Holding The Centre

Achieving Personal Responsibility through Role Action

Marooned in Melbourne where I was active in the counter culture, I persuaded Melbourne University Union Council to appoint me their Wizard but I now specified the roles in which I could act responsibility in different cultural contexts and be free from any ill-informed overt or covert control by others. I had already disembedded myself by allowing my social welfare registration to lapse, along with licenses etc. identifying me as the domesticated property of the welfare state and like Mohammed Ali, I longer wished to be identified by my slave name. I was now The Wizard.

Aesthetic role complex; at the last AGM of WUS Australia before they were taken over, a resolution was unanimously passed donating my living body to the National Gallery of Victoria as a “Living Work of Art”. With support from the Curator of the Museum of Art in New York in 1972 the Director accepted the offer “on extended loan”, and I became the first artist in history to achieve that status. I could now avoid being seen as someone who gets their own way by relying on moral force backed up by emotional blackmail, or by relying on rational argument backed up by ridicule or simple bribery. I distrust such manipulative techniques. I would rather use charm and persuasion, like the advertising men I admire for their skill in manipulating our desires through persuasion and not moral or legal force.

Political role complex; for not joining in the unimaginative and frequently violent political actions of the socialists on campus I was constantly being accused of being a stooge for capitalism. For not sharing the ideology of industrial capitalism of economic development at any price, I was seen as an unrealistic fool. It was important to make my position clear. It was clear to me that both left and right wing politicians had no time for traditional values and had become obsessed with winning elections by bribing the electorate rather than adopting radical policies that might slow down the rush to destruction of the biosphere. Even the Greens, who were adopting an unelectable self-righteous moral posture, had no time for “irrational “ traditional practices, like religion or magic, and were too close to socialism to be trusted. I founded the Imperial British Conservative Party in 1972 to fight capitalism and socialism as a traditional Tory and stood for election in the wealthy seat of Kooyong where my appearance was greeted with amused delight by the sitting member. I charged admission for my election meetings as entertainments. Later I fielded candidates in Australia and New Zealand.

Religious role complex; to emphasise that we needed a coherent non-materialistic set of ethics to stand against the machine-like behaviour of the bourgeois individualists and their economic self-interest I was appointed Shaman and Prophet of the University Union to conduct ecstatic rituals to produce feelings of “communitas” and to emphasise the importance of transcendence in reconciliation.

Intellectual role complex; It was important for me as a member of the university community to put together a proper inclusive synthetic cosmology so that my actions and ideas could be shown to be based on consideration and integration of current scientific/philosophical ideas in physics, biology, psychology, ethology, sociology, anthropology and history. In 1971 I was appointed official Melbourne University Cosmologer and given an old Gothic building by the VC to hold regular inter-disciplinary lectures open to all. I had been trained at Leeds University in the only systematic general theory of social science, that of Talcott Parsons the structural-functionalist. However he did not include biology or physics in his synthesis and so it was not a complete cosmology. Parsons was not a reductionist and made use of information theory and systems analysis and I took his grand theory as the model for my own. The biggest failing was that it was in the rational enlightenment tradition where the observer imagines himself to be outside the universe which he believes can be measured and understood inductively. A sustained attack on this Cartesian dualism had begun as part of the revolt against mechanistic rationalism during the 1960s.

There were three scientists in particular whose view of the universe influenced me at this time. Johannes Kepler, the neo-platonic Christian magician who had worked out the elliptical orbits of the planets and had recognised that there was a force controlling their movements as well as the tides on earth. This was for him God’s love, since, unlike later scientists, he could not believe the universe was a soulless machine powered by a meaningless (gravitational) force. Teilhard de Chardin, the heretical Jesuit palaeontologist who accepted the principle of Darwinian evolution, understood that, since the appearance of the human nervous system the universe was evolving culturally. Human beings were no longer victims of original sin needing unmerited grace, but were being guided by Jesus to a final cultural convergence. The third influence was Karl Jung the magician and depth psychologist whose cross-cultural investigation of the human psyche included beliefs from many different religions as well as the European magical tradition. Konrad Lorentz the ethologist found that Jung’s discoveries of psycho-dynamic processes were frequently verified in his studies of animal behaviour. Incidentally it was the magicians who led the way to the development of science. Later they became respectable by concealing their previous motives in order to associate themselves with the rising industrial and managerial class in 17th and 18th Century England.

I was not able intellectually to accept the scientific separation of subjective observer from objective phenomena. I linked “fields of intention” at all levels of complexity that were being expressed as experiencable “extension” but accepted that what really happened, or “eventuality”, was an intervening and mediating process of patterned “forms”. This was expressed as a hierarchy of probability with the Big Bang as “impossible” and the final convergence of intention and extension as “inevitable”. I found later that the process philosopher and mathematician A.N.Whitehead had dealt comprehensively with eventuality as an evolving form or blueprint.

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