In the face of continued misunderstanding and persecution of Wiccans everywhere, including myself, I give you the final version of my undergraduate thesis…and I challenge anyone reading this to turn this into devil worship…you can’t, pull your ignorant heads out of your arses.and actually look at what you think you know.
Introduction and Thesis
We live in a time rife with environmental degradation and pollution (Francis, 2015). The roots of the exploitation go deep. Since the successful challenge of Augustinian philosophy and Church dogmatic hegemony, Western religious thought has steadily been embracing the idea of what Spinoza termed, Dea Natura, God is Nature (Goff, 2011). In the second half of the 20th century it would appear this movement has reached a critical stage, splitting in two, on one side being the Catholics with Vatican 2 and the Protestants whole-heartedly embracing the importance of Nature, both religiously and ecologically within the existing framework of their faiths, and on the other the (re)emergence of earth-centered religions, such as Wicca, as pure nature religions, not adapted from a theist framework. Rather they are the revival of ancient pre-Christian nature-worship, otherwise absent in the West except for the practices of Indigenous Americans. In this paper I will argue, that 1) yes Wicca is a nature centered religion with a direct continuity to the pagan earth-worshipping past, 2) it’s emergence/reemergence is in direct response to environmental pollution reaching a critical stage in the second half of the 20th century and 3) most importantly it is the strongest manifestation yet of a natural immune response of a living conscious planet.
The primary purpose of this paper is to illustrate the correlation between the rise of the religion known as Wicca and the progression and then partial abatement of environmental pollution. It is to elucidate not only the connection between the two from a sociological/historical standpoint, but also from a more profound purposeful perspective, that being that the Earth is alive, capable of speaking to us in the symbolic language of the unconscious mind that Carl Gustav Jung theorized, that it is the manifestation of the Creative power of God, and as such God is not a remote being silent and removed from His/Her creation, but rather imbued in every fiber of it and speaking to us through it every second of every day. Furthermore, this realization would fill in the holes of the Theists, the problem of evil, and the true nature of original sin and how it can be transcended. It is my fervent belief that not only would this give hope to the legions of the despairing in this world, but it would halt environmental exploitation in its tracks.
Furthermore, it is to fill the void of scholarly works on Wicca as a legitimate religion, especially credible philosophical works on the religion’s practices and beliefs. However, it is also intended to be accessible to the “lay” readership, non-scholar adults interested in religions, and environmental issues, whether they be Wiccan or not. That being said, the arguments and to whom are those arguments directed are a myriad group of people. Scholars, environmentalists, ecologists, sociologists, politicians, theologians and others, will find informative value in the subject I am covering.
To do this I considered multiple sources of data, they are:
• Demographic data
• Reference Data (useful in establishing a concept definition of the groups and terms discussed herein)
• Political data (legislation primarily)
• Historical data (history of witchcraft and the modern Wiccan movement,
• Personal perspective (statements from Wiccan authors as well as my own knowledge and experience as a Wiccan initiate as to the purpose and philosophy of the religion)
I am taking a scholarly approach to analyzing this data, by that I mean I am not including anything that cannot be verified and corroborated by legitimate peer-reviewed sources and research, as a glaring weakness of the Wiccan movement is a lack of scholarly works, weakening valid claims of legitimacy as many writers within the religion are simply not writing in this manner, for what reasons I could only speculate. Furthermore, as a Wiccan myself, I want to give a perspective on the religion to outsiders, scholars specifically, that simply is impossible to give unless intimately involved with the religion, as I have been for over 15 years.
As this is a paper largely dealing with religious and ecological subjects, it helps to define exactly what I mean in the usage of the various terms associated with both subjects. I speak of ecology, both in environmental sense, as in a biome of interrelated creatures; but in the sense of religious ecology, a grouping of interdependent ideas, practices etc. that make up a religion, as well as the indigenous understanding of “religious ecology” where there is no separation between Humanity and Nature, and separation is an artificial construct (Grim & Tucker, 2014) I primarily focus on the definition of religion attributed to Paul Tillich, “Religion is the state of being grasped by an ultimate concern” and I define spiritual as being concerned with not only religious matters but again in the indigenous sense, spirits as in entities possessing humans, flora, fauna and the elements themselves.
As to understandings present about the connections of “religion”, “ecology”, and “environmental degradation”, a Wiccan would almost intuitively grasp, much as a native would, that the separation of religion from the environment/natural world, is the source of environmental degradation and as it pertains to my thesis, pollution. As Wiccans invoke the elements of Nature in all rites, there is no separation between one and the other, religion is in no way separate from the ecology of the natural world, nor is there any separation between the individual and the perceived world. This separation quite plainly is an artificial illusion Wiccans in no way subscribe to. There might be some difference of opinion as a characteristic of Wicca and Neo-paganism is its freedom of interpretation, but any author I have ever read on the subject makes it quite clear, there is no separation.
Finally, I borrow from Grim and Tucker’s “Ecology and Religion” their elucidation of the process by which to analyze the data and put it in perspective. They laid out retrieval, reevaluation and reconstruction. As it applies to Wicca, I will use this method to retrieve what was Wicca, or as it is referred to historically, Witchcraft & Paganism, to reevaluate it, as where it went wrong, and what it had right, and reconstruct it as a system of beliefs, a religious ecology that has reconstructed itself to form the religion we now call Wicca.
Part 1 Wicca as a nature centered religion
To begin with, there must be an understanding of where “Wicca” came from. It should be noted that Wicca is part of a greater Neo-Pagan “revival”, and so it is important to understand what practices it borrows from. A thorough analysis of the various historical teachings and practices of these paths would be impossible in the context of this paper, so instead I will give an overview of the traditions that the founder of the modern Wiccan movement, Gerald Gardner, used to formulate his system as well as my own experience as to what are used today in a typical Wiccan ritual. Gerald Gardner specifically mentions the Keys of Solomon in his book “High Magick’s Aid” (Gardner). However, within the context of the greater Pagan community, Wicca borrows mostly from the reconstructed Celtic Druidic traditions, and it also uses elements from what would today be classified as Hermetic or Ceremonialist Texts, a tradition almost inextricably linked with Masonry, Thelemics and the Works of King Solomon, all of whom were heavily influenced by Kemeticism. In addition, it incorporates “European witchcraft”, Gardner himself claimed to be initiated into one of the last surviving covens in Britain in 1939 (Adler, 1979) It is a mistake I believe to attribute Wicca solely to one individual, one that is made by scholars approaching Wicca from a dogmatic theistic perspective. Wicca is unique in that it is not dogmatic, there is no central theology one must ascribe to, and that is an important facet that must not be overlooked if one is to truly understand this religious movement.
Wicca borrows heavily from old Druidic tradition. “[Druids were] priests of ancient Celtic Britain, Ireland, and Gaul and probably of all ancient Celtic peoples, known to have existed at least since the 3d cent. BC. Information about them is derived almost exclusively from the testimony of Roman authors, notably Julius Caesar, and from Old Irish sagas, supplemented to some extent by archaeological evidence. The druids constituted a priestly upper class in command of a highly ritualistic religion, which apparently centered on the worship of a pantheon of nature deities. Druids were also responsible for the education of the young and generally for the intellectual life of the community; although apparently literate, they taught by oral transmission, and their courses are said to have lasted as long as 20 years. The druids believed in immortality of the soul in a nonjudgmental world of the dead. Their religious ceremonies seem to have been performed chiefly in tree groves (the oak and the mistletoe that grows on the oak were held sacred) and at river sources and lakes. The druids performed animal and human sacrifices and practiced divination and other forms of magic.” (Lagasse, 2016)
It should be noted that the accounts of human sacrifice are entirely from the perspective of a foreign conqueror, the Romans, who no doubt had a vested interest in portraying the natives as savages, as at stake was the Isles copious amounts of silver. Current archaeological evidence it would appear remains inconclusive, as there have been skeletons found, but there is little to say that these “victims” were ritually sacrificed, or merely casualties of the many wars between Celtic tribes. A full search of the UW database revealed absolutely no scholarly articles to back up the sensationalist claim.
Of note however is the fact this was indeed a nature religion, practiced amongst the sacred groves, with worship primarily focused on Nature deities. As cited above there are old Irish sagas that survived that detail the legendary powers and prowess of these priests, blighting kings and calling up storms and mists to confuse the enemy in battle (Cowan, 1993)
Ireland is an incredible reference tool in terms of reconstructing what Druidism was, what the old sabbats were. To this day, Samhain is still celebrated there, and the Old Ways never 100% died out. In fact, Celtic Christianity is unique among the Catholic faiths that it managed to adopt and assimilate much of the Old Ways without too much disapproval from the Church, of definite note, given that other areas (the Cathars most notably) were burned to the ground for heresy, even though the gnostic thought that condemned them was to some extent prevalent among the Irish.
The paths that can be classified under Hermeticism are varied, they range from Thelemics and Aliester Crowley, to Masonry, to Kabbalah, to Alchemy. It is too much to try to cover in the context of this paper, however Gardner specifically cites the work, “the Keys of Solomon the King”, in his book High Magick’s Aid, both works that are on the level of classics among Wiccan/Neo-pagan circles. The keys of Solomon is supposed to be written by the Jewish King himself (McGovern, 2007). The work itself discussed rituals (some involving blood), planetary hours, which are specific times to do specific magical workings, ritual garb, casting sacred space, summoning spirits and the like. It is a very useful and detailed work regardless of its origin. Contrary to popular belief it specifically invokes the Christian/Hebrew God, as well as angels, thereby giving the practitioner the authority over spirits and demons in the name of God. (Mathers, 1888)
Kemeticism, or the reconstructed religion of Ancient Egypt, is also a tradition too vast to cover within the scope of this work. However, its contributions to what Wicca is are as follows, it is the basis for some of what is Hermeticism, and therefore the basis for Wicca in part, and it also is the basis for Alchemy. Alchemy too often is misrepresented as simply turning base metals into gold. It is not just that, it is also a spiritual practice, one where the human spirit and soul are transmuted. I fear my intellectual counterparts fell into the trap set by the ancient alchemists, they failed to see the hidden meaning for those with eyes to see. It is this definition, the spiritual one, that concerns me here. “Egyptian alchemy involved physical, psychological, and spiritual methods and rituals.” (Cavalli, 2016)
“As the practice or the production of malign or beneficial magic, witchcraft has an enduring place in the western, and in much of the non-western, imagination of the dynamics of esoteric and exotic powers. Its practitioners and producers, putative or real, range from the magus and the sorcerer to the devil-worshipper and the demonically possessed. They are as ancient as Medea and as contemporary as the benign neopagans of Tanya Luhrmann’s Professions of the Witch’s Craft (1989) …Institutionalized churches can and often do incorporate magical technologies into their standard cultus, but they are uniformly hostile to the sorcerer or witch who asserts or represents a challenge to their ritual authority. The western history of the persecution of such challenges is as inseparable from the history of the Catholic inquisitions as from the structural conflicts and fractures that mark the ascendance of the bourgeoisie in the modernizing states of Europe and the Puritan colonies of North America.” (Turner, 2006)
“[Witchcraft is] a form of sorcery, or the magical manipulation of nature for self-aggrandizement, or for the benefit or harm of a client. This manipulation often involves the use of spirit-helpers, or familiars…. Anthropologists distinguish sorcerers, who acquire their powers through study and initiation, from witches, who inherit their powers. In some cultures, especially European, however, the two terms are used interchangeably…The origins of witchcraft in Europe are found in the pre-Christian, pagan cults such as the Teutonic nature cults; Roman religion; and the speculations of the Gnostics (see Gnosticism), the Zoroastrians, and the Manicheans….Religious persecution of supposed witches commenced early in the 14th cent. Trials, convictions, and executions became common throughout Europe and reached a peak during the 16th and 17th cent. Under the authority of the Spanish Inquisition, as many as 100 persons were burned as witches in a single day. ” (Lagasse, 2016)
It is the greatest irony, that to some extent the very body charged with rooting out witchcraft, the Spanish Inquisition, might have inadvertently created it (Adler, 1979). It is important to note that Wicca is not specifically witchcraft, any more than it is specifically pagan. It is a reconstruction, a best guess based on the evidence left. But a good portion of the evidence, specifically the testimonials used by Margaret Murray, were actually from the Inquisition. So to the extent that Wicca resembles witchcraft, its roots may indeed be based on the fears of the medieval Catholic mind.
Part of what scares people when you tell them you are a witch, is the history of that word. Whereas some within the community would insist it is undeserved, I would say such a statement is disingenuous and naive. It is well known that Roman historians documented practices of human sacrifice among the Druids in Britain, and whereas we can argue as to whether that was simply a form of political slander to justify conquest, or actually the truth, the perception of it being factual is there, and that is what matters for the eventual success of this “new religious movement”, the proverbial court of public opinion. Furthermore, there are plenty of instances of the practice of blood magic and necromancy(technically the Keys of Solomon elucidate certain types of these rituals), rumored or factual again being irrelevant, and let us not forget that the ancient religious ancestors of Wiccans, the pagans, took great delight sacrificing Christians to the lions in Rome for their refusal to take the vow of state allegiance to Jupiter, as well as great delight in sacking Rome and Christendom as the Visigoths and Vikings respectively. There is a reason there are Biblical injunctions again sorcery in Leviticus, and that allegations of witchcraft were enough to make the entire town of Salem Massachusetts lose their collective marbles; no matter how much caution and care is put into using supernatural powers and teaching the Art of same, some will use it for selfish or hurtful ends, just as some will use it to avenge wrongs, with hideous results.
