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Author Topic: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?  (Read 4350 times)

carillion

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #30 on: September 10, 2014, 08:41:20 pm »
Quote from: Naerianu;158659


Please remember, 'White people' have a heritage as well (We didn't just pop out of the ground like orcs with no history lol), and we have just as much right to it as a Mexican to Aztec or a 4th generation removed Native American wanting to rediscover their ancestry and roots.  It is sad when 'white people' do use their race to undermine the importance of others, but we are all important, and everyone's heritage/ancestry is also important. Love! :)

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Problem is the term 'white people' does not describe or rather, has thousands of possible descriptors. Perhaps I'm not interpreting your ideas correctly?

Naerianu

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #31 on: September 10, 2014, 09:15:23 pm »
Quote from: carillion;158663
Problem is the term 'white people' does not describe or rather, has thousands of possible descriptors. Perhaps I'm not interpreting your ideas correctly?

I am using the term Materialist used in their original post is all. It is why I put ' ' around it since in the original post it seems to be used as an all encompassing term. However specifically I suppose I was talking about those of Celtic/Norse descent, or more broader, Northern/Western European who were born in America or Canada or wherever else that is not where their ancestors are from.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 09:23:38 pm by Naerianu »

carillion

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #32 on: September 10, 2014, 10:37:16 pm »
Quote from: Naerianu;158665
I am using the term Materialist used in their original post is all. It is why I put ' ' around it since in the original post it seems to be used as an all encompassing term. However specifically I suppose I was talking about those of Celtic/Norse descent, or more broader, Northern/Western European who were born in America or Canada or wherever else that is not where their ancestors are from.


Sorry! I was cuing on what you wrote earlier in the post "Please, let white Americans have their heritage/ancestry"

Bear with me here but I was confused about something . You wrote "Core to religions such as Asatru or different forms of Celtic Paganism, is ancestors. Honoring your ancestors is important, and for many who follow Asatru or a form of CP, their ancestors are from those regions. Those of us who live in America did not suddenly lose our ancestors upon being born in a different country


As a central tenet. Following that you wrote " I believe EVERYONE, of every heritage and race, has the right to try and follow the path of their ancestors. Hell, even if people want to follow Greek who have no Greek heritage, who is to tell them they are wrong, if the gods called to them? This really comes down to what the gods view as acceptable from their followers, do we really have the right to judge peoples relationship with their ancestors or gods?"

Then they are not ancestors if you are not related in any way are they? Or, how does that work? I agree people should choose their own spiritual beliefs, but it's not ancestor worship if you aren't worshipping your actual ancestors.

Naerianu

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #33 on: September 10, 2014, 11:16:44 pm »
Quote from: carillion;158671
Sorry! I was cuing on what you wrote earlier in the post "Please, let white Americans have their heritage/ancestry"

Bear with me here but I was confused about something . You wrote "Core to religions such as Asatru or different forms of Celtic Paganism, is ancestors. Honoring your ancestors is important, and for many who follow Asatru or a form of CP, their ancestors are from those regions. Those of us who live in America did not suddenly lose our ancestors upon being born in a different country


As a central tenet. Following that you wrote " I believe EVERYONE, of every heritage and race, has the right to try and follow the path of their ancestors. Hell, even if people want to follow Greek who have no Greek heritage, who is to tell them they are wrong, if the gods called to them? This really comes down to what the gods view as acceptable from their followers, do we really have the right to judge peoples relationship with their ancestors or gods?"

Then they are not ancestors if you are not related in any way are they? Or, how does that work? I agree people should choose their own spiritual beliefs, but it's not ancestor worship if you aren't worshipping your actual ancestors.

 
I am not following what you are trying to ask. In my experience, Asatru (this could be considered ancestor worship as many Asatruar believe that those of Norse heritage are directly descended from the gods, which makes the gods your ancestors) and Celtic paganism have a focus on honoring ancestors (As does Shinto, though Shinto may also be worship, I am not sure). However Greek, to my knowledge does not. Therefore people are generally not claiming Greek Heritage as a reason for practicing Greek Paganism like so many do for Celtic and Norse (Having ancestors that fit your path is not a requirement for any religion unless you are going by some of the very racist Norse pagan groups, or very Afrocentric Kemetic groups).

My argument was in response specifically to the OPs 4th issue of those claiming heritage to a group they are descended from not having the right to do so if they are not immigrants or from an immigrant community. See below.

