Druidry and Non-violence

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TheMopPetal2
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Druidry and Non-violence

Post by TheMopPetal2 » 16 Nov 2013, 21:33

Hello! I'm new to Druidry and have been slowly but surely progressing through the courses on druidcircle.org but I wanted to get everyone's take on Voluntaryism, Anarchism, mutual aid, etc. I'm not trying to convert anyone or shove this idea down anyone's throat I'm just wanting to start a friendly discussion is all.

Just to preface, Voluntaryism is a form of Anarchism and it is the idea that the 'initiation' or threat of force/aggression/coercion is illegitimate weather the threat or initiation comes from a mugger or if it comes from a tax collector. It describes how any form of government is inherently aggressive and violent. I define aggression as someone forcing another person to do something that they may or may not normally do against their will. You can also say that it is the idea that every action between people should be consensual and voluntary.

One of the things that attracted me to Druidry was that from what I've read and heard, Druids seem to be a non-violent lot. I've been studying Voluntaryism for the last two years or so and I feel like Druidry(at least from what I've read and learned from it so far) kind of makes Voluntaryism a spiritual aspect of my life and not just political or academically philosophical. One of the things that attracted me to Voluntaryism is that it is one of the only political/philosophical beliefs that is rooted in principle and that is the "Non-aggression Principle". When it comes to Voluntaryism, every action is filtered through the Non-aggression Principle and one asks themselves, "If I do this, will I be hurting anyone or forcing anyone to do something against their will?". I view most humans to be naturally non-violent. Killing or hurting or using violence against another person can be gruesome and I think that if an individual was given the option to either hurt someone or just walk away(even in a self defense situation), they will just walk away. It creates a burden on the persons conscience when they hurt/use violence against someone and naturally people don't want to feel those burdens.

So I just wanted to get everyone's take on whats stated above. I'll say it again, I'm not trying to convert anyone I'm just trying to start a friendly discussion about what other people think interactions between humans should look like and/or how Whats stated above could pertain to Druidry in a spiritual sense.

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Re: Druidry and Non-violence

Post by Davin Raincloud » 17 Nov 2013, 08:28

You're 22, so you may not really remember how it was prior to 9/11 attacks on New York.

Basically there was a lot of people following Non-Violence back then, but what changed were the Republicans in America trading on fear. They may not have been involved in the attack, but they saw an opportunity to make people more afraid and beat the drums of war. People thought there was a need to be more afraid, but really the republicans saw dollar signs.

Now you won't find much talk of non-violence. Now we all do pagan outreach to support the troops (fair enough). But actual talk of preventing wars and preventing troop deaths? Nah, that's considered traitorous. (A bit like how American Right Wingers hate contraception and hate abortions at the same time)

Meanwhile my country continues to bring home coffins of young soldiers in order to assist our allies the Empire of the USA.

Even saying that, will mean I am accused of hating Americans, because as Bush said there is only 'for us or against us'.

So this cynical 37 year old is saying, you are about 15 years too late.

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Re: Druidry and Non-violence

Post by DJ Droood » 17 Nov 2013, 14:12

haha...I think you might have about as much fun trying to find a non-cynical druid....that is why I like Davin...he is even worse than me.....I'm afraid he has a point, although he thinks more geo-politically than I do. I think the vast majority of the violence Druids directly or indirectly participate in is more regional, Many many druids, including myself, eat meat on occasion. There is, unfortunately, a fair amount of violence involved in the production of our McChickens, fish sticks and bacon.

