“There has never been set up a statue in honor of a critic” — attributed to Jean Sibelius, composer. If ever there was a trap to make us dumber and take our energy it is criticizing… More
“Every act of rebellion expresses… an appeal to the essence of being” — Albert Camus.
Hierarchies serve an essential function: to pass knowledge down from those who know more, and have more experience, skill, understanding, and wisdom, to those who have less. This is the same, whether it is a martial arts school, a fraternity such as Freemasonry, or an esoteric society, etc.
But hierarchies can become stuck. The members of the group end up worshipping — or at least deferring to — the positions, officers, titles, etc., that are above them in the hierarchy, rather than being actively involved in the work, which becomes subsidiary.
When that happens, the group begins to focus on the “business” of the group, holding meetings to arrange other meetings, and so on.
However, functioning hierarchies foster a spirit of rebellion. But, crucially, this rebellion is not against the hierarchy, but, rather, for it, and in support of it. It is a rebellion against one’s own lethargy, and one’s own lowly place. The functioning hierarchy, in other words, cultivates the realization that the point of the structure is to encourage growth. And it cultivates that dynamism of spirit that ensures its members will take initiative and will contribute, rather than deferring to those above.
The functioning hierarchy encourages its members to move through it, not just for oneself, but for the good of all of its members, so that higher levels of knowledge are preserved and so that there are more people who can pass knowledge and skill down.
Despite the jargon they often speak in, today’s critics and rebels bring nothing either new or deep.
The answer is not to rebel against, but to rebel for something.
This is difficult. It will require studying the things — and perhaps even the people — you dislike and asking yourself what good there is in them. It will mean asking, and finding out, where you were wrong. With the good you find, cultivate yourself.
If you are part of a group or society, rebel: take the initiative and contribute positively. Teach yourself, teach others, use your skills and talents to improve things.
“If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are not quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting” — David Bowie.
From the outside, things often look impossible — the martial arts demonstration, the gallery exhibition, the author that has opened up a new world for us.
When we start out, we generally aspire to be like someone else we’ve seen. Fortune cookie wisdom tells us that we just need to be ourselves. But, in reality, to live any kind of fulfilling life, or to do anything memorable or important, we need to push beyond ourselves. Continue reading “Where Things Happen”
Dickerson is a student of the Germanic mysteries, Indo-European religious and linguistic studies, British cunning-folk magic, and is an initiated Braucher, or Powwow practitioner. He has also studies the rural folk magic and traditions of North America, Europe and Mexico. Continue reading “Podcast: Language of the Corpse — Death and the Body in Ancient European Magic”