Alternate title: A is for Aubs is a poopy-head.
This post was sparked by the Great Shopping Cart Debacle of 2013 and this post here.
For those who don’t know about the Great Shopping Cart Debacle, it occurred last week, when someone made a post, discussing ma’at and how she could better live within ma’at, or bring it into their daily life. In this post, she stated that the Shopping Cart Theology was useful for some, but not for her. This then sparked a response post and a host of comments on KIN and Tumblr.
It seems to me that the Kemetic community (if you wish to call it that) is a lot like a fandom. In any given fandom, you tend to have people who believe that the books are better than the movie. You have people who think that you aren’t a true fan unless you’ve read all of the books. There are those who are content to only watch the movies. There are those who like to take the original content and work with it- creating things like fan fic. You have those who take multiple series who mesh them together into one broad spectrum, multi-fandom alternate reality type thing. And you probably have people who write fanfic or make art about a series that they’ve not even read or seen it in its entirety.
If you take this into a Kemetic frame: your people who believe in only the books might be considered recons. You have people who are content to only work with the movies- they might be Tamerans. You have those who dabble with the books and the movies- maybe they are revivalists. And you have those who create the multi-fandom alternate reality things- maybe those are your eclectics.
And just like in fandoms- you have people who hate on those who never read the books. You have people who call out women for being in the fandom just to get attention. You have people who criticize one another for the way they ‘ship various characters. Hard core staunch traditionalists, people who think you need to know Tolkean Elvish in order to really be able to call themselves a LOTR fan.
And so it goes in the Kemetic sphere, too.
Recons hate the fluff. Everyone dislikes eclectics. Someone will judge you because you’re Kemetic Orthodox, which obviously means you’re a mindless drone. If you’re not posting 2 pages of sources for each of your points, you’re obviously not hardcore enough to have any say in the matter. If you’re not divined as a child of XYZ deity, you obviously have no grounds to speak with any authority on that deity. If you speak out against any of the few BNPs we have, you’re disowned by everyone. This is exemplified by the Shopping Cart Debacle mentioned above. In many cases, people were more upset that the OP had stated that the Shopping Cart Theology wasn’t working for them, or criticized its usefulness than actually reading the point of the post- which was to determine what would work for the OP (in terms of living daily within ma’at). People got so upset that someone dare criticize their favorite “character” that they lashed out blindly.
It’s insane, people. It’s stupid.
Much like a fandom, instead of coming together to celebrate a great story, universe and characters- and to explore how we can express our interpretation of all of that, people would rather point fingers at one another, sling judgmental comments at one another, and more or less spend their time whining and complaining about how they aren’t doing it right, and how dare you even open your mouth on the topic. Oh yes, and allow me to grab all of my other fandom friends to prove my point.
In the post I linked to above, Teo Bishop talks about how many people are plenty fit to call others out on a situation. It’s really easy to cut someone down for the way they practice. It’s so much simpler to call someone out for being in a fandom just for attention. Or in the case of Kemeticism- to claim that someone is only there to collect god statues.
Everything we do is heka based. Everything we do and say creates. It creates a framework, a basis, a foundation for future people to build upon. And I have to ask- how much energy, time and spoons are we wasting by purely stabbing one another for approaching this huge slab of stone called Kemeticism differently.
How much do you really gain from cutting down others who are helping to build this thing called Kemeticism?
Think about that for a bit.
How far would the gods get if they fought over who gets to stab
apep? Could you imagine?
Set: No, it’s my spear!
Aset: give me that, I want to do it!
Ra: No! I want to do it today!
Do you think the cosmos would really last very long?
Now, I’m not saying we can’t have our disagreements. Disagreements can be very constructive– they can lead to deeper discussion and further insight into a situation. However, many times disagreements degrade straight into calling people names, slinging mud and general bad behaviour. Much like people who get way too attached to their favorite character or story telling method (books vs. movies), many times we get so attached to what we feel is the only (or best) way to do things, we end up missing out on great opportunities to take a different method of looking at things, and possibly enriching our practice in the process (I, too, have been guilty of this).
