Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Hate Makes a Bad Master

The news in America is hard to hear these days, and one sees others differently.

We all feel hatred from time to time, and probably that's as it should be. Sometimes it may even be a good. Surely it is good to hate injustice. Surely it is good to hate the wrong. Perhaps—the voices of the ancestors do not speak unanimously here—there are even times when it is right to hate other people.

But the ancestors never numbered hatred among the virtues. Love, however, is counted so. It is virtuous to love. To hate, though—appropriate though it may be—can never be a virtue.

While a virtue, though, love remains, in and of itself, insufficient. Love is not all we need. One virtue can never be enough; we need them all. To give away everything that one owns may be exemplary Generosity, but when one's family starves because of it, we have thereby acted unvirtuously because we have failed in Responsibility. Not to mention Love.

It is up to us to rule our own emotions, not to be ruled by them. To be ruled by our emotions inevitably leads to unvirtuous action. For a warrior to fight other warriors may be right action; it may even be virtuous. For a warrior to fight unarmed non-combatants can never be anything but shame, cowardice, and dishonor.


Concerning hatred, there is one thing of which we can be certain: in time, we will surely become what we hate. To look at history is to see the truth of this.

So choose your hatreds carefully.

They will be your future.






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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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