It is a new secular calendric year, folks, and in 2014 I’d (perhaps very naively) love to see a world in which nobody gets threatened with sexual assault or murder or “magical curses” in public comments or private messages for sharing their views on the internet, where nobody is accused of being “a nutter” (as Johnny Humanist loves to grind out at people expressing real religious experiences and ideas), where legitimately oppressed groups (such as those operating in some spectrum of psychiatric diagnosis or treatment) do not find clinical words meant to describe specific things co-opted by ignorant masses to destructively characterize one’s “opposition”.
I would love to see a world where accusations of fundamentalism or Nazism or radical cult-leader-ism or psychosis and so on were handled only by those actually qualified to even approach those terms, after rigorous training in their use (or at least after watching an hour-long documentary on accurate depictions of those things in the really-real world of mass-suicide and world wars and shit). Because words and things? They do break bones and they do hurt, even more impressively and oppressively than sticks and stones. Because sticks can be burned and stones can be used to build a fortifying wall, or carved into spearpoints to plunge through the throats of the ignorant fuck hordes hurling them with wanton lust-for-strife in their gleaming little eyes. Words spoken are invisible and cannot be shoveled aside like sleeted snowfall, and words written can hang heavily like a guillotine gavel of judgment over those they’re lobbed at (or those who just got caught in the cross-fire or worse are dragged into a conflict just to be used as an illustration point to degrade the opposition…!) for months or years or decades or all of time, the weight of words lingers.
Wouldn’t it be super special if we used all of our innovative and advanced technology, in this era of telecommunication and electronically informed digital masturbatory revelry, of limitless opportunities for education and learning, wherein the sum-total of all human knowledge ever can potentially sit in our back-pocket powered by a small flat circle of the third element in our universe, for actually engaging like mature adults capable of self-control, self-awareness, self-reflection and fucking self-respect? Having teeth in your writing is fine, but don’t pretend you’re something you’re not. If you’re going to seek conflict, don’t try to hide behind ideas put together by somebody else: just be honest with yourself that you have a moistening desire to fuck somebody’s shit up on the internet, and then use the appropriate means to do so. And don’t pretend to be high-and-mighty about that shit, while you’re parading through somebody else’s back yard or Temple space setting shit on fire with torches you didn’t even have the skill to assemble or light yourself, so you stole it from an actual ideological movement that was fighting an actual battle worth brandishing torches for. Stop using psychology and education and social rights movements and victim’s rights language as your personal fucking surplus shopping station for arming yourself against those you really should just be calling a fucking asshole whose very existence makes you feel uncomfortable and be the fuck done with it.
What would the internet look like if we all followed some basic guidelines of how to not be a fucking douchmuffin to one another whose ideas might be counter to our own?
Of, if the social permission to continue being a douchemuffin is the only reason you pay your broadband bill every month, maybe you can do so in a way that is slightly less destructive to very important things, like mental health groups, religiously devoted theological movements, racial groups, and so forth? If you really need to be five years old and playing tug-of-war with a little matching shovel-and-pail set that you really think should just be yours-yours-yours, at least have the confidence of self to say what you really mean, which is “fuck you, individual who disagrees with my need to always feel comfortable and permitted to be as lazy and/or static as I’d like to be”, or whatever the fuck the actual function is. Stop stealing words like “Nazi” or “fundamentalist” from those who sort of still need those words to mean something in reference to the actual hate-groups and dangerous religious movements that are very much real in our world, and definitely stop picking language which should be reserved (with respect and compassion) to describe hardships of the psychiatric, medical, developmental or social-class related variety, because those are fucking human beings that you are dehumanizing in order to get your rocks off calling some infamous online blogger a “dirty word”.
Because here’s the thing: there are plenty of dirty words out there and even fields of science that study their use. But for somebody — especially somebody trying to somehow have a moral-or-intellectual high-ground, which I can only assume is the case when throwing around words like “Nazi” and “delusional” — to use words and terms like “fundamentalist” or “delusional” or “clinically unstable” or “schizophrenic” to describe authors or ideologies that they do not like, is an exercise in dehumanization and degradation of human dignity and social civility for no reason other than calling somebody a “fucking dickwad”. Just fucking call them a dickwad, you dumb fuck.
If everyone said what they meant — or just shut the fuck up — instead of trying to co-opt language from another field altogether in order to piggy-back the social cred that word carries from its actual “home field”, we’d probably all be swearing a lot more and so forth. And that might suck. Or be awesome. But it probably would lead to a whole lot less would-be bloggers and so-called “voices” of our various communities getting read, because today it seems like most anyone can get a blog just by deciding to hate on a group and call them “fundies”.
Guidelines, people. Grow up or be honest with your infantile impulse and just call us fucks, and be done with it. Don’t try to pretend that you’re coming from a place of reasoned or ethically informed process and platform; you’re not.
