Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they.

I hate to disagree with Grandmaster Yoda, but that title which quotes him is only partially true for anyone who deals with conflict on a regular basis.

Anger is a useful tool; it allows us to overcome inhibitions in times of stress, and to act. However if you are too angry you will become paralyzed with it. Being angry at the world all the time, makes us outsiders, makes us outcasts, and the tribe (society) tends to not trust us. Our words are lessened, even if our message is true.

Fear is a natural defense mechanism over what is bad for us. Phobias often are rooted in honest worries. For example a fear of spiders, is a fear of the alien, and of things which are toxic. But too much fear paralyses us too; so much that anger may not overcome it. It also overcomes rational thought. Rational thought coupled with a reasonable fear allows us act with expediency.

Aggression is natural. We can’t be meek and mild all the time; we must act with a certain level of aggression if we are going to get involved in conflict. As nice the idea of “the way of the peaceful warrior” is, it is not realistic in every instance. But too much aggression makes us a menace to the tribe. Some will say “what about Berserkers”. Well they could switch it on and off, and they were also feared by the tribe. When Cuchulain was taken by the warp spasm (the Irish equivalent to the berserk) he had to be plunged into vats of cold water repeatedly to snap him out of it, as he was a menace to the tribe.

It returns to the idea for warriors that life on this path is a balancing act.

So sorry Master Yoda I think you should have said “Too much anger, too much fear, too much aggression; the dark side of the psyche are they.” But what would I know, I’m not a 900 year old Jedi ;)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Faith without deeds is dead

I’ve taken a break from blog writing to get my academic life sorted out. Last year I returned to University (because apparently a PhD in chemistry does NOT guarantee one a job), sometimes you have to prioritize.

Anyhow during my time “away from bloging” (does Facebook count?) I observed several people claiming to be “warriors” not living up to the title. As the title of this post (a line from a New Zealand singer song writers song).

The lines that got me thinking for this entry was

now that I have seen, I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead

It is strange that a song by a Pentecostal Christian artist should elicit this response in an openly Neopagan curmudgeon like myself, but it did. I’ve long noticed a deep theme of non-responsibility in the neopagan subculture. The word duty (much like the warrior) often elicits a negative response. Our ancestors certainly understood the terms, yet today many people shy from these concepts.  I have heard explanations such as “individuality” and “creativity” thrown about. Which is fair, except for a warrior, responsibility is indeed paramount , you take an action, knowing it most likely has consequences, an you are willing to accept those, because you feel you know the “right action”.

As the lines say:
now that I have seen, I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead

So yes this means your personal life, your professional life, all of your life. To not accept this responsibility means you cannot be a warrior. Being a warrior is not a hobby, just as a surgeon, lawyer, or soldier is also no place for amateurs. You must strive to be excellent, and balanced. With power comes responsibility, and abuse of power is the path of the thug, despot, and criminal (none of which is a warrior).