Straightway Rumor flies through Libya’s great cities, Rumor, swiftest of all the evils in the world. She thrives on speed, stronger for every stride, slight with fear at first, soon soaring into the air she treads the ground and hides her head in the clouds. She is the last, they say, our Mother Earth produced. Virgil, The Aeneid IV 219 ff., Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, trans. Robert Fagles, Penguin Publishing Group 2010, Kindle Edition.
Over the mountain, watching the watcher,
Breaking the darkness, waking the grapevine.
One inch of love is one inch of shadow.
Love is the shadow that ripens the vine.
Set the controls for the heart of the Sun. Pink Floyd.
If you deduct from time all those unkind acts you still hurt from, and all the hurt you’ve perpetrated without meaning to, what you’re left with is civility, because nothing is more pressing a concern than how to live together, and nothing is further from our grasp than coexistence in freedom. Homer called the Sun, tireless. What is ‘inextinguishable’ is not only the Sun, but the refusal to be responsible for ignorance and pain, set in stone as the rights of the individual. Ownership of subjectivity is as predictable as the Sun.
Thinking keeps thought alive and in check, as dancing keeps music alive and in measure. What keeps culture alive is its frontier, where it takes its validation at crossroads of negotiation and relationship, at its borders with misunderstanding. Australia, seen by many as having a poor culture, has decided to address its brand problem, or the Government has, in the pointed absence of an ‘Australia’ to recognize its dysfunction, let alone address it. We don’t have borders—not in the sense of crossings where something of ourselves must be left behind—but we do have standards we are relieved and enlivened to come home to, don’t we?
Operating in a global market increasingly corrupted by fatuous Guanxi assertions of unassured trust, Australians—who are they?—need to focus on their shadow—read, ’face’—and perhaps the best we might come up with is, “Love is the shadow that ripens the whine” (sic.), or “Cosmology is the glue of twilight”, or what about, “Australia, the song which helps you remember to breathe”, or “Getting up too early for breakfast is a bitch”? Perhaps, after all, Australia is too safety-conscious to show a face, the ‘Inextinguishable’ merely a monkey on every back, jabbering the half-truths and rumours we hear in the grunts and growls of their preverbal network.
It is probably not a coincidence that while this brand crisis was brewing, masculinity across the world was also being forced to have a good hard look at itself, especially in a country whose Prime Minister could accord higher status to the national cricket captain, and pastoral care could be found guilty as charged. This website began as a questioning not only of the applicability of Northern Hemisphere Signs to Southern Hemisphere seasons, but also of the traditional Eurocentric gendering of Sun and Moon. It seemed to me worthy of consideration that the life-force of the Solar System is female, and that the peripheral body in orbit around her reflecting her light is male. Unless emasculation is a thing, like sex-objects and racial stereotypes, it cannot be blamed on a diminishment of interest in self-aggrandisement, seriously, but is altruism a thing, and how will your descendants value the imperfect world you have passed down?
What have you got when the passage of a year is measured in phases of the Sun, waxing from Winter Solstice? When Moon has will and Sun feelings? When brief human lives are enfolded by the spirit of ancient trees? When parent and child can agree to disagree, understanding that their shadows are forever lengthening and deepening? When every hatred dissolves in the time it takes to digest it, and every son of a bitch is a mother’s son? When the highest aspiration of hunter (and murderer) is to poke their head into the shimmering mirage of creation and stay there? When culture is what you pass on of the mind you have changed? What have you got if not civility?
In my time of dying, let bickering about gender and other dualities cease. What does it matter if the seasons are divisions of a year or multiples of the month? It is incontrovertible that before the sky and the sea came Mother Earth, but Gaia has been supplanted by Country, which has no limit above or below, merely an horizon shared by the Underworld, at which Coxeter and Escher located our binary motifs, and Country comingles them as above, so below, within and without, infinitely reduced.
A little bird told me that the physical and the spiritual are not parts of a whole, and nor are the female and the male: neither has any existence without the other, not even for Mitochondrial Eve. So it is with the roles of reason and instinct in the achievement of self-restraint; so it is with the invisible passage of the Sun through the Zodiac measured at night by the Moon and stars; so it is with the seasons of the hemispheres.
Are you a tree growing miraculously out of solid rock, or an embodiment of respiration and photosynthesis flirting with the idea of permanence? Is the stable value system your gossip is preserving progressive or conservative? Can Post-Colonialism open its borders for the arrival of something other than wholesale exploitation, corruption and theft? Is this not a question to Heaven answered by the crumbling pillars of our invasive heritage? What cultural garb does Rumor reveal beneath the clouds? Will you dissolve your personal space into the infinitesimal otherness of your Self, the emptiness of the identity your culture or religion affixes, if there is real danger of enslavement to the Other in believing in their tacit assurance, or even in Rumor keeping a civil tongue in her head when discussion turns to walls? Is the fatty deposit she sits on a handful?