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Author Topic: Religious consequence of current agriculture and current social relationships  (Read 582 times)

Kaio

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 Many ancient religious traditions on which several contemporary Pagan religions are based seemed to make assumptions that don't hold true any more, at least from the point of view of many of us:

 - agriculture long ceased to be about subsistence, community, etc.; countries like mine, where agriculture is the economically most profitable activity, face environmental issues possibly caused or worsened by contemporary agricultural practices. Maybe the worst of it is that local communities usually don't gain anything from this state of affairs, once that the best products are exported and the rest is locally sold for high prices;

 - contemporary societies long ceased to be structured unities where everyone has a place, a function, where it's possible to be respected in spite of not being a noble, not being rich, where there is a sense of group, etc.; nowadays it's mandatory to earn and hoard so much money as one can by every single possible mean. It means it's okay to lie to employees and customers alike, to bribe authorities, to harm people by selling drugs and food that can cause diseases, to steal, etc..

 How do you deal with these contemporary contexts religion-wise?
 
 Ma'at, darna or a concept of the like, is there a similar concept within your religion and/or religious tradition? What do you think about it in the world in which we live nowadays?

 I decided to start this thread because I always look for non-Pagan - or at least arguably non-Pagan - religions or religious traditions when I'm really irritated or sad for being through another situation of (age-related, colonial, economic, political, racial and/or sexual) oppression, like Gnosticism and Satanism. Thing is, I think I really can't be neither a Gnostic of any kind, nor a Satanist. I think I just can't. When I feel better, I start reading about Pagan religious traditions again. So I think I can benefit from knowing how other Pagan people deal with contemporary meanings of agriculture, contemporary social relationships, etc..
When in Rome do as the Romans do. (Ambrose)

SirPalomides

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Many ancient religious traditions on which several contemporary Pagan religions are based seemed to make assumptions that don't hold true any more, at least from the point of view of many of us:

 - agriculture long ceased to be about subsistence, community, etc.; countries like mine, where agriculture is the economically most profitable activity, face environmental issues possibly caused or worsened by contemporary agricultural practices. Maybe the worst of it is that local communities usually don't gain anything from this state of affairs, once that the best products are exported and the rest is locally sold for high prices;

 - contemporary societies long ceased to be structured unities where everyone has a place, a function, where it's possible to be respected in spite of not being a noble, not being rich, where there is a sense of group, etc.; nowadays it's mandatory to earn and hoard so much money as one can by every single possible mean. It means it's okay to lie to employees and customers alike, to bribe authorities, to harm people by selling drugs and food that can cause diseases, to steal, etc..

 How do you deal with these contemporary contexts religion-wise?
 
 Ma'at, darna or a concept of the like, is there a similar concept within your religion and/or religious tradition? What do you think about it in the world in which we live nowadays?

 I decided to start this thread because I always look for non-Pagan - or at least arguably non-Pagan - religions or religious traditions when I'm really irritated or sad for being through another situation of (age-related, colonial, economic, political, racial and/or sexual) oppression, like Gnosticism and Satanism. Thing is, I think I really can't be neither a Gnostic of any kind, nor a Satanist. I think I just can't. When I feel better, I start reading about Pagan religious traditions again. So I think I can benefit from knowing how other Pagan people deal with contemporary meanings of agriculture, contemporary social relationships, etc..

It's fair to say that religious traditions and other forms of ideology are conditioned by the social structures they emerge from. Often things they deem to be eternal principles turn out to not be so eternal, but tied to particular modes of production or social organization- patriarchy, slavery, serfdom, etc. Now we live under the reign of capital and its oligarchs, where "all that is solid melts to air", and the religions, far from asserting their own independent principles, have adapted accordingly, so that now we have Christianities, Buddhisms, and paganisms tailor made for our new atomized, alienated existence as wage slaves. What can be save, what can be recovered from the past? I think the key is poetry, poetry which is the heart of magic and also of the best of religions, though it breaks through any dogmatic straitjackets and always strives for something more, something beyond, something deeper. We have to recover poetry and with it the spirit of revolt. 

Anon100

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 I decided to start this thread because I always look for non-Pagan - or at least arguably non-Pagan - religions or religious traditions when I'm really irritated or sad for being through another situation of (age-related, colonial, economic, political, racial and/or sexual) oppression, like Gnosticism and Satanism. Thing is, I think I really can't be neither a Gnostic of any kind, nor a Satanist. I think I just can't. When I feel better, I start reading about Pagan religious traditions again. So I think I can benefit from knowing how other Pagan people deal with contemporary meanings of agriculture, contemporary social relationships, etc..

A couple of things come to mind here.
I should say before I start that I am NOT a historian or deeply conversant with the details of history. Nor am I tied into any organised religion, so my knowledge and thoughts may not have the weight or backing that other members - who do have that kind of knowledge - can bring to bear.

That said.
Firstly, I think you may be colouring the past in a more hopeful light than it had at times. There has, from what I know, been a history of serfs ( and others low in ranks ) being seen as relatively expendable and unimportant and, even for the higher ranks, third and fourth children might be ignored as the heir and spare had already been born, and wives might sometimes be just a child maker.. It's not the past I dream of but it's still not to be ignored.
Then there was the case of invasions to gain valuable land or the enclosures act which destroyed many communities for profit.

