Final thoughts on the Djokovic saga

There’s a story, I think from around the time of the Irish Rebellion, where one of the rebels upon being mercilessly bashed by an English soldier asks his assailant “Why do you hate us so much?” to which the soldier replies “because look at what you make us do to you.”

I imagine today Novak Djokovic asking the country of Australia “why do you hate me so much” and Australia responding “because look at what you made us do to you.”

It is arguably one of the defining features of humans that we have the choice at any time not to fall into the roles assigned to us but to exercise our free will. The English soldier didn’t have to bash the Irishman, it’s just what was required of him by the situation. Although we have free will, the exercising of free will is often the more difficult option because it requires us to re-evaluate and ask the question “who am I?” That was the option presented to the Australian government and by extension the Australian people this week. We chose to do what the English solider did. Rather than exercise our free will and ask the question “who are we and what are we doing”, we went with what was required of us by the archetype that is dominant at the moment, The Devouring Mother.

What is so fascinating about the case is that the Australian Government and Djokovic both found themselves in the pattern dictated by the archetype even though neither wanted it to happen and even though neither gained anything from it. That’s how life goes. The Irish revolutionary did not want to get caught and bashed by the English soldier and the English soldier did not want to bash another Irishman. But they fell into these roles anyway and so did we and Djokovic.

I’m not sure why Djokovic decided to take his deportation to court. He never had a chance at winning for the reason that the law is specifically written to allow the Immigration Minister to deport whoever he wants. Djokovic’s lawyers must have told him he had almost no chance but he decided to go ahead anyway.

For those who don’t know, the Australian government’s official reason for deporting Djokovic was that he “might” cause “anti-vax sentiment”, whatever the hell that is. Djokovic’s lawyer did a great job of outlining the ridiculousness of this claim but, as the government’s lawyer pointed out, the Immigration Minister is not required to provide a satisfactory reason and the court is not free to find his reasons lacking, hence the fact that Djokovic never had a chance.

Let’s step back and look at what has just happened during the last week and a bit.

The Australian government granted Djokovic a visa and a medical exemption. Djokovic, who could have had no clue what was about to happen, showed up to play tennis. That’s his job, after all. He gets detained at the airport on grounds that are later found to be spurious during a four day court case in which he is detained in a dingy hotel. He is released by the court and starts training for the Australian Open until the Immigration Minister cancels his visa on grounds of spreading “anti-vax sentiment”.

Did Djokovic come here with the intention of spreading “anti-vax sentiment”? No. Would he have said a single word about covid or vaccines while he was here (unless invited to do so). Of course not. Why would he? As Djokovic’s lawyer did a great job at pointing out during the court case today, there is no evidence that Djokovic has willingly and publicly aligned himself with the “anti-vax” movement, whatever that is. Rather, he became associated with that movement only after the Australian government first detained him. In other words, the Australian government caused the very thing that it would later accuse Djokovic of. If it had never given him a visa in the first place or if it had never detained him at the airport, none of this would have happened. He would have played tennis, probably won, and then gone home and everybody would have been happy. If the Australian government was really concerned with subduing “anti-vax” sentiment, it couldn’t have done a worse job. Note that this is an example of projecting the shadow. The Australian government, having created “anti-vax sentiment” by screwing up Djokovic’s immigration process, then accused him of creating “anti-vax sentiment”. The whole thing sounds absurd but only if you apply a causal lens. The reality is such things are acausal. Just like the English soldier and Irish revolutionary, it happened because predefined roles exist and the government and Djokovic “accidentally” fell into those roles.

Let’s take an everyday example of what I mean. For bullying to occur, there must be a bully and a victim. We typically think of the bully as the “active” participant while the victim is “passive”. But the victim must “choose” to participate in the bullying. If they don’t, there is no bullying. That’s why parents will tell their children to stand up to a bully. In the absence of intimidation, bullying becomes something different. Mostly it becomes nothing because the bully backs down. The would-be victim has denied the frame they were invited to participate in.