And to me, that’s a crying shame.
And of course, every single time I write about this sort of thing, it comes down to one thing: Respect. Respect for ourselves, for others. Respect for the gods and ma’at we supposedly worship and emulate. Respect for the fact that this world is too diverse and different to expect everyone to do it the same way that you do. And the knowledge to remember that everyone has to start somewhere, people are on different levels, people have different needs, approaches, and methods.
And to keep in mind that, at the end of the day- it serves no one to cut people down in a public forum, and its bad form to vaguebook/post/blog etc. because you happen to have a disagreement. We are too small of a community to waste our time on such things. Not to mention, we should all be adult enough to know when to walk away from a situation (two response rule, anyone? Bueller?)
So, in an attempt to emulate what I have said, and not make this entirely about complaining and pointing fingers, I pose this for your consideration:
What can we as a community, a sphere, a genre of religion do to work towards active, proactive discussion (which will hopefully lead to action)? What can we do to stop people from cutting down others in the heat blind emotion? Is it bad form to call people out where we see it? Do we turn the other cheek? Do you think its a problem at all? Are you guilty of sometimes cutting people down in the heat of the moment? How do you stop yourself from doing so??
- Kemetism is Orthopraxic: Live in Ma’at
- Kemetism is Orthopraxic: Live in Ma’at (KIN version)
- Tumblr thoughts on the SCT
- Response to a post about Ma’at
- Action, Action, we want Action!
- A is for Asshat
- Action, you must take
- Newbies Need Help
January 14, 2013 at 5:30 pm
Reblogged this on Mystical Bewilderment.
January 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm
Reblogged this on Kemetische Einsichten.
January 14, 2013 at 7:06 pm
I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this post. Being a person that abhors drama, I tend to keep my opinions to myself unless blatantly asked to voice them. However, you did provoke me, so …. here goes.
I LOVE a good healthy debate, and I enjoy learning from others, as I do so much here on the interwebs. Yet, one should never forget, in debating, you are speaking to another person and in real life, the point is not to win, only for all parties to come away the wiser and more aware. I find that I also m challenged by debate to know what it is that I truly believe.
I am also of a mind that our spiritual practice is very personal. My practice is unique to me, even among others in Circle. I would never presume to judge the worth of another’s path, and I think it wrong for anyone to do that.
In conclusion – Respectful Debate is Good. Judgement and Destructive Criticism is Bad!
January 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm
I love a good debate as well. There is nothing like sinking your teeth into a meaty bit of material, and hashing it out.
But people seem to forget that actual debates… have rules. It seems on the internet, debate = free for all. And as soon as one side feels threatened, the names come out and it goes to hell.
I do hope that one day we can all be better at civilized debate. Seems we could all learn more from it!
January 14, 2013 at 7:19 pm
I’m not a Kemetic, but I very much agree with your points in this post. It does come off very much like a hardcore fandom, almost as if Kemeticists are speaking their own language, in a manner and nature that very much resembles fandoms I can’t help but be exposed to in places like Tumblr. I probably fit into the reviled eclectic umbrella, but even the shopping cart analogy evades me completely. I got to the end of that post and thought ‘WHAT?’. It’s got quite the different vibe compared to other reconstructionists. What might be similar though is the fundamentalist tendency which I think is dangerous in any belief system or religion. Being able to see alternate points of view and engage in critical thinking (including of what one holds to be true within themselves) is what a lot of it is all about.
As for what to do about your questions of community, I think it’s the nature of the beast. Much like the rest of the discussion in the pagan community at the moment, I don’t think ready solutions are going to present themselves, but it sure is interesting to observe!
January 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm
Thank you for your feedback!
