Sunday, April 27, 2003

Something I have been thinking about these last few days has been the concept of privacy........I come from a country where privacy means not being able to see your neighbours house when you are standing naked on the roof of your own house. That was Australia.....this is Sweden where the concept of privacy is defined by how thick the walls are between your own and the four other flats which surround yours in the block you and your family live in with 50 other families........From this personal zone extends outwards hundreds of defining moments of what privacy actually is in Sweden.....when you go to an office here for any sort of contact with authority/expertise/bureaucracy (and these points of contact are everywhere) people do not ask you your name, only you number.....from this EVERYTHING can be learnt about you. In Australia there is an illusion that because we do not have identity cards or numbers we are somehow annonomous...this is bullshit.....people at offices in Australia ask your name , address etc etc. because they want you to believe some frontier myth that maintains consistency in the social fabric of "Orstralia".......In Sweden it is generally acknowledged that it is a collective state of affairs that maintains the fabric of society and no one individual should rise above another (this is another myth in a country that has a completely idle monarchy and some of the richest business executives in Europe). In the case of Australia, in the words of my sister who works for them; "we are the government love, we can find out everything about you..".
Both these privacy myths are useful control mechanisms, each approaching the same selfish little citizen from opposite directions, and each like all myths have elements of truth at their bases. However at the centre of both is the idea that we are all in this together, even if the man in the rags on the train platform hassling you for small change is really annoying you....he is also conforming to the same principles you are (desire for money being a central one). The design and format of your living space and that of the objects you fill it with are also compliant with these principles, they go beyond any formations we have of privacy as they have been produced, marketed and sold to us by people we have and never will meet but we are living with their ideas in concrete form.....
Here endeth the and sisters let us now say a prayer for whoever it is that the powers of democracy decide to liberate next ("we got 9500 kilos of democracy in this B52 boy") and that food is getting to the children of Iraq

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