Friday, July 24, 2015

Circles Again: More Fear-Mongering and Distrust of the Deities

Recently, there was a blogpost written attacking the Morrigan and her holy people. The post also attacked many other deities, as well. I would like to address the logical fallacies and problems in that post. I do not link to the post, I do not mention names; I would prefer the post does not get any hits from my blog. There is a reason that some pundits say the most outlandish things; it is because they will continue to get notice and air time, fame and fortune, and they are rewarded for this behavior. The only reason I address these matters here and now on my blog is so that people who have read that post have an opportunity, if they wish, to see some of the problems inherent in the post and so that they can begin sorting out the irrational which is clothed in the “rational,” and the disrespect clothed in “respect.” My hope is that with a few spare notes about the matter people can begin, if they so choose, to dismantle the labyrinth of the mind which that particular blogger has tried to propagate through the misuse of logic and overt appeals to emotion. I do this also in support of the deities—primarily the Morrigan, but also Woden, Hermes, Aphrodite, Venus, and Pan—as well as their priests, holy people, devotees, and worshippers, should they wish for this support, and if this is of use to them.

I would like to draw attention first to the heavy-handed appeals to emotion in that blogpost. These appeals are so heavy-handed it is like taking a nut-shot from a mace. It is very difficult to read through anything while maintaining a semblance of rational sensibility while being bombarded with references to the terrorist attacks of 9-11 and the atrocities of World War II (and by extension, the Holocaust), complete with pictures. Then, later, that post touches on other emotional issues having to do with rape, consent or lack thereof, and venereal diseases. Pictures of the smoldering ruins of the Twin Towers along with pictures of sieg heil render any compassionate reader to a state of emotional distress. This has the effect of causing a reader to respond generally in one of two ways:

“Gods are awful!” or
“How could he say these things about our gods!”

Either way, these emotional appeals result in the same thing: they have hijacked rational thought. The reader has had emotions compromised to the point where looking past these intense appeals to emotion and looking rationally at the argument itself is very difficult. The blogger is therefore leading people around by the nose through emotional appeals, and distracting them from rational thought. Doing this to a person is not an act of respect, compassion, or rational thought, despite what the blogger may indicate otherwise. It’s just plain mean.

Once a reader is able to get past this emotional poison, if a reader can, the post begins to fall apart. It is especially interesting when you consider that these arguments here about the Morrigan in that post are similar arguments to what the same blogger posted when he decided to go after Dionysos and Dionysos’s holy people late last June. The overarching themes of both verbal attacks are: the blogger’s own fear and distrust of the deities, attacks born of this fear and distrust, and his rhetoric to convince others to fear and distrust the deities. If you would like to revisit my dismantling of that same blogger’s attack on Dionysos, please feel free as the discussion there is still pertinent here.

Let’s take a look at the core arguments provided in that post on the Morrigan.

The core argument is implied and not specifically stated. The assumptions are this:
Deities are stronger than humans.
Deities use this strength to hurt any human for any reason.
Deities are interested in hurting people.
We must be on our guard against the deities.

Combined with:
War is bad.
We must eschew or avoid war.

Added together we get:
The Morrigan is a deity.
She is stronger than humans and will use this strength to hurt anyone for any reason.
We must guard ourselves against her.
And as a deity of war, the Morrigan must therefore be avoided or eschewed.

This argument forms the basic assumption of that blogger’s post against the Morrigan. First off, just because a being is stronger it does not always follow that this deity is out to harm people. Just because a person is sporting six-pack abs or a shark has rows of teeth, it doesn’t mean that the person or a shark is immediately out to hurt anyone. It also completely ignores that if deities choose to exercise their strength against people, they have good reasons for it, and it completely ignores that sometimes what we may think are divine acts is actually attributable to human drama and not deific activities. If you follow out the line of reasoning that we must therefore be on our guard against the deities, it stands to reason that the next step in this progression is a defensive war to protect ourselves against the deities; and with this verbal attack against the Morrigan it appears that this is already in play. In this instance, it is not the Morrigan declaring war against people, but a human person making the first steps of aggression, even though the person in question is giving the appearance of being anti-war. This attitude without being honest that this is what one is doing, is a dishonest representation of one’s own motives especially while one is trying to appear compassionate and respectful of the deities, the deities’ holy people, and the deities’ religions.