There are the elements of the old pagan paths, however, that should be “revived”. Both Druid and Egyptian acknowledged of Feminine divinity alongside the Masculine, as well as the Druids displaying an understanding of elemental power. By that I mean understanding that we, like the Earth are a balance and combination of the four natural elements, and through this mystical understanding, seemingly magical change could be effected. Druids on either side of battles in ancient Britain lended aid to their king’s troops, by calling up fogs, or blighting the opposing force’s crops or kings. (Cowan, 1993)
The old wise men and women, whether they be of the Druid or the Egyptian tradition were known for their healing arts, their knowledge of natural medicines in the form of medicinal plants and herbs. “Meanwhile, in the common culture that elites shared with others, English country tradition already supported a world of cunning women and men who used the products of nature in magical practices that existed side by side and, sometimes, intermixed with Protestant church ritual, If colonial libraries can be taken as evidence, alongside these cultural manifestations an elite magical and metaphysically oriented tradition, influenced by continental Hermeticism that had been subsumed into Paracelsan, Rosicrucian, and Jewish Kabbalistic forms, flourished in early America” (Albanese, 2002).
Indeed, it is often brought up that Wicca is a new religious movement with no continuity to the past, as well as the environmental movement has roots in Christian thought, however both statements gloss over crucial pieces of evidence, hidden within both arguments. Berry writes an entire book in essence asserting that the worship of nature arose out of shifts in Christian thought, and whereas there is plenty of evidence to say that yes, Protestants did in fact adopt the notion, what is ignored is precisely what Catherine Albanese pointed out in the previous paragraph, the Old Ways never 100% died out and were indeed influencing Protestant thought continually, at least since the 16th century if we are to take the broadest definition of “colonialism” as it pertains to America.
Why is St. Patrick of such great import if he did not drive the rest of the “snakes”, a symbol of the Druids, out of Ireland, i.e. convert the Celtic pagans in the 5th Century? Why did the Scandinavian countries conduct raids of Christendom as Vikings, all the way up until the 10th Century, those countries not fully converted by some accounts till as late as the 12th century, and the Sami, never 100% being converted? There would have been no Spanish Inquisition beginning in the 14th century if there were not dissent in the ranks. Indeed, if one decides to break with orthodoxy and do a little non-church approved reading, there are plenty of accounts that Christianity did not have the theological hegemony it would like to claim. Rather there are plenty of examples of Christianity being spread by violence, the inference being that those being “saved” had to be converted by sword or torch. Furthermore, by Berry’s own admission thinkers such as Muir wrote in pantheistic terms, even if the language they used was of the Christian vernacular. Indeed, the whole time Christianity has been around, there has been an undercurrent of pantheistic, Gnostic, pagan thought that refused to be snuffed out, even if it was forced underground. Quite frankly revelation has always come from Nature as God, it’s just a question of when the Christians decided to listen.
As to Wicca and the supposed disconnect to the pagan past, if one throws out the obviously flawed argument that for 1700 years all there was in the West, was Christianity, and realizes that there is indeed plenty of evidence to prove Paganism in one form or another survived despite the Churches best attempts to eradicate it, then the question is no longer whether Wicca & Neopaganism in general is new, as in that light it obviously isn’t, but rather how accurate of a reconstruction it is, and if there were Cunning folk as Catherine Albanese described in Colonial America and England, then Gerald Gardner’s claim of initiation in 1939 no longer seems far-fetched, and Wicca as a whole may indeed be extremely accurate in its reconstruction. In fact, reconstruction implies the faith was at one point was deconstructed, when it would appear, that even though it was severely hampered by Christianity’s efforts to destroy it, it never fully was wiped out.
It is important to note that the sociological ground was fertile for something like Wicca to arise, even though when looked at specifically it would seem to have come out of nowhere. Evan Berry in his book “Devoted to Nature”, not only documents the religious framework of the Middle Ages and earlier that lead to Nature in essence being demonized, but he also chronicles the shift from those attitudes beginning around the Enlightenment with Rousseau and others. From the dominant Christian perspective, Nature slowly evolved from a spiritually dangerous thing, to something that could not only offer redemption, but salvation as well. Specifically, towards the last half of the 19th century, and gaining steam in the 20th, great ecological thinkers, such as Thoreau, Muir and Leopold gave this transition steam, viewing the land in radically different contexts than their medieval forebears. I would note, that this shift occurred, and gained steam the most, at the same time the Industrial Revolution, and the Inquisition ended. There is a correlation, and I would emphasize the narrative Berry tells, indirectly credits Paganism a source of revelation that influenced the whole environmental movement, Protestant Christian and otherwise. By his own admission Naturalist groups are referring to nature in distinctly pagan terms. If one is to see the proverbial forest through the trees, Christian groups were doing this, because they were being influenced by Paganism, and what fueled the transition, to a great extent were environmental factors reaching critical mass.
Not surprisingly then, the precursors to the founding of Wicca as a religion in its own right occurred at this same time. During the Victorian era there was an interest in Orientalist philosophy and the occult, in the form of mediumship and séances. This is also the time of the Theosophical society, Madame Blatavasky’s “Isis Unveiled” and in general an uncharacteristic interest in subject material that only a century or so earlier would have been branded heretical and quite possibly punished by death. Again, the Inquisition was not ceased until the 18th Century, and arguably, it was never fully dissolved, just became an office in the Roman Curia under a different name.
It is in the context of this renewed (or perhaps more appropriately, liberated) interest in alternative philosophies and occult ideas that Wicca arose. Wicca attempts to be the modern incarnation of these ancient paths pieced together, quite the challenge when the corpus of texts was by in large destroyed or stolen by the Catholic Church (Ellerbe, 1995). It is somewhat scholastically dishonest, and dangerously close to the same kind of intellectual orthodoxy that brought us things like the Dark Ages and the Inquisition, to say that Wicca has no link to the past, that it is not indeed an accurate reconstruction of the pagan past. If what characterized the Druid religion was nature deities, nature worship and a solar calendar, then Wicca does this, even though it adds several things.
To the extent that Wicca resembles Paganism, specifically Celtic Paganism, there can be little dispute that the 8 Wiccan Sabbats, or Holy Days, held on Dec 21(Yule), Feb 2(Imbolc), Mar 21(Ostara), May 1(Beltane), June 21(Litha), August 1(Lughnassadh), September 21(Mabon), and Oct 31(Samhain), do indeed have pre-Christian roots, as they are solar/agricultural days of import, and these dates were co-opted by the Church. What was Yule, or the Winter Solstice, became the birthday of Christ. ” Christmas day (December 25th) was usurped and inaccurately fixed by Christians from the Roman festival of Mithra. It came in turn from the Celt festival of the winter solstice, an astronomical event the Druids observed to set the exact beginning of the new solar year ” (Hinduism Today, 1994). The Celtic Goddess Brigid, not only became a saint, but her holy day on February 2nd became Candlemas, the feast of the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. The vernal equinox became the crucifixion of Christ. Beltane, became the ascension and Pentecost. Midsummer became St John’s Day. Lughnassadh, or Lugh’s Day, the Celtic God of the Sun became Lammas, August 1st. The autumnal equinox became a day for the angels. Samhain became All Saints Day.
There can be no dispute that these were originally Pagan holidays, specifically Celtic/Druidic holidays. Indeed, there are numerous epistles of Christian priests bemoaning the persistence of the Beltane (May Day) fires, and the wholly unchristian orgies that took place there, as well as the persistence of the Celtic Day of the Dead on Oct 31st, as well as the fact Christmas was actually banned because it was “too pagan”. In short, paganism did not go away quietly (Karras, 1986).
In addition to solar/agricultural based observances as the primary times of worship, and ancient Nature associated Deities as the focus of worship, there are the four elementals that figure prominently in all Wiccan rituals. The elements (or watchtowers as they are usually termed) of earth air fire and water, are specifically invoked, without fail. (Moura, 1996). The origin of “four elements actually come to us from the ancient Greek philosophers, specifically Empedocles, although both Plato and Aristotle reference and debate them as well (Lagasse, 2016)
These three things, nature centered observances/holy days, nature oriented deities, and “natural elements” figuring prominently in every ritual, solidly cement Wicca as a nature centered religion. In addition, in the higher levels of understanding, it is to be recognized that the elements of nature, also exist in the person, and meditation on this spiritual truth is key.
Interestingly enough, Grim and Tucker without being Wiccan to my knowledge honed in on this in their work. “The elements of earth, air, fire and water are important in religious ecologies as bio cultural realities that literally and symbolically weave humans into the vibrant processes of earth and the cosmos. However, as bio cultural symbols, air, earth, water, and fire can be seen as corresponding to religious ecological processes of orienting, grounding, nurturing, and transforming humans” (Grim and Tucker, 2014) They speak of the elementals, without even knowing it.
Characteristic of Gardner’s brand of Magic however, was an almost folksy romanticizing of Nature, his notion of redemption through nature only echoes the voices of Rousseau and Thoreau. Gardner just takes it a step further and puts a magical/supernatural bent on it. What he did however spawned a movement whose true reach and size cannot be fully accounted for. His ideas gave rise to a philosophy completely unique in the West. Goddess worship is usually something we think of in regards to Hinduism, but Wicca acknowledges feminine divinity as an equal partner to masculine divinity. Whereas some Christian theologians may balk at this, it cannot be argued that Yahweh, the Canaanite precursor to the God of the Bible, had a wife, the Goddess Asherah.
Wicca is indeed the reconstructed religion formerly known as paganism &/or witchcraft. Wiccans revere the Lord and Lady, God and Goddess, who are meant as an amalgam of any of the ancient dying a resurrected Gods such as Baldur, Dionysus, or The Green Man, Holly King or Oak King etc. etc., and on the feminine side, any of the ancient pagan Goddesses such as Brigid, Demeter, etc. etc. Those who seek to disqualify Wicca as a successful reconstruction of paganism based on the missing evidence from one specific vein of ancient paganism fail to understand that Wicca was never meant to be one specifically, but rather a blending of the best antiquity had to offer, and what we were left with.
Part 2 Coincidence with Modern Environmental Movement
As an American, I am the most familiar with events in American history, and so I will study the rise of Wicca from the American perspective. In modern times the first “Wiccan” in the United States was Raymond Buckland. Known affectionately as Uncle Bucky, he was born in London, his mother English, and his father Romani, or as we would better recognize, Gypsy. He was influenced and later initiated into Gerald Gardner’s coven. Not soon after, Gerald Gardner died and the two never met again. Buckland arrived in the U.S. in 1962, bringing Gardnerian Wicca with him. He established a coven, known as the Long Island Coven, and every Gardnerian Wicca in the United States pretty much can trace their magical lineage back to this coven. There are some exceptions, but by in large, they all come from him.
The 60’s is known as a turning point in American social history, Haight-Ashbury and the Summer of Love, the civil rights movement. While the hippies were better known for free love, drugs and rock and roll, the social revolution of the 60’s also included the Occult. It is in this atmosphere, that Gardner’s/Buckland’s ‘new’ religion found fertile ground. Whereas demographic data can be very hard to find as the census does not require people to self-identify their religious affiliation, independent sources show a very clear trend of increasing membership. In short, Wicca caught on like wildfire.
It should first be noted that I could not find any data for the number of Wiccans in the United States before 1970. However, after that, a sampling of the data I was able find is as such:
• 1972, “John Godwin estimated in “Occult America” that “there were at least 20,000 organized members in this country.”
• 1980: J. Gordon Melton of the Institute for the Study of American Religion estimated 30,000 to 40,000 adherents to some form of Craft doctrine. The estimate was based on data collected at the 1979 Pan Pagan Festival.
• 1990: The US Army published a book for the guidance of its chaplains when dealing with a soldier of a non-traditional faith: “Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups: A Handbook for Chaplains.” 3 In the 1990 edition, the author comments: “MEMBERSHIP: Because of the complete autonomy of covens, this cannot be determined. There are an estimated 50,000 Wiccans in the United States.”
• 2000: The Covenant of the Goddess conducted a year-long poll of Witches and Pagans, starting 1999-JUL. They estimate that the total number of Witches and Pagans in the United States is about 768,400.
• 2001: On MAY-13, Stats Canada reported on the religious identification of Canadians, as determined by the 2001 census. Unlike the U.S., the government of Canada asks religious questions during their census data collection. They found that Wiccans and other Neopagans showed the greatest percentage growth of any religion in the country. They totaled 21,080 members in 2001, an increase of 281% from 1991. “If we assume that Canada and the U.S. have similar cultures and thus have a similar percentage of Wiccans, then there would be on the order of 197,429 Wiccans among the estimated 277.60 million Americans, compared to the 29.64 million Canadians. ” (http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_nbr2.htm)
In the same year as Raymond Buckland arrived in the United States, the modern environmental movement was born with the publishing of Racheal Carson’s “Silent Spring”, 1962. “Silent Spring is one of the most influential books of the 20th century, and its author the founding mother of modern environmentalism” (Bethune, 2007). “Carson is best known for her class 1962 book Silent Spring, which spawned the modern environmental movement” (Ecologist, 2005). “Her recommendations based on sound science helped to shape the initial environmental protections that evolved through the nineteen seventies.” (DeMarco, 2017). This work cannot be overstated in its importance and effect. It was the impetus for The Clean Air and Water acts, which in turn lead to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Those two pieces of legislation in turned spawned many other acts, the Safe Drinking water act as well as the Superfund Act among others. Indeed, Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin Senator and founder of Earth Day, also conceived his idea in 1962. As he puts it, “When Racheal Carson’s blockbuster book Silent Spring came out in 1962, it started a vigorous national dialogue on herbicides and pesticides that continues to this day.” (Nelson, 2002). Conservation already was part of the national agenda, but no one exposed the endemic issue of chemical and industrial pollution quite the way Carson did.