To un-generalize this a little bit:
There are people out there who are experiencing the gods in a direct way, experiencing Their agency, experiencing Their divine blessings or infernal ire in very real and immediate and consequential fashions. They are having experiences, internally and externally, which are not explainable or helpfully contextualizable in any other platform of theory or practice, anywhere, no matter how much you love to jerk-off to Jung or rub up on a fucking tree, and there are branches of polytheistic authorship and professional, clergical development which have stepped forward to begin giving voice to these experiences. We are not “the voice”, and we are not even “one voice”, and in many instances “we” are not even a “we” but a “he and she and e and them”. We don’t all agree on everything, we are not a secret conclave of theological radicals seeking to co-opt your groved circle-jerks; we are servants to our gods who have been tasked with providing practical language and communication and fucking sanctuary to the experiences of those who will not find place elsewhere. We are flooded daily with emails and messages and comments from people thanking us for writing something that “for the first time ever” truly described and contextualized their own set of experiences. You’re not attacking us when you call us Nazis — or anthropocentric schizophrenics — and though impious and disrespectful as shit, you’re also not attacking our gods. You’re attacking the fucking human people who have nobody to turn to because you’re too busy rubbing up on trees or treating the Red Book papercuts on your genitals to pay attention to the fact that there are huge amounts of people who are struggling every day to figure out a way through their “Divine Trauma” (as new voice on the scene Rhyd Wildermuth terms it), because when the gods show up “for really reals”, they often do so in an upheaving, life-changing-and-not-in-a-metaphorical-way fashion, and fuck that is hard to go through alone. How do I know?
Because I fucking went through it alone.
And so did most of the other people who you love to hate in the “polytheism camp”.
Your groups and fancies and ritual protocols and borrowed-from-another-group-who-got-it-from-a-psychologist-who-they-didn’t-really-read or whatever the fuck failed to provide context, space, intervention or protocol for what we were experiencing, and for what our gods were crafting us to be. Magickal theory and occult structures similarly will not suffice to explain, articulate, navigate or even basically fucking relate these experiences in anything other than a potentially destructive fashion. Popular conceptions of polytheism are plagued by what I call “Bulfinch-ism”, e.g. the literary fictionalization and lumping-together-of-things found in the fields of myth and legend, and similarly are infected with strains of monism or fractured dualism which just don’t accurately describe gods of agency and consequence in a way that will help those who are experiencing Them directly in this way.
The fact that mainstream paganism(s) and occult/magickal communities don’t presently provide space or context for these experiences is not a reason to disregard/disown/destroy those groups or communities, nor should they feel threatened by the fact that there are religious/theological/deity-related needs arising that they cannot resolve to meet themselves. Nobody in the polytheistic progressive party (which is not a real thing, but, alliteration is cool, like bow-ties) is actually suggesting that these groups should fuck-off-and-die, or cease to be: we are writing about devotional polytheism, about agency of spirit and about the consequences of getting it wrong because holy fuck, that is a thing, and yes Virginia, gods are real and they can rip your bloody arms off and beat you to death with them.
So, guidelines. Protocols. Ground rules. Indicative ideological injunctions (bow-ties!) on how to go about talking about stuff, and things, on the internet. Which is a sea of stuff you might not agree with. This is just a brainstorming proposal, here, and I really hope that somebody with more caffeine in their veins comes around to revise or replace it. But seriously. Stop that shit. Pretend like your brainmeat can be used for something other than stealing words that are way above your intellectual pay-grade and lazing your way through the cred those words carry from their authentic fields of deployment, because, fuck, you’re an asshole and I don’t know how this sentence should end so here is a period.
- Try to reserve the word “Nazi” for actual Nazis and hate-groups, and try not to borrow “fundamentalist” in order to degrade the religious systems of people who you just don’t like because they’re not just religious hobbyists. Apply this rule to any other word you want to use to paint the group or author you don’t like as a Sci-fi/Fantasy Epic Villain/Monster/Imperial Baddie, because up to and until those authors actually move up into the world of mass genocide, mass slavery, wanton geo-political slaughter or even basic institutional taxation, those are not accurate comparisons so shut the fuck up.
- Leave all fucking clinical and medical language the fuck alone, unless you are discussing real and compassion-oriented elements of the psychiatric, diagnostic or medical worlds. Do not fucking cross those fucking lines.
- Do not go around accusing people of shit you clearly haven’t actually thought about, just because they make you uncomfortable. Or, alternatively…
- If you absolutely must go around conflict-seeking like a five year old at people who make you uncomfortable, use five year old language and call them douchemuffins.
- Do not dehumanize anyone, you fuck. or, alternatively…
- If you absolutely must go around dehumanizing because you’re a fuck-blooded flame-troll, pick one person at a time and do not use or craft language that dehumanizes other groups, because…
- There is no such thing as acceptable collateral damage in this shit.
- So fucking stop it.
- And die (eventually). (Can I have your skull?)
P.S. it is not my intent to dehumanize or degrade those who find value in the works of Carl Jung (as I myself find his works to be inspirational and groundbreaking) nor in those who find religious and/or spiritual importance in ecological connection, consideration and communion, whether conceived of as theistic or not (I fucking love trees and animals). I am totally being a dick and using these expressions of engagement in a perhaps hypocritical — but honest to myself and my audience — fashion.