Australian Bush Fires: the ‘ground zero’ of meaning

The intensity and scale of the Victorian bush fires stuns the imagination. The photos of those killed are heartwrenching. For Australia this is an example of what Alain Badiou has called a ‘truth event’ – a moment prior to emotional or intellectual assimilation, an interpretative vacuum as yet unready to be filled with meaning or ideology.
Fires, of course, don’t speak, and they don’t deliver messages. To seek to understand what they say to us is inevitable, though, the start of a ‘truth process’. It is to come up against ‘the Real’, as Lacan put it.
For grid-group Cultural Theory, these kinds of events are a kind of ‘ground zero’ for the ongoing creation of meaning and organisation that is culture. Watch how quickly commentators now step into the breach and start to name the un-namable.

What, so far,  is the message of the fires?
For Egalitarian scientist Tim Flannery , the message is obvious: global warming. For many politicians, the message is more traditional, if still Egalitarian: we must all pull through together, or not at all.
However, with fires at one end of the country and floods at the other, many Australians will, as ever, be filling the vacuum with a Fatalist message: nature is capricious. Keep your head down, make the best of it you can, and put the rest down to sheer luck.

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4 Responses to “Australian Bush Fires: the ‘ground zero’ of meaning”

  1. John Says:

    Hi, Im from Melbourne. Please check out this reference which describes in stark detail how the entire world is at ground zero.

    http://www.ispeace723.org/toc.html

    Plus related references on the origins of the power and control seeking cultural meme and perceptual strait-jacket which created this situation.

    http://www.adidabiennale.org/curation/index.htm

    http://www.adidamla.org/newsletters/toc-aprilmay2006.html

    http://www.beezone.com/AdiDa/jesusandme.html

    http://www.aboutadidam.org/readings/bridge_to_god/index2.html

    • fourcultures Says:

      Hello John, your message reads a bit like spam (at least the spam catcher thinks so), but I’m glad I didn’t bin it as your links are interesting.

      In the “room” of humankind as a whole, the “room” of everybody-all-at-once, there are no flags, no religions, no self-imagery that may be exclusively asserted. Rather, humankind must simply represent itself, and get together to create a new global domain for human existence. This is the great project.

      This is about as clear cut an example of the Egalitarian perspective (according to Grid-group cultural theory) as I’ve seen.

      Also, I liked the artwork.

  2. Making sense of the Bushfires « Fourcultures Says:

    [...] sense of the Bushfires By fourcultures As predicted, the Australian Bush Fires have been the occasion of much meaning-making along the lines of the [...]

  3. Never let a crisis go to waste « Fourcultures Says:

    [...] attack on the World Trade Center, the global financial crisis, the Bushfires in Victoria, Australia, and now the flu pandemic – all these are opportunities for us to establish [...]

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