Practice vice with moderation, and it may become a virtue. Unfettered by restriction, your perspective becomes broader. Once you know your resolve is stronger then temptation, temptation cannot scare you. That courage in the face of your own desires can bolster you in ways that would make those with less experience falter.
Practice virtue without moderation, and it may become a vice. You will be confined in perspective, and will be at the mercy of those without such restrictions. You will fall pray to fear, for no absolute can be maintained forever. It only takes one mistake to shatter your conceptions of you own ego, for many who ascribe themselves to one concept so fully end up defining themselves with it. Even should you be strong enough to resist such moments and philosophies, your fixed perspective make it far to easy to cause you damage and pain. However, you will find that you crave that limited perspective…and that stepping outside of it terrifies you.
Any weakness approached with honesty and wisdom can be made a strength. When you can talk to the most infirm parts of yourself with dignity, you gain a firmness of spirit that protects you. Familiarity with your own failings suggests courage (in that your greatest demons cannot shake your resolve) and clarity (that you may see the unpleasant truth when you may wish to see pretty lies). Lastly, you may see things that none other may, your perspective enlightened via introspective diligence.
Any strength approached without honesty and wisdom can become a hindrance. A talented carpenter uses many tool, and a great general will make use of many tactics; there is a reason for this. Reliance on a single method makes a person predictable, and easy to counter. I have seen many people who rely on a single strength falter when that strength doesn’t offer an obvious solution. Their reliance on a single solution to all problems weakens them.
Just something that popped into my head today. It has been a long held philosophy of mine, but I’ve never found a moment to put it into words like this.
There is a general philosophy within Heathenry right now that one should pursue what is traditional in all things. Now, many Heathens acknowledge that you need to have some sense with this; the Vikings wouldn’t have shunned the car just because their fathers hadn’t used one.
On that note, is there any car more “viking” then a Humvee? I digress…
In either case, while I recognize that tradition is a fine tool? It’s just that, a tool. If I was to obey all the traditions of my ancestors? I’d be required to convert to Catholicism.
Tradition doesn’t form in a vacuum. The best traditions became traditions because they did a valuable service for those who partook of them. Removed from that service, tradition can stagnate and become counter-productive. We must ask ourselves what our ancestors would have done with the traditions that stopped working or ceased to provide returns.
The Heathen cultures were pragmatic; if something doesn’t work, why use it?
About a year ago, I tried to put together a blog concerning my thoughts on a number of geekish matters that I believed were interesting. It was a fun little romp, when I remembered to do it. Ultimately, it was unsatisfyin however. I had tried to start up a blog for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to get a feel for pop-culture, blogosphere style journalism…but I forgot that I don’t do well in the fake it part of “fake it till you make it”.
Not that my opinions were false or staged; everything I said I meant. The problem was, more then anything, I realized I wasn’t expressing my opinions for a truly good reason. I wanted something, and while I wasn’t lying to get it? I wasn’t pursuing my goal honestly. I wasn’t becoming something by saying something clever and interesting…I was trying to become something by figuring the cleverest and most interesting way to present something. I was attempting to sell myself in a completely backwards way. That little detail just made it impossible for me to do anything heartfelt.
So, this then.
It’s really a unique time for me. I feel poised to make progress on a lot of fronts. A brand new relationship, some new perspectives on who and what I am, a supportive community of Heathens, and some goals I really feel like I have the capacity to achieve. I can do something with my life. That may seem like a pretty simple thing to say…but it can be a remarkable paragim shift if you’ve never thought so before.
If, as in my case, you’ve opperated under the presumption that life is going to suck no matter what you do and the best you can do is get really good at coasting? It can be a bloody renaissance for the heart and soul.
And thus, here we are.
Buckle your seat-belts kids; I’m not sure if it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but safety never hurt anyone.