Friday, February 10, 2017

Positive and negative

Recently, the Asatru Folk Assembly updated its website (and if you haven't swung by lately, you should; it's a definite improvement over the old version), and in the process made some changes to the Declaration of Purpose.

In the process, they took out some language that defined what Asatru and the AFA was not. So lines such as "Asatru is not an excuse to look down on, much less to hate, members of any other race" were excised from the text.

I must confess, at the time, I was uncomfortable with that particular change (and others), and said so to the leadership. The answer I got was eye-opening, and in retrospect makes perfect sense.

Simply put, the AFA has chosen to define itself by what it is, and what Asatru is, rather than what they are not, or what they oppose.

Anything that was negative, whether in the form of "Asatru is not..." or "We staunchly oppose..." was gone, in favor of positive statements, such as "Asatru is..." or "The AFA supports..."

This sort of change has an impact throughout the organization, obviously. Most importantly, once you are no longer defined by those things that you are not, or that you are in opposition to, you cease to give those things power over you. It's a positive world-view, an empowering world-view, and one that puts you firmly in the driver's seat when it comes to achieving goals, or just living.

As the song says, you've got to ac-cen-tu-ate the positive...



Now, this doesn't mean that an absence of direct opposition means that you're necessarily in favor of something. It's just as I've said before; just because you love a thing doesn't mean you have to hate anything that is different. I can love the Aesir and not hate the Orishas. I can love white people and not hate black people. 


Of course, the other side is quite the opposite. It defines itself by what it is not, and by what it is against. Groups like Hugin's Heathen Hof, The Troth, and Heathen Talk do little more than vomit forth a steady stream of negative virtue signaling, as if to say, "we're the good ones, because we define ourselves by whom we hate."

They are defined by their hatreds. 

Some examples:
The Troth stands against any use of Germanic religion and culture to advance causes of racism, sexism, homophobia, white supremacy, or any other form of prejudice. ... With The Troth I stand against any use of Germanic religion and culture to advance causes of racism, sexism, homophobia, white supremacy, ableism, or any other form of prejudice.
So, should someone attend who is clearly not in line with our beliefs, such as a white supremacist wearing a t-shirt that espouses their beliefs, we do not stand with them in blot.
Your racially exclusive peckerwood fuckery will no longer be tolerated. Your neo-victorian [sic] heteronormative ignorance will no longer be tolerated.
My Heathenry does not feel the need to exclude others or raise me above them due to my ancestry. ... It does not flatten that rich religious and spiritual heritage into a puritanical Christian dichotomy. 
And on and on and on.

Now, the thing about all those statements is, it's all negative. "This is what I am not, and you should like be for it!" "This is what I am against, and you should praise me for it!" They're textbook examples of virtue-signalling. And it's all negative. All what they're against, or what they won't tolerate, or what they're not. And they call us intolerant? At least we let them keep their delusions relatively unmolested; they won't leave us alone with our reality. 

I keep hearing Heathens of all stripes saying that organizations, and individuals, should leave each other alone on things they disagree on, and just keep to themselves. I agree. But ask yourself; which side is actually doing that? The side that says "this is what we believe," with no implication whatsoever that everyone has to believe it too? Or the side that says "this is what we are against," which instantly places them in a position where they have no choice but to play the arbiter of what other people should and should not believe, and practice, and say. 

With positivity comes the implicit premise that you're not in the business of telling other people that "you're doing it wrong." People might be, but unless they're actively fucking with you, you let them go on their merry way. No skin off your apple.

With negativity, that's the only position possible, because you've defined yourself by the people you hate, and want to correct or destroy, with your stance. If someone is doing something "wrong" they must be corrected... or silenced.

Being positive means never having to say, "I give you the power to control what I do, because I have already defined myself by my reaction to you."

Give me positivity any time.

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