Why I like dragons…October 16, 2006
IDDFOS: International Detective Dragons from Outer Space. A podcast that asks questions about the world and the universe and people and lots of other things from a purely speculative point of view. Written, produced and performed by Anim5, an actor and thinker from New Jersey. See blogroll
House of the Harping Monkey: a fictional fantasy tavern located at http://www.harpingmonkey.com. Centers around a podcast called The Round Table, where they discuss mythology in a modern world view as how it applies to our lives. Hosted, posted and initiated by Mick Bradley, a geek of glorious proportions, and a very nice guy.
I, in the past few months, have had this definitive urge to turn all things away and find the truth of everything. I know I’m not the first to do this, and sometimes remembering that is a bit saddening, because I want to be the first. However, it has been arduous of me nonetheless, and I have read many things that I hoped would point me in the direction I was looking. I turned aside religion, pushed away my faith, pulled up a good science textbook and went to work trying to crack through the folds. So far, as I’m not quite done yet, these actions have led me into very interesting thoughts. Here are some recent events.
Recently on IDDFOS, the topic of how humankind has moved into the position they are in now, whether that is good or bad, and what we are going to do about it has been set up very heavily. Unfortunately for all those that listen, I started it. Nyah. I sent a smallish email out to Anim5, and he decided to read it on the air, and then based a series of episodes on what I’d said. I give thanks to him, for that was great flattery that I’ve never received in such an esteemed way.
The specific topic of the last podcast had to do with Humanity in relation to gods in myths, and turned slightly to a discussion of whether it was okay for man to have written all the creation myths with Man as the end result. For the most part, I’ve agreed with the book Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, on this in that Man is not the end of the evolutionary cycle, and thus shouldn’t be the end of all the stories we tell our children to explain our world.
I also have developed a general hatred toward our species because of all the things we do to ourselves and to our environment. We are despicable, and we should be punished for what we’ve done. I, thus, have completely put aside the idea that I wouldn’t be able to express these opinions if it weren’t for that deplorability.
So when Anim5 got pissed off at the telepathic gorilla in the book for his motives and methods, I decided that I agreed, and that shocked me. Suddenly, I realized that I was glad I had this lovely little race that was willing to kill hundreds of thousands of itself at a time in order for us to have little things like iPods, computers, blogs, bundt cake, Buicks, pagans and grocery stores. Thus, maybe humanity isn’t so bad after all.
Consider on top of this my recent excursion into my ritual chamber/closet to hold a circle that I didn’t expect to have. It was a very emotional thing, and I nearly had a break down in the process. I had great chills the entire time, even though I didn’t call down any deity or anything of the like. I simply praised myself.
I have avoided the pagan community here in my little town for a the past few months, which has meant avoiding friends, because I have been trying to reconcile the natural world and magick, which always has proclaimed to work with the natural world. I’ve been listening to many other podcasts in the meantime, and discovering many things. See: Skepticality podcast, Point of Inquiry podcast, Slacker Astronomy podcast. Among the podcasts that I’ve not listened to in a while is the HHM (see above). I used to listen to Round Table very often, but have recently decided that I should let that one go because it wasn’t that vital that I hear it, and my time was getting more and more precious. I’ve actually whittled down the number of podcasts I listen to each week from 40 to around 20, and I still have a problem staying on top of things.
HHM has been in world-building mode, and when Mick Bradley brought that into the discussion in IDDFOS’s latest discussion (see above), I was started to hear what was said, yet again. It turns out that Mick Bradley believes we should probably not be so reason-centered in our culture. This was appalling to me, and I was a bit offended, though not for any good reason. It bothered me to think that we might actually turn back to a fully shamanistic society where medicine was determined by what could be gathered, and some sicknesses would be cured by putting a hole in your skull. How horrible! However, there are other thoughts that go along with this, but those for another time.
If we took out all the reason, we’d honestly have people running around trying to get a job by waving a crystal around, thinking that would fix things. Oh wait, we already have that. So many Mr. Bradley isn’t too far off from what he would like, and maybe we’ve got more of it than any of us realize. This comes up when we talk about fundamentalism, and we’ll discuss that later as well.
However, to get back on topic, Mick mentioned that role-playing seems to take care of a lot of the problems that were brought up in the IDDFOS discussion, and if you think about it, he’s not far off.
1) we create a world where the evolutionary tract can end wherever we want it to
2) we create a system of gods and religions that can be as true to the races as possible without being dogmatic
3) We create a series of events that tries us as individuals, even if it is second hand. The experience we have with this is better than a movie or a tale, because we are helping create it from our very minds. Call it one-and-a-half hand, I suppose.
4) We can overcome many of the problems that stigmatize us through the slow psychological process of role-playing in a fantasy way. It’s great therapy. Our society at large would not normally be willing to take our inept people and guide them slowly into being a functioning part of reality. However, a good role-playing group will not only do this, but will do it in a safe and gradual way that is both flexible and reliable.
So with these things alone, role-playing in its many forms will indeed be better for any individual. This applies to what I’m talking about in that we live in a world the go against all the points I have stated above, and if we can escape into a more real, more functioning world, we are better for it. This would lead into the discussion brought on in the Shadowdance podcast last week. See blogroll.
Conclusion, for now:
I do not mean to say that the answer to science + religion = role-playing. However, I would go so far as to say that role-playing is a great way to test out our ideas in a functioning method where other people can have a vested interest in your ideas.
My point is that I may have made some distinct decisions about what I want to do in my little path. Perhaps there is a way to remove a magick system from paganism and still hold onto the ideals that I find appealing and honest. However, that is also another discussion, and we’ll save that for later.