So, "Peace" is a value hard-wired into Druidry through the druid's prayer, but that is a different thing than non-violence. But Druid's are not unique in our conflicted views...
I believe "Thou shalt not Kill" is right up there in Christianity...one of their top 10 rules...maybe even #1....and whilst many Christians, including my Mother, are lovely people who don't kill (other people), many others seem to be entusiastic supporters of killin', in various forms...wars, death penelty, bacon, etc. (and I don't recall anything at all in the Druid canon suggesting non-violence...most of the myths have a fair amount of violent death and revenge killing, even by the gods)

In conclusion, I would say as a community, Druidry probably has the same percentage of people as any other community (other religions, stamp collectors) who support violence in one for or another...geopolitically or on the dinner table. :eilth: :wicker: :germ: :fence: :spank: :knight: :frustration: :deadhorse:
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Re: Druidry and Non-violence

Post by ShadowCat » 17 Nov 2013, 14:39

Peace and freedom are things worth fighting for :grin:

I consider myself non-agressive, yet I see no sense in practicing absolute non-violence in our imperfect world. Life is first and formost meant to be lived, and if something threatens that life, if might be nessecary to fight that threat off. And there can be beauty and magnificence found in violence too. I dare wager that you will find a more than average amount of swords and other non-kitchen blades in druidic homes than in the general population ;) They have an esthetic and energetic appeal.

The completely non-violent anarchistic ideas that the OP writes about invoke images of Tolkien's elven society, that can be seen as a projection of a utopian future moment in human evolution: harmony with the world around, harmony within the person, no need for labour other than to fulfill ones creative drives, time to pursue the arts. Real life though, brings with it the effect that by simply existing, you are harming others. You need clothes, thereby endangering cottonfarmers forced to use chemicals, thereby sponsoring bigcorp, thereby facilitating laborabuse. You need food, and what you eat, someone else cannot eat... and all that you eat had been alive, whether it's a cow or a carrot. So by eating, you do harm other beings by default. Even as a fruitarian, you eat the babies of plants that will never grow because you have eaten the seeds and fruits. The only way to avoid this, is to die, which is an act of violence to yourself.

We can do things to mimimalise the impact though and many druidic student does that, by trying to be a concious consumer, homesteading, volunteering, donating etcetc. We can try to avoid undue and unproportional violence. But shunning violence in all forms is not feasable imho.

Violence is a part of nature. It's in the predator slaying the prey, it's in the storm felling whole forests, it's in the mothers of all species that die giving birth, it's ingrained in the cylce of seasons itself.

Everything must die so that everything may live.
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Re: Druidry and Non-violence

Post by hodekin » 17 Nov 2013, 15:46

My Druidry is all about my reverence to the Gods, it is also about helping others in time of need be it spiritual or physical!

In certain situations where there is no alternative, violence may be necessary, would I use it, have I used it?...on occasion yes!
Does that make me any less of a Druid or some sort of unthinking sadistic maniac? No!

Druidry is a life journey where we will meet some unsavoury people from time to time, mostly you will be able to walk away, at other times you may need to stand fast.

Druidry has no book of rules, you don't read about it and agonise over the fine details..... You just live it every day as best as you can!


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Re: Druidry and Non-violence

Post by DJ Droood » 17 Nov 2013, 16:40

hodekin wrote:Druidry has no book of rules, you don't read about it and agonise over the fine details..... You just live it every day as best as you can!
I agree with that...we all try our best....I have an "idealized" Druid I hold in my mind...this Druid is a pacifist, and seeks non-violent solutions to conflict, and throws a cloak over the helpless and innocent if trouble breaks out. My mind Druid only eats food that has been produced with no suffering. This perfect Druid lives a simple, low impact life style of service to the community. The perfect Druid uses every opportunity to bring comfort and hope into the lives of others, and creates beauty whenever possible.

I am nowhere close to this in the way I live my life, but I think it is helpful to create your own idealized druid and at least move "towards" what you think that is.
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Re: Druidry and Non-violence

Post by TheMopPetal2 » 17 Nov 2013, 21:18

Thanks for all the answers, its given me something to chew on over the next few days/weeks. I agree that theres times where the use if violence is necessary but for me personally I think that viilence is only necessary when violence is being used against you first as an individual.

