So yesterday I reblogged a post about a man named Halstead taking offense to a man named Beckett.
Apparently the offense was based on Beckett says we should put the Gods first (much like the Becket in the movie, ironically) and Halstead thinks we should put the earth first and that Becket and the polytheists who believe as he does can just go sod off and stop calling themselves Pagans, because clearly they don’t put the Earth first and want to save it, they’re off being all Christian like and putting Gods and other worlds first. Again, ironically like the King in the movie.
Before I get into the meat of his article, I want to point out something and make a few notes on what is likely to be a series of articles. Halstead titled his articles: “If It Doesn’t Help Me Save This World, I Don’t Want Your Polytheist Revolution.” Which to me is something that triggered a memory of things I’ve read about people who tend to be environmentalists do a lot of the time.
They don’t want the world to change. You can track it through the whole Climate change movement, but first the world was going to get warmer, and that was bad. Then the world was going to get cooler, and that was bad. Then the climate was simply changing, but with no real direction of if it was getting warmer or cooler, and that was bad. Coastlines might change, and that was bad. Some areas would get less water, and that was bad. Some areas might get more water, and that was bad. Most of the time, environmentalists want to achieve a state of homeostasis, where things stay the same, balanced as they are at that moment. When things start to change, they panic, despite the fact that by all accounts the world and life on it have survived far harsher changes than anything that was predicted by the worst of global warming.
So when I see Halstead saying “This World” I’m ken to take him literally. He means the world, as it is, at this moment. And that doesn’t just mean the planet, or the environment, it means the whole package. Economics, politics, etc. While I don’t know if Halstead is in anyway related to SJ, he’s got that same authoritarian attitude. If you’re not going to help me make the world in my image, to save it as I think it should be saved, then you can fuck off because you’re not needed.
Is it little wonder then, that the man would have a problem with a God’s first attitude. Halstead (and this will come up in the article(s) in response to what he says) tends to view the Gods as a single entity when it comes to their Will. Anyone who has read mine or any polytheistic blog knows that each God has their own desires and agendas. Ares wants never ending war, Mars wants his people to be safe, and Hel mostly wants the dead respected and left alone. Of these three examples, none has to do with “protecting the environment” or even dealing with politics or other “world saving” issues. Except perhaps for Hel, who has gone on several rants about infecting the entirety of Planned Parenthood with various nasty venereal diseases for that whole selling dead babies thing. But that’s as close as my beloved really gets to most political discussions among the living. Ask Ares what he thinks of PP and in my experience he just shrugs it off and asks why we aren’t nuking ISIS, flaying the skin from their bodies, and parading the corpses around to teach the fear of something or other into their barbarian asses.
Ares is a simple god with simple desires. But saving “this” world isn’t one of them.
I suspect on some level Halstead realizes this, which is why he is so against a “Gods First” outlook on the world. Sure, he can blame it on his Christian upbringing, but then most of us have had Christian upbringings and you don’t see us complaining about a focus on the Divine before the mundane, especially since because of the nature of Polytheistic gods, that mundane is directly tied to the Divine. Death is a mundane part of this world, but you cannot separate it from Hela or Pluto, anymore than you can separate literature from Odin. They are one in the same. To fight for free speech is to fight for Odin himself, or Thoth if you are of Khem.
But what the Gods desire the world to be, what they would “Save the world” to be is often very much different than from what Halstead would have it be. While the God do tend to reach a consensus about what is “best” per pantheon, even the different pantheons disagree. Where as Halstead would likely want a world without pollution, for example, the Olympians are fine with a bit of pollution as long as it raises people up higher, for example. Ironically, the world is probably working pretty much now how most Gods would have it, in a sort of chaotic balance where their individual desires struggle against each other. War and peace, poverty and wealth, life and death, love and hate. Nothing stagnant, always ever changing, with human’s struggling everyday to rise up just a little bit higher, a little bit closer.
Because the Gods don’t want to save the world. Really, no one should. Because you know what happens when you “Save the world?”
The game ends. Story over. There’s no more struggle, no more quests, no more drive. Perfection has been obtained, and there’s no reason to strive and evolve and grow. Life and existence become meaningless. Why on earth would the Gods want that?