It’s not always the bully who initiates the frame. A depressed teenager walking round with shoulders slumped and a miserable expression becomes a magnet for a bully. They are creating the frame for bullying whether they like it or not. Note that this is something that Jordan Peterson has touched on. One of the reasons why you should stand with your shoulders back is so you don’t attract bullies.

Archetypes and social scripts are like the grammar of a language. If you have a transitive verb you must also have a subject and object. If you don’t, your sentence is not grammatical. Grammar is formal. It creates a frame. A similar thing happens all the time in interpersonal relationships. One person, often subconsciously, creates a frame which has roles for others to fill. If I offer you a job, I create a frame where you become an employee. But it can work the other way around too. In one of my favourite Seinfeld episodes, Kramer shows up at an office and starts acting like he works there. He immediately gets invited to meetings and given work to do. It’s funny cos the usual order of cause and effect is inverted but we also know it would work in real life. In a similar way, smiling can make you feel good even though usually a smile follows the emotion. Frames are a bit like electrical circuits. You need all elements to complete the circuit. Furthermore, any starting point you identify in a circuit you can call the “cause” and everything after the “effect” but this is not really valid. Any starting point will do.

If all this can happen at the individual level, it can also happen at the societal. The Australian Government and Novak Djokovic just got caught in the archetypal circuit that is The Devouring Mother. In its behaviour towards Djokovic, the government was arbitrary, vindictive and callous, just like a devouring mother. The key point, however, is that it had absolutely no interest in behaving that way. Everything the government did in the last week was against the national interest. Why did it do it? Why did the solider bash the Irish revolutionary even though he didn’t want to? Because the pattern demanded it. The archetype demanded it in this case because Djokovic had unintentionally fallen into the role of the rebellious child. As Djokovic’s lawyer pointed out in court today, there is no evidence that Djokovic wanted that role. He came to Australia for the obvious reason of winning a tennis tournament for which he was the hot favourite. He would have won millions of dollars in prize money. Instead, he goes home having wasted probably hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and spent almost a week living in a dingy room in a hotel. Nothing that happened here has furthered his interests.

What this shows is that we can all fall into archetypal situations whether we like it or not. The Irish revolutionary did not want to get bashed. The English soldier did not want to do the bashing. But that’s what happened. The Australian Government did not want to spoil this country’s reputation and ruin one of our main sporting events. Djokovic did not want to lose a heap of money and become an object of hatred. But that’s what happened. The whole Djokovic saga is a straight loss for all concerned. That’s what happens when a Shadow archetype is running the show.

As one final side note, I found the case today interesting for the importance of the meaning of words and how propaganda has real world implications. The phrase “anti-vaxxer” has become nothing more than a slur word. Like “fascist” it has some vague historical connotation, some potential link to reality, but its meaning has been twisted. The meaning of the anti-vax slur has been expanded now to include people who are also against government measures to enforce vaccinations. That is a completely different issue from the one of whether vaccines work. It is perfectly possible to be pro vaccine and anti-vaccine mandate. Nevertheless, in the last week we have had the Australian Government and the Federal Court of Australia use the word “anti-vaxxer” in this new fashion. Like archetypes and social roles, words are patterns and once a pattern becomes established it gets used even in important court cases. Thus we had the spectacle of Djokovic being imputed as an “anti-vaxxer” even though there is no evidence the he has ever spoken on the subject beyond his own personal decision not to take the corona vaccine. Can you imagine finding yourself in court where the entire discussion is about something you’ve never advocated for or said? That’s what Djokovic would have gone through today. It must have been surreal to say the least. All he did was come to Australia and try to play tennis.

31 thoughts on “Final thoughts on the Djokovic saga”

  1. Well. I certainly feel bad for Novak. The most “interesting” thing that I learned from this, though, is that Australia’s immigration authorities reserve the right to deport any foreign national for any reason, or for no reason at all. That’s certainly a useful thing to know.