I have my doubts about solutions presenting themselves anytime soon, but I also feel that the conversation has to start somewhere. And hope that one day, there will be a wider base of people who can debate and discuss touchy topics civilly :3 ONE DAY! XD
January 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm
Other people have already hit this point, but it really boils down to being civil, mature human beings that respect each other, even we disagree. Anyone who gets too emotional over a topic should walk away from the argument, and only resume the discussion after they’ve had some time to cool off. Of course, it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to agree to disagree, but it seems to me that that’s unacceptable to some individuals–a real shame, of course.
I don’t think it’s necessary to call people out publicly, but I’ve always thought tact is essential in communities. If two people are having a dispute, it doesn’t need to draw in the whole group; ideally, these two people would resolve it in private or at least agree to disagree and drop the topic.
January 15, 2013 at 6:21 am
Just a quick note – I appreciate what you’re saying Devo. Keep in mind, though, that neither “Action, Action, we want ACTION!” nor “A is for Asshat” were specific to the ma’at discussion. In fact, both were planned and written prior to things blowing up.
January 15, 2013 at 7:05 am
The timing was uncanny then XD But that is good to know :3 Would you prefer me to remove those links from the list on the entry?
January 15, 2013 at 7:15 am
You can leave them up, if you think they’re valid to the discussion. If not, you can remove the links.
I will take the opportunity to restate here, though, that my original response was not intended to be a personal attack. I don’t go after people – I go after ideas. 😉
January 15, 2013 at 7:18 am
Unfortunately, I hadn’t seen your responses on that post until this morning x.x;; damned WP not updating me.
And I see nothing wrong with ideas. If an idea is strong, it will withstand “attack”, poking, prodding. People aren’t always so resilient 😛
January 15, 2013 at 6:47 am
” Everyone dislikes eclectics”
DAMN STRAIGHT!!!! We had some woman setting up her shrine and bought her Heru Wer statue but substituted Lakshmi for Hethert because, she declared “Hathor was too expensive! That kind of bleeding eclecticism is the butt of many jokes, often quite deservedly.
January 18, 2013 at 9:06 am
oh is that how it started?
January 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm
Yes, and so the whole “Hathor is Expensive” thread is now rife in certain sectors of FB and the internet. Of course. She is! And She’s worth it! 😉
January 15, 2013 at 6:55 am
I am just going to ask one question, and perhaps I need to blog about this, but honestly, what is the incredible push in not only the Kemetic sphere, but elsewhere in “pagandom” toward community? Why do we worry at all about what anyone else’s individual practices are or are not? Why does anyone concern themselves with what works for another person or group of persons? You are quite right, Devo, there are those who say that if you are Kemetic Orthodox, you are a mindless, cult-infested idiot with no mind of your own, or if you do anything or come to any conclusion other than what is accepted by accredited egyptology, you are a heretic.
In my experience, we do not make similar demands of friends and colleagues who are from other religions and their personal beliefs as we seem to do within our so-called Kemetic “community”? Maybe my being puzzled by the community push comes with my age – why give a flying lfarp who likes or dislikes what we do on a personal spiritual level at all? LIke writing in the fandom or someone who has written an OC that operates in a fandom, you get a lot of guff from the ‘cannon only’ writer / players. Sooner or later you get tired of their bullshit and you write to please just ONE person, that person being yourself.
The gods, IMO, gave us our creativity. As long as we are true to that and to ourselves, who needs to surround themselves with negative naysayers in any “community”?
January 15, 2013 at 7:16 am
I think there are different reasons to wish to have any sort of community. I personally strive for community so that there is good foundations for others to come and learn about this thing called Kemeticism. You can’t have bigger, better things unless you learn to work together. Look at how much KO has brought to the Kemetic sphere- that would have been impossible if people didn’t work together to create something stable for others to build off of.
I never ever expect us to all agree. I never ever expect us to sing kumbaya around a camp fire. But I do expect that we should all aim for respect. To give people the benefit of the doubt, and to walk away when the situation is beyond repair.
