Thursday, April 24, 2008

Anzac Day

(Disclaimer:- I make some statements in this post which are critical of the contemporary American government. I know several of the people who read this will be Americans, and I highly value and appreciate your continued friendship, so I ask you to please understand that this criticism is not levelled at you personally. I understand that as regular citizens of America, your current government causes you almost as much suffering domestically as it does other people internationally.

This is also a long post. I talk about a lot of things, but mainly what being Australian means to me individually; probably engage in some rambling, here and there, and only briefly touch on anything related to WoW directly. I think this post is a form of therapy; there are some things here which, looking at it now, I've needed to bring up and admit to for a while. I'm digging up some skeletons here, and in the process, expressing that some things have bothered me which the sociopathic element of WoW's community would tell me are inconsequential, and that I should simply get over. There'll probably be stuff here that some people won't like, and that I'll get verbally trashed for; some of that criticism will probably hurt, as it often does. I've learned however that online, that goes with the territory, so I don't fear it.

Of course, in my own head, WoW and everything else that I am are both completely connected, but if you don't want to know more about how I think outside of this game, but which ultimately links back and connects with how I think inside it, feel free to skip this post.)


I'm an Australian.

It's not something I consciously acknowledge often, truthfully. Part of the reason why is because of a dissatisfaction with how most of my countrymen behave online, and with what the country has become, in many ways. Partly also because, at least to a degree, reincarnation is a conscious reality for me, and in the context of that belief, Australia is somewhere I'm visiting at the moment, but it's not where I'm from.

You see, I'm only just old enough to dimly remember the end of a time when Australia had some kind of genuine cultural/ethnic uniqueness of its' own. We truly don't now; not any more. People quote pieces of slang and other stupid things, but in terms of the way most of us think, we're simply trying nationally to be a clone of America with as much effort as we can muster.

I've taken the time to read about at least some of the founders of America. They weren't perfect; in fact some of them were deeply flawed, in a few respects, and it's important to acknowledge that. However, in terms of their intentions, they were also sincere, I believe, and they were gifted with a degree of lucidity that is not often present within human beings.

Their only real desire was for their country to be the author of its' own destiny, and for every other country to be able to do the same. John Quincy Adams, an early American President, once said in a speech to the American House of Representatives that America did not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. I do not believe that America's founders would countenance the degree of interference which America's current rulers engage in with regard to the governing of Australia.

There are a lot of people who want to see Australia become a Republic; to cease being a member of the British Commonwealth, the remnant of that empire, and to become our own country. I personally do not advocate that, and the reason why I do not is this:-

Currently Australia acknowledges England largely in theory, but to a comparitive degree, at least where England is concerned, is its' own country largely in practice. If we become a Republic, we will be our own country in theory, but the 51st state of America in practice. We will have a ruler with the title of President, and our system of government will surely be based largely on that of America. We will be compelled, through various means (as to a large extent we already are now) to participate in the American government's unjustifiable wars of aggression, both present and future.

Australia will be purchased to exactly the same degree that both Alaska and Louisiana have been, but it will happen informally and silently. We will be permitted to carry the name and the illusion only of being our own country; it will make governing us by proxy that much easier.

Some Australians make an annual pilgrimage to Gallipoli, on the coast of Turkey, now. I've asked myself how I feel about that.

Truthfully, the entire concept of militarism more or less in general is one that I have probably a lot more psychological baggage about than I should. My grandfather was an Allied bomber pilot during World War 2, and my father and pretty much everyone on his side of the family worshipped the ground my grandfather walked on. Some of his war stories are still talked about to some degree today.

Physically I'm about as civilian as it gets. I've always been overweight, with various other problems, and had a kidney removed at 13; I'd fail a physical even before it began. Psychologically, I'm even further away; in some areas I'm a complete wimp, and in others there's that case of what Ippon calls "snowflake syndrome," to the point where I can't have virtually anything to do with the rest of the human race offline, (including a girlfriend or half of my extended family) or even conform in WoW to the degree that I should.

Although it wasn't constant, to some degree the earlier years of my life were coloured by the occasional background implication from my father (and a cousin on that side of the family who went through the Australian Cadets and ended up studying a form of martial arts) of Patton's stated belief; that war is the only genuinely meaningful, significant, or consequential form of human activity, and that as an extension of that, being a civilian meant being someone who not only was very much a second class citizen, but it also meant being someone who existed in violation of the Darwinian principle on a daily basis, for the entirety of said civilian's life.

