So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

25 June, 2012

H is for Handholding and Headpatting

Every so often, some little kerfluffle goes around, about how the poor fragile newbies really need to be coddled and condescended to so that they will not flee from the big scary pagan world, and how people who are more established in their religion have some kind of obligation to provide education to others solely because they are more established.

Back to being the dancing monkey and listening to people sound like they got their social cues out of Derailing for Dummies.

When I am in various pagan communities, I am there to hang out with other people with religious perspective kind of like mine.  That doesn't make me a resource you can mooch off of, your own personal pagan-oriented search engine.  You cannot plug search terms into me and get the secrets of the universe.  I have other things to do with my life, even when I'm talking to other pagans.

I am not in the mollycoddling business.  And, too often, I hear people talk about how newbies need to be mollycoddled, wrapped up in cotton wool and never, ever questioned, jostled, bumped, or unsettled, lest they flee for more welcoming environments that will not correct their errors, contain substantial conversations about significant matters, or treat them like adults.

Apparently we are supposed to hearken back to when we were new and terrified of all this ookyspooky religion stuff, much like in order to do other basic tasks in our lives we are supposed to hearken back to when we were hot pink badgers with an unfortunate skin condition and a desire to sing Gilbert and Sullivan.  (Remember: learning things is horribly, horribly dangerous and should totally provoke an adrenaline reaction at all times.  That is why they shoot off cannon at irregular intervals on school grounds.)  We are supposed to remember all those kind and patient elders who took us under their wings, guided us to our true destiny, and informed us about everything we wanted to know, until they vanished in a cloud of rainbows and butterflies and released us into the world with the fading cry, "Now, pay it forward!  It doesn't matter if they do the work!"

Be nice, they say.  Because being mousy and inoffensive is a virtue, after all.  None of us have moral codes that value courage and discipline, or truth, or pride in oneself. Nothing should ever be questioned, fact-checked, confronted, or discarded.  It is all about who has the nicest little china tea sets with petits fours.  (I do not knock petits fours.  I love petits fours.  But I am looking for more than children's tea parties in my religion.)

So a few things to straighten matters out.

I was not put on this planet to make your life easier.

If you are seeking out religious services in particular, it would be contrary to my duties and obligations to make your life easier.  In the short term, at least.  If you want my services as a priest, then expect to have your ass kicked, because that is the service that I offer in that role.  I do not do confession and absolution.  I do not offer warm blanket snuggles and affirmations as to your special place in the universe.

I am also not going to pat you on the head and feed you babyfood because you have decided that you're not up for interacting as a functional adult.  I have kids.  You are not one of them.  If you cannot actually interact from a framework of basic competence, if you insist that you aren't worthy of my time and attention, I am going to give you the basic respect of agreeing with you and not investing in you before you are worthy.

I was not spoonfed.  I did the same damn thing you did - I got books, I read them, I tried things, I played around with what did and didn't work, I stumbled across people who had some stuff in common with me, I did things with them, sometimes I hit something that really resonated, I worked from there.  You want your next step?  Here are mine:  I found organisations that did instruction at some point, and I did their coursework - and critiqued it.  I started to do independent research.  I broadened my field of study.  I read poetry.  I started to cross-reference things I knew with other things.  I thought about what I needed in order to get what I had to have.  I found individuals who were offering training, and I made agreements with them because I met their standards as a student, and I did their work.  Go, and do likewise.

I am not doing universalist religion.  I do not care whether or not you put your name on the dotted line. I am not a pimp for the Divine, nor am I a door-to-door theology salesman.  It is up to you to decide whether or not you buy, and what terms you're willing to put in that contract.  I really, genuinely, completely do not give a flying fuck at a rolling donut whether or not you think that I am too mean for you to join one of my religions.

I am not your teacher.  I am not anyone's teacher right now.  That isn't to say that you can't learn anything from talking with me, given that I know a bunch of Stuff, but I do not have any obligation to give you any of that Stuff.  I certainly don't have an obligation to give you the particular thing you're asking for - and being your teacher wouldn't give me that obligation either, given that if you're asking for something that I know to be useless or counterproductive I'm not going to bloody well encourage you.

In the event that I do, in the future, become your teacher, you do not set the lesson plan.  I will know what I am attempting to convey, and what you get from me will be angled toward conveying that, not whatever shiny shit you are chasing around because you think that the right goddamn crystal will solve your personal problems.  If you don't like what I teach, in that case, you are 100% welcome to find a compatible teacher, because I am not going to change the instruction just to satisfy your neuroses.  If you don't want the lessons I'm actually offering, you don't want me to be teaching you.

I am not going to express contempt for you by assuming that you're incapable of participating in a conversation among equals as an equal.  I don't care if you're new; I probably don't notice if you're new, being not privy to your life story and unlikely to read your engaging and detailed personal introduction (and if I do, I'm quite unlikely to remember that engaging and detailed personal introduction was you, specifically, as opposed to 'some random person on the internet somewhere').  If you want someone to treat you as a little child who isn't capable of knowing any better or hearing the truth, you want someone else.


Juni said...

If only new registrations had to read this at the forum!

cheshire said...

I just wanted to drop by and say I really appreciate what I have learned from you, while we have corresponded a little bit, mostly what I have appreciated is the writing on this blog, you as well as other pagan* writers I have read online have given me a huge amount to think about.

chosen one said...

who are you?