What exactly happened in 1962? Why do these two major figures and the movements they spawned coincide, being not only in the same decade, but in the same year? Pope John XXIII convened Vatican 2 in October of that same year, shaking up doctrine and practice within the Church in dramatic ways. Kennedy was president. The threat of nuclear war was quite real and we were turning our eyes to space exploration. But why did all of these things occur when they did, especially in the context of the time? One final piece to the puzzle makes it clear, the Witchcraft laws in England were repealed in 1951. Witchcraft, with its spiritual reverence for the Earth never went away. What happened is that it was no longer suppressed, and without that artificial suppression, it naturally flourished. Combined with the growing unease at the exploitation of natural resources as well as widespread use of herbicides, the mass consciousness of society rebelled, and in many cases it rebelled by turning to the path always associated with reverence for Nature, and it rebelled by fully embracing the wisdom Nature had to offer, shedding the artificial garb of Theism that had separated it.
It should be noted however that this transition to Nature spirituality was many decades in the making. As Berry points out, many before this time were starting to grasp that certain things about how the dominant religion in the West viewed nature, might be erroneous. “It is certainly true that Muir took issue with central tenets of mainstream Christian belief, notably the idea that human beings have utter dominion over creation and that only human beings are ensouled…Muir affirmed Emerson’s “expansive concept of God that went beyond all organized religion,” which thus required extra religious practices to achieve knowledge or experience of the divine. From the emerging perspective of nature spirituality, explicitly Christian rites and ceremonies were not to be rejected but rather spiritualized…The popularity of Muir’s sentiments signaled a moment of radical flux, in which Americans along the West Coast were “most open to new spiritual exploration”” (Berry, 2015)
Part 3 Rise of Wicca as the strongest manifestation yet of a natural immune response of a living conscious planet.
I am not a believer in mere coincidence. Formation of the modern environmentalist movement occurred at exact same time as rise of Wicca in United States; just as Silent Spring signaled a major shift in resource policy for the nation, so did Wicca signal a major socio-religious shift.
There are two ways in which one could look at this. The first is from a directly causal correlation/relationship. Most Wiccans would self-identify as environmentalist, and so one could argue that people already concerned with the environment saw what I saw in it, that is a religion that grasps the sacredness of incarnation, and the Earth better than any other commonly available in the West. Or one could look at it from the other perspective, that as Berry argued religious attitudes were already shifting in a more ecologically friendly manner and Wicca just somehow sprung up in the midst of all this. Certainly the data backs up the claim that there is a correlation between the two. Whether one caused the other or vice versa is up for debate, but the connection definitely seems to be there in some way.
But I think there is something deeper going on here, and far more profound, and it strikes at the heart of what every single devotee of Nature throughout recorded history saw. For centuries the scientific orthodoxy has regarded the Earth as inert, a lifeless hunk of rock with a molten core that just so happened to generate a magnetic field that keeps us all from frying to death in the solar rays, and just so happened to have all the conditions to create and support life and did so, in all of its myriad forms for millions of years. It seems so odd to me to conclude that something that seems to heave forth life from every orifice and cranny, would itself be lifeless, especially when one looks at that magnetic field as very similar to the aura surrounding humans and every other living thing. Even the religious orthodoxy did not do much better, Augustinian philosophy stating it was a source of spiritual ruin and even on a good day, only Gods creation, not something conscious and divine in its own right.
Indeed, I am not the only one to find such a conclusion, that the earth is inert, erroneous. “The writings of Giordano Bruno of the 16th cent. carried such weight as to influence the development of modern thought, especially through Spinoza, in whose monistic system pantheism receives its most complete and precise expression.” (Columbia, 2016) Pantheism in general states, quite simply, that God is Nature, Dea Natura as Spinoza termed it. Indeed, Bruno was burned at the stake for stating such beliefs, in addition to challenging the Church’s geocentric view of the universe, and Spinoza was excommunicated by the Jewish orthodoxy.
Berry points outs that many people over the years have challenged the idea that the Earth is lifeless, again he notes Muir’s propensity to use almost pantheistic language. Even though the official position of the Catholic Church has remained that the Earth is not alive, many in Western thought have found this to be incorrect, even if they could not prove it. As a side note, neither Science, nor the Church cannot prove the earth is dead.
A characteristic of a living being is the energy field it gives out. The Chinese term this Chi, or vital force. “For the photo file, the practitioner or nonpractitioner could press his or her palm onto 1 envelope that contained film…Thus, the study measured reproducible field energy or an EMF and micro discharges” (Zheng, 2016). “In modern science human body is regarded as an energetic system, which creates bioenergetic radiance around the body.” (. Trumsiņa, 2009). Well, the earth creates a similar field, the magnetosphere, as a result of it being a hydro magnetic dynamo. “The dynamo mechanism is a generic physical mechanism which excites large-scale magnetic fields in stars (including the Sun), planets and galaxies” (Sokoloff, 2007)
Not so coincidentally the Earth just so happens to generate a magnetic field very similar to the one generated by any other living thing. Consider systems theory in general. The earth is a biological, geological and chemical system, whose parts are so numerous and complex that quite frankly the odds of it all working right for a day, let alone billions of years, are astronomically against life continuing. In fact, if looked at from that perspective it does actually become somewhat impossible that it has worked, and the fact that it has, is nothing short of a daily miracle. But perhaps it isn’t all random, perhaps there is a consciousness guiding it all. Then the odds change from being stacked against life, to wholly in favor of life. “’the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’, that is, that systems exhibit properties and behavior which emerge from the complex interactions of the system at multiple levels and which are not readily deducible from a study of the system’s individual components in isolation.” (Harris, 2012)
James Lovelock along with Lynn Margulis developed what is known as the Gaia Theory in the 1970’s, again extremely close to the time frame when Wicca and environmentalism (as defined by natural resource managers as someone whose primary concern is pollution) also appeared. In it they state that the biosphere, is a self-regulating entity, able to maintain and adjust the balance within the environment to sustain life. It goes on to say that not only is the biosphere self-regulating, but both organisms and environment affect each other and co-evolve. This thinking has further evolved into Earth systems science and the primary assertion of same is “The Earth system behaves as a single, self-regulating system with physical, chemical, biological, and human components. The interactions and feedbacks between the component parts are complex and exhibit multi-scale temporal and spatial variability;” (Harris, 2012)
What if this inert lifeless hunk of rock hurtling through space isn’t lifeless at all, what if the Earth is not only alive, but conscious as well? The Hindus, one of the oldest continuous cultures, as well as notably pantheistic, have long held this notion of everything being sentient, “the Vedāntic view states that the origin of everything material and nonmaterial is sentient and absolute (unconditioned). Thus, sentient life is primitive and reproductive of itself – omne vivum ex vivo – life comes from life. This is the scientifically verified law of experience. Life is essentially cognitive and conscious. And, consciousness, which is fundamental, manifests itself in the gradational forms of all sentient and insentient nature.” (Shanta, 2015). Even the West is starting to catch on, “In this framework, Awareness is the underlying reality, not reducible to anything else. Awareness and existence are the same. As such, the universe is non-material, self-organizing throughout, a holarchy of complementary, process driven, recursive interactions. The universe is both its own first observer and subject.” (Theise, 2016) In short, not only is the Earth alive and conscious, but all of existence and the Universe is.
What if coevolution is exactly the way of things, precisely because of that universal consciousness and by what we are doing with massive industrial and chemical pollution, an entity that moves slowly by the laws of physics (greater inertia to overcome, dimensional scaling), cannot keep up with the rapid changes created in the 20th century? What if we truly are killing our mother and all other life on this planet. What is a being with complex agency supposed to do when one group of her children seem hell-bent on killing all the rest?
We are just now discovering that trees communicate with each other in ways never realized before, that the network of micorrhizal fungi under the soil surface acts as a neural network. We are discovered that plants are far more complex than we ever thought. Even soil itself is teeming with life. If the trees are speaking to each other, is it so farfetched that the entity they grow from might be alive and capable of communicating in some way? And how would such a being communicate and what would it say to us?
In the face of the myriad threats facing us I’m pretty sure that that being would try to communicate to us to stop, and in some way to show us she’s alive. Eduardo Kohn recognizes this in his book How Forests Think, in taking semiotics, i.e. the study of symbols and meanings, and applying it to the forest cultures of the Amazon. His anthropological study points out that maybe we have been looking at this all wrong the whole time and that yes, the forest is speaking to us in a language most of us in the West have forgotten. However, there are a few left in this hemisphere that do understand, the indigenous shamans, and the Earth-worshipping Pagans, of which a subset is Wiccans.
There have been messages over the years, the dust bowl in response to over plowing the Midwest, increase in earthquakes around fracking injection sites, mine collapses, storms of increasing intensity, the signs are all there, if one ceases to look at it as all random, and one just so happened to have the “translation”. If this Being were very wise, she would understand the most potent symbolism known to man are the unconscious symbols of religion. This is a spiritual truth that every single indigenous shaman, as well as their European counterparts, the Pagans, would acknowledge. Such a being would not speak in words, for the Earth does not have a mouth, but rather in unconscious thoughts and feelings, as we are all linked by the Collective Unconscious. Quite simply, the Earth speaks to us in the language of dreams, again, every indigenous shaman on the planet would agree. With the rise of Wicca in the last 50 years, has come an unabashed promulgation of the wisdom of Nature. No longer must Dea Natura be cloaked in Theistic terms, no longer must we deny the intuitive knowledge that there is something real and tangible imparting Divine knowledge. As a result, the path is clear to reverse anthropocentrism. If this earth is alive, it radically changes our relationship with it, and that knowledge has the potential to revolutionize the way we view it, as a result treat it, and quite possibly can halt environmental degradation in its tracks.
For if it is one universal consciousness, then shamans, witches, Hindus and say Jungian analysts, are furthermore right in maintaining the underlying unity of all phenomena, and we humans are not removed in any way from this process, we only perceive ourselves as separate. We are completely 100% part of the consciousness of the Earth, of the Universe, of God, and of each other. If the definition of an immune response is a reaction by the host to resist or render neutral a foreign substance or threat, then the reemergence of Nature centered religions can be seen as a reaction by our host planet, and us a part of that consciousness/system, to neutralize the technically foreign substance threat known as pollution (buried deep in the Earth’s crust, or created in a lab means they are foreign to the biosphere).
All that being said, yes, Wicca is a nature centered religion, it is a response to environmental pollution and it is the natural immune response of a threatened planet targeted at the very society responsible for the threat, as yes, Western Society is responsible for the environmental threats we face, especially as other cultures adopt our diet and methods.
Of what import is this theory? We are using, and abusing and in danger of destroying the being who gives us life, with everything from climate change, to geoengineering and seismic weaponry, among other things. We suck the blood of the earth, oil, out like vampires, with reserves swiftly running out, and disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon becoming ever more commonplace as we desperately seek it in more remote and difficult locations. We chop down Gaia’s lungs, which are our lungs, not only for the paper industry, but with slash and burn agriculture in the Amazon. We genetically tamper with creatures with no real respect for the virulent potency of life, a danger even Nikola Tesla saw in his book, “the Problem of Increasing Human Energy”, and what happens when it is profoundly changed without millennia of evolution to stabilize it in the context of the environment. Such a revelation, changes quite simply, everything. Quite frankly, continued anthropocentrism will kill all humans and other life on this planet eventually. Maybe it won’t happen in our lifetime, maybe it will, but the IPCC, the UN, and about 99% of all scientists agree, where we are headed, is global death.
In terms of what it means for the legitimacy of Wicca, a religion that is quite possibly the voice of the Earth in the European West, no longer is it the angsty fringe, for losers and weirdos who couldn’t fit in, but rather the haven of prophets in a society that thinks God is dead. In short it would revolutionize society. Furthermore, Dea Natura cuts to the root of one of the greatest philosophical quandaries of all time, the problem of evil. For if the earth is alive, evil arises out of what we do to this planet, and every case of suffering on this planet, comes from the original break with Nature (God) in the garden of Eden. Leviticus then would be wrong to amend the original statement in Genesis of every seed bearing plant being our food, to say meat eating was ok, for such an idea is based on the idea the Earth and all Her creatures are but tools to be used. If the true allegory of the story of Cain and Abel, was the historical conflict and evil that arose from the adoption of agriculture, whose modern practice is responsible for 20% of all carbon pollution, and animals raised as food now vastly outnumber those in the wild, with Cain representing agriculture, and Abel representing hunter-gatherers, it stands to reason our condition, one of feeling trapped by modern society and doomed to toil till we are spent, might actually be the karma of such actions reflected back upon us. It is no coincidence then that God’s curse for our partaking of the fruit of knowledge is that we are cursed to toil for our food (agriculture). It is a matter of fact that every single war on the planet has always been about resources, the reason being that agriculture causes a population boom, and as the subsequent generations mature, they spread out, into someone else’s territory (Manning, 2004). A hunter gatherer society does not have this problem, as with a scarcity of nutrition, a woman’s menstrual cycle, and as a result, ability to reproduce, ceases. Quite simply evil exists because of us, and our original break with Nature. That is the true original sin, an insight St. Francis honed in on. All that being said, not only is it a matter of our continuity as a species that we stop viewing the Earth as separate from us to be dominated, but rather a matter of our spiritual redemption as well. The two are one, we are in no way separate or better than what surrounds us in light of the evidence. That is why it is sin, for it causes us and everything around us suffering. So the resurgence of nature spirituality is really the Universal Consciousness, God, trying to save us from ourselves, and get us to remember the original sin and evil that caused the break so buried in the sands of time it has either been forgotten or misinterpreted. Wicca is a nature centered religion, a substantial part of this renewal, it is a response to environmental pollution and it is the natural immune response of a conscious threatened planet targeted at the very society responsible for the threat.
