What’s wrong with being new?
I see this mentioned many times on other blogs and articles, and I keep coming back to the central point of “what is wrong with being a new person in a religion?”
I know I’m pretty harsh with fluffies in this site. I don’t equate new people with fluffies however. Fluffies are those who are deliberately and willfully ignorant and revel in being that way. They go out of their way to promote and argue the ignorant and busted myths from decades ago (Wicca is ancient, 9 million, all gods are one god, etc) and they decry and flame those who have the temerity to say differently.
But being new is not the same thing. One can be fluffy and new, that’s easy. But one can also be new and be non-fluffy, in that one is willing to listen and learn. And that is listen and learn to multiple sources, not just one.
But I see people on some of the forums I’m on who go out of their way to present that they are not new. Why? I think Juliaki’s essy (referenced a few posts back) about this same problem hits a very key point, many new people are treated as fluffies.
In this I’m of two minds. First hand says that “if the shoe fits…” and the other is that this is grossly unfair. However, that is the initial reaction. I know of absolutely no cases where someone who is new who acts mature and who actually tries to learn who was continually treated as a fluffy. In fact, the one case I can think of where someone was unfairly persecuting someone else for learning, I and several others who had been teaching took it upon ourselves to
correct that attitude.
But I see post put up every day where the person in question says something like “I’m new and The Rede says that we must never harm anyone….”. When pressed for more information, they resort to quoting Cunningham, Ravenwolf or some other less-than-credible source. And then the frenzy starts.
However, there is a small group who go “Okay, I think the Rede says this, but I could be mistaken. So and so says this, but would someone like to help me understand?” Almost al the time, help is immediately given.
But here is the interesting part, they have to be willing to look like a n00b. And I think that is the problem.
Most other forums they have problably interacted on, revile and deride the n00b for being new. They make fun of and criticize those who are actually new for not knowing the same things the rest of the forum knows. In many cases this is done in some of the most humiliating ways possible. This is an initiation and it is part of the process. Not one I’m thrilled with however.
But in most Wiccan/Pagan forums this is skipped since we have actual initiations, so we don’t have to do the “hazing initiation” of the forum. We tend to accept everyone for who they demonstrate themselves to be. If this is a complete new person who has no knowledge, we tend to teach. If it is a fluffy idiot who thinks they know a lot but doesn’t, we still teach with sticks and a clue-by-four.
One of the most deadly mistakes that someone who is genuinely new can make is to pretend to be somone they are not. This inclues, and is not limited to, pretending to have knowledge they don’t, pretending to have degrees/initiations/titles they don’t, pretending to have ancient books of witchcraft and pretending to have met/talked to/learned from Big Name Pagans.
Let me clue you in; we know when you are lying, we can spot it and at that point there is no mercy given.
The best thing a new seeker can do is to go “Hi! I’m new and just starting to learn. I’ve read the messages about what to do now, and I plan on doing all that, but I have some specific questions:” That will get you respect. Also trying to be pompous about what you know (“The Rede REALLY means this, I know because Mark Ventmiglia is a GOD”) and talking condescendingly to those you are speaking with is never a good idea. Trying to make things up on the fly when you don’t know is also NOT a way to impress. It is a way to paint a huge target on your back for all of us to attack.
Admitting when you don’t know something is not an admission of weakness. It’s a weakness when you refuse to find out or screamingly defend a position that is counter to mounds of evidence. If you are saying something, be able to back it up with sources or even an admission of it being your own feeling. But when your position is challenged, defending yourself with “EVERONE KNOWS THAT I”M RIGHT!” is not good, but “This source says…” is good.
Oh, and if you can’t spell your posts correctly, you can almost guarentee that you will be hunted down. Especially if you are simultaneously defending a bad possition in the debate. Want to be respecteted? DO NOT USE l33t speak and spell check your posts. We tend to be inclined to overlook the occasional misspelling, but not when every third word is misspelled, uncapitalized, bad punctuation and bad grammar.
Even if you are being thuroughly trashed by others, admitting you are wrong and trying to change is going to do a LOT toward gaining you respect. Don’t make blanket statements or judgment calls on people you don’t know.
Please speak your mind and please ask us to teach. Most of those who will be in a position to teach will be more than willing.
Originally posted 2013-07-16 04:42:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter