Words on Reputation

I try to put a lot of thought into what I put on this blog. I’ve been a little “out of order” the past few weeks or so. Sometimes, it just happens, and I don’t know why. Of course, I’m sure I’m not the only one. I had three half written articles, and one fully written one. However, the full one was covering the same points as the last article. Fyrnsǽd… I’m a little different from other Reconstructionists… Look how open minded I am… So on and so forth… No. I don’t think I need to point that out, or at least not write another article conveying that same point. What I realize now is that these stumbling blocks are normal, and there isn’t always a deep reason as to why they occur. There isn’t a deep reason, but there is a reason.


It’s one of those basic points of worldview: Reputation. Especially since I realize that I share this Hearth. I can’t soil my own reputation on this blog without the risk of soiling the reputation of the Hearth as a whole. This is what prevents me from writing things without much thought. Reputation is such a key point in Heathen worldview that it took nearly a three week block to figure out that my reservations, based on reputation, might be a good thing to talk about.


I assure you, if I didn’t share this hearth, there would be a lot of posts made with reckless abandon! More posts, but not ones that I could look back on later, and still find satisfactory. It reminds me that the company we keep is of utmost importance. I’ve learned it is wise to keep company with those who bring out the best in us and make us grow as people. Even when we don’t want to grow. Or at least, are so enamored with our comfort zones that we are no longer of service to those we care about. We cannot be of service to our loved ones without being worthwhile people ourselves. Many other traits that the Elder Heathens regarded as positive, such as being honorable, being willing to defend one’s loved ones, being clever in one’s dealings, and being brave are all traits that start within us.


The focus of the Heathen is certainly that of the tribe first. However, without being worthy people, no “tribe” will have us for long. It is certainly not that the focus of the Heathen is the individual. However, it factors in heavy, even among us, whether we would like to admit that or not. What makes a good individual is one that adds to the worth of the “tribe”. However, those outside of our blood, whom we count as one of our “tribe”, are those who have recognized our deeds as worthy, and us theirs, no matter how small they may be.


The tribe comes before the self, but an unworthy self is not worthy of tribe. In the past, it was certainly more evident that all that was good was that which benefitted the tribe. I think that such a point still holds water. However, we face new challenges, and a society that is pretty much all about the self. Such a society would see the Heathen worldview of that which puts the tribe first, as denigrating the value of its individual members. However, I think it does the opposite. In fact, I think each individual matters even more when the people have to rely on each other.


The reason is quite simple. In a tribe, no one can be degraded to a mere commodity, because everyone in it has a place. That place is not easily taken by another. When we are told that we must function with as little help and support as possible, as we are in the United States, at least, as it is ingrained into our history, we learn to treat others as commodities. They have a replaceable purpose. We have little room or reason to compromise, and we are in a society that actually devalues that. In turn, we have a society that treats its members as commodities, because we are taught to be “in it for ourselves”. It is weakness in such people’s eyes to admit that we can’t do it alone. Though some may say it’s possible, how happy are they, those who only live for themselves?


We’re always taught to put ourselves first, and we do so to our own peril. I’m honestly not trying to get into politics, but it is my opinion that there is generally a money trail and financial agenda behind most of the world’s problems. That someone out there is making money off of any given one, or at least most of them. It isn’t that I’m saying money is always bad, and it may be okay to lie and cheat the utangeard to benefit the innangeard, but if you do it too much, it will harm the innangeard, because they will have a bad reputation.


I’ll give you an example. Say I’m a blacksmith, I make decent weapons, but not great ones. I vastly overprice them to back up my claim. So, I’ve cheated the people whom I trade with in the next tribe over. However, my family has three new, strong bulls for meat, my wife is bedecked in rare, exotic jewels, and my children are in line to have a great inheritance. I lied my way to success. I did good for the clan, as they benefitted as well. Now, word gets around that my swords and axes are shit. That neighboring tribe was in a battle. The people who bought my weapons, but they broke on the battlefield. Luckily, the other guys in their tribe had better stuff.


Word gets out that my weapons were garbage. No one buys my weapons anymore. I go broke. My clan suffers. That’s if my luck is good. If it’s bad, people die because of my bad weapons, and it is discovered that I made them, and the neighboring tribe decides to come after me, and there is a battle. How happy will my tribe be, if they find out that my shit weapons were the cause of it? Even if they win, I could be outlawed.


Even in the less severe scenario, it gets out that my weapons are bad, and I gain that reputation in both my own tribe, and the other one for being a cheat and a liar. This means others will not have dealings with me. Chances are, they will suspect that my family knew, and will disassociate from them as well. This means, even in dealing with the utangeard, great care must be taken. We must think carefully how our actions may affect those around us. We must also be careful in how we treat our innangeard, so that they do not feel like they are commodities. When we treat others like they are replaceable, we may one day find ourselves replaced. When we deal with others, it is not only our reputation, but that of our loved ones on the line.


It is because I wanted to think through what I said, that I waited so long to post a new article. However, having a Heathen worldview in a world that doesn’t poses all kinds of new challenges and tests. I’m sure I’ll have more for you all soon.

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