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Author Topic: Eclecticism and Rage  (Read 1870 times)

Riothamus12

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Eclecticism and Rage
« on: October 03, 2015, 08:44:30 pm »
It seems that some people have a problem with eclecticism. These days it seems there are so many who are pressuring people to just "pick one". I'll admit I've seen some erroneous claims, ill researched rituals, and practices based on stereotypes of other cultures. However, I've seen an equal number of people doing careful research consulting followers of the paths they borrow from, and being cautious. I do believe people have the right to follow any path that makes sense to them and I do mean ANY. There's one question I have for people who have taken issue with my ecleciticism. What if you simply don't agree with any currently existing path enough to convert to, be initiated into, declare membership in, or be baptized into them? I have been searching for all my life with myself and the Divine itself as my only teachers. I have studied so many and yet have not found one I agree with enough to feel that I can call myself an adherent without utterly misrepresenting them. I agree with Hinduism on so many points, but do not believe in reincarnation. I have agreed with Buddhism on many points but cannot bring myself to believe in Anatt or that attachments are always bad. I share much of Wicca's practice, but once again, there are doctrines I differ on. It also doesn't have a clear path for the inclusion of non-binary people. I may be a cis straight man, but it is important for me to include them in some way. Feri tradition does have that, but I do not believe in this division between fertility and ecstasy paths. I see only wisdom paths. Ecstasy is important, but I do not think it to be the absolute. It's emphasis on sexuality sort of leaves out asexual people. Also, where do I find a Feri practitioner without moving to the west coast? Something I do not have the financial resources to do. Don't even get me started on the aspects of Chaos Magic I don't agree with. For all my love of certain Catholic teachings and coming from a heavily Catholic family, I found that Christianity didn't line up with the reality I had perceived enough. For all my love of the Celtic wisdom, my admiration for my Celtic ancestors, for all the beauty I find in practice, once again I feel as if I differ too much.

Then there are traditions I may or may not be a part of. I could in a sense call myself a Thelemite since the Book of The Law is one of the most important texts to practice and convictions and I agree with a number of it's doctrines, but am I one because I declare myself one?

The same thing with Taoism. Am I a Taoist because I've read the writings of Zhuangzi and the Tao Te Ching and agreed heavily with them or am I only a Taoist sect if I joint a sect? I read the Tao Te Ching often when confronted with a philosophical or moral conundrum. I do the same with the Liber Al Legis, the Spiral Dance, the Baghavad Gita, the Lotus Sutra, the Bible, Evolutionary Witchcraft, the Temple of Witchcraft series, the Havamal, and many others for I have found wisdom in all of them. One sometimes contains the answer the others lack. Some times I find something shared between all or most of them.

I am indeed a pagan. I have found that I agree with western esoteric and pagan doctrines most of all, but i still have yet to find this "one path" that some people insist on me joining. If you know where this perfect teacher or path that lines up with the theology I have been developing all these years, seeking to create a unified theory of the Divine, then please do tell me where they are, what book I should read, or what I should do. I do not go about haphazardly adopting elements and practices. I incorporate, refine, reassemble, and study continuously, as if I am a blacksmith attempting to create a most perfect blade. There are those who act without caution, who understand nothing of what they adopt, and appropriate without regard for anyone but them selves. However, eclecticism can be ethical and some times we simply don't agree with existing paths enough join them without feeling that we are misrepresenting them. Maybe there is a path out there waiting for me. The one mysterious tradition that I've simply never heard of, but I have not found it yet.
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Liberty

