Keepin it real

Its the hamstring that had to tear. I had been deluding myself that I could do the rounds of the different clubs and keep up with their training. Well, that dream lasted about a week, and now Ive got to spend at least three weeks rehabilitating. I thought I could outrun a premier league soccer player. How deluded is that! But when I think about it, most of us suffer from some level of delusion.

In fact Im regularly amazed by the chasm between what we think were capable of and what we actually do. As a general rule very few people have a self image which bares the slightest resemblance to their reality. Think about it. Surely you know or work with someone who thinks theyre so funny and clever when the sad truth is that their utterances are generally followed by an embarrassed silence. When they think theyve been witty and erudite, we think their twitterings and malapropisms resemble the squeal of brakes before a crash.

Its the same on a national level as well.

As Australians most of us think were alright; fair minded, non-judgmental and peace loving. Yet the reality is that were part of a rogue alliance of states who invade other sovereign countries, against the wishes of the international community, and turn secular and albeit totalitarian welfare states into anarchic, blood soaked and irradiated battle grounds. Some of us are even aware of this brutal reality yet spend our time making excuses so we can maintain our self delusion.

Ive heard it said that all the dead innocents and collapse of civilisation in Iraq is just the price of democracy, and to some degree it is. Its the price of our democracy, not theirs. They dont have a democracy, theyve got a civil war. However, by being Americas diplomatic attack dog, we curry favour with the largest economy in the world an economy underpinned by arms sales. Consequently we have possibly the most stable democracy in the world.

In a way, the Iraqis have to die horribly and regularly so we can prosper. Being good friends with the US is vital if we are to elicit their help to stablise our economy and ensure the present governments re-election. Thats why the Howard Government has been in power for 10 years and how theyve managed to enact their entire agenda.

In short, we can go to the soccer and watch our children play without being blown up by being party to the blowing up of childrens soccer matches overseas. Thats the price of democracy in Australia.

It takes a lot of energy to maintain this level of self-delusion for so long. Eventually, when it gets tested, it comes unstuck, and you end up becoming a terrorist target, or in my case, you get a torn hamstring. The scary thing is the more powerful you are, the more energy you put into deluding yourself and so the chasm between a competent self image and an incompetent reality grows ever wider and more profound. Did you know that the French dont have a word for entrepreneur?

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