Instinctive Nonsense

“Stay true to yourself, and success will follow.” “Always go with your gut.” “Trust your instincts.” These and a dozen similar sayings illustrate a popular attitude toward life. I have heard a number of variants on this theme lately, and found that it was really getting on my nerves. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized why: it is, in general, a really stupid piece of advice. And discussing why it is stupid leads inevitably to some important concepts about the Odinic path, so this will form the topic of today’s post.

Babies are idiots. Nothing against babies, it’s just an observation about where we all start in life: as drooling, incompetent morons. When we are young, we have no instincts at all. We’ll stick our hands in fires, tease large vicious dogs, eat poison, or anything shiny, and crawl off of fatal drops. The only reason we ever develop better instincts is because we learn and grow as people.

Instincts are not something you “just have.” You are not naturally inclined to be successful. You are not innately a person whose only problem is not believing in yourself, and not being true to yourself. Success comes from learning. It comes from failing, over and over again, and trying something new each time you fail. It comes from thinking. A lot. It comes from growing and changing. It comes, in short, from NOT being your normal, poorly educated, inexperienced, dumbass self, and trying instead to become something better.

 

This is what Odin has to teach. Never be satisfied with yourself. Change. Grow. That is the key to victory.

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Fear and Guns

I recently had an encounter with a local idiot that has got me thinking. I was walking back from the store, and had to turn left to get onto my street. As I started moving left, I figured the guy coming in the opposite direction would step to my right, where there was plenty of room. He did not.

Instead, with a weird screwed up look on his face, he tried to cut to my left, blocking my turn. As I turned more sharply he jumped in front of me again. Then he started screaming about how he wasn’t going to let me intimidate him, and then he threatened to shoot me. From there, he completely melted down and had a Basil Fawlty-level apoplectic fit (a reference from before your time, kids). Shaking his fists at the sky and screaming at the heavens, he started going on about shooting fags.

At his threat to shoot me, I assessed him as a threat, and thought it unlikely he actually intended immediate violence. As I am more mature than I was in my days as a young punk, I just gave him a one fingered salute and walked off, instead of literally smacking some sense into him.

On my way home, I tried to analyze what had just happened. It seemed like something I have seen before. I am over six feet in height, and broadly built, with a large beard, and in my black leather duster I can look rather imposing. Some guys, notably those severely lacking in self confidence and tending to be panicky, get so fearful when they see me that they automatically parse anything I do as aggressive. The little idiot had assumed that when I tried to turn, I was getting in his way deliberately. So from there he leaped to the worst case scenario and assumed I posed a mortal threat to him.

Which brings me to my main point: guns and cowardice. My martial arts sensei had some words for me on the subject when I was a young punk, and I have always thought them wise words. He mentioned that some fools bought guns because they were such cowards that they did not dare go out into the world without one, because they were in mortal terror of everything and everyone they encountered. He told me that such people were a greater danger to others than the most hardened gangster, because they shot at anything that scared them, and everything scared them. As he told me: “if you don’t dare go out of your house without a gun, you have no business leaving your house with a gun.”

Responsible gun ownership means more than safety training. It means possessing the strength of character to be able to responsibly possess such power. My sensei’s words are words every gun owner should live by.

And, speaking to that panicky little idiot and those like him: come on people. My 5’0” niece manages to go out into the world without such fear. Relax. It’s not really that bad a place.

Piety Possum Says: “F@#$% You!”

I’ve been hearing a lot of bull lately from the Righteous Radical crowd about how any display of piety or call for religious standards is some form of elitism, an example of privilege that must be eradicated. They have taken to calling anyone who believes that they should put the gods first, or have religious standards, the “Piety Posse.”
I try to put the gods first in my life. I believe that we need to have religious standards. I think that anyone who doesn’t believe in religious standards, who does not think the gods are important, is not religious. They are just playing games. They are using our gods, and our traditions, to further their own petty, mundane ends, to pursue their own political goals.
Well, I am declaring my membership in the Piety Posse. We need to have standards. The gods deserve a place of respect and honor. This is our standard:

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