There was also something that happened fairly early on during my year of kindergarten, which was the beginning of when I was starting to interact with human society in a greater sense. I had someone drive my face into a steel washbasin, permanently dislodging a couple of my front teeth.

I'm not going to try and claim that that, in itself, was necessarily terribly bad, or that other people haven't experienced worse things. Of course they have. "So what?" I can hear people like Ippon saying. "Cry me a fucking river. GTF over it, scrub. How pathetic are you?"

The point though wasn't the event itself. The point, I think, was what it (and a number of other similar, subsequent events which have occurred repeatedly more or less whenever I have tried to integrate socially throughout the course of my entire life) communicated to me psychologically.

That I was weak, but that others were strong; that strength was respected, while weakness was unacceptable; that my grandfather was very strong, and that was why people respected him; that due to my issues, although I could physically improve myself incrementally, I would always be weak and autistic; and most of all, that because I would not (and to some extent because of my physical issues, literally could not) willingly allow myself to be subjugated by a society that I have always seen as being inherently dysfunctional and broken, that said society would literally kill me if it could.

I'm not writing about this because I want to wallow in it. I'm writing about this because I want to resolve it, and get past it.

I admit that part of me at least, has spent my entire life trying to compensate for the fact that I'm not my grandfather; I'm someone else.

I admit that soldier wannabeism is one of the main reasons why I play World of Warcraft; that running instances or Warsong Gulch is, as chronically and unutterably pathetic as this is, the closest I will ever get experentially to being part of a military unit.

I admit that part of me at times loves the idea of killing and even terrorising the Alliance in-game; at times I cuss people out, swear at them and verbally treat them as badly as anyone else does in the game. At times I enjoy that, as well.

I admit that the reason why I live online is because the offline world is No Man's Land to me, in the sense that a couple of times I literally have nearly been killed when trying to interact with it, and also due to the number of people close to me who've died because they were killed by it in one way or another. So yeah, I'm a coward.

I admit that the real reason why I've never got anywhere occupationally is partly because I see the offline world as such a threat, and also partly because, due to that, even as a child I was never able to focus on more than keeping myself physically breathing and psychologically sane for another single 24 hour block.

I admit that all of the above is only one half of me; a vestigial part that I'm trying to move beyond. I admit that although I still must offline, online I'm not going to follow the advice of Yurch or the offline survivalist philosophy of keeping a low profile. I write this blog because yes, I am an attention seeker. I want attention; I want to communicate and interact with others, and I feel that this and WoW are the only truly safe ways I can do that, at least for now. I want to try and take some tentative steps offline again soon at some point; I'm going to hope that this time I won't get slapped down again for doing so like I have been in the past.

Part of me is trying to see, ever so slowly, that there's something a lot more important than mere survival, and that's actually living, and that if I don't do that, physically surviving isn't much point.

Part of me is exhausted by and wants to stop being attracted to women like my ex-girlfriend, the Sarah Connor type; and instead find some nice, quiet, meek, totally unchallenging woman who I can have quiet, meek, clean, uncomplicated missionary sex with periodically. ;-)

Part of me craves and needs for war to be over. Everywhere, universally, and for all time. I don't want people to be killed in Iraq, or Afghanistan, South Africa, Bosnia, or anywhere else, ever ever again. There are times when it causes me physical pain to see how people treat each other verbally in the forum or in-game, and yet I know that this is nothing at all compared to how monstrously people are treating each other offline, every hour of every day.

One of the primary stereotypical associations of Hinduism is the suggestion to, as Lennon put it, give peace a chance. We need to do more than give it a chance; we need to make it a predominant element of how we live.

That's what the people buried at Gallipoli are saying to me, though. They're saying that the reason why they want anyone to remember them, is not so much because of what they actually did, but because they're hoping that the memory itself will cause us to ensure that what happened to them doesn't happen again.

If we really want to honour them, it isn't enough to remember them. We need to actually stop sending people to join them, and that especially means ending particularly dumb, pointless conflicts like the one in Iraq. War is something humanity needs to outgrow. If it doesn't stop, eventually all of us will be destroyed by it.

That's actually something Sun Tzu wrote about, as well.

No comments: