ENTERING ENEMY TERRITORY
Last month I posted the above meme of John Lennon on Facebook, and a bit of a discussing developed in the replies. I am a huge Beatles fan, always have been and I think what Lennon’s said here is valid. The problem is that John Lennon wasn’t a particularly nice person. In fact, he was a pretty shitty person.
I recently read, or more correctly listened to, John Lennon: The Life by Phillip Norman, which is a pretty extensive and in-dept biography of Lennon, and while I knew a LOT about The Beatles, and this wasn’t my first Beatles biography, there was still plenty of new information in it for me. I already knew that Lennon wasn’t a wonderful person by any means, but I didn’t quite realise just how nasty he was. I won’t go into any details as Lennon is really the point of this piece but the book is worth your time if the topic interests you.
The discussion on Facebook brought up the idea of how to separate the Art from the Artist or indeed, whether we even should. Should we throw away all of Lennon’s good points because he was a terrible human being in other areas of his life? I don’t know how I feel about this, other than I still listen to The Beatles and would still consider them my favourite group despite now knowing what I know about him. Would my enjoyment of his music be any different if I had found out he had murdered children, been a paedophile, owned slaves or things similar or worse? I honestly don’t know. Maybe.
This brought me to the idea that if I can accept Lennon warts and all, shouldn’t I also look at the sections or groups of people who I have rejected and shunned because I disagree or detest their views on certain topics? Is it wrong to outright dismiss every insight someone holds because of a perceived “wrongness” in one or more areas of their lives? Or is that narrow minded?
I’ll give you an example. I was recently searching through some Youtube videos about Runes. I came across a guy name Paul Waggener who had three really good videos about Runes and how to use them for self-empowerment. The first of these videos is posted at the end of this newsletter.
I really enjoyed the videos and his take on the Runes, and I got some valuable new insights out of it. The “problem” with Paul Waggener is that he is member of the Wolves of Vinland, which is a White Nationalist Norse neo-pagan group. This is a group that I would usually shun, reject and frankly – immediately hate.
BUT, rather than following my usual knee-jerk reaction I decided that I wouldn’t just instantly reject his Rune information because I disagree with his other ideas. I spent some time over the next few days watching all his videos, reading what other people say about him and his group, reading his blog, I read one of his books on Magick, and followed the trail until I found Jack Donovan. Donovan is a white Supremacist homosexual who hates homosexuals.
He has written a few books – the most famous of which is THE WAY OF MEN. I tired to read it, but couldn’t get past a few chapters. I wasn’t offended or shocked or anything – I just didn’t care about what he had to say. The shininess of virtually hanging out with white-supremacists-neo-nazis-manly-men had lost it’s appeal and so I ceased.
SO, even though I wouldn’t ever want to meet these guys in real life, nor would I ever like to think or live like them, is it my duty as a “good” person to disregard everything they say, even if it is really helpful to me? Should Weggener’s very decent teachings on Runes (and weight lifting for that matter) be rejected because of who he is – or should I be able to separate the “Art” from the “Artist”.
If I knew Paul Weggener in real life I probably wouldn’t listen to him talk about Runes as I just wouldn’t want to be associated or interact with him, and quite possibly If I had known John Lennon I would have been put of his music by his personality. These people aren’t really real to me in many ways. They’re more like “stories” than people.
In the end the biggest boon out of all this was that Youtube started recommending me Mike Cernovich videos – (NOT a white supremacist neo-nazi I will hasten to add!) and again while I don’t agree with everything he says, I have learned LOTS from him and his book Gorilla Mindset is just fantastic – a real game changer in my person self development journey.
Had I not allowed myself to go into enemy territory I am pretty sure I would never have coem across Cernovich and even If I had, I probably would have quickly dismissed Cernovich due to his political leanings – he’s a huge Trump fan amongst other things. But now having spent some time listening to his views I can understand where he is coming from without necessarily agree with him.
AND this I feel, must be the better outcome over my previous knee-jerk flat out rejection of people who have different or dangerous ideas. Maybe, even if it’s just every once in awhile, we should enter enemy territory, check them out and see if we can learn anything from them. Perhaps it is possible to learn “good” things from “bad” people.
I’ll be interested to hear your take on it though.