There is still light coming in my window, which given where I live is a sign that I am definitely starting this early and with plenty of time to do it the justice that I feel it truly deserves. Having made my list last night, and getting some new ideas from Larissa Lee’s comment, I’m going to try and go through each point on the list in an order that somewhat resembles a logical one. So, I think that I’m going to start with the point that seems to be the least dependant on all the rest:
1. Being a Nature worshipper and finding violence, harm or using blood in practice abhorrent makes no sense to me.
Although ‘semantics of the topic’ should probably be the first subject, this one is the one that is least dependant upon the others.
VIolence, one creature causing harm to another, is something that is a fundamental fact of the natural world. Wolves eat rabbits, eagles kill a great many things, and so forth. So it constantly leaves me confused when people carry an attitude that nature is, and I’ll admit that this is some what exaggerated, sunshine and rainbows. This ties into a different thought of mine that dark does not equal evil. Violent acts and blood-acts and such are all too often condemned because they are seen as dark acts and therefore evil acts.
Obviously, not every Pagan and Heathen is a nature worshipper, however a large majority are. Or at least, seem to be to one degree or another. However, there seems to be an almost… automatic exclusion of a very natural part of nature, simply because it does not fit with the widely held view of nature. Gentle rains, majestic trees, golden deserts and sparkling starlit nights are very definitely a part of nature. But so is the screech of an eagle soaring down for the kill, a thunderstorm that tears the sky apart, a snake sneaking into a bird’s nest and eating the eggs.
While I do not believe that all nature worshipping Pagans and Heathens should/must incorporate this other, oft ignored, side of nature into their paths, I do think that there is too much… willing ignorance about all of nature’s facets.
Looking at my list, I am already seeing a little bit of overlap between this and some of the other topics, but thats somewhat unavoidable.
2. The Semantics of the Topic
Once again, thanks to Larissa Lee for this topic. I will admit that I hadn’t actually thought about this (or even of it) until she raised it in her comment.
I love words. I really do. Language in all of it’s forms is one of my greatest passions, so I’m sure that you all can appreciate that I really, really do enjoy semantics. Just this evening I made a serious point about the difference between thinking for the sake of thinking and thinking about thinking. I mean… Just look at that split hair. I love it.
Hence, this point is somewhat of an enjoyable, if complicated one, for me to write about.
To me, violence is the concept. The parent thought from which related terms spring. Whereas harm is the act of violence that the thought ‘Violence’ gives birth to. VIolence can take a great many forms, for which human language has many, many different ways of expressing or describing to greater and less degrees of… well, everything.
Violate, maim, hurt, harm, assault, murder, cut, stab, slash, beat, bruise, rend, tear, eviscerate… The list really does go on and on.
Harm specifically, however, as an action of the thought is more definite in both its meaning and it’s implied meaning. However, on the balance of things the word harm is itself still quite a broad word. When taken in the context of something like the Wiccan Rede ‘an it harm none, do what ye will’ harm is typically read to mean quite literally ‘and if it harms NONE, what so ever, do what you will’. Naturally, this particular example is the source of a great number of discussions across a great number of mediums.
Harm can carry implications of both intent and no intent, deliberate and not, extreme and reserved. By it’s definition, which I’m sure you are all old enough and/or capable enough to look up, harm means to do damage of one kind or another. Harm is an expression of the concept of Violence. To really make a judgement on the nature of the Harm being done, I personally would step back and determine what sort of violence is behind it, then look at Harm.
Which segues nicely, if not neatly, to…
3. My Two Kinds of Violence.
In my opinion violence typically comes in one of two types. In my list from yesterday I called these two types controlled and uncontrolled violence. Upon reflection I think that better terms are regulated and unregulated violence.
Unregulated violence is the kind of violence that we see the most of these days. A mugging on the street that goes wrong and someone dies. Wars that are fought with no regard for the non-combatant casualties. Acts of violence that are committed with little or no thought behind them; committed because the person or people behind them are mindless. These are the sorts of acts that, I feel, are grossly against any kind of natural order.
Nature is equilibrium. Bears eat their fill, and they protect their young. They don’t kill things just because they can.
On the other hand, regulated violence are those acts that are undertaken with a code or set of rules or even just an unspoken agreement as to where the lines are, what is ok and what is not ok. People do die, that happens. But as people we have a greater capacity to say to ourselves ‘yeah, this moment right here. This is a good one to back down and just accept that its not my moment’. So in one sense, people dying as a result of the actions of other people is something we need to accept, but it is also something that we as individuals have the power to forestall, in one fashion or another.
Having just done an entire section on the semantics of the subject, I would like to say that the difference between the two is purely academic, but its not. I feel that there is actually a lot of difference between the two on a mental level, however:
Giant. Wall. of. Text. Means that I’m going to stop this here, and continue tomorrow.