Is the Rise of Wicca an Immune Response of a Conscious, Living, Planet?
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Let me preface this post by saying that back in the early 2000’s, I was one of the pioneering liberals who advocated for the European Model of Universal Healthcare. Simply put, you pay a little extra in taxes, and in return you never have a doctor bill. I still support this model of healthcare, with a few addendums I will list in a little while.
The Affordable Healthcare Act is not Universal Healthcare…not by a long shot. European Healthcare is based on a socialist model, where in the United States, socialism is the dirtiest of political dirty words. No we here in the west take entirely too much pride in the model of oppression we call capitalism. Buy buy! And anyone who says otherwise should be burned at the stake.
Whereas I will not get into the pros and cons of the free market (I do actually see the virtue in it lest you think I am just a flaming socialist, I’m not), I will say that unfettered capitalism is unfettered greed. Some are going to be better at the game than others, leaving many starving even with a job. Those who made their money playing the system, have a duty to give back to the system they profited from. This is not Vril, we are not Nazis, have a little compassion, lest I insult the animals by calling you one.
But I digress. There are certain things where a business model, is a bad idea. Businesses are driven by one thing, profit. As a small business owner I know this drive well. And there are two ways to achieve this, one is by making more money, the other is by cutting expenses. A really good business, does both. Current economic theory favors constant growth, the same strategy as a cancer cell, and in the words of Gaylord Nelson, “the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment.” That being said, unlimited growth will eventually consume the planet alive…and well look around you, I rest my case. I personally favor steady state economics, a sustainable approach, but again, I digress. Plainly put both government and healthcare are two examples where running it like a business, is a terrible idea.
That is not to say that income and expenditures should not be balanced, that is not to say that they should not be efficient and cost-effective, by all means they should be. But if they are run simply for the profit motive, their intrinsic purpose, to serve humanity, will forever be whittled away at in the name of profit, and in the end, they will fail at their purpose entirely. Even utilitarianism has its limits in such circumstances.
From that perspective then, I ask you reader to evaluate our current healthcare debate. Insurance companies, which are for profit, they have shareholders and in many cases are publicly traded on the stock market, somehow got involved in an equation that should have only involved government taxation, medical providers and the people. But they did, and the result was a mangled healthcare reform bill that quite frankly made the situation worse. Believe me, I’ve been uninsured and been hospitalised, the bill stinks, and is enough to bankrupt in some cases, no one should have to choose between financial survival and literal survival, and without insurance, that is exactly what many are faced with. But what really is the problem there? Is it the lack of insurance, a commodity to be bought and publicly traded for profit, a further drain on the families finances, or is it the fact “healthcare” is so expensive in the first place?
The unfair choice between financial health and physical health applies to a law that now forces people to buy insurance, if you are covered under state insurance you are lucky, because if you aren’t, you don’t even want to know what insurance premiums now cost for the middle class and employers. Go ahead, find an insurance website, get a quote saying you make $40,000/year, and hold on to your chair, you are going to need to. And since when, in a country that declared its independence by dumping tea in a harbor over a 2?, 3? percent tax hike, suddenly become ok with being forced to buy anything? And you think socialism is bad? Its crap like that, that gives socialism a bad name. But that isn’t socialism, that’s some sort of weird alien hybrid between socialism and capitalism and it needs to be put out of its misery.
You want to know why half of the country voted for Trump? That is why. If you do not make more than 10-20,000 a year, you don’t understand. People want to complain about having food stamps cut (and that is b.s. btw, no one should go hungry, but I would propose a few modifications to the program, ie, you get more benefits when you get a job, not the way it is now, where your benefits are cut the moment you get a job), but try working 50 hours a week, most of your waking life in toil and away from the ones you love, and having a quarter of it taken right off the top, if not more for taxes and insurance. Try working your ass off and NEVER getting ahead. Some of it is poor financial choices, some of it isn’t.
See, there is a lot of anger among the people who support conservatives, but it is because they are misled. They think they have to pay those taxes because of welfare, what they don’t realise is the majority of those taxes go to feed the war machine. And yes I get it that those wars are fought for oil, but they dont, again, they are misled. If you really want to make this country better, start educating, not condescendingly, be willing to listen and learn and admit where you may be wrong, but start proving where the money is really going…marches arent going to do squat except cause more strife. They are right that some of that money is going to health insurance, health insurance they had before the Affordable Care Act, and so again, I am brought to the point, of why is healthcare so expensive in the first place?
My grandfather was a doctor, earned his MD in the depression, and he was the last of the old guard who swore the Hippocratic oath before being a physician, just as he was the last the of the old guard that made house calls and practiced out of his home, not out of an office of a healthcare conglomerate. In his day it was widely known that even something as simple as an aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, weakened the heart muscle. He was the generation of victory gardens and self-reliance. Wait, did I just say doctors don’t swear the Hippocratic Oath anymore??? Yes I did…
“I SWEAR by Apollo the physician and AEsculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation — to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others. I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgement, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. I will not cut persons labouring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further, from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. Whatever, in connection with my professional service, or not in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times. But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot”
Notice anything? I notice four things, one that the art is to be taught without stipulation or fee, and two, that no deadly medicine should be prescribed. Furthermore I notice that a physician is supposed to do his art without corruption. Is it clear to you my reader why they can no longer in good conscience swear this oath? Listen to an ad for a pharmaceutical, listen to the list of side effects and ask yourself, could a physician prescribing this medication be able to swear this oath? No, he/she could not, yet this is precisely the state of Western Medicine. In addition it forbids the practice of surgery by a physician, yet this what is recommended by a physician in many cases even if he is not the one performing it. Am I saying all surgery is bad? No, I am however saying a lot of unnecessary expensive surgeries occur, because of corruption.
I really do wonder how modern medicine would change if once again they were required to swear this oath that curses them should they break it. Tell me, how the heck does a Tylenol (toxic to liver) cost $100? How does staying at a hospital cost $10,000/day? I assure you it’s not the doctors that see all that money. So I bring the point home that is the problem really not being able to afford insurance, or is the problem the sacred cow of the medical facilities and supplies? I don’t doubt that a linear accelerator used to treat cancer is expensive, what I do question is the medical establishment that doesn’t see that cancer in many cases is a product of radiation, and poor food choices, and toxins.
Cancer has been around for centuries, but it has not been as prevalent until the modern era, and I ask you, what then has changed? Our diets, our lifestyles, & our technology. Now almost every single doctor worth their salt and not corrupt is going to tell you to fix your diet, but so many people refuse to take responsibility for that. They don’t want to be told that doughnuts might be the devil nutritionally, and instead they just want a pill to make it all go away. Problem is the pill, makes something else go wrong, and then they take a pill for that side effect, which gives them another side effect, until they finally die a premature and preventable death. So tell me, is insurance coverage really the problem here?
I say it’s a populace unwilling to educate themselves about food. I say its a bunch of buttheads who refused to listen to their moms when she said to eat your veggies. I say its a product of marketing, powerful ag and pharmaceutical lobbies. I say its a product of the wheat beef culture that has been funding population explosion and the resultant territorial wars since prehistory. It’s the mistaken belief that eating another animal will make you stronger…but no where in there, do I think that health insurance is going to fix that. It could incentivize healthy lifestyle choices, that those who somehow could prove they eat healthy, didn’t drink and smoke, were given substantially reduced premiums. You could voluntarily sign up to have your expenses monitored, so you could prove it that way, but it’s just a suggestion off the top of my head, plenty of thinking and bugs to be worked on there.
The point remains though that we could fix the healthcare system that way, use the powerful insurance lobby and their profit motive to our advantage, after all people who take care of themselves are going to be less of an expense to carry in the long run. In closing, I just want to inject a little sanity into the debate surrounding healthcare, and remove it from partisan clutches that keep it in deadlock due to the pockets they are in. And I want to bring up the point that the fundamental flaws of healthcare reform go far deeper than what the debate is currently about, we really want to fix it, then lets fix it, because the band-aid we are fighting over currently does not cover the territory.
Hi. My name is Debra Weiss. I live in Wausau WI. If you are reading this, aside from being a blog subscriber, you probably did a google search on my name, more than likely in association with a background search related to my farm, Ethereal Gardens, you’re thinking of buying from me and want to know who you are buying from. More than likely then you also saw that there are numerous websites saying I was charged with several crimes, although I challenge you to look at each one and see where it says I was convicted, because I wasnt, I was never convicted of any crime, I agreed to a non-criminal county disorderly conduct ticket, because agreeing to that, was far cheaper than the $10,000 it would have cost me in court to defend myself, guilty or not.
Why was I charged with anything you ask, well 6 years after the fact and several websites parroting incomplete information from the State of Wisconsin either for financial or political gain later, I guess I kind of have to explain it dont I? Seriously check out these websites further, you’ll see that in the case of Atlas they will remove the listing for a “fee”. Pretty much extortion, but hey it’s legal, cause nothing matters more in this country than the almighty dollar right? As to the recaller report website, they just copy the Wisconsin Circuit Court website, and they do not copy the information where it say THE CHARGES WERE DROPPED!!!
But I digress, why would I be charged with child abuse, bail jumping and intimidation of a witness? I would like to preface this by saying that at the time this all occured I did write about some of it, so by all means, poke around the early years of my blog, including the year this all happened, 2011, you will find that everything I say with the exception of my son’s father, is in some way shape or form mentioned on this blog, furthermore I would challenge you to google my name with the Commission for a Greener Tomorrow attached to it. You will see I was indeed a part of it, chaired it.
Know that I have changed the names of the parties mentioned here, lest their iniquitous arses try to slander me further and say what I say here is slander, and try to haul me into court, which I do not fear, as what Im about to say is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me God, however, lawyers are expensive, and Im getting mighty sick of that drain on my finances. I want to be left alone, to live and farm in peace. I wouldnt be writing this unless I had to. Apparently in the State of Wisconsin you cannot have your record expunged unless you were actually convicted of a crime…you heard that right, I’d have more of a right to privacy and my good name if I actually had been guilty of what they charged me of. So I must deal with my name being on the internet for the next 20 years, and people assuming things, so if I cannot have it removed, then the whole world will hear what really happened, and I will let you, oh google seeker, be the judge.
So where do I begin, I guess at the beginning of this whole mess, back in 2003. In 2003 I had just returned from living in Virginia taking care of my oldest sister who needed neck surgery. During my time down there I met a handsome guy who I began to date. It wasnt until it was too late I realized he was a Neo-Nazi (first time in the south, had no clue, got one in the worst way). To make a long story short, I was raped, had a loaded gun pointed at me twice, lived in fear for my life and my sisters if I displeased this guy, and found out the cops down there, arent much better. The South is a whole other world, but I disgress.
It is with pride that I recount the day i realized how strong I really was…I was working on my ’85 Subaru GL, you might have seen it driving around Central Wisconsin, it had matching peacocks painted on the hood to cover sun damage from AZ where it lived most of its life. I couldn’t get a bolt off and I went in the house where I was in essence a prisoner (if I left, he’d come find me, a piece of relevant information that does tie in to what I am explaining, just bear with me), and in a somewhat annoyed manner asked if he could loosen the bolt for me. Bob, the Neo-Nazi, was chopping a green pepper in the kitchen with a rather large knife, I can still see it in my mind crystal clear like it was yesterday, he had a black widow spider he had caught in a jar atop the microwave, a black widow that could have been thrown on me at anytime, as could the rattlesnake he kept in the closet, or any one of the 8 illegal firearms hidden in the walls, one of them a fully automatic tech-nine, another an AK-47. Apparently he didnt like my tone, because he slammed down the green pepper, grabbed the knife, and started walking towards me, knife in hand. Now mind you a few weeks before I had watched his 6 year old son stand in between me and his father as he pointed a loaded gun at me and tell his dad no, if his six year old had the courage to stand up to his 6’1″ father, what the hell was wrong with me? I had been through so much, I truly no longer feared death, so as he came for me, I looked him dead in the eyes, stood my ground, and said in an eeriely calm voice, “Do it motherfucker, show me what kind of man you really are”. I stopped the 6’1″ NeoNazi, dead in his tracks.
It was in that moment I realized what an ignorant coward this guy really was, and not too long after that, I managed to get away. My sister was healed at this point and he wasn’t after her, he was after me. I left and went back to Wisconsin. He tried to keep talking to me, even driving out here to meet with me, and me in my young desperate stupidity actually did meet with him, and so I had to move otherwise he would know where to find me. Enter in my eldest son’s father, Ned. He worked at the same place I did at the time, and upon hearing my predicament, said he owned his own house and had two male roommates, and plenty of large burly male friends who were hanging out in the basement at any given time playing video games. I moved in immediately, and not surprisingly saw Ned, despite his lack of physical care, as my hero. It wasnt long before he and I were in a serious relationship with each other.