I like what Gandalf said in The Hobbit about courage and I think it applies to non-violence as well:

"True courage is about not knowing when to take a life, but when to spare one."

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Re: Druidry and Non-violence

Post by ShadowCat » 18 Nov 2013, 09:09

TheMopPetal2 wrote:I like what Gandalf said in The Hobbit about courage and I think it applies to non-violence as well:
"True courage is about not knowing when to take a life, but when to spare one."
I feel that most of the violence in the world stems from fear (fear of loss, fear of the strange, fear of gods, fear of getting caught etcetcetc). Courage in itself is not a violent state of mind. So I agree with Gandalf on this one.
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Re: Druidry and Non-violence

Post by xidia » 18 Nov 2013, 10:15

To me, this question boils down to your view of human nature, and indeed whether there can be said to be a single human nature.

The classic political debate is between Hobbes and Kant (or other liberals). Hobbes viewed the life of man as "...nasty, violent, brutish and short", where no-one is capable of cooperation, and the way to survive is to take what's needed, when it is needed. He proposed government (including the tribal elder system, not just governments of countries) as a way to rein in those base impulses for the greater good of all in the group. Not for the greater good OF the group, but of the individuals in it. After all, if you're not having to defend the antelope you killed yesterday from other people, you can go out and get a second, which means more meat for the lean times and an extra skin for the cold.

In contrast, the liberal viewpoint is that humans are basically cooperative, and if they work together, life improves for everyone. However, this view of human nature doesn't require a government to enforce that, because it's self evident.

These can also be modeled as a "zero-sum game" (my gain requires someone else's loss because all resourcesand value is finite & fixed) or a "positive-sum game" (my gain can be a gain for all" because at least some resources & value are infinite).

Personally, I have little interest in the innate-ness of either viewpoint: I'm more interested in observing how people display one or the other. At individual and country level, I see both. Many of the conflicts come from the fact that one or more of the parties is acting in a Hobbesian way, and one or more are acting in a Liberal way. The Liberal feels taken advantage of and begins to view the exchange/issue in zero-sum terms OR tries to organise an overarching, voluntary body of authority. TheHobbesian fights back OR resists the authority because they will - generally - get less benefit from that than they will from simply getting their own way entirely.

Until that basic conundrum is solved by people far more learned than I, there will continue to be disputes that turn violent, and even the Liberals will have to fight to survive. It may be fighting in defense rather than offense, but it's still violence.

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Re: Druidry and Non-violence

Post by treegod » 18 Nov 2013, 18:57

I'm learning aikido, and the whole principle, as a martial art, is to defend yourself without harming your attacker. Most martial arts are "self defense" but most of them work with "attack moves" (kicks, punches, strikes, etc. - there are in aikido, but thy serve other functions, like distraction). Aikido techniques work on a reponse to an attack, so to work they require someone else to initiate an attack, usually a means to unbalance and/or divert the attacker (there is no action, as such, just reaction: look on YouTube for examples).

What I read recently is that anyone with aggressive or violent intentions is already, within themselves, unbalanced, so already the practiced aikidoka has an advantaged in their "non-agressive" position. For me this fits in very well with my druidry, not only for practicing peace, but also giving me a way fo dealing with violence in a peaceful and creative way.
[Voluntaryism] describes how any form of government is inherently aggressive and violent
.

I don't fuly agree with it, though I think there's not a single national government in the world that doesn't display this in some way. Even in supposedly "consensual" democratic societies. It is the reason I don't get involved with politics and work from "grass roots"; I would eventually be faced with a decision that would be aggressive.

I do believe that a form of non-aggressive/consensual government is possible and that some of its principles are in action now.I also believe that most democratic societies work and that this is the best consensus we can attain collectively at this time. But it's a process, and something that will have to be improved over time, particularily as each individual improves.

Free will, I believe, is something that won't and cannot interfere with the free wills of others. In a world where everyone's wills are free consensus is a natural occurence. But we've still got a ways to go...

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