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Re: Eclecticism and Rage
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2015, 09:31:42 pm »
Quote from: Riothamus12;180721
It seems that some people have a problem with eclecticism. These days it seems there are so many who are pressuring people to just "pick one". I'll admit I've seen some erroneous claims, ill researched rituals, and practices based on stereotypes of other cultures. However, I've seen an equal number of people doing careful research consulting followers of the paths they borrow from, and being cautious. I do believe people have the right to follow any path that makes sense to them and I do mean ANY. There's one question I have for people who have taken issue with my ecleciticism. What if you simply don't agree with any currently existing path enough to convert to, be initiated into, declare membership in, or be baptized into them? I have been searching for all my life with myself and the Divine itself as my only teachers. I have studied so many and yet have not found one I agree with enough to feel that I can call myself an adherent without utterly misrepresenting them. I agree with Hinduism on so many points, but do not believe in reincarnation. I have agreed with Buddhism on many points but cannot bring myself to believe in Anatt or that attachments are always bad. I share much of Wicca's practice, but once again, there are doctrines I differ on. It also doesn't have a clear path for the inclusion of non-binary people. I may be a cis straight man, but it is important for me to include them in some way. Feri tradition does have that, but I do not believe in this division between fertility and ecstasy paths. I see only wisdom paths. Ecstasy is important, but I do not think it to be the absolute. It's emphasis on sexuality sort of leaves out asexual people. Also, where do I find a Feri practitioner without moving to the west coast? Something I do not have the financial resources to do. Don't even get me started on the aspects of Chaos Magic I don't agree with. For all my love of certain Catholic teachings and coming from a heavily Catholic family, I found that Christianity didn't line up with the reality I had perceived enough. For all my love of the Celtic wisdom, my admiration for my Celtic ancestors, for all the beauty I find in practice, once again I feel as if I differ too much.

Then there are traditions I may or may not be a part of. I could in a sense call myself a Thelemite since the Book of The Law is one of the most important texts to practice and convictions and I agree with a number of it's doctrines, but am I one because I declare myself one?

The same thing with Taoism. Am I a Taoist because I've read the writings of Zhuangzi and the Tao Te Ching and agreed heavily with them or am I only a Taoist sect if I joint a sect? I read the Tao Te Ching often when confronted with a philosophical or moral conundrum. I do the same with the Liber Al Legis, the Spiral Dance, the Baghavad Gita, the Lotus Sutra, the Bible, Evolutionary Witchcraft, the Temple of Witchcraft series, the Havamal, and many others for I have found wisdom in all of them. One sometimes contains the answer the others lack. Some times I find something shared between all or most of them.

I am indeed a pagan. I have found that I agree with western esoteric and pagan doctrines most of all, but i still have yet to find this "one path" that some people insist on me joining. If you know where this perfect teacher or path that lines up with the theology I have been developing all these years, seeking to create a unified theory of the Divine, then please do tell me where they are, what book I should read, or what I should do. I do not go about haphazardly adopting elements and practices. I incorporate, refine, reassemble, and study continuously, as if I am a blacksmith attempting to create a most perfect blade. There are those who act without caution, who understand nothing of what they adopt, and appropriate without regard for anyone but them selves. However, eclecticism can be ethical and some times we simply don't agree with existing paths enough join them without feeling that we are misrepresenting them. Maybe there is a path out there waiting for me. The one mysterious tradition that I've simply never heard of, but I have not found it yet.

I'm new and still overly talkative probably putting my two cents in where its not needed but oh well. Spirituality found me against my will and knowing logic but know that there are sentient powers beyond our senses some good some some bad some single purposed but they are there I dont know how to find them on your own though but dont give up. So thats how I've found my new path which I'm sure the majority would say is not real or mental illness.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2015, 09:33:49 pm by Liberty »

Freesia

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Re: Eclecticism and Rage
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2015, 09:51:46 pm »
Quote from: Riothamus12;180721
It seems that some people have a problem with eclecticism. These days it seems there are so many who are pressuring people to just "pick one".

