“Why art thou frightened on that account?—But it is the same with man as with the tree.
The more he seeketh to rise into the height and light, the more vigorously do his roots struggle earthward, downward, into the dark and deep—into the evil.”
– Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra
It’s been a minute since I wrote a new article for Werewolf.
I don’t “produce content” to fill space – I just say what I wanna say when I feel like I need to say it.
So here goes:
Last week, at a Wolves meeting, it fell on me to correct a brother who was slipping.
We correct things first with a sit-down, but if that doesn’t work, we do it another way.
This was the second kind.
It had been a minute for me for that, too, although it’s been my job in my organization for a long time, since back when I was in my 20’s and my jacket had a patch that read “Sgt. of Harm,” next to “When In Doubt, Knock ‘Em Out.”
Those youngster swaggerings and bravado are long gone, and now my motto is usually “when in doubt, talk it out,” which, although a lot less cool-sounding, I’ll say has been a lot more useful.
But sometimes, the other way is still necessary.
I bring this up to talk about two things:
Rules, and accountability.
Our lives have rules, even if we don’t think they do.
We all like to think that we are outlaws, that the rules don’t apply to us, that we are some kind of Charlie Bronson that does whatever we want and let the chips fall where they may.
We are ruled by all kinds of things. By self-image, by external laws, by unconscious drives and desires and motivations, by insecurities, by habits, compulsions…the list goes on and on.
Fact is, if we don’t make a conscious choice on what rules we will follow, then it will be the unconscious choices that will dictate those rules.
We will become, and do, who and what our personal identity says we should be and do.
In the last broadcast of Call Sign: Werewolf, I mentioned a quote from Carl Jung –
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
That’s a quote worth tattooing on your fuckin’ forehead. A lesson we all have to learn over and over and over again.
Unless we consciously dictate the rules to ourselves, then we will have our lives directed by unknown and unseen forces and we will simply believe this is the way life must be, and must go.
Many of us, left to our own devices, will consciously *avoid* the kind of work that it takes to discover what these unconscious processes are, because we fear to go there – down into those dark places of ourselves where our devils live.
These devils make no deals, they make bones.
They are the wanton destruction of our higher selves, and they rule us from their underworld, deep within the recesses of our innermost selves. They desire our ruin, and they will bring it about, with absolute certainty, unless we can learn their True Names, and gain control over them through force of will, of domination.
The human mind is still barely understood. It seems to me that many days, my “operating system” is not even the “me” that I know, or think I know, or have created, or artificed, or made up.
It is some “other” that I do not recognize, or know, or feel connected to, or understand, or love in any way.
I can see that it wants me to destroy myself.
I can see it is my enemy.
Will I give in, then, to my enemy, and surrender, even if this enemy has rooted himself deeply within my own mind, my own soul?
I will not. I will make war.
This war is the one referenced when we talk about the Greater Jihad, the Greater Holy War. It is the internal and sacred struggle against darkness, against chaos – the Devil, if you like, and all his forces.
The greatest weapon we have in this war is accountability – the acceptance of one’s own responsibility for one’s own actions.
In this case “the devil made me do it” is not good enough.
It also means the willingness to answer for our deeds – to be held to that responsibility by our peers. Accountability means openness to fair confrontation from the men we have decided we will have that accountability to.
Men we respect.
A man on his own against the world has little chance of success.
It is critical that we find an honor group to which we can be accountable. This need not be something grand or magnificent, although I would argue that it certainly should be, but it does need to be made up of men who are confrontational.
Confrontation is uncomfortable. Few enjoy it, especially when the situation is very serious.
But without confrontation, there is no accountability.
A man has to look his deeds in the face, and seeing them through the eyes of another, can give perspective that otherwise we wouldn’t have had.
Without confrontation, without accountability, there are no rules. Even if this confrontation and accountability must happen within, or between a man and his god – it must be done, and it must be done often.
A recounting, and an accounting of what is done, and why. Answer given, and blame accepted, and correction received.
Lots of people think that love is accepting people the way they are.
Love is refusing to accept anything less from your brothers than you know they are capable of rising to.
Love is will, it is under will and love itself loves a powerful will.
What we owe to ourselves, we owe to those in our honor group – discipline. A rule to follow.
An earnest and open heart, followed, if necessary, by an honest and closed fist, followed by a powerful embrace back into the circle of respect.
The war is fought daily for our souls. For freedom from compulsion, from the evil that we so easily slip into without ever even asking, why?
If we won’t fight for love, we don’t deserve to win it.
“The tree wasteth which is perched alone on the hill, nor bark nor needles shelter it; such is the man whom none doth love; for what should he longer live?”
– Havamal, stanza 50