Just a little over a year ago, I wrote a post that likened the Kemetic community to islands. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this post would end up opening a whole can of worms that would rocket my Kemetic “career” down a path that I was not expecting. This singular post would end up summing up a large portion of my Kemetic goals and ideals, and would end up being summed up in the catch phrase of “Boat Paddling”.
Eventually, this boat paddling thing would catch on, and I’ve found that others want to learn more about it and possibly get in on it. This is the first in a series of posts where I attempt to help others work on being boat paddlers and incorporate boat paddling concepts into their Kemetic practice.
What is boat paddling?
To go back to the post linked above, I see the Kemetic community as a series of islands in the middle of an ocean. Each island might be considered to be a certain type of Kemeticism (of which there are many). Those of us who are boat paddlers are the Kemetics who sit in their canoes (or other boat of choice) and paddle between the various Kemetic communities and try to establish “trade routes” and “cultural exchanges”. Boat paddlers are the people who don’t tend to sit on only one forum and they are the ones who tend to have resource lists for miles.
Boat paddling, at its core, is about walking the middle ground. The aim is to be balanced in what you say and what you do; you’re meant to talk straight (yet respectfully) and tell it like it is. You’re there to be a mediator and help people along their paths. You’re not there to sling mud or to create rifts where there needn’t be any, and in many cases the goal is to lessen or remove rifts if possible. Boat paddlers are supposed to be about the bigger picture: Community.
The boat paddling mantra can be summed up in one statement: Don’t be a dick.
Who can become a boat paddler?
Anyone, honestly. You can be a member of Kemetic Orthodoxy or a member of the Temple of Ra or a member of no temple at all and become a boat paddler. You can be recon oriented, recon-slanted, HIP, revivalist, Tamaran or something else entirely. Boat paddling is about diplomatic and respectful exchange and discussion. It’s about diversity and community. Therefore, there are no restrictions on temple affiliation or anything like that.
So long as you’re working towards the same/similar goals as the rest of us boat paddlers, you’re a boat paddler. It’s that simple.
Why should anyone care about boat paddling?
I believe that boat paddling helps the community as a whole- both boat paddlers and non-boat paddlers alike. Because boat paddlers are about information and idea exchange and discussion, it allows for more discourse to occur between Kemetics of all stripes. This allows all of us to learn from one another in a safe environment and promotes new ideas and thoughts about our religion and its deities. This type of discussion also clears up misunderstandings and rumors that exist within our community and I think that is definitely important. It helps to provide a more level playing ground for all Kemetics due to the exchange of resources and ideas, and it helps to establish a good foundation for future Kemetics to build upon.
What qualifies someone as a boat paddler?
I think that there are a few key points that make someone a boat paddler. The first is to follow the notion of “Don’t be a dick”. Mind you, I understand that everyone has their moments where they behave less than ideally, and it’s normal for people to lose their cool from time to time, but the idea is to attempt to embody the mantra as much as you can and as often as you can. With everything here, the goal is to aim for the ideal and slowly work your way towards becoming more in-line with that ideal. However, if you can’t even support the idea of “Don’t be a dick”, you will likely have problems with the boat paddling method of Kemeticism.
Additionally, I think another point that a boat paddler will embody would be the ability to discuss calmly. Since a lot of our exchanges occur online via text, it is important to understand that there will be miscommunications and misunderstandings from time to time. A boat paddler will want to try and be calm throughout these situations and will attempt to understand what others are trying to say. When it comes to online etiquette, the aim is to never degrade into a flame war or name calling. Such things would go against the “Don’t be a dick” mindset. I know that this can be a challenge- and this is why I want to discuss more tools and ideas for how we can all work towards better online interactions that reduce miscommunications and spoon loss.
And finally, boat paddlers must be open to new ideas and discussion. The whole point of the boat paddling idea is to have “cultural exchange”- that is, an exchange of ideas and events that occur in different branches of Kemeticism. In order to really learn about these things, you must first be open to discussing your practice and the practice of others. For example, if you are talking about daily rituals within a Kemetic context- you would need to be open to the idea that not everyone will do it your way. If you can’t move beyond the fact that others have different ways to do things, there will be hiccups in learning and discussing things as a community.
So now that I know about boat paddling- what now?
In the future I will be releasing a series of posts detailing some of the ways that boat paddlers handle online interactions and work towards bettering the Kemetic community. It is my hope that these posts will help others to embody some of the boat paddling concepts and methods in their own online interactions. By simply bringing these topics and ideas into your practice and online interactions, you are effectively becoming a boat paddler, it’s that simple 🙂 Some topics that I intend on covering are:
- The Two-Response Rule
- Branding is Everything
- The Bystander Effect
- Risk Assessment
- The Art and Benefit of Co-Discovery
- Dealing with Fallout and Problem People
- Reaching Out to Lurkers
- And whatever else I happen to come up with.
If you have any other topics that you’d like to see covered, please let me know! All Boat Paddling entries can be found in the brand new “Boat Paddlers Arsenal” category (which you can access from the drop down menu on the right).