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An Essay for Permies in five parts: Part Five

Posted by Rebekah Copas almost 13 years ago

still the same essay which I now notice, has in fact six parts, (but the new draft is only complete up to part five here)

Individuality versus collectivism.


The issue of individuality versus collectivism in human society is one which has long been at the forefront of discourse about how we form intentional communities.  What is going to work, in what ways need we be more communal, and in what was need we be less communal?  Did it work before when men shared wives and will it work now, and what made it work once before?  Are certain cultural conditions necessary for polygamy to work?  These kinds of questions come into fashion and go out of fashion again, as we all grow up and learn to accept that the rules we got give by our own family of origin, usually had good cause, and work best within the preconditions of our own genetics and subconscious mind.  But the general question of what collectivism is, and when it is useful in intentional communities, remains a constant question for many people involved with permaculture.


An international study into collectivism versus individualism, was done by psychologists, I learned about in the psychology lectures of Professor Jane Shakespeare-Finch at Queensland University of Technology.  Jane Shakespeare-Finch was the primary researcher for the Australian part of the study she related evidence from, in her lecture.  The results of the study which included data from very many regions of the world, and many different cultures, were that the more formal a culture is, the more collective it is, and the more informal, the more individual.  Something is immediately notable in respect of how our minds are alert to evaluating indigenous Australian culture in this respect.  Most African cultures are evaluated as more formal, and more collective.  Therefore, many people in both Europe and North America, evaluate black people’s cultures as predominantly more collective.  In fact, some people go so far as to imagine that white people may be racist unless we enable extreme collectivism.  But in fact, most Australians will hardly be capable of communicating any witness of much formality at all existing within Aboriginal Australian culture.  Aboriginal Australian culture is far more alike to the cultures of other white people’s lands, than any other black people’s culture on the planet.  It is basically a black culture, but far less formal than most black cultures are, and therefore, more individualist.  The absurdity of the whole ball game, is within the fact that there is a very strong current of belief, within overtly racist organised crime in Australia, to have been simultaneously blaming all Aboriginal people for being too generous among Kinsmen, and blaming any white Aboriginal families, without overtly stated Aboriginality of identification, as the bigots.  Yet the basic reality is that our Aboriginal culture, both in white forms and black forms, is transparent in being less collectivist than most darker skin folk’s cultures are; and, simultaneously, that we white families who were not asserting our Aboriginal identities, were perhaps only not doing so, because of the degree to which our indigenous, AND Aboriginal, culture is individualist, here in Australia.


These days we have the formalities of performing “welcome to country” rituals and giving welcome to country speeches, and such industry ought not be regarded as an imposition by indigenous people upon non-indigenous people, since the events where such welcomes are given, are normally events in which all the other formalities being engaged with, were European in cultural origin.  Clearly the indigenous community is being radically extended into having to become more collectively minded than is normal for indigenous Australians to express towards the non-indigenous, and doing so in predominantly good spirits also.  At the height of such formalities was the statement of National apology by Kevin Rudd, and associated formalities, which includes an Aboriginal sacred object now being a part of the opening of every session of Federal Parliament.  Our normally highly individualised culture, is being extended into collective processes that far, as to be fully complicit with an invading government, before most of us have fully comprehended the culture of the invaders.  In such formalities, what is not being accepted and communicated, most often because the government will not listen, (and when they did their own research in the Royal Commission into black deaths in custody, they simply ignored their own formal recommendations), is that the predominant way in which indigenous Australians have been collectivised in recent years, was via extensive rape being enacted in the custody of the Nation State, in its gaols.  Interactions between gaol inmates in Australia’s prisons are actually quite unusually ritualised, and therefore formal, but in deeply disturbing ways, about which gaol inmates seldom say more than that “everybody does”.  And so the plot thickens.


