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2280Re: [Asatru-U] Here's a thread...

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  • Lissa
    Apr 30, 2006
      On Sat, 2006-04-29 at 21:18 -0700, arlie@... wrote:

      > First of all, dealing with things includes using whatever tools are
      > available. Refusing to use available tools - because one "should be
      > strong enough not to need them" _isn't_ dealing with things. To make
      > an analogy, some of us are stronger than others, physically. There are
      > things I can't carry any distance - so I use a cart, or a wheelbarrow,
      > or a helper. I don't leave them sitting there, because I ought to be
      > stronger. I also don't (if I have sense) risk injuring myself by
      > attempting to lift and carry things too big for me, except perhaps in
      > an emergency.

      I agree, but, Arlie, I think you could have picked a more efficient
      analogy in this case. Depression is a chemical imbalance. I have to take
      thyroid hormone or I will die (painfully). This is because my thyroid
      doesn't pump out the right chemicals.

      Does this make me a bad heathen? Well, it happened before I got roped
      into this circus, so either the gods wanted a broken heathen, or they
      don't care. It is simply a chemical imbalance that, if I take the pill
      every day, doesn't affect how I live or what I am.

      Now, when I found out I was going to have to take medication or die, I
      was really angry. I also started worrying about things like how I would
      survive if civilization collapsed. But, at the core of I, I felt weak
      and impotent because I had to take medication. This was irrational, but
      it was (and is, on the very occasional bad day) real. Thinking it
      through helped me to realize I was being irrational, and that helped,
      but, basically, I had to just get used to it.

      I think medication for depression is closer to that. Or, perhaps, to
      refusing to wear a coat in the winter to show one is tough, and ending
      up ill or frostbitten. Silly boasting and posturing that makes one
      useless to the community.

      Citations in the lore? I can't really think of any, with the possible
      exception of a few episides in Egil's Saga (which is a veritable DSM IV
      of the Viking Age in modern terms, showing once again why modern terms
      don't apply well to the Viking Age). When his son (IIRC) is killed Egil
      refuses to eat or drink, and hides in his bed closet. This sounds like
      depression to me, although I'm a librarian not a psychologist. After a
      few days of this, his daughter tricks him into eating, and basically
      gets him going again.

      Thordis' actions imply to me that Egil was left to his depression to see
      if he could work it out himself, and, when he couldn't, the family acted
      to help him. I suspect this was both because they cared for him, and
      because he was a needed member of the community.

      My own sense of the way Icelanders worked was that Thordis would have
      gone charging in with a bottle of Prozac or Ativan if she'd had it or
      been able to steal it.

      > But that's the smaller part of this. The real question is whether
      > heathens are required to be supermen. Is this a way of life for
      > everyone, including not just heroes and the potentially great, but
      > also their more ordinary families, neighbours, and friends?
      > My experience, cynically speaking, is that modern heathenry too often
      > attempts to be a religion for supermen, and ends up instead with a
      > collection of poseurs, each trying to show themselves worthy, with
      > emphasis on "show" - rather than _be_.

      Oh, gods, yes. And, if the phrase "religion for supermen" doesn't run
      chills up your spine, you don't know your history.

      Heathenism is about what you are, not about the show you put on for
      others. Unfortunately, there are a lot of folks focuses on the shallow
      splashy stuff.

      Be well,


      Our whole American way of life is a great war of ideas,
      and librarians are the arms dealers selling weapons to both

      James Quinn, WESTPAC/NOCALL joint meeting, 1990
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