Do what you need to do for yourself and stop worrying about what other people will think or say. Making everyone happy is impossible and not everyone will respect you for it. I've gotten some harsh criticism for being too kind and cautious about where my "Pagan place" should be. I lost a lot of time trying to find a perfect crowd to blend into before I decided to to give up on that stupidity. I'm eclectic and I don't care what that means to anyone else.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 05:26:28 pm by SunflowerP »

Faemon

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Re: Eclecticism and Rage
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2015, 11:44:31 pm »
Quote from: Riothamus12;180721
I still have yet to find this "one path" that some people insist on me joining.

I do not go about haphazardly adopting elements and practices.

 
Lean on the truth of that last line and stay away from the some people who insist that you conform to their idea of who they want to share the planet with, and get angry when they're not even your clergy.

Of course it's more complicated than that. There can be people who provide a lot of insight or share common interests except for that one point. There can be a need for a community, but many communities won't know what to tell you about any one issue because you'd have so many influences that could counteract or disregard a standard approach. I've felt something similar when trying to make my own path, that because it's my own path then there's a lot I can't ask somebody else about and expect an answer from this perspective. With eclecticism, I imagine it's the case that somebody who carefully explains an aspect of Hellenism as applies to one post might feel it a wasted effort if the next thread by the same person goes down another path entirely (or expressed that they like Hellenism but don't jive with that one aspect mentioned in a previous thread, so how's that Hinduism going?) It would be honest and probably get what's needed, but enough of that social awkwardness can snowball into rage.

But when it gets ragey...are you really doing something wrong? You might both (sides) have insights, you might both have self-serving motivations. But they can ignore you, and you can ignore them. You don't need rage on your path if hey you're just walkin' here.
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RandallS

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Re: Eclecticism and Rage
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2015, 08:00:38 am »
Quote from: Riothamus12;180721
It seems that some people have a problem with eclecticism. These days it seems there are so many who are pressuring people to just "pick one". I'll admit I've seen some erroneous claims, ill researched rituals, and practices based on stereotypes of other cultures. However, I've seen an equal number of people doing careful research consulting followers of the paths they borrow from, and being cautious. I do believe people have the right to follow any path that makes sense to them and I do mean ANY.

I think there is is difference between thoughtful eclecticism where one takes things from different religions, cultures, practices, etc. and while acknowledging their origins, works to make them fit into a (at least somewhat) unified system and what I call "bright/shiny eclecticism" where one just takes whatever looks interesting at the moment and mixes them together with little concern from whether the mixture makes sense and usually with little concern for their origin. The former I generally have little problem with while the latter makes me roll my eyes in mild cases and grit my teeth in more extreme cases, but I still accept that people have the right to their own beliefs (so long as they are not causing harm to others with them) even if I disagree with them.
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Freesia

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Re: Eclecticism and Rage
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2015, 09:26:37 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;181471
I think there is is difference between thoughtful eclecticism where one takes things from different religions, cultures, practices, etc. and while acknowledging their origins, works to make them fit into a (at least somewhat) unified system and what I call "bright/shiny eclecticism" where one just takes whatever looks interesting at the moment and mixes them together with little concern from whether the mixture makes sense and usually with little concern for their origin. The former I generally have little problem with while the latter makes me roll my eyes in mild cases and grit my teeth in more extreme cases, but I still accept that people have the right to their own beliefs (so long as they are not causing harm to others with them) even if I disagree with them.


People do learn from their mistakes; so if some eclectics fall into the "bright and shiny" category it is reasonable to believe that they will evolve their practices with time.

I think that it is not cool for Pagans to be so fast to discourage or even openly mock those who are less experienced or are in a transition in their lives. Many of these people are just starting to open up about their thoughts and can go on forever about "connections that can't be explained but are so real (insert philosophy)." People will eventually learn from their mistakes given time. Or else they'll get a book deal, and it wont be the first time humanity suffered from someone's mixed up notions.