It wasnt long after that, that I discovered I was pregnant. Thing is I had already started to see there were cracks in Ned’s jovial heroic persona…and we had already started having serious fights. I honestly entertained not carrying Xavier, a fact I brought up to Ned, who proceeded to scream at me and punch a sizable dent in the garage door. Not that I wish I didn’t carry my son, in a way Im glad Ned did what he did, and I am beyond glad I had my son. I just bring it up, because it becomes relevant later on, where he turned around and tried to say the exact opposite to social services, that he was the one who had reservations and I forced him to be a father, but Im getting ahead of myself. But I definately had my concerns bringing a child into a relationship that already was failing.
I grew up in a household where the parents stayed together for the kids, and all you children of divorce out there, I envy you. I know, sounds like an absolutely absurd thing to say, and I in no way impune the suffering you no doubt went through, but listen to me when I say, when betrayal has occured, and the parents stay together, the fighting never stops. My whole life I grew up in a house devoid of the bond that is supposed to nourish the children. I watched as my parent’s relationship disintegrated, and to an extent, so did my mother’s grip on sanity, and my sister’s and I was the victim of it; I was locked in the basement, drugged and not bathed (and not allowed to myself, weird, I know) simply because my mom couldn’t deal with the child that reminded her so much of the husband who had betrayed her, what she had given up to bear those children to him, and how hard she now had to work to support them. Staying together for the kids, is just as bad as divorce, take it from someone who knows.
If I thought the fights between Ned and I were bad, well, he was just getting warmed up as I found out. I obviously decided to carry my son, and naively believed the promises of his father that he would take care of us, and it would be the happily ever after every girl dreams of. That dream became a nightmare mid-June of 2004 as Iwoke up to my ferret strangled to death under the back porch of our house. When i had moved in with Ned, I had two cats, a ferret and a ball python. He did not want them there, especially the python. For the first month I had to keep them with a friend of a friend, who due to her large size could not get upstairs, and I found that upstairs was covered in animal feces. I begged Ned to let me take my animals, on the condition that I give the snake away. Agreed, it was hard feeding cute fuzzy mice to it anyway. Mind you Ned owned his house, so it wasnt that the landlord wouldnt allow him. He just liked things his way. Well I brought my animals over and I should have known immediately something was up as my orange tom, who was fixed, peed in Ned’s plant. He doesn’t normally spray anything. Now my male kitty is actually an excellent judge of character, sounds silly, but he has accurately predicted assholes the entire 14 years we’ve been together. He warned me, and I didnt listen. Turns out no one was cleaning the litter box either, and me, being pregnant at this point, was not allowed to by my doctor given the concerns with Toxoplasmosis.
Ned took a particular interest in my ferret. He complained immediately about him smelling, when my ferret was descented and the only real smell that came out of his cage was that of the cedar shavings he had had as bedding. Within a month, Ned required me to keep all of my animals in one small bedroom. Because of this I found a place for my 2 cats to stay temporarily while I had Xavier, and figured out what to do. But my ferret who for the most part stayed in his cage unless he was being taken out for walks on his leash, exercise in his ball or other supervised general silliness, stayed. It was a very fateful decision. Within a month of that, and I think this puts us at about May of 2004, I was soaking in the bathtub one night, right down the hall from the room where the ferret was. Ned came upstairs and went in the room and lit a stick of incense, again because supposedly he was so smelly. Mind you there had been complete silence out of the ferret’s cage the entire time I was in the tub, probably a good 20 minutes at least. All of a sudden I hear my ferret thrashing around in what sounds like distress. I got out of the tub, dripping wet and walked into the room to see Ned with the incense stick, and my ferret thrashing around in his cage rubbing his eye on the floor. I took him out and he had a red burn mark on his eyelid, as if someone had just taken a stick of lit incense and attempted to stab him in the eye with it. Ned, while still holding the lit incense, vehemently denied it at first, and then later confessed that he had waved it around in the cage and “accidentally” hit the ferret in the eye with it.
Now I sure some people right here are going, ok, why didn’t you leave this bastard then and there…well I was pregnant with my first child by him. What do you do, when the father of the baby you are carrying, that is making you less and less capable of doing ordinary tasks everyday, does something like that? I knew it was him, but because I hadn’t seen him do it, I couldnt prove it, even if I had seen it, it would be his word against mine, a fact I am acutely aware of after the fact, and as I further explain to you the nightmare that was my life up until the events listed so callously on the internet that brought you here, you will see exactly what I mean. Furthermore, as I am now somewhat of an expert on, cases of narcissism & sociopathy, they are so manipulative and charming, they could make you believe the sky wasnt blue. Anyone who has dealt with such people will back me up on this, they have a way of being so emphatic, so conscience-less in their lying and manipulation, and so angry when you dare to question them, that you begin to question yourself and what you’ve just witnessed. Trust me, if you’ve never known one, you don’t understand.
So in what proved to be a fateful decision, I stayed. I thought I needed this guy, and I had no where that could take the ferret. A week later I found the cage moved downstairs in the basement. A week after that I came home and my ferret was sick and reeked of lysol. I was told he had sprayed around the cage and that if the ferret was sick it must be a contact high or some, he did not spray him directly. A week after that I found the ferret’s exercise ball cracked like it had been thrown, I was told that it must have fallen down the stairs, when the hard plastic was strong enough that the force it would have taken to crack it like that, was far greater than the force of it falling with a ferret who was lucky if he weighed a pound in it. A week after that, because of the “smell” Ned had me move his cage to outside on the back porch, a week after that, is when I found him dead, the day after Ned’s birthday, where he got riproaring drunk and furious at me cause I told our coworkers that his mom had bought him a dishwasher as a gift…I know, I have no idea why that set him off either, but it did, and given I was the designated driver cause being pregnant I couldnt drink, I dropped him off at the house while I took the rest of the guys home at bar close, and watched him storm up the steps and slam the door behind him.
He denied killing the ferret. Big surprise, his buddies, sided with him, and didnt believe a word of what I was saying, Ned had already started working on them long before, ridiculing me in front of them about trying to eat all natural, the 350lb guy, laughing at me trying to eat healthy while carrying his child..go figure, and I have to admit, some of the stuff he said about me was genuinely funny…things about setting up a box in the closet so I could have my son like a feral cat would. Go ahead, laugh, everyone else did. In fact his buddies save one laughed at me because I kept the ferret stored in the freezer until I could make it up to rib mountain to bury him. Laughed at me because I was so heartbroken my little buddy was killed and I was too stupid, blind and scared to stop it. Hell Im even crying as I write this now, you have no idea how much I loved that little furry noodle, and how I have a hard time forgiving myself even today that I didnt just grab him and my stuff and run the moment Ned stabbed him in the eyelid with the incense stick. At least I had the sense and ability to get my cats somewhere safe, they would have been next, and I am proud to say one of them, my little girl, is curled up next to me right now; the asshole detector is probably sitting by his bowl wondering why it hasn’t been filled yet this morning 😛 You have no idea how much I miss the ferret though, never been able to have another ferret, someone gave me a pair, it just wasn’t the same, and I ended up given them to the same friend who had my snake. No furry can ever take the place of the enormous Nomis, and that by the way is his real name.
So I spent the rest of the pregnancy with Xavier, in every bit of a nightmare as I had been with the neo-nazi, only the abuse was far more sinister and subtle, completely bewildered as to what to do. Only one of his friends saw through what was really happening, and as much as I was grateful to him for being a soundingboard, I think he may have just been turning around and telling Ned. Afterall, how could you listen to all this stuff, appear to be sympathetic, and yet do nothing? I carried Xavier, I gave birth to Xavier in 12 hours of hellish pain at Wausau hospital and I went home with Xavier and Ned riding the bonding high of Oxytocin present in new parents, an evolutionary insurance policy that the parents would stick together to raise the child. Ned presented me with his mother’s engagement ring to his father, who died when Ned was 7, by putting it in Xavier’s infant hand, who by reflex automatically grabbed it. My little cherub, handed me the diamond.
Oh how I wish it could have worked out, it would have been so much better for all parties involved, but I could not deny what was happening and had happened, the ridicule continued, I had a duty to my cats to not just abandon them, and as I stared at my newborn son, as I am sure many new parents do, I began thinking in ways that people who are not parents simply don’t. When you have a child it is no longer about you, and as I looked at my beautiful son, this smiley, squirmy, pink miracle that had come out of my nether-regions, I began to think about the life he would have where I was. What kind of person his father would teach him to be, how would he treat women, how would he treat animals, what kind of respect would he have for me as his mother if I put up with the ridicule and psychological abuse? And as I thought about those things, and more, I realized I couldn’t stay, not because of myself, no I’m not that selfish, and I am selfless enough to sacrifice everything for my children, human and furry. I was in the middle of trying to get my bachelor’s degree, I worked at pizza delivery (which was another thing, Ned lost his job when I was 4 mos pregnant, sat around and played video games and drank beers with his buddies in the basement, the same buddies who when I was 7 mos pregnant, hung out with Ned in a hotel room until 6 in the morning with a bunch of strippers and prostitutes…yup you heard that right, he cheated on me too, as if the rest weren’t bad enough), and I honestly had to decide then and there, what I was going to do.
I chose to leave, I put radical, if not insane trust in God and the universe and took the big step and told Ned, that I was going to go. If I had any doubts as to the wisdom of my decision, know that the furnace had shorted out earlier that day, Ned stormed out of the house and left me, and our 2 month old son, in a house with no heat, in February, in Wisconsin, the coldest point of the year, where the temperature is regularly -30 BEFORE windchill. I will never forget bathing my son by firelight that night as Ned was over crying to his buddies about how awful a person I was. There was a fireplace, so we spent that night huddled by the fire.
I managed to get an apartment but was on a waiting list for subsidized housing. My parents helped me pay for it, as much as they could given my father had just recently been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, that did eventually take his life, otherwise I wouldnt have had anywhere to go. So began an odessey that I could have never predicted would have happened, there are times when I wonder if my radical trust in God was misplaced, but then I realize all the things I have learned, and how being forced to care for my son alone, made me get over my own childish selfishness. There was a method to the madness.
Ned managed to turn everyone against me except the friend who had taken my snake, who also had their run-ins with the slanderous ways of Ned and his crew. She helped me by babysitting for free. But I was wholly unprepared for the all out fight to survive being a single parent would be. For one thing I found out who my real friends were, and just how catty and backstabbing some people who I thought were my friends were. I was desperate for help. I was going to school full time, working full time, and still unable to make ends meet. I lost my job soon after A) because Ned, his buddies and people associated with them slandered me to whomever would listen…its a little more complicated than that, but for the sake of brevity, thats what happened and B) because I was late to work because I was held up at the paid babysitter I had found when my other friend could no longer do it. The month after that, and at this point we are in April/May of 2005, I ate nothing but rice and apples for a month so my son would eat and have diapers. I couldnt afford gas in my car, half the time I couldnt even afford to go to the laundromat. I was desperate for help, and found out that certain people who I thought were my friends, werent. One of them, called social services on me twice, saying I was neglecting my son, pointing out that I wasnt washing his clothes as often as she thought I should. The social worker listened to me, helped me get on state aid, which up until this point I hadnt really thought of, and I was found to be innocent of any wrongdoing. But man did that rattle me. It made me acutely aware of how easily someone could point the finger at me, how little of a burden of proof there was. It scared the hell out of me to be quite frank, and I got a first rate education in the fear single low-income parents live in. Your children are not your own, no they are the state’s, and society’s, and woe be to you if you disagree, I fact I found out in a way I will never forget..but Im getting there.
Ned, who was also friends with the individual who called social services on me, did absolutely nothing to help me. Excuse me, he came into my job and tried to tip me a dollar one night..I summarily had a nervous breakdown on the spot for the sheer assholeness of the move and what I was really dealing with trying to raise our son alone. i gave Ned a chance to watch Xavier, and after an 8 hour shift walked into the house and quite literally could smell my son before I could see him. Ned had left him to sit in his crib alone all day, in a completly soiled diaper, so soiled that it leaked out through his clothes onto his bedding, while Ned slept in the other room all day feeling sorry for himself. In short, the neglect I was accused of, actually was the neglect Ned committed, and he managed to put up a mutual friend (who now is a crackhead who lost all her kids btw), to pinning it all on me, when if he was really concerned about his son, he wouldve taken care of him, he would have offered to give us rides, he would have allowed us to do our laundry there. Any number of things he could have done to prove to me I was wrong about him and that he really did love his son, and respect me for brewing him up inside me and enduring excruiating pain and my nether-regions ripped apart to give him that perfect child. But no, he wallowed in self-pity, ridiculed me, slandered me, turned everyone against me, and couldnt give me a dime towards the support of his son. Nope he just came up with lie after lie as to how I was just spending the money on drugs (nope), and various other bullshit stories to throw all the blame on me.
Things only got worse when I did get on foodstamps as what I didnt realize is that Social services will automatically go after the child’s father for support. Ned thought I was really the one filing suit when I honestly wasnt, and further punished me for it. At the day of the hearing, Ned didnt even show up, and even though I could have put him through the ringer, taken full custody and claimed back child support, I didnt. A decision I kick myself for even today. But no, I was just a psycho bitch according to Ned, as crazy as they come, all because I was smart enough to see through the veneer to the sociopath underneath, and dared to leave, and not be controlled anymore. Again, as anyone with experience dealing with sociopaths will tell you, a person becomes public enemy #1 when the sociopath realizes they can no longer control them. They will do just about anything to try to regain control of that person, including, but not limited to; slander, stalking, accusing the other person of the things they are actually doing, gaslighting, attempting to isolate the victim(s) either socially or financially. As i have said to many people, Ned was trying to break me because he realized he couldnt control me anymore, and I choke at the statement that he loves his son and cares about them, if he did, he would have worked with me as parent, as opposed to against me. I could regail you my reader with story after story of what happened in the years after that, but we’d be here all day, suffice to say, he spent 7 years trying to slander me, break me, paint me as crazy, neglectful, you name it, all the while making it incredibly hard for me to raise his son, whom he claimed to care so much about. When the charges did finally break I had to endure social workers sitting there lecturing me about how I needed to work with his father, cause they thought they knew what was going on better than me. I have nothing but contempt for the Department of Social Services, they sat there, the self-appointed saviors of children they think they are, acting like they knew my son and my situation better than I did, and they actually had the gall to act like they cared for him more than I did. It was appalling…but Im getting ahead of myself.
