That one isn’t Pagan enough to be Pagan. That one isn’t liberal enough to be a Liberal. She’s not woman enough to be a woman. They’re not enough of this to be that. He’s too much of this to be that. ::big sigh:: And on and on it goes.
Online debates, particularly within Facebook, are some of the most inane things I have ever seen. One side gathers up the “evidence” to determine if the other side is enough of this to be that. And when the other side is “proven” to not be enough of this to be that, what started is a difference of opinion on what a definition meant becomes a curtain of insults that mirror the coverage of arrows fired from the archers of the XIX Legio when battling the tribes of Germania. And a discussion turns from debate to fractious battles of one group against another. A veritable contest to see who can piss further up the hill – neither aware that the ammunition will eventually run down the slope to envelope their toes and ankles.
Perhaps its symptomatic of a need to find shelter during the time of the #Storm. We push others out of the way so that we find cover from the lightning and the wind – not worrying about whether that individual makes it out of the #Storm as well. Survival instinct is a well known concept. And some people are known to practice self-survival over all else. But then, how can an online discussion of a topic become something akin to a need for survival? For me, this makes no sense.
A need to be right all the time? Thus achieving the medal for knowledge? I have known people like this too. I have even “debated” (if you could call any form of communication with this type of individual a “debate”) this type of individual, back in the asynchronous days of online communication on Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs – and I know, my age – much like my slip – is showing). No matter how many times you showcased a different way of looking at a topic, the other side would find some manner of discrediting (at least in their eyes) that methodology or perspective.
I remember a particularly difficult exchange on The Church Mouse BBS, which was run out of Arlington, Texas back in the day. There were three protagonists on the system: myself (a Pagan), an Aetheist, and a Chassidic Jew. Against dozens of Christians, mostly Southern Baptist types. No matter the discussion, everything eventually wound down to a perspective that the three of us did not accept Jesus ben Joseph as Lord and Savior of this world. We could have discussed the results of the Super Bowl, and someone would eventually wind the discussion into the acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Being rather young – and a little too fervent – in my Pagan beliefs, I would argue with extreme zeal. My goal? Back then, I am not sure what in the Nine Hells I was trying to accomplish – except maybe to just be a spur in the side of some Christians. Maybe even to “win” an argument. Now, nearly thirty years later, I doubt I would even wade further than my initial statement that I am a Pagan, believe in many Gods and Goddesses, and am quite happy and content walking the Path that I am on. Past that point, I have no need or desire to defend who or what I am to anyone else but me. So I doubt I would have carried on in those conversations (ha!) for too long.
Of course, that is boring as all can be. There would be no interest in anything for that discussion. So what would be left? Back in those days, I would have booted up Aces! on my Amiga and flown World War I combat missions until I felt a need to do something else. These days? I would pick up one of many books I have on my “to-read” shelf, put some Jazz on the XM radio channel, and poured myself a nice glass of Bushmill’s whiskey with a couple of ice cubes. Or I would strap on my tennis shoes, grab my staff, and go for a walk. Or I would go outside to the stone circle, and spend some time communing with my Gods and Goddess (Crow, Coyote, Fliodhais). Or any number of other things I have on my task list of stuff to do.
And that is the rub, is it not? We spend our time arguing over who is enough this to be that. Or what those mean or not. We piss up the hill to see who has the better stream, unaware that when it comes back down the slope – we wind up smelling like piss. We argue about who should be allowed into our shelter from the #Storm, and who should have to face the wrath of the wind and rain – totally forgetting that we are all human, regardless of our beliefs, or how we individually approach the Gods.
Thinking back, I wonder what kind of Pagan those Christians thought I was? I met a few of them face-to-face over the years. They seem to be the same blood and water-filled meat-sacks that I am. They have the same fears about living in the world we are in. They have the same desire to interface to the best of their ability with their God as I do with mine. We all face the same #Storm. To survive it, we are going to have to find some kind of common ground and work together.
Or maybe not. Maybe we should fight among each another. After all, we divide and sub-divide ourselves quite well. We humans are good at that. And taken separately, one at a time, we are definitely easier to control and defeat.
Me? I will shelter anyone that needs to be sheltered from the #Storm. I only hope that others will do the same for me, if that need ever arises.