Modern Mythology in Australia


Finn Stirling

Humans are religious by nature, we make sense of a seemingly infinitely complex world using narrative to help us in every day decisions and to find inner peace during life’s chaos. With this operation of narrative in view we see everyone on earth going about their daily lives playing a role in their respective story. Whether attending church, holding a materialist scientific belief or somewhere in-between, everyone at some point has taken a leap of faith and has, in this process, assumed the role of protagonist therein. Pre-Christian mythology bound nations together and was the primary mode for elders and leaders to transfer wisdom down through generations and to keep a whole people on -so to speak- the same page.

Does this process sound familiar? That’s because it is functionally equivalent to the narratives we all have instilled in us today. Let’s for a moment separate the ‘myth’ from reality; did Thor really wrestle with the Leviathan from under the sea? Do the seasons change because of a life-cycle of a wheat bearing goddess? Did Buddha really reach enlightenment under the Bodhi tree? Does it even matter? The actual event of these myths is irrelevant, what makes them ‘real’ is their effect as life guiding narrative. Myth, in this respect, is not measured as actual fact but as its effect as a belief system and first principles for human beings to obtain value and moral systems.

Australia in 2020 is no different, we are all still human and this analysis of mythology fits directly onto our structures of media and governance. Where are our Gods? Everywhere. The dollar sign and its prophet, GDP hang above above our helpless souls and assert dominion and rule from up high. Our material products of consumption have a rule of their own that require a heavy sacrifice to keep the vengeance of their absence at bay. Debt and national debt have inflated themselves into giant wrathful Titans that demand heavier labour, open borders and the erosion of the peace of mind for Australians who should be achieving a meaningful life, not a life of imposed obligation to international creditors.

In an ironic twist of fate, science and technology have revealed themselves as lofty first principles of moral authority and promise salvation from the struggles of existence. Scientism and its church preach about post-scarcity and liberation from bodily ills, however, condemn Australians to an entirely materialistic existence, endlessly chasing their tails for a soulless utilitarian utopia (assumedly ruled by Elon Musk), devoid of a human, spiritual existence. There are endless news articles that bring attention to the negative impact of technology (particularly our addiction to screen time and social media), however, no real solution can be implemented in our liberal democracy that feeds off this base human desire for this dopamine inducing technology. The Anglo world has always been a dominion of hard work and sacrifice for a higher and benevolent Christian god. The Anglo world you see today is still, naturally, a place of sacrifice to a superior creditor. The catch is that God was replaced.

So who are the priests of this patchwork of fractured and overlapping mythologies we see preached to us? The media and Liberal government all act as spokesmen and arbiters of truth. We have sold and privatised our bedrock foundation that our spiritual, moral and value systems were built on to a very select few media barons who all operate within the current paradigm albeit often disagreeing slightly. Media outlets have a huge grip on our attention and have the power to influence hearts and minds, even more so over generations. The preachers of the religion of wealth are cosmopolitan bankers, who with their formulas and statistics, command the focus and manner of our labour. This control is real and might as well be a foreign occupied sovereign leadership in the business of technocratic and moralistic power that again has no interest in the actual well being and flourishing of Australians.

Our government has almost fully converted to these modern mythologies, in particular the focus on victimary thinking. Every decision needs to be justified by the elevation of an oppressed person, class, gender etc. to a place of privilege so that the politician advocating then occupies the position of saviour. Politicians scramble to find new victims to liberate and -at the expense of Australians- fight to outdo each other to posture their holy graciousness, (never in vain or to secure more power of course.) The endless inflation of the oppressor vs. oppressed narrative has risen to such a size that we are forced to ritualistically self flagellate at the beginning of every major national event and to pay endless amounts of indulgence for our new original sin.

Let’s now take a look at Australia’s positive and life giving narratives that had served us so well in the past, keeping in mind that by ‘myth’ it is not meant fiction, but as a mode of belief. We settled this land for God, king and country with a unified and beautiful vision of new life in the new world. This object was obtained and through this belief new stories of strength, pride, humility, courage and the perennial hero’s journey of ever overcoming adversity were slowly added to our legacy, increasing the volume and power of our mythology. This culminated in the world wars where today we participate in the ritual of ANZAC day, and in the hearts of those still in touch with the original Australian story there throbs a respect and admiration instilling a true connection and responsibility to continue our epic tale. Mythology, it seems, is a tool for either bringing the good, the true and the beautiful into reality, or, a destructive force more insidious and spiritually violent than any rule of force.

The mythological analysis here isn’t a call to turn back time and resurrect the exact same morals and values once held in Australia. Neither does it make sense to invent a new religion or radically impose a state sponsored Christianity, God only knows what that would look like. It does reveal, however, that humans are intrinsically religious and idealists. The true horror of our time is that this aspect of our humanity is concealed by more powerful institutions and individuals and worse is utilised in an underhanded method of control. It is of no use here to argue that religious belief is real, but that it is ever-present much to the disdain of atheists who believe otherwise.

Finally, the scene has been set for the person responsible for our collapse of metaphysics and for the physical decline of the whole Anglo world to step forward… The stage is empty. It wasn’t the announcement of the death of god in the 20th century that has undone us…

It is the absence of our leadership to occupy the now usurped sacrificial centre of Australia.