Jukka

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Re: Eclecticism and Rage
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2015, 10:37:43 pm »
Quote from: Riothamus12;180721
It seems that some people have a problem with eclecticism. These days it seems there are so many who are pressuring people to just "pick one". I'll admit I've seen some erroneous claims, ill researched rituals, and practices based on stereotypes of other cultures. However, I've seen an equal number of people doing careful research consulting followers of the paths they borrow from, and being cautious. I do believe people have the right to follow any path that makes sense to them and I do mean ANY. There's one question I have for people who have taken issue with my ecleciticism. What if you simply don't agree with any currently existing path enough to convert to, be initiated into, declare membership in, or be baptized into them? I have been searching for all my life with myself and the Divine itself as my only teachers. I have studied so many and yet have not found one I agree with enough to feel that I can call myself an adherent without utterly misrepresenting them. I agree with Hinduism on so many points, but do not believe in reincarnation. I have agreed with Buddhism on many points but cannot bring myself to believe in Anatt or that attachments are always bad. I share much of Wicca's practice, but once again, there are doctrines I differ on. It also doesn't have a clear path for the inclusion of non-binary people. I may be a cis straight man, but it is important for me to include them in some way. Feri tradition does have that, but I do not believe in this division between fertility and ecstasy paths. I see only wisdom paths. Ecstasy is important, but I do not think it to be the absolute. It's emphasis on sexuality sort of leaves out asexual people. Also, where do I find a Feri practitioner without moving to the west coast? Something I do not have the financial resources to do. Don't even get me started on the aspects of Chaos Magic I don't agree with. For all my love of certain Catholic teachings and coming from a heavily Catholic family, I found that Christianity didn't line up with the reality I had perceived enough. For all my love of the Celtic wisdom, my admiration for my Celtic ancestors, for all the beauty I find in practice, once again I feel as if I differ too much.

Then there are traditions I may or may not be a part of. I could in a sense call myself a Thelemite since the Book of The Law is one of the most important texts to practice and convictions and I agree with a number of it's doctrines, but am I one because I declare myself one?

The same thing with Taoism. Am I a Taoist because I've read the writings of Zhuangzi and the Tao Te Ching and agreed heavily with them or am I only a Taoist sect if I joint a sect? I read the Tao Te Ching often when confronted with a philosophical or moral conundrum. I do the same with the Liber Al Legis, the Spiral Dance, the Baghavad Gita, the Lotus Sutra, the Bible, Evolutionary Witchcraft, the Temple of Witchcraft series, the Havamal, and many others for I have found wisdom in all of them. One sometimes contains the answer the others lack. Some times I find something shared between all or most of them.

I am indeed a pagan. I have found that I agree with western esoteric and pagan doctrines most of all, but i still have yet to find this "one path" that some people insist on me joining. If you know where this perfect teacher or path that lines up with the theology I have been developing all these years, seeking to create a unified theory of the Divine, then please do tell me where they are, what book I should read, or what I should do. I do not go about haphazardly adopting elements and practices. I incorporate, refine, reassemble, and study continuously, as if I am a blacksmith attempting to create a most perfect blade. There are those who act without caution, who understand nothing of what they adopt, and appropriate without regard for anyone but them selves. However, eclecticism can be ethical and some times we simply don't agree with existing paths enough join them without feeling that we are misrepresenting them. Maybe there is a path out there waiting for me. The one mysterious tradition that I've simply never heard of, but I have not found it yet.

I'm the exact same way as you, while we may disagree on some things with you, I approach my beliefs in the same way. I do major and extensive research and search within myself to see if it is something I truly believe before I add it to my other beliefs.

I personally believe that there isn't one right way, there are many. After all, look at a map, pick two points, I promise you there are thousands if not millions of ways to get from New York to Los Angeles. Such as there are  thousands if not millions of ways to find the place you are trying to get spiritually or religiously, or what ever you're looking for.