Next, not all war is always necessarily all bad. There are many who would say it was a human rights duty to end the Holocaust of World War II. Not all war can be eschewed or avoided: some fights just end up on your doorstep whether you want them or not.

The next set of premises basically sets the Morrigan up as public enemy #1, as a being who is out to harm people for kicks and grins regardless of any particular purpose or reason. It tends to attribute deeds and atrocities committed by humans through human drama as her deeds, when human drama is often simply human drama and has nothing to do with her at all. It also assumes that the Morrigan is hell-bent on seeking out humans and attacking them for seemingly no reason. This is a pretty big assumption, and it is an assumption based on fear, especially fear that a being higher on a hierarchy is necessarily “out to get you,” or it is an assumption based on views of the deities prevalent in fiction such as in Hollywood movies, or both.

The next argument is built on the first argument above and continues the premises implicit with the first argument. It goes like this:
Jung is an expert on both archetypes and gods.
Jung conflates gods and archetypes.
Jung says that a nation can be possessed by a “god” (here: an archetype).
Jung says Germany was possessed by a “god” (archetype) during World War II.
Jung says Wotan possessed Germany during World War II.
If a “god” (archetype) or god can possess Germany in World War II, a god or a “god” (archetype) can possess a nation now.
The hysteria and warmongering in the US post 9-11 is evidence that the US is possessed by a god or a “god” (archetype)

So let’s look at this rationally, devoid of pictures of the sieg heil and the burnt twisted ruins of past atrocities acting as gut-wrenching distractions to the actual arguments. Jung was an expert in psychology, archetypes, and archetypal theory. He was not an expert on any deity; the priests and holy people who are in the deities’ services are the experts on their respective deities. The blogger dismisses the expertise of these deities’ people and relies instead on Jung as an expert. (This is not the first time this blogger has dismissed the expertise of the deities’ holy people. I cover this in the past examination of his blogpost which attacks Dionysos.) Seeking Jung as an expert on deities is like asking a baker for advice on gardening—it makes no sense because you’ve asked an expert in one area for advice in an area that is completely out of his expertise, whether or not he is honest with that and realizes that this is outside his expertise. Although a baker may work with grain and occasionally fruits and things that come from agriculture, this does not mean that a baker is an expert in planting, growing, tending, weeding, and anything to do with gardening in general. 

There is a sub-argument in play here, too:
Archetypes have (at least partial) volition.
Deities have volition.
Therefore deities and archetypes can be conflated without any problem and without ignoring their respective categories.

There’s a deep fault in this argument. Just because two items have something at least partially in common, it does not mean that the two items can be conflated. Look at it this way: a book is flat, a desk is flat, therefore a book and a desk are the same thing and can be used interchangeably. This isn’t so: a desk can hold books, a book cannot hold a desk. You could use a book as a makeshift desk for a short time, but it’s not as good as a real desk. A book can hold information and words, but a desk does not function in the same way. The two function best differently and are not the same thing. Deities and archetypes cannot be conflated, and yet the argument proceeds from a place where deities and archetypes are conflated and it is assumed that this is ok and factually correct because Jung, our expert on archetypes--but not on gods--says it is ok.

The blogger further explores Jung’s idea that the god Wotan actually possessed the entire nation of Germany and spurred the nation on to World War II and the atrocities which occurred therein. Again, Jung is an expert on archetypes, not on gods, and certainly not on the god Wotan. Since Jung was not a priest of this god, in constant communion with this god, it is nonsense to make the claim that Jung knows who and what Wotan is, or if there was any connection between Wotan and World War II. This argument has a decided ring of “devil made me do it” in regards to partially(?) holding Wotan responsible for World War II instead of setting those atrocities firmly on the very human shoulders who committed them. The deities are not responsible for human drama and human failings—to conflate human drama as acts of the deities is a gross misunderstanding of the nature of deities, and a gross misunderstanding of the nature of humans, and a gross misunderstanding of the relations between deities and humans. 

