Neglect


I’ve neglected this space for a time.

To make it worse, I’m not going to expand on the series I was writing before, but I think it’s important to write this out.  I’m sick of seeing the subject raised.  Frankly, I don’t think such matters are any of our business.

This is in response to an entry I’ve ready recently.

Source:  http://www.runestone.org/about-asatru/articles-a-essays/143-metagenetics.html

Sorry, but just…no. For a “scientific” article, I see damn little scientific method. I see lots of assertions. I see lots of conclusions. I see nothing vaguely resembling evidence.

So clearly it’s on very shaky scientific ground, despite claims that it’s the science of the next century.

Frankly, I’m of the opinion that the gods will take care of gods’ business. If they deem someone unworthy of worshiping them, they’ll deal with it. That’s not my job.

My job is to worship my gods as best I can. My job is to maintain excellent relations with the vaettir of the lands I inhabit. My job is to honor my ancestral dead the best way I know how.

Beyond that, who am I to tell someone, “Hey…you’re wasting our time and worse, you’re damaging my religion” to someone I think might not be of Nordic stock? In a way it’s very similar to the seemingly eternal fights between the various factions of the Christian religion. They pretend to be of one mind and one heart and one soul in the service of their god. In practice, I’ve heard one denomination malign and impugn the other without pause or mercy. It wasn’t too long ago that the war in various Muslim lands, was fought not because of political affiliations, but because of religious beliefs. Look no further than the Shiite vs Suni conflicts as evidence of that. I’ve personally heard “Christians” speak out against Catholics as Idolaters. I’ve seen the friction between Orthodox and Contemporary Jews.

I always thought that was rather stupid. Let them worship their gods an in their way, and let the others do things their way in their way. At worst, one side is wrong and is sentenced to a wretched afterlife…at least according to their religion. If they’re right, they’re right. If they’re wrong, they’re wrong. They believe in a loving and caring omnipotent and omniscient god. If that supposedly loving and caring god isn’t pleased with their religious efforts and chooses to sentence them to an eternity of torment, that’s not their business, is it?

Same thing holds true for Heathenry, to my mind. Maybe I’m just a dumb Marine, but it seems to me, it’s not my business. And let’s say the Gods don’t appreciate people out of what they deem to be racially “right” to worship them. How is that my responsibility?

I don’t remember reading in the Havamal anything about race or color or ethnic beginnings. I don’t remember reading anything in the Epics or Eddas about how someone was turned away from the Gods because their lineage wasn’t “right”. I’m damn sure not about to take that responsibility on myself.

I don’t claim to be an expert, but I figure the Gods can take care of the Gods and they let men take care of themselves. If a person’s worship isn’t up to what they want, that’s for the Gods to decide, not me. And that includes worship from those the Gods deem unworthy…which is also something I’ve never heard of happening either.

So I’ll not spend my time and energy worrying about whether someone is worthy of worshipping or not. Not my job. Well above my paygrade. I’m a noob Asatruar. I have enough going on in my life worrying about whether or not someone else meets the standards.

To be sure, I’ll keep in mind someone’s actions and what I think their orlog looks like before I’ll join up with them. That said, at Sumbel, if someone apparently sincerely raises their horn for boasts and toasts, I’ll not be worried about their DNA and the color of their skin. If they’ll stand with me, I’ll stand with them.

Tell me how crazy I am and how I’m going to rot for eternity in the foulest reaches of Hel in the comments.

Nine Norse Virtues compared to 14 USMC Leadership Traits (Pt 6)


This is number six in a series that starts here.

So it’s been a week since I’ve posted anything.  I went on vacation from work and got out of my routine.  I’ve got more vacation time coming, but I’ll be away from the keyboard for a few days more.

So, now we’re on honor.  It’s the last part of the Social Trilogy I’ve written about before.

Honor is perhaps one of the qualities most written about and talked about.  It’s very hard to define, but we all seem to know what it is.  I’ll challenge that.  This is a very difficult post to write because it’s so..ephemeral.  I could take the easy way out and just lightly touch on it and move on.  I don’t think I’ll do that.

Honor, to my mind, is not really a code of conduct.  A code of conduct is a mass of words that can define honor.  The problem is, once you’ve started defining something, you’ve just limited it.  In the case of honor, you’ve limited it quite a bit.  Once you put some sort of code to it, you have defined and limited it to a slant.  That slant belongs to whomever is trying to impose the code of conduct on someone else.