So now you know the backstory, so allow me to fast forward to the events directly leading up to the charges the State of Wisconsin has so graciously allowed to be smattered all over the internet with no recourse. I raised Xavier alone for 7 years, and any help I got usually ended up harming more than it helped in the long run. There were two occasions I was forced to come crawling back to Ned because I had no place to stay, because making only 8/hr without a college degree, as I had to drop out fall of 2005 (and btw, ladies in student services at UWMC, I will never forget the kindness you showed me in buying me groceries, I am humbled at your generosity, your help, did indeed help), its impossible to make ends meet when $4/hr off the top is taken for babysitting. Furthermore, everyone is an expert in how your doing everything wrong. Strangers, relatives, social workers, would all sit there and tell me stuff like they honestly thought I was so dumb I hadnt already thought of that myself. No its very simple, I was impregnanted by a sociopath…end of story…my bad judgement I guess,(although in my defense its not like he advertised that he was a sociopath, no he came across as my savior at first, i really didnt do anything wrong, I intended to marry the guy and no Im not going to sit here like the rest of the hypocrites who had sex before they were married and condemn premarital sex, I do not ascribe to the idea that a loving God would make us in conflict with one of our most basic natures, sorry, but I dont) but its hardly something I should be judged for. I really thought this guy was the one. I could sit here for another 5 pargraphs explaining why I couldnt live in subsidized housing (the cats), but believe me there is still alot more to explain, we’ll be here all day if I do, long story short, I couldnt live in subsidized housing.
Ned didnt like it when I found a new man, quite frankly he flipped his lid and called me, and I quote, “a fucking slut”. Turns out Ive been with the guy I got called a slut over for 8 years now, but thats a whole other story. I met the guy I am still with today, via myspace, when I was staying with Ned because once again he had succeeded in breaking me down to a point where I had no where else to go. No I was not in a relationship with him, when he tried to climb in bed with me the first night I promptly got out of bed and slept on the cold hardwood floor. In a nice stroke of poetic justice on the part of the universe/God, he got punched in the nose at work the next day. Im not going to say what happened the day after he called me a fucking slut, as it is horrible, and there but for the grace of God go I.
Given the hostile territory I were I was currently living I ended up moving in with Tim, the guy I have stayed with for the better part of 8 years, pretty quickly. I did not bring Xavier right away as I did not want him dragged pillar to post any worse than he already had been. You can ask me what the hell I was thinking in leaving my child with a confirmed animal killing sociopath, but what was I supposed to do? He is the father, he has legal rights to his son, and without exhuming a dead ferret and autopsying it, there is no way I can prove these accusations true. To the contrary he comes off as very jovial and cool to everyone, he has everyone fooled. Furthermore I doubt he would harm his own kid, and at this point he actually had started cleaning Xavier up and taking care of him. He is his father, what can I do? Furthermore Tim doesn’t have kids, never had dated a girl who did, and wasnt really too keen on someone else’s midgets running around the house messing up his stuff, so I figured it best to introduce them gradually, and only if the relationship with Tim was a lasting one. I did not by any means just leave Xavier at Ned’s, I spent plenty of time with him, he just stayed at dads while mommy figured out her new living situation.
Well, Ned took this opportunity to pay me back for my supposed abduction of Xavier all those years ago when I moved out, by disappearing with Xavier in the middle of the night pretty much. He just up and left and moved down by his mom in Steven’s Point without telling me anything. I had to track down my son. I was ok with him being at his fathers in town, but I was not ok, with him disappearing with him in the middle of the night and moving 30 miles away. I did have full placement so after about a month I was within my full legal rights to pick up Xavier and refuse his father visitation. I had given him another chance, and he had again blown it.
Well Daddy didnt like that, he didnt like that at all. Mind you I was still willing to let them talk, and dad could visit, but he wasnt allowed to leave. Those were not acceptable terms apparently. What I didnt know, even though I had a dream to warn me, was that I had just set the stage, for the legal nightmare that 9 months later would erupt.
When Xavier got here, he had severe behavior problems he had never had before. Specifically the day after he got here, he peed down the steps right in front of me, openly, deliberately. Now everyone has there theory as to why, but as his mother knowing him better than anyone, I would like to take this opportuntity to tell them to take their half-baked theories and shove it up their collective derrrieres, because something was wrong with my son. He was breaking things, hurting other children, deliberately wetting his bed (Im sorry, when he takes his little wanker out, pees in the bed, then pulls his pants back up so his pants are completely dry, yet the bed is soaked, its deliberate), hurting our dog, and in general was being a giant pain in the butt. He never had problems of that magnitude before he had lived with his father, and given what I have told you thus far, especially when it involved hurting animals, is it really so hard to figure out that his father had indeed abused him like he had abused me?
But here’s the kicker. Im weird. I like to say smart people look like crazy people to dumb people, but it goes beyond that. I dont really hang out with very many people. I frankly think society is evil in its commercialistic throw away attitude, not to mention various other moral transgressions I could cite, but I also see right through most people. I do it in a way most people dont even realize. I guess they expect me to at least to buy into their little bullshit games for a little while, cause they are used to people apparently alot dumber than me, but with the IQ of a genius (seriously, and I have the evaluation to prove it) and the experiences I have had with the real nut bags in this world, I can usually see them coming a mile away, and have just gotten to the point where I will just keep to myself thank you very much. But oh no!, Im not allowed to do that, I have to play these people’s weird sick little games, because if I dont Im a hermit and obviously I must be sacrificing children and praying to satan in my basement, right? SMH.
I mention this because in keeping to myself I isolated myself in a strategic sense. Im coming across as rude, contemptous, and in general anti-social, no matter how good of reasons I had to be so, I made it all to easy to paint me as seriously messed up in the head. By contrast, Ned is extremely socially engaging, very gregarious and funny, and people instantly like him, although there are a few perceptive to see through it, and likewise there are the few who are not fucked in the head as the majority of society is. Such is the lament of everywise man from Buddha to Christ. Heck they crucified Christ for standing up the ills of his society, and no I am not likening myself to Christ, however I do point out that even the greatest of humanity, the wisest, the most spiritually powerful, either fall victim to the tyranny of the masses, or actively condemn it. In Buddha’s case he just laid it out that all life is suffering, period end of story.
Ned knew people at my son’s school, and I have no doubt said some stuff in a very nice way that left open the door to all sorts of messed up stuff about me as they went home and thought about it later on in the evening, I was left holding the proverbial bag, my son was completely out of control, and everyone thought it was something I was doing. I wasnt. We managed to get help with Xavier through the Children’s Resource Center, and under the skillful guidance and advice of the inhome nurse they sent to meet with us every week, Xavier gradually got better, pretty much a 180 degree turn around in a very short amount of time. She coached me in terms of language and how I dealt with him, knowing what I was up against, and how to counter-act what I had inherited. We fixed my little guy…until his father called that December for his birthday. I took the phone after Ned talked to Xavier for five minutes and went upstairs to discuss other things so I did not witness the utter and immediate transformation, but Tim did. As I was told, Xavier started talking in baby talk jibberish and sucking his thumb while I was upstairs, and his behavior hence forth, went right back to what it was when he had first come to live with us, if not worse.
I begged the inhome nurse to come back as I had my hands full again and was utterly bewildered. I was told they didnt have the funding to send her. Xavier started being a holy terror at school again, I was taken aside by the teacher numerous times and informed of his misdeeds on a daily basis. The bedwetting, the stealing, hurting things, all started up again, and the teacher’s in their infinate wisdom and sagacity thought they knew better than the cantankerous anti-social weirdo telling them otherwise…which is when they told me they wanted me to medicate Xavier.
I was put on ADHD meds as a kid, and I am vehemently opposed to them. One because ADHD is a product of food dyes & sugar, and two it is a stress reaction. Furthermore, I bet you the reader are not aware that both school districts and social services both recieve money in the form of federal grants for every child in their care that is in need of “services”. Plainly put, in an era of no child left behind created pressure on school funding, plus the usual budget cuts, it creates an monetary incentive to drug children, or open a case on them. Do some google searches of your own, not only will it prove what I am saying, but look up death by ritalin, and the package inserts on things like adderall. They are not much different than meth. You might also see that they deliberately target low-income families, why? because they think they’re too stupid to know any better, and are poor enough that if they do fight or refuse, they cant afford a lawyer to defend themselves in court. Well they were wrong when they chose to pick on me.
I do not deny my son was having behavior problems, and I even offered to come to class everyday to supervise him if I had to…uh well, we cant have that, and as I later found out they tried to lie and say I had physically hurt Xavier in their presence on of the times I was there, no specifics given, just a general accusation of some sort of “incident”. Furthermore I made a giant pain in the ass of myself by taking on the school district and the school lunch program. See, somehow, even though I fed my son a solid breakfast before he went to school (according to him Im the best cook on the planet 😀 ), and even though I sent him to school with a brown-bagged lunch that consisted of a sandwich of his choosing (Slami sandwich, translated from 7-year-old speak is salami 🙂 ), chips and water, he was automatically signed up for school breakfast and lunch for free. Ill admit the brown bag was somewhat spartan, but I know better than most that food is medicine, so my child was eating whole grain nutritious meals that would make even the toughest of nutritionists proud. At this point Tim was warming up to Xavier, in spite of the behavior problems, and we never had a problem buying food, I was off of food stamps at this point. How I was magically signed up for this food program I dont know, but I figured what is the harm in free food right? WRONG.
So began a parade of chemical laden, sugar laced crap that Xavier had never really been exposed to, so not only did he not have any tolerance for it, he was the proverbial kid in the candy store and thought mom was depriving him of the wonders of crap food because obviously she must be the meanest person in the world. There actually was alot of that kind of thing with my son, that his father and paternal grandmother deliberately fanned. Nope, Im not going to buy a bunch of cheaply made, chemical laden toys some poor child in China slaved away with no rights to make, something that will just end up on my sons floor broken and stepped on anyway, pardon me, but thats not how I show my son I love him. That is not to say he didnt have toys, but I preferred quality over quantity, things that required thought. I also did not allow the TV or video games to be the babysitter, but preferred to go on walks with him, teach him things, read to him, in general hang out with him, in the ways few children these days ever get to interact with their parents. In short despite the slander of my detractors who had and still do even more so now have reasons to paint me as the opposite, Im actually a terrific mother, and had I been left alone and not interfered with, I would have raised a strong, healthy man, capable of critical thought and problem-solving…but thats not what the state wants is it?
Look up the history of social services, you will see it was started in industrial revolution england, and I quote, to keep the peasantry from revolting against the squalid inhuman working conditions said revolution forced them into. Look up the Irish potato famine. Ever wonder why the Irish didnt just grow something else? As a person of Celtic descent I have, and its because the ruling class in England had wanted to force these “barbarians” into wage slavery just like they had the poor saps in England, and what better Godsend than a famine that forced them to come looking for work elsewhere. The English refused them any other kind of seed. Afterall its kinda hard to convince a man who can lay around drinking fighting and fucking all day on his own plot of land (pardon the language, Im an adult and yes I have a potty mouth and these issues are deserving of strong language), where he can just grow potatoes and maybe sent a pig to market for income, that he should move into squalid dirty conditions in the city where people are literally using the one bed in shifts and has to work 16 hrs a day on a machine that might malfunction and rip him limb from limb. That being said, wage slavery is exactly what keeps industrialized society running, and the achilles heel of such a society is people capable of critical thought who will learn the true history of empire, capitalism and globalism. In the words of George Carlin, “Governments dont want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. That is against their interests. They want obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept it”
I committed the ultimate transgression in daring to raise a hero.
Not only did I politely tell Xavier’s teachers where they could stick their medication, but I began writing letters to the cook demanding to know why they were feeding all the sugary crap to my child. I joined the Title 1 committee in the Wausau School district and point blank asked why they werent challenging kids. See I went to private school my entire life before moving out here, my father went to college at 16 on a full ride scholarship, my uncle was writing about MRI 7 years before the Noble Prize winning team, my grandfather got his MD in the Depression, also on full scholarship, and ironically enough wrote the Merck Manual, my sisters both have doctorates. I come from a long and venerated line of eggheads, and on the SAT’s I outscored my siblings, hell I was the only one of the three that got her driver’s license on the first try (oh yes, they are going to read this, and Im going to hear it 😀 ). So what the hell is wrong with me? Nothing, I simply have seen through all of the bullshit paradigm my whole life, and decided to take the road less travelled, and aside from what I am covering here, I have no regrets. But you can imagine the surprise of all the teachers and administrators and social workers at this quiet weirdo single mom coming out guns blazing and making them with all their degrees look, sorry to say, stupid. How dare I with my no longer needed welfare card tell them that maybe they should be challenging these kids more and they might get better behavior out of the smart ones (Bored smart little boys become bad little boys, how does the quote go, Idle hands are the devils playground?). Do you know what one of those “experts” at the table told me? That they didnt want anyone left behind…translation upon critical thought..they’d rather drug and dumb down my bright little handful of a button, than actually do their jobs and maybe sacrifice the check they’d get for drugging him, cause hey we need things like smart boards and computer for every child to go home and break and have the parent be on the hook for to teach the three R’s right?
