This evening, Galina posted another discourse that gave me some think thinks. Check her post (Chosen by the Gods) out for the background to this one. The post that I’m referring to here was elicited by an argument (her words) that she has with a colleague about why some people hear the Gods’ call more than others. One side says “nature” (predisposition) while the other says “nurture” (e.g. Training, hard work, and effort). Galina admits that the truth is probably somewhere between the two ends of that spectrum.
In my words, it sounds like the argument was going possibly well (though without likely accord) until the colleague got all “trigger” happy. My take on the topic follows below.I initially started to respond directly on the post, but I decided that I wanted to address it more fully in my own way. This is what I started with. When I reached three paragraphs, I decided that I needed to not take up her space with my thoughts, though I’ll go back there and make a smaller one, pointing here:
Oi, I have visions of “Harrison Bergeron” with that second paragraph. We all need to understand and accept that no, not everyone has the same skills, abilities, and preferences. Just because something upsets you doesn’t make it “triggering” (Oh, how I loathe that over-used term), particularly if you are not a past victim of related violence.
I am not one of the called, and it frustrates me. I am also not creatively artistic, which also frustrates and discourages me more often than not. But you know what? I’m skilled in different means than some other people are. I am adept at arranging things so that they “happen” in a lot of cases (my current job search not withstanding). I’m more of a “connector” who can put people, pieces, and situations together to make things progress. Not everybody can do that.
All that being said, I’m not sure that I agree with your second to last paragraph, when you seem to suggest that the specialists are all claimed by the Gods. I don’t think that they are NECESSARILY God-called. I’m also not saying that they are specifically NOT called, either. I just don’t think that it necessarily follows that (for example) shamans, theologians, and philosophers are, of a necessity, such. In my view, it’s possible that a “spiritual specialist” to coin a phrase, can be trained and/or naturally proficient…
That’s the point where I decided to break away.
Without having read the post that Galina mentioned, I can only say that it sounds like someone is more than a little jealous of the people that I think of as “God-bothered,” and is lashing out. It sounds like someone doesn’t hear that call and is pissed off about it, and is pouting. “If I can’t have ice cream, I don’t want to hear about anyone else getting any!” At the risk of being condescending, that’s a rather immature mindset. Personal capabilities are not a zero-sum game: What one has does not limit what someone else can get.
On that same token, not everybody has what it takes to be the next Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, Mahatma Gandhi, or Mother Theresa. You know what? That’s as it should be. The exemplars in one realm often have shortcomings or have made sacrifices somewhere else. It’s the cost of doing business. Some of those sacrifices are unacceptable to most other people. Besides, who would make society work if everyone was at the top? We still have to have service workers and garbage collectors.
Back to Galina’s post. “Seems to me the problem isn’t the people claimed by Deities but the insecurity fostered by a number of factors including fragmented and fractured communities in those who aren’t.” In a word, yes. This is just seen in the Pagan community. We see it in the workplace, when one coworker get accolades for their work and someone else doesn’t… And then sets out to sabotage the lauded person’s future endeavors. It comes down to jealousy, envy, and insecurity. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, it involves poor self-worth.
I know this, because I feel it too, sometimes. The rest of my family hears the Godphone. They are devotional. They are polytheists. They are part of a team that I’m not on. I am a Druid and a Buddhist. I am not a polytheist, but rather something of a monist. I see things through a different set of lenses than they do, and I am sometimes confused by that. In part, my confusion and unsureity comes from an unstable foundation and lack of fall-back community. I don’t have much of a backboard that I can bounce things off of if I have questions or doubt.
Even in my OBOD Bardic training, which is far from doctrinal, I didn’t get a tight fit, so to speak. It was experiential in nature, which doesn’t really help too much if you are wracked by self-doubt. “Am I losing my mind? Am I doing this right? Am I descending into madness?” These are all questions that I ask myself, probably because I have anxiety issues. Immense self-doubt.
Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, I remember. I don’t think that everybody is able to hear the Gods’ call, just like not everybody can play cello like Yo-yo Ma. Not everybody has the scientific mind of Stephen Hawking. Not everybody can be as spiritual as the Dalai Lama. However, that is as it should be: We need people to support the culture in which we live and that others are notable in.
Some people have what it takes to be specialists. Most don’t. Both categories are vital to society, but, unfortunately, American culture only lauds the unusual and notable cases, while telling those who are the foundation of the society “Look what you could become, if only you were good enough!” The everyday person is good enough, and we should celebrate the accomplishments of Everyman, as well as the accomplishments of the God Called.
Everybody sacrifices something, if you just stop to look at the whole picture instead of just the snazzy bits.