Quote from: Materialist;157097

Fourth issue: But-its-my-cultural-heritage! People. Maybe if you're an immigrant, or your family is, and you were raised in an immigrant community-you have some right to a European cultural heritage. But coming from the perspective of a person whose grandparents got off the boat at a one-muddy-path village called Jamestown, and I'll be blunt again, one's "European cultural heritage" ended when your ancestors decided to emigrate. We need to start calling it what it is-national heritage, because it belongs to the people who live in the country where the stuff happened. Faint if you must.

carillion

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #34 on: September 11, 2014, 02:26:30 am »
Quote from: Naerianu;158677
I am not following what you are trying to ask. In my experience, Asatru (this could be considered ancestor worship as many Asatruar believe that those of Norse heritage are directly descended from the gods, which makes the gods your ancestors) and Celtic paganism have a focus on honoring ancestors (As does Shinto, though Shinto may also be worship, I am not sure). However Greek, to my knowledge does not. Therefore people are generally not claiming Greek Heritage as a reason for practicing Greek Paganism like so many do for Celtic and Norse (Having ancestors that fit your path is not a requirement for any religion unless you are going by some of the very racist Norse pagan groups, or very Afrocentric Kemetic groups).

My argument was in response specifically to the OPs 4th issue of those claiming heritage to a group they are descended from not having the right to do so if they are not immigrants or from an immigrant community. See below.

I understand better now I think. Though I didn't think Celtic types of religion had their focus in ancestor worship and most cetainly the Greeks had the usual feast for the dead and of course the Hero Cults . So the ancient Greeks *did* engage in ancestor worship as well.

But I think it's strictly a matter of personal preference. The O.P. feels that having abadoned their homeland, immigrants 'cut the cord' to those ties of home-bound culture and ceremonies and adopted new, adapted ones and there is no reason to look further back.
And I imagine you are saying that there is nothing stopping someone from looking further back.  Certainly everyone has a 'right' to trace their ancestory. It can be very interesting as well.
I think both these positions are valid in terms of , hmm, 'heritage'? but I wouldn't base a religion on either. But then as I've said, I don't think biology and spiritulity have anything in common.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2014, 02:27:41 am by carillion »

Mulciber_Volcanus

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #35 on: September 11, 2014, 07:02:41 am »
As an anthropologist, this article hurts me a bit... Like a swift kick to the academic groin.

Allow me to explain: Culture is verbal behavior. It is something that is learned. That is to say, one can, in fact, "pick one's culture, invent it, and adopt a new ethnic identity." One needs only to learn the verbal behavior of the target culture. To say otherwise simply comes from a poor understanding of culture. We're not talking about appropriation here, but full adoption. There is a difference.

Also, as an anthropologist and a linguist, I can assure you that "in order to understand gods and practice religion properly," the culture and language which birthed said religion must also be understood. This, of course, really only applies to ethnic paganisms (or folk religions), either extant/traditional or reconstructionist. No one would argue the same for eclectic paganisms due to their synthetic evolution. In that same vein of thought, if you adopt an ethnic paganism for yourself and adopt the culture that birthed it (which can never be done fully if it is of considerable antiquity due to gaps in knowledge), it is in no way necessary to "become a citizen of the country where it's native," as the culture you are adopting has probably been long obliterated by Western Imperialist Culture in its birth nation (because they adopted it!!!).

"One's 'European cultural heritage' ended when your ancestors decided to emigrate." There's a substantial community of Russian-Americans in my home town that might have you disappeared for that comment. We'll just leave it at that.

I'm not sure how you define paganism (ask a pagan, get two answers), but from the standpoint of anthropology of religion, religions which are classified as "world religions" can't be "paganisms." A pagan religion, in anthropology, is equivalent to "folk religion" and is defined solely as not being a universal/world religion. Therefore, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and (to a lesser extent) Mazdaism/Zoroastrianism do not classify as pagan religions due to their population size and doctrine of universality (which the author curiously points out while arguing the opposite). It is their doctrines of universality that keeps them from requiring full cultural adoption, not some happy thought of everyone just being themselves. There is, however, in all universal or world religions a level of cultural adoption that is required. For Christianity, it's easy to spot (pretty much just Western culture), but within Dharmic religions, it is still present and can be easily recognized in the necessary adoption of language to get certain religious points across. As Benjamin Lee Whorf said, "Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about." Language is culture.

