Tag Archives: individualism

Lessons from Aesop’s Fables (#8): The Oak and the Reed

Fable:

A very large Oak was uprooted by the wind and thrown across a stream. It fell among some Reeds, which it thus addressed: “I wonder how you, who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong winds.” They replied, “You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; while we on the contrary bend with the wind, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape.”

Salomon_quercus[1]

Moral:

Do not wrestle with the Gods or with circumstances far above your power. Beware also of the force of the times and, even if you don’t agree with certain principles, entertain the idea and discuss it rather than oppose it fiercely. Also, a community of humble reeds (as it were) that endures successfully is better for polytheism than a single proud oak that breaks unyieldingly. This is especially important for leaders who take it upon themselves to represent others and bear the brunt of opposition. We have no need of adding any more relics to polytheism, however mighty they may be; our task is now to revive, survive and thrive amid so much wind.

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Essential distinctions in polytheism (part 1): Community v.s Individualism

hero-ring-of-trees-looking-upIt is by comparing and distinguishing that people come to know, understand and benefit from things. Distinction is often the essence of learning, for to deepen one’s knowledge in isolated things, without determining how much they differ, is to lose the eye in parts, without gaining the whole. Such a narrow view then leads to mistakes and misunderstandings which can always be better prevented than cured.

Because polytheism at the present time is undergoing a slow and hopeful regeneration, at the hands and in the hearts of many practitioners and well-wishers, often isolated by the force of various difficult circumstances, it becomes necessary to pursue and maintain discussions that can bring about some degree of a common view and good understanding, which are the seeds of community. However, since many polytheists have gone through hardships and isolation in their own experience, they may well be attached to personal views and practices that had supported them.  This is indeed the case, I would venture to say, with all of us, more or less; we are hardened and bold, because we have, like our ancestors, always been taunted and attacked for our ways. But although disagreements among us are bound to occur, nothing can be worse than to allow our personal attachments get the better of our common understanding. If there can’t be harmony, let there be discussion, and if discussion should fail, let there be negotiation. Continual isolation and differences may stifle our budding growth, or what is actually worse, raise a weak and deformed tree.

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