But what are some of the formalities of indigenous Australia, by which, through adherence, permies may pay due respect and credence to indigenous peoples own kinds of collectivism?  Do we have any?  Sure.  I am sort of covering the basics of some such formalities with this essay.  It will be a subtle kind of formality for you when ever any of you are told what “skin” name you receive within indigenous Kinship, that was if any of you become that far involved within indigenous formalities.  What is very formal within traditional Aboriginal Australian society, is our Kinship.  Kinship structures are formally taught and up kept, yet informally formally, taught to the extent of every social interaction having to be qualified in respect of who we are to one another, in terms of indigenous Kinship, but seldom ritually processed.  Yet  I am a nungarrayi in Warlpiri lingo, which means my husbands are all Jangala, and my mother must be a Nakamara, and so all Nakamara are my mother, and my children are Jampidjimba, (but they would be nampidjimba if girls).  The anthropological evidence for indigenous Kinship being extremely formal, and enabling of fully collective human interactions and very highly collectivised systems of communication, is substantial, yet took years and years of work by as many anthropologists who could hack the patience required to learn informally, to collect. The same anthropologists have taken painstaking notes about ceremonies and rituals, seeking for evidence of formal patterns of communication, only to be left speculating, and often very rudely, about what real meanings are being imparted.  Maybe it is true to say, that when a whole race is genetically predisposed to being more astute about interpersonal weaknesses, we are also predisposed to be minding our own business.  No wonder we are all so informal in our relationships with almost anybody who is not already within our Kinship.  Without being within our immediate Kinship circles, you might not be a human being, and we might not know what animals you have, and so how could we possibly interact normally and safely with you.  How could we keep our children safe without sustaining our Kinship, properly, and exactly, this is.  In other words, Kinship is enacted within active formality, yet the learning process will be highly informal, and for the receptive mind only.


All of the flora and fauna, and even the geology, of Australia, also belong within traditional indigenous Kinship.  We are fully collectively minded with the whole of the ecology of indigenous flora and fauna, but also with every geological formation and the soil.  Furthermore, Kinship is what regulates every human social interaction, enabling us to communicate in one way or another, whether by speaking together, by hand gestures, by sharing dreams, (which is only possible within certain known Kinship relationships, for example, every Jangala usually notes what any nungarrayi is thinking while in his company), or by avoidance, as in the infamy of mother-in-law and son-in-law avoidance relations.  This is real.  If a mother-in-law and son-in-law, or anybody who is in those categories of Kinship in relation to one another, get along together well enough that they imagine they are in love, they were proving no more than that they were totally failing to comprehend each other, and this is why, in Meggit’s book Desert People, about Warlpiri culture, it states that the mother-in-law and son-in-law avoidance relationship, if broken, suffers the death penalty.  It is one thing to read this in anthropological literature, but quite another to have to face that a modern equivalent to such formalities in applying penalties, still exists.  Few of us who have acquired customs of engaging within mainstream culture, ever readapt back into traditional society, simply because we have been breaking Kinship laws too bad, and so seldom regain the self discipline of mind necessary to be fully acceptable within traditional Kinship.  And yet a few mainly silent white men, live in traditional communities, and engage fully within serious ritual rites of passage.  Meanwhile, within mainstream Australian society, I have been learning that by obedience to Aboriginal Kinship, every time I need to socially interact with anybody who ought to be considered my son-in-law, I have to accept that the fact of any interaction may well be the death of me eventually, since we are likely to fail to accurately communicate with one another.  In fact, accepting that predicament is enabling of mutual comprehension of failures of adequate communication, and whenever I have had to interact with a man who is in the son-in-law category, I normally just make the effort to communicate directly into his mind, that we are just going to have to accept failing to communicate if we try having conversations.  Therefore, we learn to communicate indirectly by always turning away from one another.  In ever having become properly, and formally, brung into traditional indigenous Kinship, I find myself feeling almost constantly obliged to teach Kinship ways to everybody who I have formal interactions with in the white mainstream world.


When Kinship rules are being strictly managed, it becomes possible to let humanity believe in our ability to communicate directly into one another’s mind.  I could tell you that most indigenous Australians are good mind readers, but that is just silly, since we are no better than anybody could be, if only given a cultural structure enabling of accuracy in interpreting what we receive in our dreams of our family’s communication to us.  Interpreting begins with knowing what animals and plants our minds need to be associated with, so as that odd forms of less than useful communication, do not need to get in the way.  We live in a world in which the belief that one person could control another person’s mind, is listed as a symptom of being mentally ill, but is also a popularly held belief, among those who never feared for their mental health status.  It is also a fact of what the advertising industry endeavours to achieve in every mind of every family with a television set in the living room. What this essay is really about, is the simple fact that, for indigenous Australians, every odd form of less than useful communication, as a psychic phenomenon, has a transposition in its mana, into a natural species.  No surprise to discover that when we are being formal, it is when we are engaging in sharing our animist rituals.  If communication sustains no human purpose, let it manifest an animal nature, and sure enough, the same magic as the men stole from the oldest of the Seven Sisters, out of her dilly bag, could indeed manifest many animals, all over the country. 