I do, however, agree with the parts about Westerners actually having culture despite arguments to the contrary and "European culture" being an American fantasy, so it's not all negative.


So as an anthropologist, I support individuals adopting cultures other than that in which they were born, so long as they do their research and actually adopt it (not appropriate it). I also support the formation of intentional tribes, so long as it isn't on racist or otherwise malicious grounds. I'm all for a return to tribalism but only if done with respect and proper education.

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #36 on: September 11, 2014, 03:40:01 pm »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;158688
As an anthropologist, this article hurts me a bit... Like a swift kick to the academic groin.

 
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Gilbride

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2014, 07:58:46 am »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;158688
Allow me to explain: Culture is verbal behavior. It is something that is learned.


Many if not most pagans seem to be under the impression that culture is somehow inherited genetically.

Megatherium

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2014, 11:37:29 am »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;158688

Allow me to explain: Culture is verbal behavior. It is something that is learned. That is to say, one can, in fact, "pick one's culture, invent it, and adopt a new ethnic identity." One needs only to learn the verbal behavior of the target culture. To say otherwise simply comes from a poor understanding of culture. We're not talking about appropriation here, but full adoption. There is a difference.


I think there are cases in which the adoption of a new cultural identity is possible. The most common example of this would be immigrants to North America who can relatively quickly adopt an identity as a Canadian or American. But in those cases, there is a substantial, physical immersion into the culture being adopted. Immigrants to North America live amongst North Americans, are subject to the laws of their adopted country, and generally able to adopt said identities because they are consistently interacting with  the elements of that culture.

I question whether this is at all feasible when we are talking about past societies with great differences in social organization and technological capacity.  I agree with you that...
 
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;158688
...if you adopt an ethnic paganism for yourself and adopt the culture that birthed it (which can never be done fully if it is of considerable antiquity due to gaps in knowledge)...


because we cannot fully understand cultures in which so much information is lacking. However, even for things that we can understand, there are substantial problems in adopting it in such a way that we can actually claim cultural identity as a member of the reconstructed culture. For example, one of the biggest problems for reconstructionists of temperate European religions is the non-literate nature of the societies being studied. Now it is possible for us to make oral communication a much greater part of our daily lives, but a member of a literate society with internet connections is never going experience the same level of importance for the oral transmission of knowledge that a non-literate society would.

I also find it difficult to imagine a person who is a member of a modern North American society can actually adopt the culture of a historical culture considering the fact that the larger society which they live in will not hold the same assumptions. In other words, a culture is not just something that an individual can adopt, it is part of the larger environment in which they function. I can study pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon culture till my eyes fall out, but I am ultimately going to to work in a wage-earning capacity rather than as a relatively self-sufficient agricultural worker. It will not make my family share my new cultural affiliation, as they would have in an actual pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon society. It will not eliminate the benefits of modern medicine in my life, or eliminate the fact that I have regular access to foods (like bananas for example) that would have been unknown  to pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons. Virtually every aspect of my actual environment differs substantially from said Anglo-Saxon culture.

I believe that we can adopt aspects of historical cultures, including important parts of their religious views. I think one can use the influence of historical cultures to greatly enrich one’s experience of the world. But I will ALWAYS be a 21st century Canadian. No amount of study or adoption will change that. I will never be able to claim the identity of a pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon.
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DavidMcCann

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2014, 01:12:39 pm »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;158688
As an anthropologist, this article hurts me a bit... Like a swift kick to the academic groin. … I support individuals adopting cultures other than that in which they were born, so long as they do their research and actually adopt it (not appropriate it). I also support the formation of intentional tribes, so long as it isn't on racist or otherwise malicious grounds. I'm all for a return to tribalism but only if done with respect and proper education.

As one who graduated in anthropology, I know how you feel.

Ethnicity is obviously not genetic. The fact that my ancestors were Irish "Celts" (and calling them Celts opens another can of worms) does not mean that I'm a Celt. I was raised on Greek myths and studied Classical history and literature, and the Latin language, at school. Culturally, my roots are Graeco-Roman.

