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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Are Pagans TOO Individualistic?
We hear it said all of the time: Pagans are individualistic. We hold our own personal freedoms and acts of self-determination (and perhaps, our own self-worth and esteem) to be of the utmost importance and often view events, ethical and moral issues and Pagan-related teachings through this lens.
Does the good of the one always outweigh the good of the many? Should it? Are there times and/or circumstances in which such an individualistic mindset is detrimental to a bigger picture?
Have there been times when you have put aside your personal feelings in order to support a group or project even if you were somewhat ambivalent about ‘going along’? Or have you left a group or situation because you would not -- or could not –- go along with the crowd or leadership position?
How do you reconcile your individuality with the goals or teachings or codes of your group? With other Pagans? How do you decide?
| Reponses: There are 56 responses posted to this question.
|| Reverse Sort
| Good Question... ||Apr 11th. at 11:49:37 am UTC|
|Amorella (Roswell) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I think that being Individualistic is not a bad thing, as long as people try not to pass of their way as the only way.
I know that I personally have extreemly individualistic ideas, but still have lots of contact with other pagans who have ideas of there own. I don't expect them to agree with me on most things, and just enjoy their company and wisdome.
I think that once people put aside the notion that we all have to agree to get along, this issue will resolve itself...
| Individuality ||Apr 11th. at 10:40:08 am UTC|
|brigid (pittsburgh) ||Age: 33 - Email |
do i think we are too individualistic? i think we were made to be individualistic and change is difficult. for centuries wiccans were persecuted. to practice you had to do so in hiding or in secret. the majority of us are solitary practitioners...solitary...meaning alone or "individual". there are still alot of us who haven't come the whole way out of the broom closet! how else could we be but individualistic. is being individualistic a bad thing? who knows. i don't think it is. there are still alot of people in society who think wiccans are "bad people". i'd rather be an individual free to practice what i choose than to be a sheep who follows the masses!
| On Second Thought... ||Apr 11th. at 6:29:34 am UTC|
|elf (cornwall) ||Age: 23 - Email |
On second thought (apologies) I think we should try to have the confidence to be individuals but also to have an awareness of the group mind (collective consciousness) . Most importantly we should avoid being inhibited. By being truly individual we can build together a stronger group. A bit like the way all snowflakes are different, but together they make snow.
| Yes And No ||Apr 11th. at 6:17:45 am UTC|
|elf (cornwall) ||Age: 23 - Email |
We are too individualistic in that we don't look out for each other. We tend to worry more about our bank balance than the poverty of others. We are afraid of each other, people are afraid to stop and offer help to someone on the street. We are inhibited, we are disconnected from the group mind. We see ourselves as individuals rather than part of a species and a planet on the whole. In that sense I think we are too individualistic.
We are not individualistic enough because we lack expression, we are afraid of what others will think of us, we want to "fit in". Most of us are creatively constipated, we lack imagination because of the daily crap we get fed via our television screens. We are not individualistic enough because we believe the lies we are fed, we think we need consumerism (useless items) in order to be a "member of society".
| This Is A Thin Line ||Apr 10th. at 2:50:32 pm UTC|
|Micheal (South Carolina) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I Think that its the ones that are individualistic are the ones that can become the leaders of covens . Then the ones that are more group or humanity thought driven fall to the supoort of the individualistic people . We just need to be carefull of the thoughts that we follow
Yours in this world , and the next
) O ( MICHEAL ) O (
| SO WHAT?! ||Apr 10th. at 2:41:30 pm UTC|
|Bisa (Chicago) ||Age: 13 - Email |
SO WHAT IF WE ARE Individualistic? Some one has to be.
| The Beauty Of Diversity ||Apr 10th. at 10:59:41 am UTC|
|Billy (Florida) ||Age: 29 - Email |
Individual thought is what seperates humans from the rest of the globe. Paganism, or at least Wicca (of which I have studied) embraces a person's ability to make their own decision, even sometimes against their own instincts. When we start to subjugate our own beliefs for that of the group as a rule the individual is lost. To say someone is not pagan because they have a different opinion than you do, in my eyes, is as bad as fundamentalists calling pagans satanic because we do not believe in their opinion. Maybe I don't care about oil, maybe I don't care about the UN and maybe I could care less that Bush is the 'wrong' religion. Maybe, just maybe, I think the people of Iraq should not live in fear, be terrorized by their government, tortured by goon squads and killed by Sadam and his sons. Maybe I believe that evil men should be brought to justice, made to pay for their crimes against humans, my fellow humans. Maybe I take pride in legends, when evil attacks, the Celts of old will defend the weak, protect their children, and abolish the evil. Does this make me a bad person or a bad Wiccan that I feel compassion for those who live under such tyranny? I do not feel that 'anti-war' pagans are wrong, they only have a different view from me. I feel, I FEEL, that it is just to liberate the oppressed and bring justice to their oppressers. I do not scorn, and do not condone the scorn of, those who have their own individual thought that may differ from mine. We can all follow the same path, while stepping on different stones along the way. If we are to make a statement to the world it is that we CAN get along without being followers, we CAN praise the individual and glorify the group. We need our individuality to show our acceptance of opposing views to those who do not accept us because they believe we will always oppose their views. If you truly believe that the extremists who condemn us are wrong, how can you condemn some of your own and think you are any better? We must be the 'bigger person' to show the individual CAN be accepted within the group even if the group does not agree with the individual.
| A Second Opinion ||Apr 10th. at 10:54:08 am UTC|
|Drewsilla (Woodstock) ||Age: 14 - Email |
After much thought i have decided that i am individualistic
by choice, not because of what people think of me. I love
the solitary life and am sometimes forced by my parents to
go places and talk to people. If i had a choice i would
live by my self, but right now being the tender age of 14
that is sadly not possible.