Biodiversity can turn around and begin to increase, with astounding speed, if only we, know how to let it, and enough of us know we know how in our Dreams, that one day, soon enough, this will be reality.  We sustain all the stories of how the animals began, and these are the keys to what will increase animal species.  If any of you can find a story from the Dreamtime, to have a real relationship with the modern world, as though it is a repeating story, nobody can escape, then you will also know yourselves to be living the Dreaming and engaging in enabling biodiversity by enabling the species whose stories such are.  When you need any species to become increased in numbers, first of all, you must find out its story.  Modern scientists have their own ways of doing this, and the yarns that scientists have about plants and animals, fit as equitably within the Dreamtime, as the seven genetic markers of the human genome project, fit within the story of the Seven Sisters.  But the scientists of Euro-centric cultural paradigms, are as yet still too often missing the exact keys to their amazing ecological tales, (amazingly full of atoms and molecules and cells of biodiversity, as well as insects, birds, fish, reptiles, and mammals), of how biodiversity will enable everybody.  That is the exact keys to enabling biodiversity.  The Tales and Dreams and Myths and Fables, all that are real when traced back into original allegorical telling, and from within which, the animals in the stories simply do walk out of the pages of books, and into the bushlands around me, from as soon as I comprehended how that can be, within my conscious mind.  In fact, that is how to know if a story ever started in real life, because it will be returned into the real life of solid matter, whenever it is retold.


In modern indigenous communities in big cities, and out on missions, the word “Kinship” as used by anthropologists, has rarely been translated properly into indigenous ways of communicating, and indigenous youths often imagine that “kinship” was no more than the ability to communicate via telepathy, or psychically, with their mates.  The word kinship came to be too often associated with collectivised thinking patterns, and within any invaded indigenous cultural context, those thinking patterns that were most collectivised, were those which were also least monitored by elders, and least held obliged to be obedient to law, and so it becomes the unnecessary blaming, and rapes, and drug abuse, which came to be associated with Kinship, as though that was how to enable the fallacy of collectivised telepathy as though cultural.  In reality, who is in your Kinship, is who you are allowed to communicate with through feelings and dreams, because you have learned what all the rules are for enabling such communication to be highly accurate by comparison to what it can be for most people.  Yet young people, especially outside of traditional cultural contexts, seldom are taught the full set of rules of traditional Kinship, which enabled all men, and a few women, (only those who know how to make sure they cannot act without men’s guidance), to know how to cause other people to dream together with us, of enabling biodiversity.  It is rare for a white woman like me to have known how, but I will vouch for the fact that it is not possible without fully accepting and abiding within the Kinship system of the local indigenous people.  Kinship is not an Australian phenomenon, but is a feature of what anthropologists have studied among every indigenous people.  All indigenous cultures relate to the fact that there are two groups of people, crows and eagle-hawk, and it can be surprising how far widespread this basic form of animist belief is, and in this exact form, in that we are all either a crow, or an eagle-hawk.  Crows must marry eaglehawks, and eaglehawks must marry crows, in most people’s Kinship patterns.  There is science which backs this up also.


In the field of immuno-genetics, there are known to be molecules on the surface of the skin of all people and animals, called Major Histo-compatibility Complex, or MHC.  There are always two major groups of MHC molecules, which are connected with the body’s overall immune system capacity.  The larger variety of MHC molecules we have, the more disease our body is capable of gaining immunity to.  The two groups of different kinds of MHC molecules are like crow and eagle-hawk.  Actually, they are not alike, but they are, one aspect of the exact biological difference between crows and eaglehawks.  (Another difference is that which tends to be only noted during coition, of the shape of the pubic bone, but normally we need to have been capable of discerning which is which between crows and eaglehawk, a lot sooner than that outcome.)  Basically what happens, is that when crows have intimate contact with crows, the number of MHC molecules diminishes, but when crows have intimate contact with eaglehawks, the number of MHC molecules increases.  As well as the crow and eagle-hawk moieties in indigenous cultures being exogamous, (= marry different from yourself), there are other social distinctions and divisions, such as generations, and patri-lineal moieties, (crow and eagle-hawk are matrilineal, in that we are all born the same as our mother), which all regulate how we are best enabled to interact with anybody.  Clearly, if we have a choice in our ability to communicate, between communicating with somebody through whom our general immunity to diseases can increase in communication with, and communicating with somebody through who our general immunity to disease is at risk of diminishing by communication with, when we know this, we chose to communicate in ways enabling of good health.  Having Kinship as a very formal social structure, enables good health, by enabling that we may dream together, without spreading disease by sharing delusions.


