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Author Topic: Deities as a "function"?  (Read 5010 times)


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Re: Deities as a "function"?
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2013, 07:50:17 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;90827
Yeah, the idea that nature is something to be feared seems to be...

a) very rational
b) very consistent with the actual lives of pre-modern farmers.

I think that this is one of the problems with reconstructing heathenry-the economic and technological context has completely changed. More so than discerning a "worldview" from the lore, I think taking a pre-modern, agriculturally based worldview, and transferring it to an urban, globalized, wage-earning environment is the biggest challenge in modern heathenry.

My understanding of recon is that you're finding out the underlying philosophy. It isn't hearing that the first that crossed a bridge was sacrificed and thinking that cant be reconstructed, its figuring out why bridge crossings were meaningful and applying that to our modern world.

So I think the same would have to be done with our urban dangers and giants/gods.

I think ultimately, we have to see nature as both something we are utterly dependent on, AND as something that will wipe us out (perhaps literally) without thinking. We can love and respect nature, but we shouldn't pretend that it loves us back.

For example, when I make (almost comically simple) offerings to Skadi, I am thanking her for the beauty of the winter and the precipitation which will feed the crops. But I am also aware that, were I to be caught outside without proper clothing far from shelter, she (winter) can literally kill me in a few hours. That doesn't make her any less beautiful, or worthy of respect. In a way, it makes me love her more.

I agree with all of this. Its not like I'll look at a TS now and think "ooh, giant. Bad." But I will have a lot more depth in my appreciation for the interplay of forces and their meaning. It'll still be awesome. And, too, Thor is half-giant so that's something else to consider.

As Paradoxum said "boom. Headshot to my worldview." Theres gonna be a whole lot for me to consider/reconsider now.

And on a final note-some of the Aesir, still seem to behave in a way not so differently than nature (giants). I mean, Odin may be the "Allfather", but in the lore he doesn't seem thave any problem with turning on his worshippers and sending them to an early grave.

Yeah. I've always thought because Odin is death and death must betray you eventually. I wonder now...

So, in the end, I think theres a lot more to this than gods as functions. They're constantly maintaining control of the natural world, fighting giants, helping us when they can...and then theres the Norns who sit at the well and decide events that no one can control. Which brings us back to mortal, non-omni gods.

Huh. And sorry about typos. On my phone not tablet.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 07:51:34 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."


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Re: Deities as a "function"?
« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2013, 02:02:16 am »
Quote from: Megatherium;89726

As far as I understand it, (and if I’m interpreting this incorrectly, please feel free to point out my errors) the main idea is that a deity is NOT  a universal being. Instead, a deity is a local wight/spirit/kami with a particular “function”. Different deities in different locations may share certain characteristics, and it is possible for us to use the name of a deity to refer to a “type” of very powerful regional being.

I don't agree with this iteration of the idea.  I view the gods as distinct spiritual entities.  

To move on to the iteration I do agree with.  I think a part of a god's identity is akin to a job description.  Humans needed *something* to do something.  Let's take Thor.  They needed something to keep storms in check.  Thor said, from wherever gods hang out in their off time, "I'll do it."  Then they made connections that lead to the other functions He took on. Because Mediterranean people are different than Nordic people, they made different connections, which lead to different conglomerations of jobs.  

Back to Thor.  Because tribes were wide and different, there may have been a number of gods that initially said they'd take storms.  As the tribes moved/grew/homogenized, perhaps some of the Stormgods asked Thor to take over for them, so they could go off to do whatever.  Perhaps some decided to take on some of His case load, and used his name to make things easier for the humans.

Now, in addition to their personal abilities/powers, they also get authority via their job title.  I believe humans have a (small) innate ability to affect the world at large.  When we believe in a God, we're validating their authority, and in effect, giving them some of our power to use.  Kind of like how an array of wind turbines generate electricity for a single grid.  I believe it's easier for a god to use their human given authority closer to the source humans.  So it'd be harder for Thor to keep a Hindu's house from being stricken than a Heathen's.  (Slightly less hard if the Hindu house in question is linked to the Heathen in question.  Energy theory is complicated.)

None of which is any help to the Heathen non-anthropomorphics in this thread.  Sorry.
There is no inherent meaning to life.  Stop looking and give your life meaning.
Chapter 91 of The Order War by L.E.Modesitt jr.  If I could quote the entire thing I would.


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