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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

The Authority Problem

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C188389413/E20100421080946

I'm willing to start at mutual respect. Not everyone is. That creates a problem.

Yesterday I did a rant on some of the sexual issues revealed by certain Pagans abusing their position as leaders and teachers.

Thanks to Jason Pitzl-Waters and Brenden Meyers, some are discussing the issue while deciding what to do. Of course I put my two cents in. Well, more like thirteen and three-quarter cents, since I can be very emotional about some things.

But I wanted to talk about some of the real dangers I see here.

As a solitary practitioner, I'm a bit on the outside of things. I don't have the right lineage. According to some, I'm not the right gender. And we already know how some of the Greater Pagan Community® are offended by my politics. That's old news, I'm not going to rehash it. Much.

While there are still people and practices I find "fluffy," this blog and the feedback I've gotten have helped me realize that my old ideas didn't necessarily work. There are still things that I believe do work, but I've tried to link that to widespread human experience.

I don't want some group deciding who is and is not Pagan. And yes, that word is almost useless, but I haven't seen a better one yet.

Part of the reason I don't want an Official Deciding Committee is purely selfish. There is too big a chance I will be excluded from the official definitions. The border is not necessarily a bad thing, effective change and growth seldom comes through institutions and established channels.

There are Pagan "leaders" out there who want very much to have their authority acknowledged by the Greater Pagan Community®. Now I have no problem granting respect to someone as a person, but I refuse to bow because of the title or power they wield in their coven/circle/grove/party if I don't belong.

That's pretty important. If I am not part of the group, I am not subject to the rules of the group.

I've always made it clear that I believe much of the justification for "establishing" a Greater Pagan Community® is so that certain individuals can get the adoration and deference they believe they deserve.

I'm willing to give respect unless someone proves they don't deserve it. I may even give additional respect based on what I know about their merits and accomplishments. I won't give extra respect based on someone's say so, although I might pay closer attention for a while.

Unfortunately, that doesn't work both ways. Certain power seekers won't deign to acknowledge me unless I abase myself.

And that makes me all sorts of fun at parties.

If I don't know you, then I've no reason to respect you except as a human. It doesn't matter if you can tie knots with your tongue while performing brain surgery and solving quadratic equations. I don't know you yet.

On the other hand, I've no reason to take you down either. You're not "fair game" until you cross a line. Like expecting me to bow before you.

I'm willing to start at mutual respect. Not everyone is. That creates a problem.

How we solve that problem is how we define our moral worth. That may be a bigger problem.

Fun though.

Posted: Wed - April 21, 2010 at 08:09 AM

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A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

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