An eye opener



We must begin with eyes. Your eyes are reading this – but what kind of eyes are they? Mine are blue.

Would you kill me for the colour of my eyes, Brother? As the wise men of Central Australia would tell you – you only be killing yourself.

Far better we learn to see through each other’s eyes, and put a stop to this madness about the colour of our eyes.

Far more lethal powers linger in the depths of the velvet which lie behind. We must learn to control our eyes.

Where I live in Coledale, on the coast of what we have come to know as “New South Wales” – what was old South Wales like? – human eyes have developed the amazing power to kill trees from a distance.

Trees, located between ever-growing houses and the sea, mysteriously give up the ghost, surrendering their reality to the dream view of sea-changers. Trees are excluded from this million dollar view.

There is also not a Blackfellow to be seen. Until recently, that is, when the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy was established, a little to the south between Thirroul and Bulli, in what we call the northern suburbs of Wollongong. Whose country, exactly?

On the coast at Coledale, there is a plan being drawn up for rehabilitation of the coast vegetation – no high trees insist the house-dwellers! No Koories either. Spoils the view.

Amazing things, eyes.

Eyes are one of the high points of existence in terms of the organisation of matter.

Vision has been said to be the most magical – and least tactile – of our senses. We see! And we see not.

Our senses are not merely then means by which we receive input to our rational minds.

Let’s not beat around the 20th century bush in which eyes are passive receptors of external stimuli – eyes are a form of intelligence.

Let’s not beat around the 20th century bush (cleared of First Peoples and their forms of signification) – our forms of intelligence are neither rational nor reasonable.

The Age of Reason – a privileged form of reason which was wilfully blind to its own foundations – is well and truly over.

The eyes which interest me are those of Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History. Check out this Angel on google. S/He does not offer the usual services.

An angel of history – the one blown out of paradise by an immense storm – looks across the immense distance to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai.

From an apparent moment of divine revelation to a realisation that the chaos is mounting skyward, polluting the very heavens themselves.

This Angel sees it all, we are lead to believe. But wait a moment, and with the greatest of respect, Walter.

All seeing eyes? No. The Angel of History does not see through the eyes which life on this continent has fashioned. The Angel of History does not see through indigenous eyes.

This angel’s eyes are see things in the Westernising light only.

In those eyes history is possible – a history which talks of discovery of a New World, blind to the destructive chaos which resulted when Europeans Ways were forcefully imposed onto the well-tempered cosmos of other peoples.

History? Give us a break. Let’s not beat around that 20th century bush either – history is not possible. There is no stand-alone linear. We are located in eternity.

Blown out of Paradise? Paradise as a system of order which provides a means by which the ensuing chaos can be seen? Paradise as what exactly?

Where is that paradise located in the eyes of the Angel of History?

Somewhere back there behind Moses, across the space which separates him from its two naked figures in what – is that a garden?

Doesn’t look like a garden in the Neolithic sense. Looks more like well-managed living country before the arrival of Europeans.

And what is taking place in the space between Moses and the two naked figures?

That is the space in which work, sex and mortality are invented. (Ah, he’s lost the plot now!)

No, the story of life is a good one. “It’s not your story” as the narrator says in the film “Ten Canoes” – but it is a good one all-a-same.

If a little difficult to tell in a simple linear fashion.


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