  2. Irena – as I’ve mentioned a few times, Australia has a long history of xenophobia and treating foreigners like dirt. When the pressure is on, it seems people and countries fall back to their underlying character.

  3. Simon, Jonathan Sumption (a former UK Supreme Court judge) has said that, in principle, there is nothing that governments aren’t allowed to do (even if it’s illegal, it’s always possible to change the law). Instead, per Sumption, there are certain things that governments refrain from doing by convention. So… If they go against that convention and get away with it, the spell is broken, and it’s difficult to go back.

    In terms of Novak’s deportation: it is my understanding that the government was given the power to deport anyone, without giving a reason, as a way to prevent terrorist attacks. This isn’t exactly crazy. The government may have good reason to believe that someone is scheming to blow up a stadium, but it may lack bulletproof evidence for it. So, instead of waiting until it has a solid case to present in court, it simply deports the person in question. Convention: this is to be applied against potential terrorists. And now that convention has been broken. It’s now to be applied against anyone whose presence in Australia is an inconvenience or embarrassment for the government. That’s a dangerous precedent, and it’s one that any foreigner considering a trip to Australia should keep in mind.

    Meanwhile, in Serbia, both the President and the Prime Minister have condemned Djokovic’s treatment. And even (get this) the most hysterical member of the “Crisis Headquarters” (that’s basically a group of “experts” leading Serbia’s COVID response) posted on Twitter that he was “distressed” by Djokovic’s deportation from Australia. So… Perhaps Serbia has accidentally stumbled into a convention that these “vaccines” are optional. In which case, something good has come out of the mess.

  4. Irena – back when things were at peak insanity here in Melbourne, the anti-terror squad was firing rubber bullets on unarmed civilians, so it’s not just foreigners who are feeling the effects of this. This was key concept in Spengler: the external and internal proletariat. The “anti-vaxxers” are now the internal proletariat in western countries so they get treated like the terrorists who are the external proletariat. In the US, I think they’ve even started using the label “domestic terrorist” which is a tacit admission of the fact.

    It’s a prime example of “othering” and how what you do to the other is eventually what you do to yourself because you create the “other” in the first place as a rejection of the part of yourself you can’t admit to. Australia just othered Djokovic so we don’t have to admit what we’ve done to ourselves the last two years.

    Maybe the reverse of that psychology can work in Serbia’s favour.

  5. I do wonder if this is really the end of the saga – it possibly is for Djokovic – but there is still the shell of the Australian Open to run. I would not be at all surprised if the associated drama continues in some unexpected form.

    And is “anti-vaxxer” just a slur? It appears to me to be far more precise than that with a definite but unacknowledged meaning – heretic. The term is being used in exactly the same way as heresy has been in the past – as a label of exclusion and attack by believers to belittle and discredit those who disagree with them, and also to reassure themselves that they are the ‘good’ people.

    I also think the meaning hasn’t shifted as far as it may appear – the term has been broadly used for years to discredit anyone who dares question medical orthodoxy. While historically there have certainly been some crazy claims made by those who were ‘anti-vax’, there were also a large number of doctors, bewildered parents who simply witnessed injuries to their children, and others damaged or ignored by the medical system who upon asking questions immediately found themselves labelled and disenfranchised, even if the treatments or conditions had nothing to do with vaccination.

    What has shifted is the orthodox view, narrowing itself to the point of absurdity. An interesting side effect is that many of those previously labelled ‘anti-vax’ now find themselves being listened to for the first time by a large number of others who have suddenly been excluded as well. And the new ‘others’ are being forced to come to terms with the fact that many of the old ‘others’ were not so crazy after all.

  6. The “devouring Mother” explanation gets more and more confirmation. Especially here in Australia. It is amazing how well it fits the developments. So where will it go from here? Does the theory allow predictions?
    On another note, i am wondering how the term anti-vaxxer will fare. It is becoming rather broad these days. I know a fair few people even here in Canetoadistan that are double vaxxed and getting sceptical. That would make them anti-vaxxers in the current meaning of the word. So we might be a growing group. At what point will the term become useless because it has no distinctive value anymore?

