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Policy, personal choice and polemics: why I am a dole bludger

By meika samorzewski - posted Wednesday, 30 October 2002

My name is meika von samorzewski. I am a 37-year-old Australian male with a Master of Applied Science (Social Ecology). I have been on some form of social support since I was 19. My partner Mona has submitted a PhD thesis and we have a one-year-old daughter, Ulrike.

Some of these things have been given to me (my surname, my maleness). Some of these things I have chosen (the name meika). Some have been given as a result of choices made sometime ago (my dolebludgering) and while some are me, others are we (Mona, IVF and Ulrike).

These choices and decisions are made not because we know everything about the whole world, (though as adolescents we know that we do) but because we know what we like (long hair, stovepipe trousers, rainforest).


It's even easier when we know what we do not like (mullet haircuts, suits, red sports cars). It's easier to reject than to select.

When there are too many choices and not enough time, prejudice is the only answer. Only the dead have enough time to be truly unbiased. To be alive is to prefer this over that.

We are partial to some things (chocolate, alcohol) and not others (tofu, castor oil). We are biased to worry about some things (environment) more than others (morality).

We can set these up in opposition, for it makes story-telling easier, at least on the listener (Liberal versus Labor, League versus Union, City versus Country).

We can even choose to mix the two (drink soymilk to save the rainforest), in which doing something one does not like (drinking soymilk) as a penance, a sacrifice or discipline gains or saves what one does prefer (rainforest). The ascetic sitting on top of a pole rotting in the wind is an extreme example (body sacrificed in order to reach and extol some spiritual value). There need be no discernible connection (whether logical, emotional or sympathetic) between the two other than the choice itself.

These are symbolic and cultural actions, the meaning of which changes with time. Particularly as one grows older.


The choices I made as a young man in creating my adult identity I now have to deal with today. Some I can live with (my favourite SF novels), some can be unmade (long hair), some can be forgotten (stovepipe trousers) and some can be ignored (anarchist dilettantism).

But some choices are unchangeable and unchanging. Some choices create ineffectual futures, times in which past sacrifices are nullified not rewarded.

When I was young my choices in both selection and rejection where informed by a 'green' sensitivity. In particular I rejected economic growth as the panacea for all ills. This was based on the fact that human economic systems are totally dependent on natural ecological systems. Either through disturbing them (agriculture, forestry) or mining them (petroleum or iron ore). This fact acted as the justification for my choices to try and shrink the economy as much as possible. Untrammeled growth will damage the environment in ways we cannot predict or even believe (ozone hole, global warming, toxic ecosystems like the Aral Sea). This position on growth was equally critical of command and market economies.

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About the Author

meika von samorzewski is a 37-year-old Australian male with a Master of Applied Science (Social Ecology). He has been on some form of social support since he was 19.

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