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Thread: The tribe, the community, making friends (or the absence thereof)

  1. #1
    Copper Member Thorbjorn's Avatar
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    The tribe, the community, making friends (or the absence thereof)

    I read a lot about how important community and the tribe is in Heathenism, and how one's behavior should be in keeping with the customs and beliefs of the tribe. I completely understand that in ancient times it was necessary for survival. Even today the Amish have that sense of community... community barn raising, caring for each other during illness, helping each other financially.

    Today we have very little or none of that spirit of cooperation. We have health insurance, we hire plumbers, electricians, house painters and handymen, we go to Jiffy-Lube, STS or Firestone for our vehicles. We're really self-sufficient. But on top of that, even if none of that modern day self-sufficiency existed, I don't really think I'd have a tribe at all:

    • My parents are dead over 20 years, grandparents over 40 years.
    • The rest of my family is far-flung geographically and otherwise; asking for any kind of help gets "oh gee, I'm so busy". I had a couple of surgical procedures that to get home I had to take a cab.
    • The people in the area where I live are also all about themselves. In an emergency they might respond but I wouldn't hang by the neck waiting.
    • I find myself being a one-sided tribe member, so to speak. I'll help anyone that needs it, but I get none when I need it.
    • I do not make friends easily because of social anxiety and Asperger's. I am socially awkward. In fact, I have one friend if you could say that. We've known each other and worked together for almost 30 years. Back in the day we hung out a lot, spent time with each other, but life changes. If not for work, I think we'd rarely be in touch.

    So, how does everyone else see this?
    śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ


  2. #2
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: The tribe, the community, making friends (or the absence thereof)

    I personally think your missing the core idea that I see in many of the edda's and sagga's, that being the family was not just blood line but the whole of the group. Sort of like how you see many Native American aspects where anyone over a certain age was addressed as grandmother or grandfather as they watched over everyone. Especially in the sense that the whole existed because they looked out for each other.

    I do agree though that by modern standards 'Family' is very different. Especially so depending upon where you live at and how the social and cultural norms of the area are. It's like I live in rural West Virginia now and it's still pretty common for older residents to meet and greet when a new family moves in. To come to the aid of another or at times to simply just stop and help when you see someone in need. Granted it is more common among the older generation than the younger generation but it still does happen. Yet I lived the bulk of my youth in rural Virginia and saw much of the same stuff. Even to the aspect of the statement about a community raising children held true. I had more mothers and father's than you could shake a stick at growing up. All of them in some capacity providing safety, guidance and inspiration and yes even punishment when I acted up or informed my parents of such. But that for me is Southern Heritage and practice which I seldom ever saw in any capacity in other places I lived or was stationed.

    I tend to think friendship and acquaintance though is also a concept that is heavily misused. A lot of what you've speaking about is the difference between the two concepts to me. I have very few friends but a ton of acquaintances. Friends who would aid me in a moment and we might go years without speaking due to distance then pick right back up where we left off. Yet acquaintances that hold true to the out of sight out of mind category of things. In many ways even co-workers falling into the acquaintance category vice friendship category though many of them tossed the word "Friend" around like it was some ball in a game of words. When near you claiming to be a friend when away at best an acquaintance at worse just a body they worked near unless they needed something.
    I'm Only Responsible For What I Say Not For What Or How You Understand!

  3. #3
    Copper Member Thorbjorn's Avatar
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    Re: The tribe, the community, making friends (or the absence thereof)

    Quote Originally Posted by monsno_leedra View Post
    I personally think your missing the core idea that I see in many of the edda's and sagga's, that being the family was not just blood line but the whole of the group. Sort of like how you see many Native American aspects where anyone over a certain age was addressed as grandmother or grandfather as they watched over everyone. Especially in the sense that the whole existed because they looked out for each other.
    No, I understand. What I was getting at is that since my parents are gone, and my blood family is far-flung, that does rule out blood family as being the tribe. The problem is living in sprawling, spread out housing developments where virtually every back yard has 6' wood (or resin) slatted fences. There is not even the "chatting over the fence" when people had picket or chain link fences Now everything is isolation.

    I do agree though that by modern standards 'Family' is very different. Especially so depending upon where you live at and how the social and cultural norms of the area are. It's like I live in rural West Virginia now and it's still pretty common for older residents to meet and greet when a new family moves in. To come to the aid of another or at times to simply just stop and help when you see someone in need.
    Exactly, that's what's missing. Neighborhood gatherings, meet-and-greets are completely unknown, at least where I am.

    I tend to think friendship and acquaintance though is also a concept that is heavily misused. A lot of what you've speaking about is the difference between the two concepts to me. I have very few friends but a ton of acquaintances. Friends who would aid me in a moment and we might go years without speaking due to distance then pick right back up where we left off. Yet acquaintances that hold true to the out of sight out of mind category of things. In many ways even co-workers falling into the acquaintance category vice friendship category though many of them tossed the word "Friend" around like it was some ball in a game of words. When near you claiming to be a friend when away at best an acquaintance at worse just a body they worked near unless they needed something.
    I make the distinction between friends and acquaintances too. People generally have only 1 or 2 friends, but a ton of acquaintances. I don't expect to have any friends because of my conditions. I have a lot of acquaintances, but none I would consider friends. Not even people I've worked with for the past 18 years. Seems everyone wants to keep to themselves, except for soccer practice. But I think it's sad that people barely even wave to other people in their neighborhoods.
    śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ


  4. #4
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: The tribe, the community, making friends (or the absence thereof)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorbjorn View Post
    No, I understand. What I was getting at is that since my parents are gone, and my blood family is far-flung, that does rule out blood family as being the tribe. The problem is living in sprawling, spread out housing developments where virtually every back yard has 6' wood (or resin) slatted fences. There is not even the "chatting over the fence" when people had picket or chain link fences Now everything is isolation.
    Those fences and stuff definitely have done away with the block parties and such. I remember growing up and the most dangerous thing was running blindly was catching a clothes line in the dark. So many little cubicles at work and the same cubicle mentality at home where we live. Especially so if your in the burbs or gateway communities it seems, many not even knowing who their neighbors are. Well not unless it's to raise some sort of stink because someone "Less" than desirable is moving in and they are then worried about property values falling.

    Exactly, that's what's missing. Neighborhood gatherings, meet-and-greets are completely unknown, at least where I am.
    Not only the neighborhood gatherings but also many of the youth type activities that also made for meet and greets and such. 4H, Boy and Girl Scouts, little league events, etc all seem to have faded in many areas.

    I make the distinction between friends and acquaintances too. People generally have only 1 or 2 friends, but a ton of acquaintances. I don't expect to have any friends because of my conditions. I have a lot of acquaintances, but none I would consider friends. Not even people I've worked with for the past 18 years. Seems everyone wants to keep to themselves, except for soccer practice. But I think it's sad that people barely even wave to other people in their neighborhoods.
    In some ways I think that is a hold over influence from earlier pagan / heathen practices to keep everything hidden and not stand out. Seems strange I admit if you think about it but it's a mindset that seems, to me anyway, to have taken hold in nearly all spiritual / religious influences. Then it simply migrated into every aspect of our lives as we try to set boundaries of this is work, this is home, this is family, this is friendships, etc. It's even apparent in social circles and retail when you think how people do not even know how to interact with one another in many capacities. I recall when I retired from the Navy I got job offers at the time not because I was qualified but because I knew how to actually do face to face relations with people. Today figure we have people that sit side by side and the closest they come to speaking is via a text message or email. That being applied even when working on a project together or preparing a brief, a presentation or setting up some celebration or event.

    The old adds used to say "You've come a long way baby, to get what you've gotten today..." Bet they never though this is what they were aiming for. Obits and eulogies used to say "Never meet a person he / she didn't like or know!" today it's more like "Never knew a person for they never actually met!"
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    Sr. Member Maythe's Avatar
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    Re: The tribe, the community, making friends (or the absence thereof)

    If you go looking for community in the places that it would have been found a thousand, or even just fifty, years ago you will find it lacking, or at best a bit thin. But we're still part of communities; they're just not so strongly based on location or blood relationships. Instead they're based on shared interests, religions, workplaces, net forums etc. So often our neighbours arent really part of our community any more, not in the same way they were fifty years ago, but we are still part of communities, they've just changed. If you want to be active in your local community there are ways to do it - keep up on local news, go to local events, be sure to say hi to your neighbours and shop assistants, volunteer locally, support pagan events in the region etc.

    Personally I find this stuff difficult being introverted to the max and so I rather like my communities being online, but then I also have a group of local friends and a good relationship with my family. You could check out local groups for any interests you have - back in Essex I was active in the local pagan community and it led me to some great friends and interesting people. Of course most of them were wiccish and tended to assume everyone was so it could get a bit annoying to explain for the fiftieth time that I don't cast a circle but they were nice people.
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