If you believe that many of your gods are ancestors, the question obviously arises "why do you want to worship my ancestors?" But I cannot see that the Germanic gods are largely ancestors: they have too many similarities to those of other Indo-European peoples. I think what the Heathen really object to is appropriation. I always tell the tale of picking up an encyclopedia of goddesses in the public library, opening it at random, and reading "Hekate was a crone…" :mad:
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Faemon

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #40 on: September 12, 2014, 01:33:03 pm »
Quote from: Mulciber_Volcanus;158688
So as an anthropologist, I support individuals adopting cultures other than that in which they were born, so long as they do their research and actually adopt it (not appropriate it). I also support the formation of intentional tribes, so long as it isn't on racist or otherwise malicious grounds. I'm all for a return to tribalism but only if done with respect and proper education.


Well said, and thank you.

But I must ask, then, what exactly is the standard for actual adoption?

Where is the line between "influenced" "appropriated" and "actually adopted"?

Is it 50,000 words of peer-reviewed journals on the subject? 150 "insiders" who are willing to semantically accept/initiate this newbie and allow the adoption of this culture?

Or is it just..."I know it when I call it"?
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Aiwelin

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2014, 08:29:39 pm »
Quote from: carillion;158671
Then they are not ancestors if you are not related in any way are they? Or, how does that work? I agree people should choose their own spiritual beliefs, but it's not ancestor worship if you aren't worshipping your actual ancestors.

 
In my religious tradition, this isn't true at all.  That's using 'ancestors' in a very literal way, but I find many Pagans, like myself, use it both in that way and more metaphorically.  There are for example ancestors of hearth, those who once practiced the religion a given person is trying to recreate.  There are ancestors of heart or culture, those great heroes that we remember and give reverence to, those dear friends who have passed on.  And of course, there are ancestors of blood, which is the definition you're using.  But it's not the be-all, end-all of ancestor work.
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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #42 on: September 14, 2014, 09:36:16 am »
Quote from: Materialist;157097
For those of you who don't know what the term means, "tribalism" refers to the current within Neo-paganism that claims that in order to understand gods and practice religion properly the "culture" (often invented by the founder) must be adopted to some degree.

If this is the definition of tribalism being used, then I'd tend to agree, especially with the "to some degree" part. Certainly certain aspects of a culture like music, sports, e.t.c. don't necessarily have anything to do with religion,  but for those that don't separate their culture from religion,  then it's appropriate for them. Reconstructionists tend to place emphasis on  contemporary culture,  and take part in preservations, so in that case I wouldn't say the culture is being invented by the founder, but it depends on where we're talking. Since Gaol Naofa was mentioned,  there are members that live in Gaelic countries,  and others that if they aren't involved in a subcultural communites in their hometowns,  do travel abroad to participate.  I'm not saying this has any religious importance, but that they do have a connection with Gaelic culture,  diaspora or not.

America for instance also has many subcultures.  I for instance grew up around immigrants and descendants of the "Kerry patch" in Missouri where I first heard Irish spoken, made my first Bridget's cross, where my sister learned Irish dancing, e.t.c. Even now after immigrating to Ireland where I've been naturalised into a culture that I've always been familiar with(being that I've also visited before), due to the troubled history and generations of recession that have forced Irish to emigrate,  I have friends that have settled in Irish expat communities from the likes of Dubai, Qatar, Vietnam, New Zealand, e.t.c, and they have brought their culture with them. For many, being skillful in an element of Irish culture is how they found work abroad.

Nautilus

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Re: Does anyone else have issues with tribalism?
« Reply #43 on: September 14, 2014, 12:32:46 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;157097
For those of you who don't know what the term means, "tribalism" refers to the current within Neo-paganism that claims that in order to understand gods and practice religion properly the "culture" (often invented by the founder) must be adopted to some degree.

 

 
I don't know about adopting a culture (maybe elements that are relevent to modern life) but is it possible to understand deities and a religion properly without understanding the cultural background to some extent?  If you try to transplant a Roman deity into a Christian mindset, for example, I can't see this working well without SOMETHING getting a little distorted.  If you try to replicate rituals without having an understanding of the philosophy that motivates them, I would think it would feel pretty empty.  Either that or you'd just be substituting your own cultural baggage (again, probably distorting something to make it fit) in which case I don't think it would be quite the same ritual.  Frankly I think that's the bigger problem--when people take something from a religion or culture and just take the bits that catch their eye, and rearrange it to suit themselves while still pretending they're practicing the original.  

That said, I can't see transplanting a whole culture into an entirely different time and place--so much of culture is an adaptation or reaction to the environment.  I just feel it would be an exercise in futility.

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