The Lucky Country

Art Walk Map, Sydney 2014

Art Walk Map, Sydney 2014

Servile internationally, bullying in the region:

‘The swing between submission and assertiveness has lost its extremism, but the final conquest of the colonial problem has not yet been achieved…We are still not quite sure whether to be proud or ashamed of ourselves.’

The spiritual littleness in not embracing the uncertainty of vision and the new:

‘In truth the Australian does not ignore spiritual values provided they are plain, direct and assessable. His limitation lies in an obstinate bondage to the positive, a preference for the sum with an answer verifiable in the back pages of the book. He turns aside, scornfully and yet timidly, from the glories and terrors of the incertitudes, from the exaltations of the mysteries. Such a conception as André Gide’s Return of the Prodigal is scarcely imaginable as the product of an Australian mind. Consequently we escape that cooling and thinning of humanity which afflicts the Gide type, but we cannot achieve Gide’s kind of depth and reverberation. Yet the incertitudes and the mysteries, the excitement of the sum which never comes out, are the food and wine of the artist, whatever his country…Only when the contour-smoothing erosions of time have reconciled us to the acceptance of mystery will the colonial dilemma be finally solved.’

The Cultural Cringe, A.A. Phillips, Melbourne University Press, 2006 (first published in 1950), 61-62

Part one/to be continued…

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