Monday, October 11, 2010

"I don’t follow the norms of society. " So what do we do?


I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me this is a red flag for concern when I hear it from someone, when they are explaining their behaviors. While it could be said, being a Neopagan is of it’s self shucking the conventions of society, that is both debatable, and minor. Often one hears this sort of comment when something that is highly questionable occurs. It can be from those who decide that they want to “Turn on, tune in, drop out” and honestly that is probably also a minor concern. What people decide to do to their own perceptions, in their own time, is their own business. However if they decide to do it at a public venue, while loudly claiming it is their “pagan right”… then it is something to be concerned about! Pagans have fought tooth and nail to become somewhat accepted by society, and someone deciding they are going to flaunt a law they (and perhaps no one else) dislikes, is both discourteous to the pagan community, and willfully ignorant (of the consequences).

However there are even more dangerous conventions some will flaunt. Sadly one of the most common “conventions” that certain memebers of out community decide they wish to not follow, is the age of consent. I am not one hundred percent sure why males (and it’s almost always males) decide it’s ok to take on female students and then proceed to bed them? I’ve seen the arguments that there is “nothing wrong with sexuality” or “it’s an ancient tradition”. Lets look at both of these.

Indeed there is nothing wrong with “Sexuality” however in the role of teacher, it is our moral obligation to keep ourselves distant from certain aspects of our students. Taking a student on, just because we want to sleep with them, is disingenuous to the student, and ourselves. Also if age is a concern (ie you are breaking the local age of consent laws), you are endangering the entire community, by not keeping it zipped.

Ancient traditions that are no longer observed like this are usually no longer observed for a reason. Indeed other ancient traditions include, cattle raiding your neighbors, single combat to find the truth, and the cutting off of the heads of ones enemies, preserving them in oil, and a keeping them in a cedar box, to bring out to entertain important guests. I sometimes wonder how the people who flaunt sensible laws, under the guise would feel about the reintroduction of some of those other ancient traditions?

Thus the warrior needs to be aware of both the rules of the greater society that we live in, as well as the wishes of the community they serve. If the two are opposed, they need to remind the community of the consequences of actions. While that ides not stop the Warrior from acting for the community it does at least remind the community of a potential outcome of actions. In the end the warrior can always beg out of an action, based upon their own moral compass.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It’s my right to attack your path

How often do we see this? I’m not talking about asking questions about “why do you do it that way” or “I’d never ever do that”. Those are discussions of Orthopraxy.

No what I am talking about is the very common phenomena of “You are so wrong on that it’s not funny, but don’t worry I will harass you till I get you to recant your evil ways”.

Neopaganism has a nice fallacy that “If my personal code says it’s ok to do this, every one has to agree”. I call it a fallacy, as it holds as long as it does not impact another person. So it holds, up until the point that someone begins to affect someone else. If I were a Wiccan (which I am not) I would talk to the rede with “If it harms done, do as you will”. The point where it harms someone, you just violated that guideline. My own personal path would be the rules of hospitality. One should be a gracious host, and a good guest. When one stops being that, it’s time to go home, and not be at the adults table anymore.

So what sort of behaviors does this entail. Many of us will have seen, heard, or read about rituals that degenerate into nasty arguments over “you are banishing the elements wrong!” Discussions like this should be reserved for after the ritual, yet some one will take it upon themselves to be the Pagan equivalent of a barracks room lawyer.

Recently I was posting on a board, and got accosted by a previous acquaintance . I had been posting that if I was running a ritual, and attached the name ADF to the ritual I would have to be using the COoR, it’s part of the deal with being part of ADF, you use COoR in public rituals if you call it an ADF ritual, end of story.

What proceeded after this was a nasty case of toy throwing, and bad boorish behavior. The poster proceeded to say all organized groups were evil, and that the tribal nature of them meant that outsiders were singled out for abuse. He then degenerated to posting private posts from my Facebook, out of context. Which is technically a crime in New Zealand (viz the Privacy of Information act, this is a boarder line incident, hence I use the term “technically”).

His excuse for this behavior, it is his “great work” to fight against organized pagan groups.

That is nice. If he had been doing it in a constructive manner, he might have made his point, but swearing, insulting, threatening, and posting private information, is basically the equivalent of a small dog on the end of a leash yapping, spinning, and snarling. No one really takes them seriously, and you apply the rubber stamp “wanker” to them.

The point on this is the moment he decided, that “Because Gareth is in an Oragnized group he is a target”, he broke the rule of hospitality. A Warrior can choose not to respond to threats, but he should never turn his back on them. That is blatant stupidity. To politely challenge them is a good first step. Sadly in this case (as of this typing) he’s gone on to attack others who have told him to chill out.

So a warrior gets to “protect” their territory. That is vitally important. It comes back to the concept of the Ape Dance. Young male Apes will gather as a group, and get into the face of those they perceive as “weaker” or “in a precarious” position. The bet response is to act bored, and stare them down. It short circuits their “logic” circuits. Indeed a firm, and definite, but non agitated response, will totally shut them down. I’ve seen bouncers and cops, calmly apply a restraint technique, while talking to colleagues, and the person who required it, is wondering what just hit them.

Now there are some caveats here. Many of these arguments occur online, and with out subtle hints body language and facial expression give humans.