Consider the following scenario.  Your best friend in the whole world tells you, “I want to tell you something, but it has to stay between us.”  Once you agree to that, they tell you they are bulimic, or are a cutter, or are considering suicide.  The specific thing isn’t a big deal.  They’re hurting themselves in some way.  Now you know they’re hurting themselves, but promised to keep it a secret.

So, do you tell?

One the one hand, you’ve promised to keep this thing a secret.  But on the other hand, you now know your friend, your best friend, is doing something to harm themselves and they need help.

It’s a tough quandary, to be sure.  I’m quite thankful I’ve never been put in that position.  Frankly, I don’t know that I could judge someone harshly for how they react to it.  I’d be a bit suspect of anyone who claims the answer is easy.  At that point, I’d have to question whether they really considered things and consequences.

And that’s the point.  In Western society, we’re taught that life is sacred and should be preserved.  The other side of it, however, is that you don’t break promises.  Now the described scenario is one that pits one of those directly against the others.

Quick off-topic question:  What happens when an irresistible force meets an unmovable object?  Answer?  Nothing.  It never happens.  Once those meet, either the force is resisted or the object is not moved.

That’s what happens here.

Now I could describe for you my code of conduct.  I could lay out any number of circumstances and how I believe I should handle them.  That wouldn’t be very effective.  I don’t expect anyone to live their life the way I live mine.  I don’t have that level of authority.  I do, however, absolutely reserve the right to judge your actions and determine if I want to share wyrd by continuing to associate with you.  And I will do it.

I read recently, while researching this topic a pretty good statement.

The best way I have found to describe honor is that if you are truly living with honor, you will have no regrets about what you have done with your life.

Now I realize that leaves a whole lot of room for anti-social/schizophrenic/etc types to do a whole lot of bad things and call it honorable because they can sleep at night.  I’m not taking about those people.  They’re sick and quite possibly evil.  For regular old people, however, if they were to cleave to either the NNV or the 14USMC, and truly make either or both of those the guidelines for their life, if they’re able to say honestly, “I have no regrets”, they’re walking a path of honor.  It might not look exactly like mine, or yours, but there it is.

So, going back to the comparison to the 14USMC;  pretty much all of them.  They’re all integral to what I’d consider an honorable life.

It’ll be a week or so before I get back to the blog.  I’ll be spending some time in the woods with my GF and her family.  I’ll try to spend some of that time tackling the Personal Trilogy.

Nine Norse Virtues compared to 14 USMC Leadership Traits (Pt 5)


This is number five in a series that starts here.

Fidelity.  Fidelity is big with Marines.  Semper Fidelis.  Always Faithful.  But faithful to…what?  Well, in the case of Marines, it’s fidelity with your unit.  It’s fidelity with your country.  It’s fidelity to those under your charge.  It’s fidelity to an ideal.

Fidelity in everyday usage seems to refer to marriage.

Don’t get me wrong, because that’s a big part of it.  In my view, if I am to be a responsible heathen, it seems like it must be bigger; fidelity to my community, my gods, my morals.

Fidelity also means truth and exactitude where the facts are concerned.  Think about high-fidelity sound systems.  They’re called high-fidelity because they’re true, or faithful, to the original sound they’re duplicating.

As fidelity is the bridge between truth and honor, this won’t be a long ole dissertation as I’ve been doing.

And, truth be told, I hope to be in bed before too much longer.

So the corresponding 14USMC traits are, Justice, Dependability, Integrity, Courage and Loyalty.  You should stand up for what’s right, especially when it’s utangard vs innangard.  You need to be able to be counted upon.  Your word needs to be trusted, as it seems fidelity usually starts with an oath.  And finally, you should be able to stand up for you and yours, whether that’s facing down temptation to break oath with your spouse, whether it’s standing with your community when an outsider wants to do something maleficent, or even if it’s just willingness speak out for your chosen faith.

Nine Norse Virtues compared to 14 USMC Leadership Traits (Pt 4)


This is number four in a series that starts here.

Truth.

In part 3, I noted that I mentally break the NNV down into three threes, Community, Social and Personal.

Truth begins the Social Trilogy because it’s the lynchpin upon which the other two depend.  Can’t really claim honor or fidelity unless and until you can claim truth.  Truth is core in honor.  Truth is core in fidelity.  In fact, as I understand it, truth came frome the Middle English word “trewthe” which meant fidelity.

