Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Some Thoughts on 'Living With Honour'

I finished the book about a week ago now I think. There were a few things about it that annoyed me royally and these were always there in the background nagging and bitching about it as a continued, this marred the experience somewhat and made me quite antagonistic about what I was reading. I think one of the key things was her use of *Pagan and *Paganism to denote her very specific brand of pagan and paganism unique to her and probably very few others. She mentions this in one line at the beginning of the book and by a few pages later you find yourself slipping out of the habit of subconsciously noting it’s specific meaning with every use and getting annoyed that she seems to speaking for all pagans or what they should and shouldn’t be doing and/or believing. Yes this is down to me as the reader, but I do think it a very clumsy way of addressing the issue on her part. I don’t know if this is something others felt was a problem.

This raises another issue; this isn’t a book of pagan ethics (as it says on the cover), it is a book of one pagan’s ethics based upon her own very restrictive ideals (the review by the Druid network is rather lengthy and praising, as this ERO’s own organisation, I do wonder who wrote it).

There was much of it I heartily agreed with, and much I didn’t. I found her discussion on the subjects pertaining to nonhuman animals to have an awful lot of out of date information and to be emotionally loaded in much the same way you find PETA campaigns. This led me on to wonder why it is she advocates proper treatment of nonhuman animals on an ethical basis because they are ‘equal’ to us and ‘as deserving of proper treatment’ as us, when she quite possibly eats vegetables or uses antibiotics. Her logic sets itself up to advocate presumably a vegan lifestyle but seems to draw the same kind imaginary line slightly further down the tree of life as non-vegans have when it comes to eating some other animals.

Her apparent rejection of modern medicine is quite concerning, especially when she talks of using herbs instead who sing their own soul song. Again, I wonder if she advocates the use of antibiotics or would prefer to suffer pneumonia etc.

Anyway, in all this is the kind of book the pagan community needs, not as a source for their own ethics and which to model them on, but to give them the kinds of subjects and questions they need to ask themselves. It is the kind of thing we need to grow up as a community in the UK, if nothing else this is a string point.


The Heron's Stare said...

Some good points here.

Certainly we need to grow up as a pagan community and face serious issues. And we need a critical debate so anything that promotes that is a good thing.

EB said...

Hmmm. Sounds as though I'd like to read it, even if I do have to go through it in short bursts to keep the annoynace factor down...

It's unfortunate though that some spiritual things seem to me to lose some of their power when articulated, which is inconvenient for debate.