I am intrigued by the discrepancy between the independent stance of the Anglo-Australian worker (originally the bulk of the people) and the obsequiousness/arrogance of Australian governments. Having been a tram conductor, worked in factories and offices, and socialised with all levels of Australian society, I say categorically that this Aussie worker is someone I respect. He is the one who will stop to help you were your car to break down on the street. He stands tall at all times, and encourages immigrants to emulate him.
Contradictorily, Australian governments are subservient, but selectively; originally it was to Mother Britain, later to stepfather USA. Yet, they will throw their weight about in the Pacific (their US-allocated bailiwick), or look askance at the newly independent nations of Asia with foreign faiths. These peoples will never bend their necks again, and will not pay the respect claimed by Australia.
What do I mean by subservience? How is it manifest? My musings follow. Most of us are born into a collective. We are then shaped by that collective, the family. When released into society, we usually live within another collective or two. When we die, we join yet another collective, either below ground or probably in another dimension.
Collectives normally imply a hierarchy, a pecking order of sorts. But … … does that require subservience? In reality, a form of subservience, a degree of subservience, seems ordered; that is, necessitated by the way segments of society are structured or organised. A leaderless society would be an anachronism. Can adult individuals then ever be free of net¬works of subservience? Can we truthfully avoid the requirements of one or more official agencies, and our employers or customers; as well as the expectations of family and neighbours? I think not.
However, were this implied subservience to a collective to be no more than an expression of duty, or an acceptance of a specified responsibility, or evidence of good corporate behaviour? Indeed, are there many of us who do not want to be linked with others within each collective in the ways I have just set out? Further, are there many who are psycho¬logically capable of standing alone, without any sense of duty, of responsibility or good collective behaviour? Perhaps only those who have fallen through the mesh of a non-coherent family.
When I consider how few of the people I have ever met or heard of seem willing to think for themselves; that is, to step out of the frames of reference to which they have been conditioned, I conclude that they feel safer within their cocoon of conformity. Allowing the mind to roam freely in all the universes available – the only true freedom from any collective accessible to a human being – does seem to scare most of us. Subservience in either form – duty/responsibility/good conduct or subjugation of some sort – seems preferred. Does that indicate a smidgen of fear?
(The above extracts from the chapter ‘On subservience’ in ‘Musings at Death’s Door: an ancient bicultural Asian-Australian ponders about Australian society’ reflect my strong social conscience about the dignity of all humans.
In reality, in most nations, most of the people at the bottom of the economic pile, that is, those who provide the work supporting their society, lack the respect that should be theirs were the religious beliefs of their employers to be reflected in the way they are treated. Yet, in Australia, the worker is not subservient or submissive; he/she stands tall.)