I have found that I identify a lot with the Quaker faith, as I believe that there is a Divine (not one god, but one energy that connects all things, everything, that can have it's own 'God' personality if it wants, which is what people call God) and that God will lead me to do what I should do, it's that still small voice we hear telling us not to steal, or not to run the red light, because we might get hit. The voice that tells us "Go talk to that person, they might be your soul mate" and the such like that. While some Quakers may believe in God in the Christian since, I don't think that my beliefs disqualify me from being a Quaker.

I also believe in many taoist beliefs, which is where my idea of the Divine comes from, so I also identify as a taoist, but I also believe that the Gods of old are real, but not necessarily 'Gods' but guides for us to follow, and that the Gods and humans and animals and spirits and everything are connected under the Divine.

While I also practice magick, and celebrate pagan holidays. I also believe that certain parts of the Bible, Qu'ran, mythologies, and just books of wisdom in general are correct and certain parts are wrong. I have many beliefs from different religions and cultures.

All in all, I believe that as long as you search within yourself and find that the belief matches up with your inner self, then it's the right path for you. Just remember, that we all don't walk the same paths, and we never will, just like we don't all like the same kinds of food, or the same music, we are all individuals with individual personalities and that's what makes the world amazing. That's the beauty of the universe.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 10:45:41 pm by Jukka »

Gigi Kiersten

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Re: Eclecticism and Rage
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2015, 02:44:59 pm »
Quote from: Freesia;181463
Do what you need to do for yourself and stop worrying about what other people will think or say. Making everyone happy is impossible and not everyone will respect you for it. I've gotten some harsh criticism for being too kind and cautious about where my "Pagan place" should be. I lost a lot of time trying to find a perfect crowd to blend into before I decided to to give up on that stupidity. I'm eclectic and I don't care what that means to anyone else.

 
This. Just do what feels right and what you are drawn to, and screw what everyone else  thinks. My only stipulation with being eclectic is that you make sure use what take with respect to the origin culture or magickal path. Also make sure you do the research, because if you don't sometimes it can backfire on you.

RandallS

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Re: Eclecticism and Rage
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2015, 08:05:28 am »
Quote from: Freesia;181496
People do learn from their mistakes; so if some eclectics fall into the "bright and shiny" category it is reasonable to believe that they will evolve their practices with time.

In my experience, that assumption is not as accurate as one might think/hope. A lot of the "bright/shiny" eclectics I've known, really don't seem to move much toward a more "thoughtful" form of eclecticism. However, most seem to stop adding everything new they see that interests them to their practices after a while -- once they have a fairly complete (if not very "associated with each other") set of practices.
Randall
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Faemon

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Re: Eclecticism and Rage
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2015, 12:09:37 am »
Quote from: RandallS;181552
In my experience, that assumption is not as accurate as one might think/hope. A lot of the "bright/shiny" eclectics I've known, really don't seem to move much toward a more "thoughtful" form of eclecticism. However, most seem to stop adding everything new they see that interests them


On the one hand, their thoughts are their own--aren't they? We shouldn't want, let alone try, to control somebody's inner world and make them thoughtful. The consequences of thoughtlessness, that might be another case. On the gripping hand, true, it's a hair-split distinction that can become a blur.

But I don't find much call to oppose that process except to say, "Oy, that's initiatory! Put! That! Down!" Because we've all got processes and paths of our own, that could have a lot more time and energy to devote to if we gave up on policing somebody else's individual choices? I know you're not arguing for policing somebody's spirituality, but as the point of this thread was unwarranted rage against eclecticism, that's what I'm throwing out there...what's the qualifier for condemnable eclecticism, here?
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RandallS

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Re: Eclecticism and Rage
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2015, 08:11:22 am »
Quote from: Faemon;181583
....what's the qualifier for condemnable eclecticism, here?

That's going to be a personal call. However, on a board like this one that tends toward a more academic approach, "Bright/shiny" eclectics are likely to have "that's doesn't really go together" pointed out to them if they ask for answers/opinions. I don't see that as condemning what they are doing.
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