So until the day im allowed to lead my solitary life books
are my escape. All my money goes into books, and sadly my
obsession has gone so far that i have been banned from
buying books at one point or another.
I do not hide because of what you will say to or the way
you will look at me. I hide because I like this way of
life, it is how i choose to live.
Im going back to my corner now
| Individual Yet Communal ||Apr 10th. at 6:02:34 am UTC|
|Shadowseeker (KC, MO) ||Age: 28 - Email |
When I began my path, I was taught that No path was wrong you have to find whats right in your own heart. as I have grown and learned, i have found that that is absolutely true. We are individuals. Yet while we are all individuals we are all together. Every pagan today is really looking to do the same thing. We all search for our own spiritual growth and I have never met someone that was not willing to teach, learn, or share. So yes alone we are individuals, but together we are a communal whole.
| Nope ||Apr 10th. at 1:12:38 am UTC|
|Angela (Indiana) ||Age: 30 - Email |
No. I certainly do not feel that we are. In fact, I don't really believe there is any such thing. But I am tremendously disappointed in our community. We seem to be "going the way of the Christian." There is so much hatred, bigotry, intolerance, infighting, and hypocrisy in the Pagan community anymore. Especially for a group of people who claim to do none of these things. So many are so militant anymore it is actually frightening. I am certainly not saying we should all agree, but for Goddess sake! Shouldn't we at least try to be a little kinder and gentler with others in our own community -- if not the rest of the world????
| Building A Commuinty ||Apr 9th. at 11:03:41 pm UTC|
|Josh Yazell (Orlando, Floriduhhh) ||Age: 24 - Email - Web|
Let me start by remarking on an earlier comment that "Pagans have no core values". This could not be farther from the truth. What better core value is there than 'harm none'? Don’t confuse the simplicity for lack of depth. A person who makes this commitment is a good person, and I think most Pagans are good people.
The larger part of the pro-war people you speak are fakes. There are christians out there with nothing better to do than stir the sh*t … so to speak. After all they are well versed in taking things apart from the inside. (I.e. the stifling and destruction of the peace and other movements in the 60s 70s)
Preserving the 'individualistic' 'free spirit' 'harm none' mindset, and expanding on that concept, is a common bond among Pagans. Building a community that effects the biosphere on this level … in my opinion is a good thing. That said I don’t believe Pagans are individualistic to a fault. We have no choice but to gather in some style as our numbers grow in the coming years, and most of us enjoy it!
The true test will be keeping our individuality as traditions develop and people declare their ways. Its hard to escape the hive mindset, and for some its hard to resist … maybe impossible. Still I cant help but be drawn to likeminded people "on a broader scale" who still value the individual and their freedom to express.
In this atmosphere we can share and learn from each other instead of a book or dictator herding us along. This sets us apart from all other major religions, this is who we are. That’s why the christians have always hated us, because they can not control us, they can only kill us off.
Its no coincidence that America is in its current state, the christians are gathering their forces and funding their ideals and goals with government (our) money, while at the same time bringing to ruin rational secular establishments. Here inlays the purpose of our gathering. If we are a strong force they cannot snuff us again. And trust me they want too. Passionately they hem hawk and pontificate on ways to destroy us.
So you see any little difference of opinion and ways don’t ruin us … they strengthen us and inform us of our diversity. Its wonderful! Its our destiny and the worlds. Don’t be bogged down in tradition or dogma, we are here to free the human sprit, not haggle over an individuals choices. Cleanse your mind from the dogmatic imprint christianity has made. Cleanse your spirit.
If you are in a group and you don’t agree with them … leave the group if a democratic approach fails … it’s a no-brainer! After all if things never split in the universe nothing would exist. Find like-minded people, there out there, and they want to meet you too.
Brightest Blessings to all!
| A Bit Torn ||Apr 9th. at 9:33:00 pm UTC|
|Mike (MA) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I am a bit torn with this qustion. I think that We have a hard time agreeing on different aspects of our Religion. Of course this is good because it gives us all a chane to decide what is most comfortable and undersandable to us. However I think that communty is important to Pagans because we live in a world that tends to single each other out and make one feel isolated. Talking from expriance I don't like to feel alone. Just the simple sight of someone else with a pentical around their neck makes me happy because i think "ahh good at least im not the only one. What I have found is good is if you find a place which holds Eclectic ceremonies. That way you can meet other pagans but the differences arn't so apparent because they talk in comminalities that generally run through all Pagan traditions.
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