Aboriginal culture is very strict about this, even among the drunks on the street in any red light district in Australia.  Aboriginal men and women are extraordinarily informal about all sorts of things, and it is because we are making open public statements, of needing to be individual, rather than collective, about our diseased states of mind.  It is regarded, within Aboriginal cultural contexts, as a form of being socially responsible, when in any distress that is overbearing on immediate friends and neighbours, to take the acting out of such distress, into a public place, where one will be judged by the public, but to do it in an informal way, such that nobody need associate themselves with one’s own illnesses of mind. (Remembering that to blame somebody else is to associate one’s mind with them.) To the intelligence of every Aboriginal Australian, it would be far more shameful to be trying to prove we were OK when we were in the distress of a diseased state of mind, (like addictions such as alcoholism have to be regarded as), than it could possibly be regarded as shameful to be drunk in public and talking shit.  After all, how much more shameful would it be to be exposing our loved ones to such behaviour at home.  Somehow there has been a total failure of the Australian Nation state to take account of this cultural difference.  When for one culture, seeing a domestic dispute taking place between a man and a woman in a public place, was an indication that perhaps the couple’s children were at risk behind closed doors, while in another culture, seeing a domestic dispute taking place between a man and a woman in a public place, was an indication that the couple are asking for public approval of their dispute resolution abilities, before letting their dispute into the home where it could infringe upon the individual liberties of their children, if it was not being monitored by society at large, rather than only within one family; then it is easy to comprehend how poorly the Australian Nation State has managed the need for intercultural communication in an immensely multicultural society. Most Aussies seldom recognise what defines cultures as distinct from one another, little own comprehend what multiculturalism really means. Yet it didn’t even need for all Aussies, or most Aussies, to understand, just for a few more than have already made the effort, to begin making the necessary efforts.


Today the indigenous population of very remote settlements in the Northern Territory is facing the situation of the government trying to impose social conditions of everybody having more limited choices in where they live.  Meanwhile research is being done elsewhere in the world, proving that by destabilising human, and therefore also herd, populations, of arid regions, less plant growth occurs.  In this the Australian Government is mightily culpable, and ought to be made to take responsibility for the potential negative impact of the NTER (Northern Territory Emergency Response, which is legislation which has imposed living conditions on indigenous Australians, which have forced many people to have to move into towns that were ill equipped for the population influx), on the Earth’s ecological balances.  However, since it is unlikely that the Australian Government will move in that direction as soon as it is possible to, some permies have been involved in proving the point of the failures of the NTER, by working to develop a sustainable settlement with an indigenous Alyawarr community formerly at Ampilatwatja, on that communities own terms, and in the location of their choice.  Given that settlement itself is an imposed condition of life for many people under the NTER (Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation), which effects mainly those who are still culturally hunters and gathers and nomads, there is a real need in Australia’s deserts now, for the experience and expertise of the permaculture movement.  If settlement is being imposed, then enabling settlement to take place in the locations where indigenous land owners know they need to be at, for the purposes of land care, and specifically enabling flora regeneration regularly, rather than letting the government decree where it was convenient for people to have to go so as mining companies could survey their land, is critical.  And in respect of where the government is going to force more distinct Kinship groups, clans, and language area groups, into larger settlements, or villages, (towns they say, but I doubt the government is going to pay for a Town Crier, to define those villages as towns), of course permaculture is an immediate necessity if such places are going to work effectively for everybody involved.  Where indigenous families are not yet working to enable Permaculture in such places, is where hope is held onto that needing to settle might not last too long.  I hope more folk with experience in permaculture will offer assistance, and that is largely what motivates me in writing this essay.  Yet how will such offers be made, and how will communication really work, I ask myself, and when the difficulties feel insurmountable, I remind myself about wealthier men than my partner is, who travel the world to tell indigenous people in arid environments, what everybody already knew, that maintaining human populations in arid environments, is essential for maintaining the biodiversity there too.  Perhaps within the ecological analysis of Permaculture, indigenous land owners, and managers, will become more capable of expressing their very real land care concerns to the government.  So perhaps it is that training in permaculture that is needed, and can be exchanged for knowledge of surviving the arid climates of central Australia.  But I really don’t know, what will prove possible.  I know that folk who are working hard to establish Permaculture practise at land they saved up for a life time to buy, can hardly be expected to afford generous donations towards establishing permaculture among people who have not even asked for that to be done, and are unlikely afford to attend a Permaculture Designers Course; but something has to give somewhere in the whole picture, and even if what can be given, is so small by comparison to the need, at least it is something.


