The Cornerstone of Community: Respecting Elders

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The Cornerstone of Community: Respecting Elders

Postby The Madame X » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:21 pm

Respect - The most desired gem - Treat others with honor and as you would wish to be treated yourself. Show deference, esteem and reverence to your Elders, never speaking ill of them in public. Issue respect as well to all others no matter if their social status is inferior or equal to your own; greet them always proper and courteously. Value first the contributions of others; do not boast of your own accomplishments, instead let others do this for you, inspired by your commendable deeds. It is only by giving that you will receive.” - excerpt from House of the Dreaming, The Veil of the Waking Dream, 2000


Elders are respected for their dedication, wisdom and life experiences; in turn Elders are expected to pass-on learning and wisdom to the younger generations. As Seekers we can choose the best more compatible guides and role models to help us in our personal journey of self-discovery and self-mastery, and offer them our respect and willingness to learn. As Elders, we strive to guide and mentor with counsel, affection and support, but also when needed with admonishment, chastisement, or distance.

Todays’ mainstream society promotes confidence, independence and individuality on a different level than ever before, placing our Communities in the midst of an unprecedented barrage of hubris and blatant disrespect for Elders. This does not help Community, it does not strengthen; it does not help. It weakens our foundations, creates unnecessary divides and may eventually contribute to our collective demise. Certainly blind obedience to authority, abandonment of rational thinking, nor subservience to crowns or rings, is advocated here; clearly no one is infallible, and such personal aggrandizement is generally no more than gratuitous ego stroking. The truth is that our Communities have been built by those very individuals who dared to question conventional norms and ended up creating new fields of thought and building new vehicles for growth. As Elders, we know this; in many cases we were ‘this’, but certainly without impossible impertinence.

When we are young, we have experienced so little, that it’s truly difficult to see beyond our own set of limited understandings. The passion and utopian aspirations of young hearts is certainly admirable and often it is that very fire that opens new pathways and new directions, but in the same breath it is utterly unacceptable to speak with contempt and disdain toward those with seniority, who have cultivated recognition and position over the decades. Even if we perceive our Elders to have accomplished little, ridiculing them and their efforts serves more to demonstrate our own self-entitled shallow minds, than it serves to build anything at all.

Regardless of how seasoned we may think we are, before we point out the speck of sawdust in our brother's eye, we must first remove the plank in our own eye. As seekers our first priorities need to be focused inward, toward personal discovery, development and self-mastery; and our gifts, should we have any, should be directed toward building ourselves, each other and by extension, our Communities. As seekers we need to learn, not just from perfection, goodness and successes, we need to learn from our own mistakes, and also learn from others’ shortcomings; then, we need to take that knowledge and ‘build ourselves’. Addressing our basic-needs, bettering ourselves, and our living environments, so that we can then be productive contributors within our respective circles. We may have been born intelligent, but wisdom and acumen are developed over much time and by navigating through many experiences, both successful and otherwise.

In closing, its important to bring to light that disrespect is aggression, and overt continued demonstrations of disrespect are rooted in deep-seeded anger, fear and hate. Individuals, seekers or otherwise, who make it their life-mission to undermine Elders, at the expense of their own basic-needs, are expressing their personal inner turmoil and their cry for help. This type of aggression is no-doubt indicative of a childhood history of broken trust, subjugation, and rage that ultimately speaks volumes, not only about a lack of self-respect, but also about a profound lack of self-control. Oppositional defiance, anti-authoritarianism, borderline personality, neuropathy, brain damage, mental illness … these unfortunately lie beyond the scope of Elders’ ability to nurture, counsel and mentor. Here, the hour comes that Elders ask each other what remains to be done when all else has failed to subdue the disruptive behaviors and the hostility. Here is but one thing left – distance.
Ex Somnius Scientia
Madame X
Matriarch, House of the Dreaming

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Re: The Cornerstone of Community: Respecting Elders

Postby Hesperus » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:45 pm

This is very true and so important. Without the transmission of wisdom from Elders to future generations, there is no culture, and the core of the community, all the lessons learned and experiences shared that gave birth to it, is at risk of being lost.

Elders aren't guaranteed to be easy people to get along with--survivors often aren't--but they have something priceless to offer and, often at great personal sacrifice, they have stuck around and continue offering it. Spend 15 minutes in a vampire community Facebook group and, after taking a moment to recover, imagine willingly engaging with that for *decades*. If you can't find some kind of respect for anybody who goes through that and manages to somehow be even occassionally constructive, then you're just not community material.

Questioning convention and challenging previous ways of thinking lie at the heart of this community so differences of opinion are inevitable and, I would argue, an essential and positive part of a healthy community. What makes this diversity of opinion and expression so valuable is the opportunity it represents for growth. That, however, requires that one be open to receiving the wisdom that's being offered. Anyone entering a space open to as many differing beliefs and backgrounds as ours already convinced of their own ideas' superiority will always be dissatisfied here. What made this a community rather than a waystation along the path to more traditional associations was the realization that there is an incomparable benefit to all Nightkind sharing their wisdom with each other.

And that's the magic of respect. Respect transformed a bunch of random passionate misfits into a community, into opportunities to explore and express ourselves freely-- for many of us, for the first time in our lives--about topics that often made even other weirdos squeamish. If you don't have that, if you don't *need* that, then this probably just isn't the place for you.
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