But wait, there’s more. At the beginning of this I mentioned the Commission for a Greener Tomorrow. That is a now mothballed ad hoc committee of the city I took over. That story is a beaut…founded by Wisconsin Public Servitude, the very same folks who brought you Weston 400, the Arrow to the head Weston Line, and the almost 400 lbs of mercury from the coal fly ash that went into the atmosphere around here..but hey the mercury in the fish that makes them virtually unedible actually comes from China, just like the lead in the water comes from just the pipes, not the 37,000 lbs 3N craps out every year in this area (again, names changed, but you can figure it out). Look it up, I have it on my blog in 2011, and before Trump shuts down the EPA, you can see it on the EPA’s toxic release inventory if you go back a few years. Not only did I take on corruption in the school district, I took on the corporate and governmental corruption that was poisoning both my child and every other child in the area, and contributing to elevated cancer, heart disease and developmental and reproductive diseases in the area. Yup, Im crazy, but not i the way said about me, rather im crazy cause i dared to fight back. I’ve got a heart of gold. I wrote a grant to the EPA that blew the lid off the pollution violations in the area, and got Wisconsin Public Servitude fined $300,000 and in a stroke of poetic justice(whoever the judge was, Id like to shake their hand) forced to invest in manure digesters. Again go through my blog from the time in question, you will see the supporting documentation to back it up, and I have even more hidden where no one will find it should the need ever arise. But to do what I did I dealt with really strange stuff; being followed by the police, my home and email broken into, at one point a cop attempted to walk in my back door without a warrant, someone stealing the commission’s identity and charging up 20,000 in debts in California, as well as being flat out bribed by a county employee, records of complaints i made to the city because of the harrassment destroyed, my voter registration messed with, all sorts of crazy crap, and yup, I do still have the open records requests and the emails from city employees saying ” I intended to cause trouble” as well as one of the detective’s in the police department admitted he was the one I talked to and that he still did have the record (you’re cool man, its everyone else at that time who wasnt).
You tell me what you would do if you honestly were facing this stuff and it was the very government that was supposed to be protecting you as a citizen doing it, and doing it because they are the largest customer of Wisconsin Public Servitude, and Wisconsin Public Servitude throws its money around everywhere, including Social Services, the City and the largest non-profit foundations in the area (oh yes, I have my ways of finding this stuff out). You try dealing with mounting pressure from all sides, a child that is out of control that a corrupt school district is actively poisoning and is trying to force you to medicate, a city and police force that used to be nothing more than a good ole boy club, that was nothing more than the hired muscle of the wealthiest privately held corporation (nope, it is not Public Servitude, last I checked its owned by integrity-less energy out of Chicago, a private corporation that is publicly traded). You try dealing with a sociopathic father of your son that will stop at nothing to break you, no ploy is too low. And in the middle of it all, my father died. I watched my father, my daddy, slowly wither away to a wrinkled old man not there anymore in the head and gasping for breath. I was losing sleep, heartbroken and terrified, of what they would do to me, what those drugs would do to my child, how my father on the other end of life was being drugged with and lord help me I finally did crack and tried to force my child to behave, by paddling him.
I still to this day do not know how they saw the red mark on his bottom, but 1 hour after I gave a speech to the Golden Kiwanis, the collection of rich bigwigs in town, some of whom Im sure worked for WPS or the other mentioned parties, publicly calling out the pollutors in town with the data to back it up, I had a social worker and detective on my doorstep wanting to ask me some questions. Not knowing my rights I let them in. I answered their questions as according to the law I had done no wrong in spanking my son. We can argue till the cows come home whether or not spanking is good parenting, and I would be inclined to agree with you that in an ideal world no we shouldnt, but given what I was dealing with at the time, a father who deliberately undermined me to our son and did nothing to help, a corrupt school district, medical establishment and government, your opinions frankly do not matter to me. You werent there, you dont know, and if you had a shred of wisdom youd know that you dont know. Spare the rod spoil the child, he had lied repeatedly, stolen, and once again deliberately wet the bed, and according to the WI statutes, I had the parental perogative to discipline my child as I saw fit so long as it did not cause great bodily harm, or was reasonably expected to cause same. Newsflash, ADHD drugs do cause bodily harm, they’ve killed, a few swats in the behind do not. Im sorry but the reward system is bribery and there are studies to back that up. When a parent teaches a child to do things for stuff, they’re rotting them morally, and no surprise the children that have been raised like this, will not do anything unless they think they are going to get something for it, they will manipulate and lie, because they have been raised that such things are acceptable, you do things for stuff, it’s ok to be selfish. Furthermore, is it any surprise that we have a meth, herion and crack epidemic? We are putting children as young as three on Adderall, and its teaching them to trust the magic pill, and to be drug addicts. Ya it’ll help you focus, just like a meth head will stay up for three days cleaning. Its supposed benefits come at the expense of the kidneys, as every single fat soluable nutrient is leached out of the body, frankly killing people by the time theyre 40, if they dont OD before then.
But hey, dont listen to me, Im a bad mom and a horrible person. That cop and social worker lied to me and recorded me and tried to intimidate me with said recording, like Id actually said something incriminating on it. They lied, said I had committed a crime when I hadnt, arrested me on false felony charges, and threw me in jail. Doesnt matter if Im guilty or not, the mere accusation is enough to cast doubt in peoples minds, just as in the words of the attorney for social services, “its good for business”, no joke she walked into a meeting and said business was booming. They make their money, one way or another. There is no oversight for social services really, they do not have to disclose their records, as we found out. When my defense attorney and I started asking questions, demanding records from the police, social services, the city, and demanding to be allowed visitation with my son who they quite literally stole from me and placed with his father and paternal grandmother, I stirred up even more of a hornets nest, the first visit they allowed me they twisted my words and said I was intimidating him, no I did not, and I started wearing a hidden tape recorder to prove it. Dear old grandma tried to allege some really messed up stuff, promising my son more toys if he would lie and say mommy did even worse stuff. Hence the bail jumping and intimidation of a witness, both complete and utter bullshit.
We finally did get the social services file, and I read with utter rage how they had twisted every last thing I had said, the social workers, Ned, his mom, all of them into me being this horrible thing. In short all of those charges from 2011 were because I dared to question and fight back. There is no burden of proof these days. They tried to offer me plea deals where I accepted felony charges, when had committed no crime. I was not allowed to speak freely with my son at all, if I did, I faced consequences. I ask you oh reader, if you have children, can you imagine not being allowed to ask your son what happened in such circumstances? To not be allowed to say anything, to be treated like a criminal when you honestly had not done anything illegal? To have your baby takn from you and handed over to a sociopath? Its beyond horrible, yet its the reality I live with everyday.
Even though the charges were dropped as part of a defferred entry of judgement, ie behave yourself for a year and we’ll just give you a ticket, even though I didnt do anything wrong, as I said i thought that was a lot cheaper than $10,000 to defend myself in court, I forgot about the collateral damage of repeater websites who make their money by others suffering, or have a vested interest in portraying anyone who signed the recall petition against Governor Walker as the dregs of the Earth. I didnt know then that I would start a business and that I would have to contend with even more people who had a vested interest in using anything they can to make me look bad cause they know how smart I am and how much of a wizard I am with a small piece of land and no tractor. I didnt realize I wouldnt be able to expunge it because in a technical loophole, I wasnt convicted, so there is nothing to overturn, nevermind you look me up on CCAP and I look like I have a record a mile long until you actually start clicking on those cases and see everything was dropped or thrown out. I didnt realize my son’s father would use the unfounded accusations to sue me for custody and placement, take my son, and refuse to ever let me see him or talk to him again. I didnt realize I wouldn’t be even be able to sue for the placement order to be enforced ( I do still have joint custody and placement 1/3 of the year) because he could make up more henious accusations about me, and whether they are true or not is irrelevant, defending myself against them would bankrupt me. Calling a social worker is free, an attorney is not, at least a good one isnt.
So there you go. 6 years after the fact I am forced to defend myself against years of slander and accusations, all of them unproven and unfounded. If this seems batshit crazy to you, or just a big hunk of drama,well I don’t know what to tell you that you can look at the truth and not believe it, or worse yet, be so hard in the heart you’d blame the victim…if thats how you are I should call you Ned. Dont be so arrogant as to think you know what really happened better than the person who lived it…Im not just some angry jilted girlfriend, if you read anymore o this blog you will realize I am am far from trivial and trifling. This is not like something you think you already know and understand, if you undestood, you’d be weeping for me at this point. I live with the judgement of people everyday for something I am innocent of. I worry about my son everyday, and what he is becoming in the care of that monster. I live with the horrified looks of other mother’s as people automatically assume Im lying because it does seem so fantastic a story, or because I dont have him and they assume he was legally taken away from me. I’m no liar. The truth is stranger than fiction. And now all I am left with is my environmental and social justice work. I guess the Gods see fit to force me to dedicate the rest of my life to that, and I see why, I know things few do, and even rarer is that I have the intestinal fortitude to fight for them in a meaningful and effective way, in a strange way I should thank that Neo-nazi in getting me over my fear of death, but believe me, I wont. So in closing, understand there are always two sides to every story, and that quiet girl with the bad temperment, might have every reason to be the way she is, and actually be closely guarding genius and the heart of a hero. Thanks for listening 🙂
What follows is a rebuttal to not only William Rowe’s work, “Can God be Free” (and Ill admit it is in need of polishing, but the point is there none the less), but also a rebuttal to the classical Theist arguements about omniscience, omni-benevolence and omnipotence. Enjoy 🙂
Introduction and Thesis
The Philosopher’s God is an projection of man’s desires for order and predictability much in the same way a child desires it’s parent to be just and loving. Implicit in that is a child not understanding that justice and love sometimes requires the parent to do things the child does not like or understand at the time.. The Philosopher’s God is an anthropocentric view, that place man’s importance as cheif among the other creatures of this planet, and whereas there may seem to be evidence to prove this, there actually is not. The logical inconsistencies abound in the imagining of God as being in essence exactly what we in our human arrogance want him to be, ie perfect, omniscient, omnibenevolent. I do not argue that God is not these things, I do however argue that he is in fact these things but man in his infantile quest for a universe that caters to his desires, has completely misinterpreted what those intrinsic properties really mean for Creation. In light of these logical inconsistencies, I will argue that God does indeed have free will, and that a more careful analysis and refutation of the premises most philosopher’s take for granted, will indeed back my thesis up.
To begin with there is Leibniz’s take on the matter. God’s nature is like a balance, and whereas Clarke says that takes out free will, in the sense that God is not the causal agent, rather just a receiver and bound to do whatever has the most weight, it does not mean he has to do something. Afterall it is only an analogy, phrases and ideas we come up with to articulate truths very often beyond language. Leibniz goes on to distinguish between moral vs. absolute necessity. Moral is the idea that one should do something, while absolute is that one has to do something. Again, I agree that whereas God’s nature makes it a moral necessity to create the best possible world, He does not have to. God is free, and he freely chose to create the best possible world.
I agree with Leibniz, but not in the sense that God is the balance, but rather Creation is. There must be a cosmic balancing force, life vs. death. Death more often than not is what we percieve as evil, but we only percieve it this way without the knowledge of the necessity of this balance. Afterall a world with no death would very quickly become overpopulated, so many bodies that we are crammed in like the proverbial sardines, resulting in poor quality of life for all. Furthermore, all those people would have to be fed, resulting in not only a very rapid stripping of resources that would eventually lead to starvation when they ran out, but massive evil inflicted up the other creatures of this planet as we humans eat them to exinction. As to intervention in cases of gratiutous evil, God can tip the scales, but every action has repercussions, and I would argue that there is a principle of cosmic justice, and whereas we may not always see it, it may not occur in our desired timeframe it does eventually happen. Therefore the greater weight is the greater good. Creation is indeed like a balance and God’s decisions are weighed in that manner.
In the case of Creation, and moral necessity vs absolute necessity, again there is nothing to say that he has to create the best possible world, or a world at all for that matter. God can be less than absolutely perfect. I know, this flies in the face of the theist’s arguement, but just because we want hm to be perfect doesnt mean he is in fact perfect, or has to be, or even wants to be. More importantly, define perfection. Just because it serves our ends to have him be a certain way, does not mean he has to be that way, and in addition, as I would argue, he is perfect, but that doesnt mean he fits our definition of perfect, or that his perfection suits our needs. Like the parent, and being omniscient, I would argue that he knows exactly what he is doing, it is the right thing.
Furthermore, we do not know what perfectly benevolent would be, as its definition is relative to the person doing the defining. Are we talking in terms of good that is our own wishes and projections, or do we mean just actions(justice), or do we mean good in terms of the other creatures of this planet? We want there to be divine justice and perfection because to think otherwise is scary at best. But really what do we as humans deserve, we believe we are special a above the rest of creation but I would argue that is man’s anthropocentric fantasy, not the reality. I realize this doesnt fit in the Theist arguement, but are we interested in the Truth here, or just conjuring up a Being to help us sleep at night in a world that can appear chaotic and unjust all too often? Because if we are interested in Truth, he can, he does have the choice, and those choices do not necessarily have to serve our human ends, as we are not the only other species on this planet. Rowes conclusion that its either one or the other, God is not free because he has to create the best world, or he didnt and is not worthy of worship, blithely glosses over the subtle implications of certain points, and that they are not a priori given assumptions. God can still be all the things we want him to be in the Theist sense, but that does not mean it translates to a result we would wholly desire or recognize. Such a conclusion is arrogant as best, for it is saying somehow we are omniscient, and we know the mind of God, what he would do, and why he would do it. The idea is absolutely preposterous.
