an interesting word, prejudice, it means to pre-judge.
Which does tend to get in the way of discovering truth,
why look for truth, if one already thinks they know !
Yet our very capacity to pre-judge also makes us very human, it's the short cut
that allows us to make our grand leaps of logic and creativeness.
It's why we are so good at it. But, it was not meant
to be used ALL the time, for everything, especially not
in relation to the actions of other humans.
The preconceptions that surround any group of people
by any other group of people are common,
and most often, incorrect. Any time you pre-judge a human
action you are bound to be, at least partly, if not all the way, wrong.
There is no such thing as human predictability, and even if one claims
to belong to a given group, there is always diversity within that group.
The Sword of Damocles, hanging over our head for the distinction between
what is "supposed to be", and what is reality, about the actions of
any group of individuals. Even if the individuals, belong to the same group !
ok , been nattering on for 5 mins now and what the heck am I talking
now ? Right ?
The war of theology.
In any faith you have puritans, our faith is no exception. There is only
one tiny problem with that stance, we don't really "know" enough of what our
forebears did or did not believe or what they did, to really take such a stance about it
one way or the other, for one thing, but some try.
For another, we are all about independence. Whose idea was it
that "ALL" pagans have to do this or believe that,
to be "real" Pagans ? Where is our independence then ?
This is not to say we cannot and should not decry those who
defame or mis represent our faith, but differences ?
Now I am all for some guidelines, and we have those.
The rede, the Nine noble virtues, The Tao etc. But this is not
about that, this is about a growing tendency within the Pagan
community to set ourselves up as judge and jury over the
the rightness or wrongness of our own fellows actions in the faith.
We have studied enough history, as a group, to start to believe that we
"know" enough to make statements and proclamations.
Now we all agree on some things, but we are not going to
agree on everything, but disagreeing about something
does not make the other fellow wrong automatically.
Truth is truth, and one cannot find truth if one is convinced one
already knows. The way of the Tao is the way of the un-carved block.
No preconceptions, no form, just a readiness to accept form. To accept truth.
However, even if you are the most right in your "truth" that ever lived
you are not going to get someone to listen to it
if all you can say to them is " I am right, and your wrong "
They will become deaf to you
the second you try it. We have learned in hard schools
to distrust this attitude and react accordingly.
It's human nature, we will hold on to our thoughts like glue
the second someone tries to ram some other "truth" down our throat.
The way of the Sword is not the way to teach. We have ample
proof, from the same histories we get our lore from, of the fallacy of that kind of thinking.
So why the great push ? For, oddly enough, the best of reasons.
Consistency and validity. For as long as we are an completely eclectic bunch
of whom no one knows much about, no one is going
to take us too seriously and we want them to take us seriously.
It happens, I fully agree with that idea, it's why loud mouths like me, talk so much :)
But, humans also tend to believe that if you are member of X group
that you cleave to the codes of that group. We don't have codes according to some
and those same parties, for good intent or ill are trying to force us " all "
to conform to a standard of beliefs and actions to gain acceptability.
News, we already have such things.
is no need for prejudice, nor is there need for enforced conformity.
We, as a group, already have a well defined set of beliefs
that nearly all of us share and practice. Don't think so ?
Check any pagan site on the web and you will see the same
ideologies being espoused, over and over and over again. The same for most
any Pagan book, again there, the same concepts are explored.
Now part of this is there is only so much information
regarding how our forebears acted and believed,
so of course a lot of it's going to sound the same.
We used a lot of the same sources to get it.
We already have a well defined set of ethics and practices.
Some of them are millennia old. We share that knowledge,
which has the effect of creating similar beliefs and actions
from person to person. This happens as a natural event.
So why do some feel that there is a need for more conformity ?
So much so, that they are willing to go to war over it ?
This is foolish at best and out and out stupidity at worst.
Do we not, as a group, have enough trouble getting the
world at large to accept who and what we are, without fighting
among ourselves ? Have we not learned the devastation that prejudice
has caused in every other area of human endeavor that has ever
had the misfortune to experience it . Are we still foolish enough
to turn that same effect on ourselves ?
True maturation of humanity means we get beyond this foolishness.
I would like to think we, as a group, can rise above this all too human failing
and reach for a tomorrow that does not depend on " I'm right, your wrong"
kind of thinking for any faith, but rather all of us, as one, seeking out truths
and sharing them with each other. I am willing to share mine, what say you ?