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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in values

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I am increasingly disturbed by fellow Pagans/polytheists/occultists etc. who either so highly value gods and spirits, sanctity of sacred objects & places, or focus so much on environmental preservation and animal rights or other political ideologies that they devalue human worth and dignity. Now to be clear, I have often seen this as a critique of Pagan movement from conservative Christians and atheists alike. I am not sure if I can convince people who don't already to start truly valuing human welfare and rights and acting as if they do. It seems an ability that you to some degree either have or you don't. In my experience, a consistent commitment to human rights seems to correlate with having an experience of dehumanization oneself. This is not having your feelings hurt a little bit, being a "special snowflake" (though if that's an insult, I'll wear it with pride!)  

It's nope, you don't really count as a human being, your experience doesn't count. Even when the Powers that Be of whatever social situation, business or organization you are in repeatedly insist that they "welcome everyone" they don't really mean you. Actions always speak louder than words. Many of us who do have these experiences however still have the people will miss, the bigotries and biases we still hold. Ironically because we are human! This is a mistake I often see new Pagans make. After a happy honeymoon period of discovering Paganism and idealizing it in comparison to whatever their background is, they find out we have problems too. I too have run into this. I frequently have assumed that Pagans, or liberals/progressives/leftists, or whatever in-group I belong to will have a more enlightened and inclusive attitude towards disabled folks or other marginalized groups. And I have all too often dehumanized The Other Side in various arguments and the aftermath of elections. But this just keeps adding to the problem. Perpetuating this cycle of dehumanization just leads to more hate and violence.  Remembering the basic value of dignity & worth of human beings and human life, however interpreted, is often forgotten by both left and right, red and blue. If there's a different philosophical framework you prefer over the concept of "rights", then feel free to argue for it.  

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tacy West
    Tacy West says #
    An all autistic household sounds so supportive. I had two autistic children in a time when diagnosis was not done, 50 some years
  • Mariah Sheehy
    Mariah Sheehy says #
    Yes, we are seeing that more now among the Millennial generation- choosing your family & banding together by necessity.
  • Tacy West
    Tacy West says #
    Yes, yes. I just listened to book on CD "Conversation" by a social scientist regarding the change in Empathy due to separation

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_bullcoin_20161103-011534_1.jpgOne of my friends finds the idea that things having prices is downright offensive. College, for example should be free, because you can’t put a price on something that has such a powerful effect on one’s life.  Many of my friends believe the healthcare should be completely free because you can’t put a value on human life. To even attempt to do so is morally wrong. But lets unpack this concept.

To say that all life has infinite value is the same thing as saying it has no value. In the realm of the non-embodied, there may (I wouldn’t know) be no need to pick and choose between one thing or another, or how one spends one’s time (whatever that might mean in such a context). But we live on Earth. If all things are equally valuable, how can we decide how to designate the limited amount of time and energy we have to use? If both Mary and Eva want to spend time with us, how do we decide? One might say “Both!” But it is a fact that spending a bunch of time with Mary and Eva together is not equivalent to spending less time with each of them individually. A judgment must be made. We are limited by our physicality.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Role of Belief in Magic

Belief is a powerful tool in magic, and in spirituality in general. Belief is a funnel for attention and intention. Whether you believe in something because you genuinely believe in it or believe in it for the sake of something you are trying to achieve, belief has a purpose in magical work. I find the following passage to be illustrative of the importance of belief in magical work:

Be it noted that we do not have to believe or disbelieve in the actuality of such inner agencies per se. what we must believe in is the possibility they exist in their own state of being, yet are capable of interaction with ours by unspecified means or degrees...We need not believe in 'spirit' unless we want to, but we positively must believe in our capability of living and behaving as if the energies available to such entities might be employed on our behalf. From Exorcizing the Tree of Evil by William G. Gray

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PaganNewsBeagle Faithful Friday Sept 26

Happy Friday, Beagle-fans! Today we have a bouquet of religious stories starting out with one about not being religious. 7 varieties of unreligion; Hindu Goddess festival begins; teaching children values depends on politics and religion; selfies of Sikhs; Pagans on death and burial.

This story from Salon posits that there are seven kinds of unreligion (including pantheism, which is awfully close to many Pagan beliefs to my way of thinking, and maybe shouldn't be considered "unreligion" at all.)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thrift is a Pagan value

In a fascinating post that examines the impact of free events on the economic viability of the Pagan community, Sable Aradia uses the tongue-in-cheek subheading of, "Pagans are . . . Thrifty" to drive home a point about one of the ways we struggle with financial issues.  What she means is that we're cheap.  While I won't take exception with that -- heck, I come from a long line of tight-fists which I could probably trace back to the invention of money itself -- I do wish she would take another look at what the word actually means.

I think she would find that thrift is a sincerely Pagan value.

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As my readers know, this column frequently has a political orientation.  Some people object a religious site should not have political content.  But historically spirituality has never been purely private except when viewed from a secular perspective that relegates it to the purely subjective, like preferring chocolate ice cream over vanilla. Interestingly, this secular outlook imports powerful monotheistic assumptions under the surface.

However to say that religion has unavoidable political implications is not to make the next jump and say that religion leads to One Right Way politically. This totalitarian conclusion has roots in religions dominating societies and also claiming there is only One Right Way. Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism are tragic examples. By contrast, religions emphasizing sacred immanence, that divinity is within the world wherever else it might be, generally recognize many valid spiritual paths, and more easily live at peace with a diverse political landscape. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    We have come almost full circle about Liberalism over the past couple hundred years. Liberal started out as someone favoring Libe
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Greybeard- You will never understand this or the following columns if you think of them treating liberalism and conservatism as a
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    So much has changed politically, even since the 1970s, that the U.S. mass media's notions of 'liberal' and 'conservative' don't ev
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I will cover this issue never fear. But before it can be really understood I think we need to understand where liberalism and cons
  • Don Kraig
    Don Kraig says #
    Gus, this was a great historical article. Thank you. It seems to me, though, that you have not yet covered how they have evolved
Before Gordon Gekko There Was Star Trek

Before Ayn Rand became a household name or Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in the movie, Wall Street, captivated the masses with his "greed is good" ideals, a license to callously cheat and exploit, we believed in the progressive values of Star Trek.  Remember, in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan (1982) when Spock's dying words to Kirk were "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."  Or a few years later, in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) Picard explains the world view of the future when he says "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives.  We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity." In fact, Star Trek's mission was one of exploration and humanitarianism rather than the Right Wing rejection of science or the Ayn Rand values to spurn collectivism and altruism.

That said, I wonder how many have considered how much more Trekkies and Goddess Advocates have in common?  Let's see.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte says #
    Resistance is Not Futile. Resistance to the eternal spiritual 'darkness' is most decidedly not futile. We - as a lifeform & specie

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