Rather, God can be omniscient, omnibenelovent etc, just as he could be the opposite or somewhere in between, it’s just that being less than perfect would deny him what he really wants, our love and devotion. He does have a choice, he just refuses to take the other option. God does not have to be perfect (or our definition of perfect that suits our mortal interests)to be creator only knowledgable in how to create. I do however argue he is perfect however for he does understand greater good and the balance between life and death that must occur.
I would however concede though that chosing good is limiting, but it is still a choice based on a desired outcome and a being’s priorities. In the human world, I could give the example of loving another but knowing consummation of said desired love would destroy your mate, whom you also love. It is an extremely tough choice, as one way or another you are going to lose the affections of someone you care about. It is personal sacrifice and loss of freedom, but it is still a choice, a person can choose to act selfishly, but it still means a loss. However integrity and goodness are indeed their own reward.
It’s a funny thing about power and responsibility, everyone think they can do a better job, but weighing the choices, choosing the better is not easy. God wants all to love hm, but some choices result in alienating another for the greater good. That being said creation is indeed a perfect machine. Sin is sin not only because it is an offense against God, but in the long run hurts others and eventually results in our own downfall. That is the glaring fault of egoism(selfishness) it eventually results in loss of power/love for the individual when people realize they are being used. There is always a choice. Furthermore, whereas being bound by choices would appear to limit Gods freedom and power, and as a result his praiseworthiness, I would argue no it doesnt. Saying that is like saying that because your boss has to make tough choices he is no longer superior to you. Try telling that to your boss and seeing what happens, and in addition, he is praiseworthy for having to make those tough choices and choosing the best for all involved. Authority is not easy, and usually involves everyone under you who have no idea what its really like, nor do they have a full understanding of the issues, thinking they can do a better job than you. I dont envy God, and dealing with the questioning of his authority, and the thankless job he does because in our arrogance we think we somehow know better.
Best Possible World & Principle of the Best
To this I would remark that I agree, and I agree because evil in the world is not divinely made. It is humanly made. Sin is wholly us turnng from God, it is our own fault, as outlined in the punishment theodicy. To blame God is ludicrous quite frankly, why should he intervene for such selfish beings that blame God for their own shortcomings? I would further argue that sin is refusng to accept our own perfect natures, how to use it wisely. I would argue that it is our nature to be good, there is no reason why we cant be. Humans (children) are innately self serving, which can result in great evil, but is not innately evil in and of itself. Jesus (yes i know, not necessarily God of the Philosophers) whole message was that we can and should strive to attain the same level of perfection that he as God incarnate did. But even the best choices can result in someone getting hurt, and we need to remember that as we judge ourselves. Even the best of intentions fail under certain circumstances.
This is where I really start to question the theist’s definition of perfection, for I feel it is blatantly biased and as a result untrue. How do we know god is above passion, “since God is a purely rational being”(rowe 15). We dont and there is plenty of evidence of his anger(passion) in the Bible alone to refute that. Negative aspects of both us and God exist for a reason, to protect that which is most valuable. How do we explain Gods righteous wrath if he is not passionate? Didn’t we figure out with Kant that reason/rationality/logic will only get a person so far? And even if it is solely right, how does one explain God creating us passionate intuitive beings? A priori knowledge, innate? If God is perfect, why did he create imperfect creatures? Rather than assuming there was a reason to create imperfection, we must entertain that perhaps God did create us perfectly, passions anger,intuition and all.
After all if God is bound to choose the best as Leibniz argues, and many have, that would mean his perfect goodness is flawed if he knowingly created imperfect beings. I would argue that it actually makes more sense that he did create us perfectly, and that according to the PSR, there was a reason to create us with our supposed failings, ie we just havent figured out the proper outlet for these things we’d rather shave off of ourselves. I would argue that it is because we suppress them and do not find contructive outlet for them that they become destructive. It’s us being idiots, not God. God created us in their image. As argued on page 20, Principle of the Best is a contigent truth and it is based on free will. God did not have to create existence, but he did, he has a choice, even in light of omnibenevolence, for how do we know existence is better than nonexistence? We dont.
The implication of all this is that we do not even fully understand or know creation or even ourselves as much as we think we do, as a result can we really understand the mind of God in doing what he does? He creates the best because it suits his ends of Love, not necessarily for our interest, and that is a subtle but important difference. The Principle of Sufficient Reason, all things have some rational justification. Life without death is death, ie over population from non-stop multiplying and hellish existence as a result, and, death without life is life, never being born means never having to die. Overcrowding, quality of life, there must be death to make room for the living. No matter which way you slice it, death is not pretty. And all of this negates arbitrary whims of God . Clarkes arguement that god acts on whims ( Rowe 11) would negate God as being praiseworthy for then he becomes irrational, fickle and as a result, not to be trusted. No there is a reason, and God did do the best, we just do not in general see it as we tend to be blinded by self-importance.
Aquinas spoke of the infinity of worlds, God’s goodness is diffusive leading to creation of the world, but God does not necessarily have to make things to manifest his goodness (Rowe 47). He also posed the rather peculiar idea, to me at least, that this is not the best world as there is distance from God.
The analogy of dissonance between different qualiies of lute strings doesnt hold water as why not just change all strings on the lute. Making something deliberately imperfect just so as not to be disharmonious is illogical for that reason, and defies God’ perfect goodness and the Priniciple of the Best. If that were the case, the implications of that are astounding, lets make it all mediocre so its not disharmonious but the individual parts languish as a result. This is noted, but I also take issue that there is infinate space between any creature and God. No God is everywhere and in all things, for he is pnuema, or the animating force, the breath of life. His very nature gives ourexistence, rendering him praiseworthy, and as a result of this close necessary proximity, we are agan back to Leibniz and that this is the best possible world.
Aquinas’ idea again violates Priniciple of the Best, how can God be all loving and good if he keeps creating better and better worlds, leaving the original worlds to languish in their inferiority through no fault of their own? Furthermore such a statement implies that God evolves, which apparently is completely unacceptable in the classical Theist sense. Furthermore how can God not be present in the world as to deny us his presence would violate his omnibenevolence. Rowe later tackles these counterarguements on page 51, but still doesnt quite seem to grasp the full implications. God is present in world, God is good, good of world is infinate even if there are other worlds, extraordinary happens all the time, we just fail to notice .
On page 42 there is a discussion of an idea of a world where eating food is infinately good. It is not infinately good as what about what’s being eaten? Its experiencing pain, which it would consider evil. Point is there cannot be a world without suffering for if we did not eat, we would then suffer. Maybe this is due to the Fall, supposedly there are yogis who can live off the sun, even a vegetarian diet is better, but science is finding even plants feel it when they are partially eaten. Why must we eat? I dont know, but it is the way that it is, and that must be accounted for in ascertaining the infinate goodness of everything, we cant just ignore the suffering we inflict on others.
As to one infinately good world being better than another, i think his “math” is a little off. Even higher order pleasures cause suffering, wood for violins etc. And yes I realize the implications are paralyzing, but they have to be taken into account. “Leibniz…thought that each kind of living thing has a right to exist”(p44) Rowe interprets that as the right to have existing members of that kind, and it is unclear whether that is Rowe’s take or Leibniz meant it that way, but either way, no it’s not just the right to not face exitinction, its the right of all creatures not to be slaughtered. Obviously this world violates that right as it has to, but again, how can we blindly and naively turn away from the obvious that life is a balance, and whereas the balance is beautiful, the counterweight to creation, destruction, is never beautiful, it is only beautiful in the context to the order it maintains. For such an all loving God, he kills every last one of us in the end, when he could have made us immortal, immune to the sting of death. But why create creatures so self-absorbed and arrogant, who turned from God long ago, immortal? They (us as a whole) do not deserve it. God is perfectly good in his judgement, but that does not mean he is without destructive/culling tendencies. ” as a whole tends to His greater glory…(Rowe, 45) To view it any other way is infantile at best.
In addition, how do we know the lower order things are devoid of reason and the capacity to worship God? Did someone become an ant and no one told me? Just because we dont see something as what we would recognize as same, does not mean it does not exist. What if we really are no better than any other creature? Afterall ants exist in well ordered colonies dutifully doing their job, while humans sit around arguing obtuse philosophy all day and sometimes get in wars about it. You tell me which is really better, the creature that knows its place and function and does it without question, or the animal that has never known its place and out of its anthropocentric arrogance tries to make all of the Earth serve its end, regardless of the destruction it causes? Tell me who really is rational and serves the greater glory of God? Us or the ant? Im going with the ant.
Goodness is not neccesarily diffusive of itself. That being said there is still no necessity of God creating the world . Is not justice good? for if we consider justice, all arguements as to the nature of the best possible world take on new meaning. Do we in all our iniquity and arrogance really deserve anything better? And in the case of innocents suffering that is a product of man-and the perpetrators do meet justice in the end, one way or another. God’s love of his own goodness implies a`desire to multiply it (Rowe 48) But even this eventually results in evil in the form of overpopulation. So God’s in love with himself? That implies selfabsorbtion rendering him imperfect, and sounds more human that divine. My point, is we are projecting ourselves onto God, instead of getting over ourselves and listening, and we wonder why the world is the way it is.
It is going to be dificult for me to analyze these arguements further as to me many of their baic premises seemed to be fatally flawed, and as a result, a moot point, not deserving further arguement. However, I will take on Kretzmann’s view that it in no way diminishes God’s goodness that he did not create the best world. Again this is on what I feel is the flawed view that this is not the best world, a flaw resulting from a broad definition of what constitutes the best and an failure to grasp that the best, and goodness, depend on perspective, and once viewed from that relativst vantage point, become moot undefinable points, a null set. God would have to do the best from his vantage point, and considering we are not God, we cannot ever really know what that would be.
But Kretzmann argues that if there is no such thing as the best possible world, that does not diminish Gods perfect goodness. From the relitivist’s perspective, this makes sense. By having no clear uncontestable idea of what constitutes good, or the best, technically there is no such thing as a best possible world as it is undefinable. Obviously this leads us down a very slippery slope, of what is good vs bad, morality and is there a point to any of this or trying to be ethical, but as Kretzmann argues, if there is no such thing as a best possible world, even a perfect omnibenevolent God, cannot create that which is logically impossible. It is an interesting caveat as it points out, although Im sure he did not mean to in the sense I am taking it, that our definition of the best might not exist, at least not in a way we would understand it.
I think it is fairly obvious that I could go on pointing out one logical inconsistency or assumption after another. And even though they may seem like tangents they are not, because to knock out the premises that make up the arguement, the inferences gleaned, is to knock out the arguement as a whole. Rowe pits two bad conclusions against one another, giving the reader an illusion of choice, when the truth is there are many conclusions one could come to once the blinders are off. In short, God has to have free will as otherwise he would not be omnipotent, and even if he is not omnipotent, he is still praiseworthy as he is our creator.
So, I haven’t posted in a really long time. Went back to school, started an organic farm, got sick of people’s apathy. Some wise person once said be the change you seek in the world, and whereas I have always for the most part lived as I thought was right, I decided to take on a few projects to show that even with not a lot of money, one can have life’s luxuries, without further messing up the environment. So enter the hot tub and greenhouse.
First of let me state this entire project cost me a $1000 bucks, the value of it finished is roughly $5000, not a bad return if I do say so myself. To start with there is the greenhouse. Minus the $300 for the 55 watt pv kit, it cost about $500. Most of the wood we recycled from an old porch someone was tearing off their house up the road. We did have to buy wood for the actual frame, and that cost about $100. The glass we managed to score from a house about four blocks away, that had solar hot water heaters from the 70’s, they were taking down to install a new roof. Tempered pv coated glass, 7 4×8′ panes, for a total of $100. The seventh pane we used on a coldframe. The corner pieces of glass had to be custom cut, they were about $75. The doors were made out of the old porch, as were all the trim pieces holding all the glass in place. The stones in the floor were stones from when we ripped up part of the patio a few years ago. The cinder blocks that form the walls of the bed we bought, as well as the black stain for the solar hydronic in the floor, and the stain for the wood. The copper piping in the floor was about $150, the joints took forever to solder. The roof was old shingles we cut up. Shelves are convertible, and can hold 36 trays.
The greenhouse has a dual heat hydronic system in the floor. It is either heater by the sun warming the stones, the water passes through the pipes by a small pump run by solar panels and into the hot tub in a continuous loop. In the winter, there is a rocket mass hot water heater that runs on pines cones, paper and small bits of wood. There are valves to switch it from the rocket to the stones. The exhaust from the rocket is completely combusted, so there really is no emissions or smell.
The hot tub itself was a old one we picked up for $100. We restained it, and completely gutted the innards except for the hoses. We hooked it up to the greenhouse to act as a heatsink and heat the tub. The water has different chemicals than the standard pool. First off it has Epsom salts in it, MgSO4, the water can go down to 18 degrees Fahrenheit without freezing, and it does not react with copper piping, it also holds heat better. Secondly we mimicked natural hot springs, zinc, iron and sulfur. We also make tea of comfrey, marshmallow root, and flax to create a healing waters tub. It does wonders for the skin. We got a 1 horsepower pump for the jets, it is the only part of the system that doesn’t run on solar or scraps.