But then again, I expect people to be adults- and obviously, looking at my fellow countrymen, that is a hard thing to ask .I suppose I’m biased because of the Shinto group I am a part of. You never get this type of crap there. People work together, they come together in times of crisis, and we all respect and understand each other’s practices, etc. But then again, Shinto isn’t a free for all, there are rules and whatnot to it.
So yes, that is why I would like to see some form of community going on. We’ll never get anywhere if all we do is cut eachother’s throats.
January 15, 2013 at 8:27 am
Kemetic Orthodoxy got where it did for the betterment of the community by taking great risks. They risked saying, this is what we do, this is what we believe. There were those that came to either “raid the temple” for their own benefit, to try to take over, or shame those in the hierarchy, etc. And I don’t know why that is except there seems to be in the pagan community as a whole, an overwhelming sense of competition, eschewing of any sort of “authority” and yet, so many with an ego-need to be in charge. Is all this excess baggage a hold over from the days of converting the unwashed heathenry to some sort of “one true way-ism?”
Like you, I do value the idea of community, but does it simply boil down to the attitudes of everyone involved? Shintoism, is not a youngster, and it has a different culture attached to it that is at its core, respectful. Paganism and its offshoots often miss that important detail. I think Terry Pratchett sums the attitude up nicely:
“Your average witch is not, by nature, a social animal as far as other witches are concerned. There’s a conflict of dominant personalities. There’s a group of ringleaders without a ring. There’s the basic unwritten rule of witchcraft, which is ‘Don’t do what you will, do what I say.’ The natural size of a coven is one. Witches only get together when they can’t avoid it.”
― Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad
We may not all consider ourselves witches, but some do bring that baggage to the Kemetic sphere and we are all left to deal with that.
January 15, 2013 at 9:08 am
I would agree on the risk. I think creation of anything, or changing anything, will involve some amount of risk. No risk means little gain, imo.
The quote is very accurate. I don’t understand why so many people have this problem with authority- but I also think it partially comes from American culture in general. We’re raised to hate authority, to challenge ‘the man’, etc. As you mentioned, Shinto does have its own culture. The safety and security of the whole is more important than the individual. The Honcho makes the rules, and the people below follow the rules. It’s not questioned, it just is. (okay, yes, there is a process to change things, but you get what I mean 😛 ) . I know this wouldn’t fly to most people in the US. But it would be interesting to see what could be changed if people perhaps would listen to more authority, or respect it. Or something.
Yay rambling and flailing!
January 15, 2013 at 9:27 am
I learn a great deal from you and others in the House who do practice Shinto. It is fascinating to me, but I admire it from afar if that makes sense.
I enjoy analyzing things to the Nth degree sometimes, so I do apologize if this was long and rambly on my part! 😉
January 15, 2013 at 2:19 pm
Nope, not long and rambly at all! I like longer comments that lead to discussions :3
January 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm
I love, love, love this post. My initial experience when I tried to learn and get involved with Kemetism was precisely what you’re talking about. It drove me away pretty quickly, as I really dislike that kind of rudeness from people, and I shut down easily when confronted by “elitists” as I like to call them.
Kudos to you for having the courage and the voice to say these oh so important things!
January 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm
Awesome post! The part with Set, Aset and Ra fighting over the spear to slay Apep was awesome. And a great point. And it was funny. 🙂
I love learning about how others honor the Gods. It enriches my practice, it doesn’t attack it.
January 18, 2013 at 3:54 am
Reblogged this on Per Bastemhet and commented:
I just wanted to say a big ole THIS. In my prior post on Kindness (http://perbastemhet.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/kindness) I tried to show how personal turmoil can paint all other things negatively, and that it´s important to approach others from a sense of calm, empathy and forgiveness. Devo talks about fandom being a problem in this post as a response to a debacle on the KIN blog about Ma´at. I have to say I was surprised by some of the rude, personal attacks made on the author instead of it being simply an exchange of ideas, whether they´re agreed with or not. Breaking things down leave only dust, but building together leaves something that those in the present and future can enjoy.
January 18, 2013 at 9:14 am
I’m glad someone is saying this, and that is all I have to add.