Truth is important in social dealings, but truth is also important to me in dealing with myself, because as The Bard wrote, “The truth will out”.  If I cheat on my diet, I will not lose weight.  It doesn’t matter how much I tell other people I only had 700 calories the day before, the truth will out.  If I make a habit of lying about this, I will not be of an appropriate weight.  It doesn’t matter how often I tell people that I’m exercising, if I don’t do my daily pushups, the truth will out.  My chest and arms won’t continue to develop and they won’t continue to be toned.

My beautiful and long-suffering girlfriend posted on FB once a Chinese proverb, “If you don’t want people to know about it, don’t do it”.  I’m not certain that is the exact quote.  In fact, I’m reasonably certain that it is not.  I’m also not sure that it’s a Chinese proverb.  Truthfully, I do not care.  The sentiment is a good rule-of-thumb.  If I don’t do it, I don’t have to lie about it later to avoid some unpleasantness.

There’s another aspect of truth.  What you know.

As I am newly becoming acquainted with the mental workings of children, I’m being exposed to all sorts of new things.  One of those things is the difference between lying and not knowing.  Mayhaps the right word isn’t “exposed” but “reacquainted”, because I distinctly remember doing this sort of thing as a child in a mischievous mood.

So here’s the idea.  You tell me something you sincerely believe to be truth.  I find out reality is different from what you said.  So, I say you “lied”.  The venom present in the statement depended wholly on my mood at the time, not on how deceitful I felt you were being.  And that’s unfair.  I don’t do that anymore.  If you tell me “So-and-so is at the market” and I go to the market and don’t see them, I don’t tell you that you’re a liar.  That’s the act of a child.

Another aspect is responsible handling of the truth.

Don’t ask questions you don’t want answers to.  That’s unfair to the person you’re asking.  If you know your ass looks fat in those jeans, don’t ask.  Be honest.  Tell your man you need to be told you’re beautiful.  Let’s be honest here, if you know your ass looks fat in any jeans, maybe he’s not with you for how you look.  Maybe he’s with you because the arch of your eyebrows is just perfect.  Maybe he’s with you because your laughter is music.  Maybe he’s with you because you get him.  Maybe he’s with you because you make him complete.

Ok.  Enough of my beautiful and long-suffering girlfriend.  The point is, be reasonable.  Don’t put someone in the position of having to choose between the truth and some ugly truth.

Lastly, I’ll address Platonic idealism.  Plato taught there was a plane of existence out there that held ideas.  Not just any ideas, but all of them.  There was a whole plane where the idea of “chair” existed.  If you could travel there, you’d be confronted with chair after chair after chair which exemplified the idea of “chair”.  The same existed for “blue” and “olive” and “beauty”.  I find it difficult to imagine myself in those kinds of existences, but given what I know about Greek thought, I understand it.  If he’s right, out there is some existential plane of “truth”.  That’s a tough one for me.  I live my life based on things that I “think” are true.  I have no idea what such a place would exist like.

Whether he’s right or not isn’t exactly important.  His idea of what I think of as “Absolute Dimensions” is one to be explored.  It’s a worthy thought and should be considered.  I also think it’s absolutely flawed.

There is no “one truth”.  So much of the human experience is totally subjective.  I remember being a kid and thinking that a year was a long time.  Now that I’m getting sorta, kinda up there in years (I’m lying to myself about that, but I know it’s a lie so that sorta evens out), time is so quick.  I’ve been with the aforementioned beautiful and long-suffering girlfriend for almost 3 years now.  In some ways, many ways, it seems like just last week I was nervously asking her to go see a movie with me.  August of 2011, movie was Scott Pilgrim vs the World, for anyone who was curious about it.  If I were to survey a group of children in the middle of that THREE WHOLE YEARS, their subjective reality might well be different than mine.  In fact, I suspect it will be.

There’s a whole lotta physical and psychological reasons for it.  “Why” in this case doesn’t really matter as much as “what”.  What, in this case, recognizes that reality is subjective.

“That is a horrid song”, applies to the speaker, not to the song itself.  At this point, I run the serious risk of writing myself into a much, much longer post than I intended to, so I’ll leave the idea there for future exploration.

And, to be totally truthful, I might need an idea for writing in the future.