I think that many permies would like to be involved with indigenous communities, but there has been no social infrastructure enabling of such involvement, and this is where I am coming from in writing this essay.  Without the kind of social infrastructure that exists in other countries, between indigenous populations and everybody else, how do we know, as people of European descent, how to evaluate our land care work within the paradigm of indigenous knowledge?  We need this.  We need to learn to qualify and quantify our failures and successes within the traditional knowledge of Australia’s ecology which is regulated within the Dreamtime of indigenous Australians.  To enable this, we need to begin to learn to accept that Dreamtime stories, are in fact a precise science, in that they are a mode of regulating the collective human subconscious, when the rules of indigenous Kinship are followed.  But as a bunch of regular white Aussies, with little knowledge of indigenous lore and custom, and a lot of knowledge of introduced plant species, how do we learn what we need to know?  My point is that we do not learn by asking, but by giving.  There is much ado about the gift giving economy these days, but where an ancient economy, permanently reliant upon giving rather than asking, still exists, so many have ignored it.  I have tried to supply everybody reading with adequate reasonable explanation for why we have so far failed at appropriate intercultural communicating here in Australia, so as that we all realise, nobody was to blame, and that there are ways in nature of these things being enabled in time.  Rather than blame anybody’s past, let us all look to the future with renewed hope for our ability to enable intercultural communication and intercultural knowledge exchanges, to invigorate all our work for the Earth.


There is a tension which exists between the paradigm of individualism, and the paradigm of collectivism, in any culture, and it is all the more palpable a tension, in any social context in which intercultural communication needs to take place.  It is a tension which may be more or less resolved, depending on many facts of circumstances and social environment, as well as intercultural dependences.  It is a tension which truthfully can fully resolve itself in any traditionally oriented indigenous cultural context, but which has not found its natural resolutions already, in the intercultural interfaces between indigenous and other Australian cultures.  My experience is, over and over again, of traditional indigenous men proving mor capable of comprehending other cultures than people within any other culture have been of comprehending their own culture.  When it looked like that was not true, it is likely to be because anybody eventually turns their backs on people who repeatedly miscomprehend their efforts.


Within the indigenous social context, resolution depends entirely on very close knit family units, or clans, and Kinship groups.  Within any particular indigenous language group, which have been called tribes, but are truthfully the groups of persons speaking one language,  many Kinship units of social cohesion exist, and there maybe a number of different families, and larger family groups, named clans, who engage within each Kinship group.  But Kinship groups tend to work better when each one is a smaller and more tightly knit unit of social cohesion, than the usual size of a clan in any specific region.  The fact of the matter of Kinship, is that it is closed.  Kinship groups have the social function of exclusion, which is exactly the point at which tension between individual and collective communication resolves.  Kinship requires sharing language, which is a binding fact, more important than it may seem given that it is common for indigenous men to know at least three indigenous languages, and as many as nine is commonplace, and not knowing a language is a major aspect of exclusion, but not normally of imposed exclusion.  In this, how inclusion goes forward, is by exchanges of words for specific objects, and then those objects define the nature of the relationships which are moving forward.  Exchanging the words for flora and fauna, has always been an active engagement that indigenous Australians have had with the European invasion of the land.  The point about our Australian Coat of Arms having a Kangaroo and Emu on it, is not only in that these are native fauna, but that we now use, within the English language paradigm, the words “Kangaroo”, and “Emu”.  And in this indigenous Australian culture has long already engaged with the oppressor, in very formal collective ways, as well as informal ways.  Yet whenever Aboriginal Australians have engaged in formal collectivised processes with the invaders and government of the Nation State, there are seldom examples, and all those examples are imposed, within which small groups of appointed leaders, are presupposed to be representative of many others.  That is not to say that leadership did not exist within the Aboriginal cultural paradigm, but it is to insist, that whoever leaders are, it is that their own individual human relationships will always be more formal, with everybody who knows it of them, that they perform a leadership role.  The clear patterns of discerning who the real leaders are within indigenous communities, have yet to be noted, and acknowledged, by the government of Australia as a Nation State.  Clearly, a leader is not who engages formally with an invader, and informally with everybody else.


