It has been said before that the overall mentality of the Australian public is as best passively obedient and at worst wilfully ignorant. I have lived here for almost twenty years and this has been one of the reasons (As has recently dawned upon me)that I have spent my entire youth hopping from one workplace to another in order to save up and escape the continent for as long as my financial capability at the time would permit. Unfortunately one does not have to be well read to find evidence of this sleepy attitude as a simple stroll down the street will provide more examples than an observer can handle.
Admittedly the very incident that inspired this piece was noted whilst observing people preparing to cross the road while strolling down little Collins street in Melbourne. A group of five people were standing at the traffic light waiting to cross the road. However, even though the roads were clear from both sides of the crossing, the lot of them stood there for what seemed like forever, waiting for the little man to go green before finally crossing (As if the fact that there wasn’t a single car on the road was completely irrelevant) What was both interesting and infuriating was that, as if they were all in a trans; not a single one looked to make sure there were no cars speeding their way once the little man blinked green (As if it’s never before happened that a car has driven through a red light). Admittedly, my main problem with this scenario is the waiting for the little green man.
My taking is that this group of people are so distracted; mindless and passively obedient that they themselves cannot make a judgement call on when to cross the road and instead need a machine to guide them. If you happen to be well travelled, you will know that this does not happen in many places and in those it does; this attitude is clearly and prominently reflected in all other facets of that particular society.
While this may seem like an insignificant scenario in the grand scheme of things; the unnerving implications of it are unfortunately much more than that. What can be said about a public who has surrendered a trivial decision such as when to cross a road to a machine? Perhaps that this same public will likely surrender many other decisions in their life to a streamline process or authority. In Australia, we are fined a whopping $150 for not wearing a helmet on a 40 degree day cycling down the beach in order to prove that the law enforcement body care more about the safety of our scull then we ourselves do (Yes, this is another incident organically derived from personal experience.) Following from this, it has often been said that a controlled public is vulnerable to many forms of manipulation. As this simple incident suggests; nowhere is this more prominent then in Australia (All you have to do is watch a bit of television if you are not yet convinced)
I have spent many hours contemplating why there is more of this narrow herd like mentality here than anywhere else I have been to (including the small town of 50 000 in central Bosnia where I’m originally from). The conclusion I have come to is that as a young country, Australia is unevolved culturally and thus has drunk the neo liberal coolade long before it was mature and sophisticated enough to see through the blatant insanity of a system of this kind. In addition, Its development was directly aligned with the growth and gradual take-over of advertising campaigns that followed the industrial revolution so that in result; the main source of culture became commercialism; or more specifically and endless race to accumulate as much wealth as possible without any real means to an end. (ie. A persons worth is in direct proportion to how much money they collect and keep over the course of their life.) Consequently, the vast majority of the people barely stood a chance at growing up to question or scrutinise what was in their lunch box let alone anything more significant. Other obvious reasons are the level of isolation from the rest of the world; a long period of chummy ties with the US; deliberate dumbing down of the population through education and so on.
Admittedly, I discount the many people I know who are the very opposite of what I have just implied but as stated earlier, I refer to the general public and if you know anything about Australian politics; you will see that it takes a nation with mostly zombies to let this circus go on for as long as it has. My sincerest apologies if I have offended anyone as this is clearly a mere observation and since it should be all of our job to stir the pot relating to this circus of a world we live in, I reserve the right to have my say.