Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Heathenism is Choosing Dignity over Degeneration

Heathenism advocates strong, no-nonsense treatment of others, not to promote some stance of being "hard", but to preserve what is good by combating the Axe Age principle that people often shit on those who are best to them. In a hard age ruled by Giantish principles that might makes right, those who are not hard are often interpreted to be weak, and good is rewarded with ill. We need good in the world, but under these conditions, it is unsustainable if one is to put up with continual disappointment and poor treatment, which are erosive.

Healthy relationships can only grow out of a soil of mutual respect. Without þyrma, reverence, dignity, regard, respect due to one another, things can only degenerate. The heathen knows that far too many things are already in a state of degeneration to tolerate the cultivation of even more degeneration. If þyrma invokes the "I-Thou" relationships of the Golden Age, in the Axe Age, heathens dance with the playful paradox of "I-Thou with a Fist", the fist a sign of defiance, not a threat of violence per se. We always have the option to show someone the door. Even friends, if they slip and get sloppy, behaving in accord with the customs of degenerate times rather than the high-minded standards of those who truly respect each other, ought to be shown the door until such time as they can return a little contrite and ready to deal fairly. Sometimes "time out"s are needed.

No-nonsense cultivates clean, vibrant, dignified boundaries, and ought not to be confused with callousness. It is a simple radiation of the statement, "I respect myself", and that in order for us to relate, that is an unvoidable axiom whose violation will not be tolerated.

We heathens don't want to be "nice". In fact, we abhor "nice" behavior, because it is fake, insincere, masking behavior that can cover a variety of hidden motivations, including a lack of commitment to self-dignity. No, we prefer courtesy based on confidence, and kindness based on strength.

The difficulty is that sometimes a cause calls for sacrifice. One always wants to minimize the role of sacrifice, but one must also acknowledge where it is necessary and learn, painfully, to give up that which can no longer be held, and to do it, hopefully, with a sense of grace, and giving back what was given. Sometimes you have to throw the fish back into the water, and go back to fishing. This is a necessary attitude because being no-nonsense does not guarantee good results. You can't go into it with the expectation of victory, but rather the acknowledgement that demanding dignity in a degenerating relationship may end the relationship, and one is left lonely. But one always wants to avoid slavishness, no matter how well-rewarded slavishness may be, because the one reward that cannot be given to slavish behavior si the simple pleasure of looking in the mirror and liking the person you see there. That comes with honor and dignity.

The world is out of control. That's not all bad, because control can be over-esteemed, but we hope that the world's process is in the Gods' hands and not the Giants'. That, unfortunately, is often not the case in a world of free will where men are free to choose the higher or lower road, and often choose the very lowest. You're going to face some very difficult, painfully personal situations, because you will meet many people who shimmer with a wondrous and sparkling potential that can't help but charm you, and yet the sad fact is that in an age of degeneration, surrounded by all the bad influences, many people choose the worse rather than the better, and let slip that potential so mighty within them. When the voices of ogres shout about one, it is difficult to listen to the soft but firm voice of the fylgia urging good behavior and the pursuit of that potential which one was given. A gift should not be treated with such contempt!

In part, heathenism is simply about cultivating a relationship of honor, dignity, and frith with the fylgia, the personal dis assigned to us who carries our nature and our potential. One can only imagine a culture, these days, that cultivates this relationship, because the rule of this world these days seems to be quite the opposite, where we are almost trained in disrespecting that voice. "Conscience" is not a good enough word, because it is abstract and partial, but at least it begins to mark the territory a little bit. It's not just "conscience", but conscientiousness about the evolutionary imperative, and a dedication to unfolding that which is within one. Ethics here is the art of unfolding the self in such a way that you have the option to like who you are. Good self-relations are important because contempt for others often begins with contempt for self. Even those who seem "egotistical" often have abhorrent behavior towards their own fylgia, which whispers to us not out of a moralistic, preachy place, but the gentle insistence that we "can do better", and to a genuine heathen, this is not a nag, but a dare and a challenge that summons our dignity and our panache to stand tall and take on the challenge. The prospect to do better brings pleasure.

High-minding words in an age of degeneration. But heathenism is about choosing dignity over degeneration. And that can be a hard path. Yet it is full of rewards those who fall into degeneration can never, ever know. At least not until they pick themselves up, get their shit together, and begin behaving well, and treating themselves and others with the respect that is requisite for good, rewarding relations in the world.


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