  7. Maybe whatever drove Djokovic to fight deportation is akin to what drives him to compete & win? As for the survey that showed 71% of Australians wanted him deported, people keep telling me it’s ‘tall poppy syndrome’. Prominent in the mainstream/popular press for many months now is a lot of rhetoric re the selfishness/entitlement of the unvaxxed. As for our government’s reputation, they’ve done themselves no favours on the climate front, but by scapegoating Djokovic, they could be seen (not by me!) as demonstrating ‘fairness’ – like, even an elite sports star isn’t exempt from the rules designed to keep Oz ‘safe’. Speaking of which, the West’s obsession w/ safety as the highest value (to the detriment of aliveness in its deadening effects) epitomises the devouring mother archetype, doesn’t it? Reminds me of when David Icke was denied a visa in 2019 on the grounds that he could ‘vilify a segment of the Australian community’ (that’s a role reserved for state premiers etc.) – a community so infantilised that it lets its government control access to mere ideas, let alone vital or useful health information (grab bag of thoughts: sorry)…

  8. Daniel – we’ll see what happens. I think it just went from the most interesting Oz open ever to the most boring. Good point about the anti-vax label. They’ve certainly been pushing the new meaning hard in the last decade or so. In a roundabout way, I would be terrified if I was a politician that the “anti-vax” message got to a critical mass i.e. enough people started to see the truth. Because of course the entire establishment bet the farm on it and have nowhere to run if the tables are turned.

    Roland – that part I haven’t been able to figure out. But as you and Daniel have pointed out, they are actively pushing more people into the “anti-vax” camp by mandating the boosters. So, they are creating the conditions for it to end. We’ve already started to see that with empty supermarket shelves and new rules to allow medical staff to work while +. My guess is we’ll keep the stupid rules that don’t threaten the system eg. masks and get rid of the ones that do.

    Shane – it’s a key feature of The Devouring Mother that she justifies her actions on the grounds of “keeping my children safe”. That’s exactly to a letter what Scott Morrison said today (“keeping Australians safe”). It’s complete rubbish, of course. All it does is shut down public debate. As you point out, that’s been going on for a while and getting worse in recent years. But I think Australia had a formal censorship board all the way up until the late 70s so we have a proud tradition of shutting down debate for “safety” reasons.

  9. @Irena: What is the situation in Serbia at the moment? I had the impression that eastern europe generally responded less insane, but it is a bit hard to see from here.

  10. Re: Serbia

    Please keep in mind that I haven’t left CZ since the whole mess started nearly two years ago. So, my information about Serbia is all second hand, mostly from the media.

    Early on in the corona event, Serbian authorities invited “advisors” from China to show them how to handle the pandemic. This resulted in Serbia having some of the strictest corona restrictions in the world. For instance, there was a strict curfew (covering nights and the entire weekend), and for a while, people couldn’t even walk their dogs during the curfew. (I have no idea how the poor dogs did their doggy business. “Hold it until Monday, Fluffy!”) People over 65 weren’t allowed to leave their homes at all, except once a week for a couple of hours, on a government-designated day, early in the morning (something like 4am) to go shopping for essentials in specially designated stores. They also had these quarantine camps for people who tested positive, but had mild symptoms. I remember there was talk about what would happen if both parents tested positive, but the child tested negative, and the authorities were saying that in that case, the parents would be sent to this quarantine camp and the child to an orphanage (until the parents returned), which freaked out quite a lot of parents, although I don’t know if this ever actually happened to any family. So, it was pretty high up on the insanity ladder.

