ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY and PEOPLES
The true Guardians of Australian knowledge are the Senior
Law People. Respect for their protocols is basic if knowledge is to be properly
transmitted across generations and across cultures.
This writer acknowledges the First Peoples of Australia as
the true Guardians of life in this country we call Australia.
The only reason for writing is to seek to put forward some ideas which may help
to open the eyes of others to this same recognition.
It is by learning to see something of life through their eyes that we may begin to see something of our cosmos.
My thanks to my Warumungu and Alyawarra mentors, with whom I
worked in the 1980s and 1990s. In their spirit I put this work forward, and
must begin with some words of homage.
MAKING SENSE OUT OF NONSENSE
For long eons the forms of life we embody have been able to
order experience by making use of a variety of means such as mythology. By
these means we have been able to develop extremely powerful conceptual and
By means of these complexes of metaphors, we are able to relate to (and connectt with) our surroundings. Our cosmos becomes signified – we live in local universes of meaning – and we are able to participate in a great flow of messages.
In place of ovewhelming chaos – we live in a world of signs (in the semiotic sense – the sign being a relationship between a signifier and a signified). Much of the strife in the world arises out of various control trips which seek to ‘fix’ that relationship so we will only ‘see’ things certain ways.
While modern forms of reason seek to push the boundaries of
abstraction to their limits, much of human life has found sufficient order by
making use of more ‘sensory’ levels of understanding, when abstraction is less removed from the things we encounter in life. The sun and moon – and much else – come to carry life’s higher messages in ways which inert bodies never can.
In the 21st century we know that Ways which did
not ‘make sense’ to modern Western Europeans in previous centuries does not
mean they are nonsense.
When viewed from very important perspectives – such as
maintaining balance for life on this
planet – those different Ways may make perfectly good sense.
We can regard some of these different Ways as making it a covenant to take serious the role of human life in keeping our cosmos
well-groomed in order for it to last an eternity.
The logic First Peoples follow may not be the ‘linear’ forms
insisted upon by those who belong to the cult of progress.
Well, we need to start to get used to it – instead of
dismissing other forms of reasons the real challenge is to wrap our heads
Rather than seeking to make contact with potential life on
distant planets, our immediate challenge is to start to make contact and
communicate with our other human relatives on this planet. We in the West have
much to learn, and a big backlog to catch up on
Much of the Ways of First Peoples appear to have forms of
logic which ensure that the whole of life can reproduce itself in good order.
This is quite different to the bundles of metaphors which were acquired in by
the people who took up gardening and sought to ‘improve’ on life.
Australia’s First Peoples remained true to an eternal life design. The
twin Rainbows of what is called “Rainbow Serpent” is a fitting image of this
eternal life design.
Many books could be filled by a study of the role of
Rainbows and Serpents as signs in human
life – but this life is too short for
that. We will have to leave that task for others, and proceed in a different
Typically, the Western approach has been to treat such
stories as nonsense and to attribute some form of inferior mental ability to
the minds of the native peoples who
believe such stories.
Placing a rainbow in the sky as a sign of a covenant between
humanity and a supernatural creator , however, has played a role in Western
life. We are familiar with this story and know that we have to treat it with a
little more respect than that which the West has typically shown to the
myth-narratives of other peoples. (We note that the Serpent seems to have been
largely left behind in the Garden of Eden for those who embrace the Biblical
story, although a closer study may reveal this to be incorrect.)
For those Christians who came to see the Devil in the
detail of the behaviour of others- much suffering has resulted. The treatment of the peoples of the New World in th ename of saving their soul stands as a shameful chapter of genocide and ethnocide (far greater than any scandal of how priests treated children).
Those of us who do
not share a belief in monotheistic Creators, regard this as yet another example
to the role of fantasy structures in determining what the eye ‘sees’ – and the fundamental important of seeking to having our healing vision as correct as possible. The only safe test, in this regard, is for those in our gaze to respond accordingly. There can be no self-regulation in this regard.
The acceptance that we can not see the world as it is – but that we see how our eyes are constituted by our membership in a vast life formation – is acceptance of a limit on our condition as a form of intelligent
life, somewhere here in eternity.
There can be no ‘objective’ direct perception of ‘reality’ –
no means of actually seeing what there is to see as a result of the fortunes of
good birth or extraordinary talent – of membership in a privileged and exclusive club.
Modern science – and all those who aspire to align with
modern science – has to learn to embrace this fundamental limit just as it did
with other aspects of Uncertainty.
While the members of the scientific community continue to promote the pretence
that they are somehow immune to the workings of the constraints upon the rest of
us, their resulting false consciousness will have dire consequences. They will
fail to discharge a duty of care towards ensuring the well-being of all life.
The task of fashioning new forms of representation of life
is one of the key challenges of our times. It is clear that we must engage in
acts of partnership with First Peoples and with those members of the scientific
community who realise that there is more than a black hole at the core of
modern scientific practice.
One of the major problems with modern science is what it systematically factors out – what it systematically excludes – in its relentless search for ‘invariants’. This results in forms of representation of life which are seriously incomplete.
Modern scientists and all those who priviliege science suffer a form of professional deformation – and only
when they begin to seriously question their own practice – that which
systematically privileges a very narrow interpretation of ‘reality’ – will they
begin the healing process. Supreme arrogance prevents their minds from
appreciating other important aspects of life.
The work of Primack and Abrams – and even the passing reference to Dreaming stories in Paul Davies
book – demonstrates that this healing process is underway in some places. Long
way to go on that front judging from progress during the 2th centtury, and now the question is "How much time remains to cover that distance?"
As the shift from the classical physics to relatively demonstrates, some changes can take place very fast when the time is right.
Ttime is – right now!