At any rate, here’s where I am on Truth.  Justice, Judgment, Dependability, Tact, Integrity, Bearing, Unselfishness, Courage, Knowledge, Loyalty.  That’s a big assed list.  I’m going to break from tradition here.  I’m not going to explain each and every one and how it applies.  Truth be told, this post is immense as it stands.  Got a question?  Disagree?  Feel free to ask about it in the comments by clicking on the little bubble at the top right of the beginning of the post.

 

***Edit.  My beloved reminds me that we met in 2010.  See how subjective reality is?

Nine Norse Virtues compared to 14 USMC Leadership Traits (Pt 3)


This is the third in a series of nine.  Part one is available here.

Industriousness.

Ironically, I was kinda slow about getting this article written.  It’s been a busy week, but that’s no real excuse.

On the other end of the spectrum is Tom of Dwarven Morning (http://www.dwarvenmorning.com/).

I ordered a Mjolnir pendant from him.  I’d asked him a question ahead of time and he was great to work with as detailed here.  I officially purchased the item on Monday.  Now keep in mind this is a hand crafted item with special modifications.  By Tuesday noon, I’d received notification that my item was on it’s way.  Now, the cursedly slow USPS is interfering with it’s swift and sure delivery, but that’s totally not on Tom.  I’ve nothing but respect for him.  That’s professionalism.  That’s dedication to one’s craft and chosen trade.  That’s to be admired and respected.

But I don’t think it’s just meeting the demands of your professional life.

I’ve written before of my beautiful, long-suffering girlfriend.  Her father is an amazing person in his own right.  He’s over 70 and just as vital, or more, than people younger than I.  He works hard, physically when he doesn’t have to.  His idea of “fun” is putting in a new fence on his house.  He manages his own rental houses.  He manages his daugher and son-in-law’s houses.  He is the first to volunteer and come over to fix anything that needs fixing.  I think he’d happily work every day all day and I have never, ever, heard him complain, never heard him say he’s tired, never heard him say he has too much to do.   He’s spending his “retirement” working on his house, rental properties, and then driving 4 hours away to work on someone else’s house.  If I needed a mortal example of industriousness, this man is it.

I have another friend.  He and I have long, deep conversations about computer science.  Now given he used to work for the DoD in the Pentagon as an Air Force field grade officer, he knows a thing or two.  He retired from the Air Force.  He’s also quite industrious.  He could well just sit back and let the retirement checks roll in.  No.  He has a high-level IT Manager job for state government.  Many hours we’ve spent talking about what we could “make” in order to make money.  He runs an idea by me, and I tell him how feasible I think it is.

Both of these gentlemen are an inspiration for me in the area of industriousness.

As they’ve done, Industriousness ties well into other NNV entries.  Look at Self-Reliance.  How can you be self-reliant if you’re lazy?  And if you can’t produce enough to be self-reliant, how can you offer hospitality to others?

Just as hospitality was, and remains, important to building communities, so is self-reliance.  I think of the NNV as a trinity of trinities.  I see them as Community, Social and Personal.  Industriousness, Self-Reliance, and Hospitality are what I view as the Community trinity.  I don’t know if that’s how they intended them to be interpreted when John Yeowell and John Gibbs-Bailey had in mind when they wrote them, but that’s how I see it.

If you aren’t self-reliant, you are a drain on the community.  If you aren’t hospitable, you aren’t really part of a community.  If you aren’t industrious, you can’t be either self-reliant or hospitable.  This is the foundation of the community, whether that’s your neighborhood, internet “groups”, or religion.

So, as I’ve done before, I’ll now map the Value to the 14USMC.  I’m seeing: initiative, endurance, enthusiasm and bearing.  Without initiative, you can’t be 70 years old, officially retired, and working 8-12 hours a day 6 days a week.  Without endurance, you just can’t retire, go back to work 10 hours a day, and sit for hours at a time looking for more ways to bring income to your family.  Without enthusiasm, you just won’t want to do these things.  And finally, without bearing, even if you manage the first three, your griping and complaining will be a drain on the emotional energy of those around you.

I think next time, I’ll move on to the Social Trinity (Fidelity, Honor, and Truth) and end the series with the Personal (Courage, Perseverance and Discipline).  Those traits in each Trinity will be tackled in whatever order I feel like at the time, but for anyone who wants an idea which way I’ll go, there it is.

Until next time, Frith and Semper Fi.