    Nowadays, it appears to be similar to what’s going on in Western Europe in terms of COVID passes (but I’m pretty sure tests count for everything, so it’s not just gene therapy or recovery), but it appears to be less strictly enforced, and I’m not seeing any serious discussion of mandatory gene therapy. (Keep in mind, though, that Serbia also has those Chinese shots, so it’s actually not gene therapy or bust.) But once again, I’m not actually there, so…

  11. Sofie – it’s no coincidence that this is happening right at the time when the failure of the vaccines is plain to see. Bring on the scapegoats.

  12. Re: Roland Garros and other French things

    I find it absolutely fascinating that France has gone this mad. It took me a while to figure it out. Germany, Austria, Italy… Yeah, I could see that. But France?? But I was being silly, and in reality, it’s quite obvious: Macron thinks himself Napoleon, and too many French people are going along with it. Right now, he’s boldly marching through Russia, and my guess is that his doubling down on his “passe sanitaire” will turn out to be his Borodino: a victory that’s worse than defeat. Does anyone care to guess what his burning Moscow will look like?

    The thing to remember is that he simply cannot win. Napoleon was a moron to invade Russia. But you know, success wasn’t literally impossible (merely rather improbable) in that case. What would Macron’s COVID success even look like? You do not get to “defeat” a highly contagious respiratory virus. Cannot be done. So, victory is impossible. All he can do is build more and more resentment as failure becomes more and more obvious. And then what?

  13. Irena – reminds me of a funny meme I saw a couple of days ago: “The same people who took 20 years to replace the Taliban with the Taliban are now fighting a war with a cold virus.”

    I hope it doesn’t take them 20 years to admit defeat this time.

  14. re: Serbia

    Have lived in Croatia for almost a decade … in both Croatia and Serbia there is a lot of awareness that the case numbers are heavily influenced by elections (and the tourist season). Serbian friends view curfews as a means of suppressing post-election protests, which could itself be a political POV.

  15. I’m sure young people can’t wait to come to a country where singing and dancing is literally illegal in half the states.

  16. Quick note: the Czech Prime Minister has announced that gene therapy (he referred to it as “vaccination”) would not be mandatory in the Czech Republic, because he did not want to deepen division in society. Of course, what politicians say today has no bearing on what they do tomorrow, but still: good news. Definitely good news.


    I’m pretty sure the mRNA products are referred as gene therapy in the packages submitted to regulators.

    @energy lens

    Thanks for sharing! As I said, I haven’t actually been to Serbia (or anywhere other than CZ) since the mess started, so second hand information is welcome. 🙂

  17. Irena – that’s good to hear. Seems like England and even Ireland and Scotland are looking pretty good. Maybe they can influence some of the more nutty countries on the continent.

  18. @Irena: Thanks for clarifying. Had seen the term used exclusively in vaccine-sceptical discourse or approved reports reassuring the public that mRNA vaccines don’t alter your genes, nothing sinister happening here, folks. For me, the idea of enforcing a ‘therapy’ for a non-existent disorder triggers cognitive dissonance.

    @Simon: Re the Devouring Mother, secrecy is a major feature of keeping us safe, isn’t it? ‘What they don’t know won’t hurt them?’ Was just reading that maybe 1% of the Manhattan Project’s employees knew its goal was an atom bomb. Hmm. Couldn’t happen nowadays, could it, a secret on that scale? Re individual devouring mothers, I wonder whether their children are more likely to be perceptive of or reactive/resistant to the archetype in the collective, & whether such parents are less likely to question or challenge the cultural norms.

  19. Shane – one of the interesting things about The Devouring Mother concept is that several commenters noted that they had recognised the societal traits that were taking place from their own personal experience with a devouring mother and that made them more resistant to what was going on as they were conscious of it. As for the secrecy thing, I don’t think that’s a core trait of the archetype and I don’t think the Devouring Mother was dominant during WW2. That would have been a masculine archetype at work.

