Congratulations to recipients of the Australia Day awards for Australian of the Year 2012. Their commitment to high ideals, courage, achievement and philanthropy defines each of them, while self-sacrifice especially shines in the lives of Senior Australian of the Year 2012 Laurie Baymarrwangga and Australia’s Local Hero 2012 Lynne Sawyers. We are inspired by their lives and spirit.
In stark contrast, an article published in the Courier-Mail, Flying Aussie flag on car ‘more racist’ by Todd Cardey gives details about a survey conducted by University of Western Australia sociologist and anthropologist Professor Farida Fozdar. It seems that some people have adopted a more limited and superficial view of what it means to be Australian. “Many felt strongly patriotic about it (flying the Australian flag) – and for some, this was quite a racist or exclusionary type of patriotism…”
Generally, ‘patriotism’ is a desirable quality for us: meaning putting our country’s or town’s interests above our personal interests, so evident in the life of Laurie Baymarrwangga. However, the word ‘nationalism’ often has a different meaning. It may include feelings of superiority over other nations and when associated with a single ethnicity leads to national self-righteousness, distrust of other nations and an inclination to conflict and war.
Might it be that when we as a nation, as well as we as individuals, emphasise the spiritual qualities of self-sacrifice, progress, equality and kindness instead of suspicion, supremism, hate, self-interest or disinterest, we prosper? Might healthy thoughts be linked to a healthy nation, as they are being proved to affect our personal health?
This negative type of supremist thinking sometimes appears as narcissism in an individual, a condition which is characterized by excessive love of oneself. As a personality trait, narcissism is characterized by a sense of grandiosity, entitlement and low empathy. An article published on News-Medical, Narcissistic men may have more physical problems in the long term: Study prediction by Dr Ananya Mandal, MD outlines how new research indicates that narcissism is ‘not only an irritating psychological glitch’ but it may be physically damaging for men, in particular. Dr Patrick Kelly, director of consultation liaison service and pediatric psychosomatic medicine at Johns Hopkins, said that the study shows a definite correlation between narcissism and stress-related illness in men, but most interestingly that “there is a mind-body connection”.
Medics are now considering how to best point out the positive connection between spirituality and health to their patients, as both a preventative and a curative therapy.
And we are now starting to understand and see evidence that an individual or collective mindset centred on the spiritual qualities of self-sacrifice, progress, equality and mindfulness will contribute to either a body or a country that flourishes.