Yet the formality recognised by the invasion was usually only its own formality, and in defining indigenous culture as more informal than it is, a divide and conquer strategy was being conducted.  Simultaneously, indigenous culture is often substantially less formal than many other cultures.  That is, despite bizarre endeavours by Euro-centric occultists, to cause collectivised delusional beliefs in the Aboriginal population, about what could defeat the invasion, and precipitate the denial of traditional culture.  It tends to be true, that what is believed about in the prisons, as to what Euro-centric culture is, was a version of European beliefs that was only ever believed in by occultists, for example, Freemasons and in Rosicrucian craft lodges of Masonic Temples.  The difficulty Aboriginal people face, is the extent to which, during the years of the second world war, the study of esoteric sciences in Europe, was persecuted by the Nazis, and only few groups allowed to continue, those being the groups most adverse to animist faith, such as the Theosophists, who are a Rosicrucian formation.  The Theosophists, engaged Rudolph Steiner’s theories about bio-dynamic farming, to prevent the Nazis with the idea, that men can turn other men into cattle, without also having to become that themselves who are a Rosicrucian formation, and what the Nazis did with that theory, (putting human beings into cattle trains before murdering), was not what Rudolph Steiner believed they were going to.  In fact, the whole world it still only just beginning to recover from the effect of Nazi Europe upon international trade relationships, effected through how Nazis sought to enter occultist organisations, wipe out other more truly secret organisations, and dominate everybody’s social life.  Much that is wrong with modern psychology, was caused by that.  Nazis sought to use their own interpretations, of what they had imagined to be the methods of social control in use by Jews, and feed absurdly erroneous ideas about the advantage they perceived Jews to have had, (as money lenders in particular), into the major modern branches of Masonry.  They did so by secretly formalised processes, and those organisations today, are all much easier to manipulate than they could be, through the level of formality they abide by.  They are also the exact formulation which became mentioned by Mohammed in Qur’an, as the corruption of Christian belief in Holy Trinity, and how they did that was by setting up three men to stand among them as though each representing Father-as-faith, Son-as-hope, and Holy Ghost-as-love.  They also cite a group of other dominant figures from within the world’s religions, who they mimic, and imagine to control everybody’s beliefs of and in.  Figures such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Buddha, Krishna, etc.  And in that Aborigines are fortunate indeed, that most of our Spirit people, were not so mentioned in name.  However, the Rosicrucians have attempted to defile the name of Baiame, as though he was always a goat headed being, but to no avail.  (It is easy enough to avoid Rosicrucian born stories, by knowing how it was they had attempted to disorient everybody, in respect of the sequences of the past, and specifically, in the history of North Africa.  In Egyptology, certain mistakes that have been made, have been excessively depicted and depended upon by Rosicrucians.) Baiame’s family protect him through the fact that Aboriginal Australian culture is predominantly an individual’s culture rather than a collective culture, enabling of individuals attaining individual outcomes. In enabling learning the ways of our culture, what everybody, (teachers and pupils alike), need be savvy to, is the odd fact, that indigenous Australian culture is informal in its expressions of human error, and formal in its expressions of human success.  That is to say, we share our successes, and keep our failures individual.  Anybody who wants to learn to engage within indigenous cultural contexts will need to take this simple fact on board.  We are not like the Americans who offer their failures to their community, to enable communities to resolve problems collectively, and to enable communally experienced redemption, whilst keeping success far more individual.  We share only our successes, and whenever anybody else knows of our failings, (even that first step of overtly displaying what we suspect ourselves of as selfish motivation), it is that partially collectivist, and partially individualist, animist belief takes over, and overrules any human endeavours.  Offering to share your own successes, is the only viable starting place for adequately receiving any information of any value from indigenous Australians living in today’s world.  But be honest with yourself, and about any selfish motivations, and listen well to what you may receive, because so often, what was being heard as stories of failure, in fact are stories of how to succeed by overcoming failure, but that may have been couched in terms of accommodating the failures which strangers had brought into attempts to communicate within our culture.


One of the clearest ways of delineating formality within every culture, is through attire.  Whether it is formal clothing, or uniform clothing, or the body paint of indigenous culture, all denotes more formality.  Body painting is done for specific ceremonies and rituals, not all of which are excessively focussed in the Animal Kingdom, but many of which are for the recreation of the Song cycles through which human beings live human lives.

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