It's true that we don't seem to connect as much/closely now but I think our community sense was stronger before, not because of our enslavement to money as much as that we needed our communities before simply to survive.
Imagine that the only way to survive if you got injured or snowed in was by the kindness and support of the villagers nearest you - no phones or cars or easy options, just you and a small community.
Of course it would have become just the norm and then, as we drifted away, no one notices until it seems lost.

Maybe community now is harder because it's something we have to choose rather than something we're forced to need.

So, following my rant. How do I see my belief in relation to the world now?
It's a support for me. It helps me to stop, look around and try to be me rather than getting carried away by trying to live..
It shows me a possibility of how I could be better and what I dream/hope of for and in this world.

PerditaPickle

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- agriculture long ceased to be about subsistence, community, etc.; countries like mine, where agriculture is the economically most profitable activity, face environmental issues possibly caused or worsened by contemporary agricultural practices. Maybe the worst of it is that local communities usually don't gain anything from this state of affairs, once that the best products are exported and the rest is locally sold for high prices;

 - contemporary societies long ceased to be structured unities where everyone has a place, a function, where it's possible to be respected in spite of not being a noble, not being rich, where there is a sense of group, etc.; nowadays it's mandatory to earn and hoard so much money as one can by every single possible mean. It means it's okay to lie to employees and customers alike, to bribe authorities, to harm people by selling drugs and food that can cause diseases, to steal, etc..

 How do you deal with these contemporary contexts religion-wise?

So first let me begin by saying that I identify as spiritual but not religious, as that feels important for me to put out there at the outset of my reply.

But second, I identify with neo-Druidry the most in my current path.  I believe most folk who similarly identify with neo-Druidry would largely agree that your two bullet pointed statements above are generally undesirable states of affairs from this view point.  As such, we should arguably be working to try to 'correct' these at least to a degree (although I'm obviously making generalisations, here).

Instead, it's generally held that there should be more of a relationship with the land whereby we (society) would cease to exploit and instead cultivate more of a mutually beneficial & sustainable approach.  And that should also address the point about the local communities being exploited or otherwise losing out in the transaction/s.

Community is also, as I understand it, held to be highly important and as you say the current status quo is not the ideal situation for cultivating this outlook (at least not for those of us who do not make up the richest 1%).

I'm not sure how well I've articulated these points, but I hope that's of some interest.  I'm more than happy to have further discussion from here, if there are specific questions you'd like to ask or points you'd like to make in response.
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I think the key is poetry, poetry which is the heart of magic and also of the best of religions, though it breaks through any dogmatic straitjackets and always strives for something more, something beyond, something deeper. We have to recover poetry and with it the spirit of revolt.

I think it's very probable that a goodly number of my fellow neo-Druids would concur with you, here.  My own focus is more on environmentalism, at least for now, but I'm aware of the importance which is placed upon bardic pursuits by others following Druidic paths.
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
(From the Metta Sutta)

My Portrait of Perpetual Perplexity blog

PerditaPickle

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Maybe community now is harder because it's something we have to choose rather than something we're forced to need.

I think this is an interesting point, and I keep seeing TED talks & similar which are arguing that community is something we're currently lacking (in the West) and that this is to our detriment - one even argued that this is a reason why rates of depression have been steadily increasing in our modern world (though that's potentially a somewhat controversial stance).
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
(From the Metta Sutta)

My Portrait of Perpetual Perplexity blog

Yei

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So first let me begin by saying that I identify as spiritual but not religious, as that feels important for me to put out there at the outset of my reply.

But second, I identify with neo-Druidry the most in my current path.  I believe most folk who similarly identify with neo-Druidry would largely agree that your two bullet pointed statements above are generally undesirable states of affairs from this view point.  As such, we should arguably be working to try to 'correct' these at least to a degree (although I'm obviously making generalisations, here).

Instead, it's generally held that there should be more of a relationship with the land whereby we (society) would cease to exploit and instead cultivate more of a mutually beneficial & sustainable approach.  And that should also address the point about the local communities being exploited or otherwise losing out in the transaction/s.

Community is also, as I understand it, held to be highly important and as you say the current status quo is not the ideal situation for cultivating this outlook (at least not for those of us who do not make up the richest 1%).

I'm not sure how well I've articulated these points, but I hope that's of some interest.  I'm more than happy to have further discussion from here, if there are specific questions you'd like to ask or points you'd like to make in response.

Aztec people actually had a really good concept that helped to deal with some of these problems: the Altepetl. Unlike in Western cultures, Aztecs (and other Mesoamericans), did not have a strong conceptual divide between urban, rural, and wilderness. All tended to be incorporated into one political/cultural/geographic unit, which was the Altepetl. Although there are political consequences to the Altepetl, it also had important social-environmental connections. Generally, it meant that people did not see their lives as separate from nature, because nature was a natural part of their political-social world. Religion reinforced this connection, as so many Aztec rituals worked to situate human life within the larger environment.

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