A friend of mine claims that Serbs possess “a crazy gene” that makes us impossible to reason with, to generate a rational worldview, to pursue a collectivist engagement with the world for our own benefit… I have heard Dejan Lucic, a well-known Serbian author, say that a Serbian brain does not operate on the same frequency with brains of Western European nations’members – and he didn’t mean it in a derogatory way. Professor Smilja Avramov has used the term “judiciousness” to describe what we lack in our social and political behavior as individual members of the collective, thus as a collective itself.
Indeed, one Serb vis-à-vis another Serb most often turns into a row of missed points, one-sided, hard-to-contextualize information, unnecessary nitpicking, outlandish and far-fetched claims, straying into mystification, historical misinterpretations, misclassifications, disqualifications, unfounded accusations and straight-up smear and malice. No, I didn’t just describe a political argument between two Serbs on opposite ends of a political spectrum; most often, two self-declared Serb nationalists would end up “debating” in this manner. I can’t say I’m not guilty of having been a party to such discussions, but I’ve always tried to stay away from discussions that had the potential to turn into unreasonable.
Now, I’m not going to slam my own people with malevolent mental health diagnoses nor am I going to pretend I have the necessary expertise and intellectual faculties to psycho- or socio-analyze the Serb nation and its various parts, limbs and appendices. However, it is painfully obvious that our past, filled with bloody conflicts and horrible human losses and sacrifices, religious and ideological impositions and brainwashing, alternating and substituting of identities, mutilations, dismemberment, physical and mental traumas of the sort history has inflicted on almost no other nation, created an utter confusion in the Serbian collective mind. This confusion, disorientation,overlapping and flip-flopping of paradigms mostly superimposed by forces foreign to a Serbian organic nature, does not allow the organic nature, suppressed and obliterated, to be recognized as such, let alone accepted by the body of people, even if it manages to sporadically rear its head through the piles of cunning ideologues with their aggressive dogmas that tore the Serb national spirit into distortion. Leaderless and decapitated, because its organic elites fell victim to their superficial aspirations and associated dogmas, Serbdom allowed foreign and cunningly hostile agencies to infiltrate us under the guise of revolutionary dynamics, modernization or globalism and replace our organic, authentic ambition, nurtured and strengthened for centuries. The reference point of Serbian collective navigation and aspiration has been moved outside the realm of Serbdom, to foreign locations, with coordinates foreign in origin and in character. We have been confused by a dotted spectrum of misleading and fleeting foreign ideas that gradually stripped us of identity and ambitions organically our own. Others told us what we were, what we’ve become, what we wanted and what we needed. We began searching for our own course by following stars painted on our sky by others.
The physical and psychological torture Serbdom has endured at various historical points, most significantly throughout the 20thcentury, left us with the lost or uncertain sense of self. Newly imposed identities, like Yugoslavism and Communism, partially or completely replaced Serbdom as the identity realm of the Serbs. Preceding this, forced and voluntary conversions to Islam and Catholicism paved the way for a possibility of alternative identities, based on economic or political convenience, to become a legitimate option. This chipping away at the Serb national identity and the mutating shape of Serbdom made us increasingly vulnerable to furthered and intensified collaborative efforts at confusing and disorienting for the purpose of dismembering. One can’t defend that which one is not aware of as needing protection. The self is the highest individual and collective prerogative and losing the awareness of it and the judiciousness about protecting, nurturing and growing it is a slippery slope in the consciousness of every individual and a collective, bound to end in an own demise.
Repeated blows to the head are bound to leave physical wounds and psychological consequences. With individuals as well as with collectives, such actions cause disorientation and the disoriented grope in the space for any hand that offers itself as a lead. The Serbs are such a collective today. An extended hand can lead them anywhere, forward or astray – their own being the only hand they won’t grasp. Like a modern buyer who doesn’t know what she needs, but buys what’s being sold and packaged in the flashiest commercial.
The Serbs must start looking inwards, re-learn who they are,what they came out of, where they are fit to be. We must identify our belongings, gather them and take them home. The first step towards re-orienting oneself is to become aware of the disorientation and to subsequently stop groping about. We must start filtering, vetting and channeling the myriad ideas and influences thrown at us to disorient us, to divide us, to make us lose the self. Only by being judicious and making rational choices based on the collective sense of self and driven by collective selfishness, instinctive and intuitive, the Serbs can re-orient themselves towards their organic identity and the internal guiding light. It’s a therapy, a rehab we must put ourselves through, a catharsis without which – I’m afraid – the revitalization of the Serb national spirit necessary for the very survival will border on a mission impossible.