Sunday, 6 September 2009

Some More Dirty Words

A while ago now I had a little moan about the current dirty words in paganism, one of which was 'dogma' and the other 'worship'. There is currently a little uproar going on at – brace yourself, those of a nervous disposition might not want to click on this link and I apologise for any ill feelings that come upon you whilst there - OBOD (I say uproar, but in fact I don't think I have ever seen one there, much mutual masturbation of egos and 'personal truth/awen/inspiration/bollocks' but that is about it. It is a wonderful example of how people in groups can react so badly to something they perceive as threatening that they eventually get to the point where they have become that very same thing without realising it. In this case the need to keep away from dogma itself has become a dogma for them. Some of the people on that discussion have some good insights but unfortunately the old hands of the boards have squashed it with a lack of understanding of what is being said. Good on them!

As someone I hold in high regard once said; “dogma should be the foundation we build on, not the roof over our heads”. And he is right, dogma should be the things commonalities that bind us together not the chains that hold us captive.

There is another dirty word in paganism these days; label. Modern pagans don't like to be questioned about the labels they take for themselves or other apply to them. “I am a druid goddamitt and you cant tell me otherwise, even if I do have an athame, pentacle and use the Witches Bible”. You know the kind of thing. People will always harp on about how labels are damaging, limiting and something they really don't like. Here is something for all those people, try this word out' noun. That's it, noun. One of the essential components of almost any language you care to think or. Noun; the word that describes something so that it can be talked about and be understood. Language works because we all understand it, to go screwing about with it causes problems, exactly the kind of problems when people gather together to talk paganism. There you will find nouns turned inside out, twisted beyond recognition and used in whole new and inventive ways.


Bo said...

Yes, at some point paganism swallowed the postmodernist relativistic thing wholesale, with its Foucault-inspired positioning of any and all authority as wholly negative, and its suspicion of 'grand narratives' (like in some quarters, alas, logic and the scientific method!)

Of course most pagans wouldn't know Foucault if he came up from the tomb and bit them, but he's the ultimate root of all this. (And much that he wrote is of interest.)

Being frightened of actually working out, claiming, articulating and *defending* a belief-system that makes sense to you is rather infantile. It implies a wierd lack of confidence in your own reasoning powers, as well as, often, a nervy herd mentality and a shyness about debate.

No one really *challenges* anything in OBOD, TDN, etc: think of the way that people use the work 'challenge' with a kind of patronising social-worker-esque, 'Alright children, don't be too worried, but here, in a shacred way, is a challenge for your shouls.....' before raising some banal point that wouldn't challenge a termite.

It's simply incomprehensible to me, being used as I am to an intellectually pugilistic academic culture in which you learn by people arguing with you and calling bullshit.

Every seen a video of novice Buddhist monks debating philosophy? They beat the intellectual shit out of each other---because they want to build on rock, not sand.

Lee said...

i have been banned from two websites for asking people what makes them a Wiccan. mainly because i disagree with what constitutes a Wiccan and a wiccan. i was called elitist and intolerant.

im rather proud of gaining those titles :)

i think the trend is for people to act in a heerd like way; follow the leader, get what 'wisdom' they can for free and cry 'intolerance' when someone from outside the herd pokes away at thier anthill. essentially it is just that - an anthill of drones with one or two queens running the show.

god... i think the anthill analogy works! occassional factioning and swarming, mindless males dominated by stronger women.

i think i have stumbled on something there :)

so anyway... wheres that boiling kettle?

arth frown said...

"dogma should be the foundation we build on, not the roof over our heads"

Wasn't that me who said that?

I was involved a little with that OBOD thread. There is a few threads about "what is druidry". It seems ironcally that no dogma has become very resrictive within druidry. With no common argeement and common ritual consenus. It seems druidry has become about arguing your own point of view rather than anything creative.

Potia said...

Your post actually led me to scan through this thread on OBOD. I couldn't face reading it all - too much of it.

It seems that there are a few who are coming to the conclusion that modern druidry is undefinable. Some seem to like it that way. Time will tell what emerges from all this but I wouldn't be surprised if some come the way of Brython eventually.