Thinking, today, as I pack for PantheaCon. And this came to mind:
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” ― Isaac Asimov
Much as I agree with the above quote — which is more true today than it EVER was in Asimov’s life — I also am very, very worried by the amount of anti-religion, anti-supernatural, anti-mystic, anti-magic, anti-Other that I have been observing — in increasing quantity — amongst the Pagan and Polytheist communities. It saddens me to see the spirits stripped away from spirit traditions and communication styles; it saddens me to see Humanism (or Humanist ideals) spoken of by co-“religionists” with the same zeal and fervor that they carried in dangerous eras of our past. Is it really so hard to be both firmly theistic and spiritual and magically configured, AND recognize the power of science, mind?
I would like to see a rise in “empirical polytheistic religion” — that is, polytheistic religion “based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic” — instead of this zealous anti-mystic trend that people keep trying to call religion and spirituality.
I posed this topic on Facebook, and a friend was quick to reply:
“Traditional Occultism was supposed to offer a format for empirical mysticism. But, modern Paganism I think has been divorced from it for some time and embraced the all-accepting “New Ageism” so prevalent within the movement. In response to the pan-acceptance has risen Humanism, trickled even into Recon and other Polytheist camps. “Oh no we really don’t BELIEVE in the myths and Gods…” Because they can’t seem to somehow justify how anyone can seriously worship Deities who are conniving, argumentative, etc.” — Oracle
There seems to be a growing — and disturbing, to me — trend amongst “spiritual communities” to quickly distance one’s ideas of religion or spirituality from “real belief” in favor of more comfortable psychological or Humanist models, or — just as frustrating and equally dangerous — “relativism”. I have seen this in shamanic circles (which of course are already dangerously interwoven with certain psychological modalities and models, thanks to Harnerian koolaid) and magickal circles (which are quick to shift footing to the “reason and mind” side of the their traditions and away from anything stinking of actual belief or paradigm acknowledging the presence of “real” spirits and gods) and so on. Further, people don’t seem to recognize that there are differences between magickal or occult approaches to “stuff”, and religious or devotional approaches, which is frightening to me: either is fine and both are good but they are not the same thing. (I have both a magickal practice and a devotional practice; these are not the same.)
Also? Fuck relativism.
Relativism is ONLY useful as a navigation toolset, NOT as a central processing paradigm. Shut the fuck up with that shit altogether, too, if you never bothered to learn the disciplines of rhetoric and debate, you smarmy fucks.
Relativism works in an intellectual’s toolset only when leveraged against a fucking backbone of intellectual discipline, rather than watered-down trite one-size fits all armchair “everyone’s an expert!” bullshit.
Fuck everyone. Also, I’m out of whiskey, because I decanted it all into flasks and packed them for PantheaCon. Rum, too. So I’m down to this red ale, which is tasty, but.. not quite the same.