  20. One thing that’s been on my mind as the corona event continues to unfold is the way that chance and necessity (“true nature”) interact. Germany and Austria are channeling their inner authoritarian (= nature/necessity). Meanwhile, it appears that the worst is over in CZ. Is that really because CZ is less authoritarian than Germany and Austria? Maybe… Or maybe it’s that the *old* government passed a “vaccine” mandate (for people over 60 and certain professions) right before the end of its term in December, and then just as the new government took over, Omicron came to the scene and made the vaccinators look rather silly. And now here they are (the new government, I mean), promising to kill the mandate. It’s easy for them to do (since it’s not *their* mandate), and it’s hard for them *not* to do (because the vaxxed are catching and transmitting Omicron left, right, and center, and neither the vaxxed nor the unvaxxed are filling hospitals). So, here we are. If the new government had taken over a month earlier (as it really should have, except that – pure chance! – the President landed in hospital, and everything got delayed), maybe CZ would now be in the exact same mess as Austria.

    You can see similar dynamics in other countries. It seems that Serbia is successfully extricating itself from the mess, in part thanks to the (chance) humiliation of the national hero (Djokovic) by a foreign country (Australia). (Serbia’s PM is on record saying she’s proud to be representing a country in which choice is possible. Ha! Roll that back if you can!) The UK is currently benefitting from BoJo’s rule breaking. And poor Australia is still dealing with the consequences of its early corona-success. But hey, not all is lost! If the current Oz government loses the election, the new one may be in a position to do something similar to what the Czech government did.

    Meanwhile, Macron is channeling his inner Napoleon, and so France is where it is. I don’t even know if that’s chance or necessity. Napoleonism is part of France’s nature, but still, a different (less megalomaniac) president might have acted differently.

  21. Irena – no doubt there’s an element of chance. Although can it be a coincidence the USA and the UK are now the least restricted nations of the West and they had their political rebellions just years ago (Brexit, Trump)?

    A change of government won’t make any difference in Australia. There is bipartisan support for the madness because the majority of the population supports the madness. What could make a difference is if minor parties running an anti-vax mandate platform win the balance of power. Fortunately with case numbers where they are, the majority of Australians will have gotten corona this year and that more than anything should change their minds.

  22. @Irena thanks for the update from Europe. Good to see that at least in some places people start to connect the dots. Not so here yet. Pretty much every day I overhear conversations in the office that make my toenails curl up. People cant wait to get the booster or to get their kids vaccinated. They even complain that there is an age limit for children. Then they whinge about getting knocked around by the vaccine. Probably to collect points on the victimhood scale. Simply disgusting.
    Funny enough it seems like everyone had at least one or two sick days in the last few weeks. Except filthy unvaxxed old me. I think i might take a few next week, just to make an effort.
    Nobody seems to realise that any illness that requires two sick days is not exactly the plague.
    I think a big problem for me might be, when all this is over, to get a modicum of respect back for this country and it’s population.

  23. Simon – though I can’t recall seeing it associated w/ the Devouring Mother archetype, secrecy does seem to be an increasingly dominant/prominent theme today as highlighted by the rise (or, at least, growing visibility) of conspiracy theories. And it does seem to be a defining feature of the corona era: unprecedented internet censorship, suppression of debate, bizarrely asymmetrical or selective reporting, the strangely elliptical way my once very open GP spoke when we discussed vaccination. And now we have all these naughty children sneaking around, encrypting communications & not checking in at supermarkets, while coughing & sneezing as they roam the streets…

    Do you think the rise of the archetype is cyclic?

  24. Shane – perhaps. But will live in a society which is radically unsecretive (if that’s a word). The QR codes are a case in point. I’m not surprised people don’t check in. I’m surprised practically everybody started to do it with no resistance whatsoever. It doesn’t get much less secretive than telling the government where you are every moment of the day. I don’t think archetypes rise and fall cyclically but there’s a whole field of “historical archetypal analysis” which doesn’t exist that would be needed to answer that question.

  25. Roland – interesting. There’s definitely a concerted effort right now to try and get out of this from TPTB. The only thing holding it up at the moment is the public.

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