Also of note: the blogger, by bringing up this matter, further makes the faux pas of relating Wotan, therefore Woden and therefore Odin, to the Holocaust and racial, ethnic, sexist, and cultural atrocities. The blogger accidentally (I’m assuming it is an accident) supports an implied link between neo-Nazis, Asatru, and Odin worship—a link which is patently false, harmful, insensitive, and extremely insulting to Odin, Odin worshippers, and Asatruar. It is an erroneous link which the Asatruar have been fighting against for a long time. 

The argument then evolves into this:
Jung says (gods + archetypes) can possess nations.
The Morrigan is a goddess, and therefore she can possess a nation.
The US was possessed by a god or an archetype after 9-11 in the hysteria and warmongering that followed.
The Morrigan is (perhaps) the goddess who possessed the US.
     Or if not the Morrigan, Hermes may have done it for unknown ulterior motives.
     Or another “dangerous deity” did it
The Morrigan (or other “dangerous deities”?) operates a reign of terror against us humans and we are her puppets. 

All of these things may have, especially in the haze of emotional appeals, appeared rational and linked. But once they are looked at on their own for what they are, this appearance of being rational starts to fall apart and we begin to see that the argument is only based on fear, not on thoughtfulness. 

It is a huge leap to assume that any deity has ever bothered possessing a nation. It is a huge leap to assume that that deity is the Morrigan. It is a huge leap to assume that she would possess the US post 9-11. It is an even bigger leap of absurdity to assume that Hermes may have done it, posed as the Morrigan, for an unknown unspoken devious ulterior motive, and furthermore that this ulterior motive would somehow be detrimental to human beings. Look at how the fear has bent and warped things into shadow-threats, and see how this blogger is shadow-boxing with his own fears. See how the blogger is bringing the reader into his own shadow-boxing match by instilling his own fears into the reader through heavy-handed emotional appeal. 

There is a sub-argument here as well, and that argument is this:
The deities are dangerous.
The deities, because they are dangerous, would seek to harm us and have an agenda against us.
We must be on guard (perhaps even protect ourselves) because the deities seek to harm us.

This, too, does not hold up. Again, with the shadow-boxing. Again with the distrust and the fear. 

At best, what we’re seeing here is a frightened person airing his own fears, emotions, and very human drama, who is seeking comfort in the strength-in-numbers of other people he has terrified. This person has constructed a monster under the bed. He then convinces people to be terrified of the monster under the bed so that he can wrap them up in the cold comfort of a pseudo-religion devoid of the messiness, the trouble, the discomfort of actually dealing with real deities who are higher on the hierarchy and hold more strength than humans. He created the monster, he terrifies others into believing the monster is the “real” deity and that the monster is the thing to fear, and then he steps in with the savior of “rational” atheistic thought where people are “safely” at the top of the hierarchy. The problem is that there is very little here that is rational, as we’ve seen in these “logical” arguments which fall apart and end up not being logical. And there is something decidedly unsafe about this fear-mongering and these verbal attacks against the deities, all of which is disguised as “respect.”

At worst, what we’re seeing is someone who is targeting the deities, the deities’ holy people, and the religions of these deities. This targeted verbal attack is not an act of respect no matter how much this particular blogger stresses that he indeed has the highest respect for these beings, people, and structures. This is akin to a scene in the 1996 movie Mars Attacks where the space aliens say “we come in peace,” while they shoot their ray guns. Whether or not he realizes his actions are not respectful even though he claims respect, it still results in the same level of disrespect and blatant attack. He seems to believe that because the deities are stronger than humans they must therefore be evil and anti-human (“evil” and “anti-human” are two different things which could sometimes overlap, but the blogger tends to conflate them and point to them as the modus operandi of the deities), and therefore we must be on our guard against these “deific” boogeymen. It’s bizarre how this blogger tends to view the deities as some kind of almost Christian-like devils to be called out, exorcised, guarded against and fought.

Either way, I do not have to be inclusive of someone who would verbally attack the deities (whether my deities or not), the holy people of these deities, and those who venerate these deities. I do not have to offer respect to someone who is bent on attacking the deities, and destroying these religions, even if he claims to respect these beings and these things. I do not have to respect someone who seeks to propagate fear and distrust of the deities, and I do not have to be inclusive of someone who constructs threats only to provide the pseudo-antidote to the very threats he constructed in the first place. I do not have to believe that someone is nice when that someone would be so thoughtless as to use peoples’ emotions against them in order to pass off his broken arguments as appearing rational.