Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Wolf Age: Dangers of Memes

I saw this come across my feed and it bugged me for reasons that will require some explaining.

Wolf Bullshit

This is a typical “bullshit wolf meme”.  Common among Heathens, or among men who identify with the popular culture wolf mythology, which is to the reality of wolves what your average online dating profile is to your actual physical description.

Wolves are important in a spiritual sense to a large number of peoples.  They are as important to me as a Heathen as they were to the natives of the Spallumcheen native band whose women ran the daycare I went to as a child.  Across cultures sharing no common root, the shared experience of humanity growing up sharing the forest, the plains, and the night with the wolves left its mark written in our psyche.

The problem with this meme is it divides the world not into two, but more akin to taking a single percent out of a pie chart, naming it “friend” and labeling everyone else as “foe”.  For those not paying attention, that means that everyone and everything that does not agree with you is an enemy.  That would be “internet wolf logic”.  See the chart below, if wolves acted like this, they would literally spend their days and nights doing nothing but randomly attacking anything that was not pack, until the species was wiped out by everyone else just tired of dealing with their little furry bullshit.

Internet Wolf Logic

I had the chance to encounter wolves while on a late night patrol in Ops C area CFB Chilliwack back in the early 1990’s.  I was on point for my infantry section, it was about 0200, sub tropical rain forest, blacker than half a yard up a bishops ass, cold as a witches tit, and silent as a grave.  We didn’t have night vision gear at the time, Infantry were expected to ghost through the forest because we learned how to see, how to train ourselves to look away from the light, into the darkest shadows, and force our eyes to maximize the light there was.  No depth perception to speak of, but you learned to see, learned to move, and you relied so much on your hearing that you even learned to breathe more quietly.  We were ghosts in the woods, and we were not alone.

We hit a clearing, a place in the heart of the forest where fire had long ago made a wound that now boasted some low shrubs, but otherwise clear.  Moonlight shone cold and white as bone on the open ground, and as we hit one edge of the clearing, a wolf pack hit the opposite.

I froze, FNC1A1 snapping to just offline of target as I evaluated the motion to my front.  My eyes locked with the point wolf’s.  He froze.  We held position for less than a second, but it seemed longer.  I took my hand off the fore-stock and gave the hand signal to direct the squad around the clearing clockwise to the left, while I maintained my position against their point.  The wolves without any signal I could see swept along the edge of the clearing clockwise to the right, mirroring us.

As the last wolf past their point, he dropped back out of the moonlight to fall in at the rear of his formation.  I did the same, falling in at the back of my troop.  As we reached the point the other had entered the clearing, I did my job as the drag walker, and looked back.  I saw the wolf who had been their point doing the same.  We exchanged one more look before disappearing into the shadows under the great trees, going about our own business in peace.

They were neither friend nor foe, they were just another set of troops patrolling in the night, other hunters sharing a forest that was ancient long before our grandfathers were born, and which our grandchildren may one day both hunt in as well.

The world is not us and them.  A more realistic wolf view would beReal World Wolf Logic

Note how the bulk of the life on this planet moved from “Foe” to “Just other critters minding own business”.  There are actual threats to watch, actual prey to hunt, but by in large the bulk of the forest life is sharing along side the wolf, and as long as everyone’s territory is respected, they can all get along fine.

The Internet wolf memes take a world where the bulk of humanity is not aware of your existence, has no real stake or opinion on your life or decisions, and reduce it to a state where if you are not my friend (to be generous, perhaps a hundred), then you are my enemy ( seven point six BILLION ).  I can’t make a pie chart to illustrate that, it would literally be all foe, as the amount you had allowed as your friends would be statistically insignificant.

Sword age, axe age, wolf age.  Shields are riven, families shattered, oaths broken, and the world burns as Ragnarok comes.  The Voluspa tells us

Hard is it on earth, | with mighty whoredom;
Axe-time, sword-time, | shields are sundered,
Wind-time, wolf-time, | ere the world falls;
Nor ever shall men | each other spare.

This is a future in which all we care for is lost, a future the gods themselves work tireless to stave off, and in which the best and brightest of them will fall in our defense.

Stop trying to bring it about.

I am serious, I could join the party of the false dichotomy and say if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem; but that is yet another false dichotomy, sloppy thinking, and total bullshit.

The cold facts of the matter are the bulk of humanity is not your friend, or your enemy.  They don’t wish you well or ill, they have their own lives, their own problems, their own hopes, dreams, fears and struggles.

Stop trying to divide the world into friend and foe, because you can’t force people to be your friends, but you can make enemies a lot easier, and a whole lot of people seem to be putting in the effort.

Wolves are amazing creatures, social animals who kill with precision, fight with grace, and are masters of not starting shit without reason.  I am serious.  Wolves treat violence with a great deal more respect than we do, and treat every single creature they encounter with a great deal more respect than we humans seem to.  If it is necessary to fight, they fight intelligently and fiercely.  If it is time to walk away, they walk away without hesitation or regret. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, an encounter between a wolf and something else ends in a respectful acknowledgement of each others space and that is all. Only in our pop culture mythology does the wolf run around starting fights because “I’m a wolf, fear me!!”

Meme’s are cute, catchy, and dangerous.  Meme’s shape the way we think, as we accept the proposed image and single catch phrases that appeal to us and incorporate them into our self image, which in turn affects our decision making processes.

Share memes that reduce the world into friend and foe, and soon you will start to accept that anyone you don’t understand, or agree with is an enemy.  These meme’s are not cute, they are dangerous.

This had more letters than twitter allows, required actual thought to process, and will thus be read to the end by less than a percent that were attracted by the pretty picture.  Those few of you who read to the end, understand that the memes that you chose to share are affecting how others will unconsciously view and interact with the world.  Chose the effect you would like to have, and the world you would like to see.  Ragnarok will come, I do not want to see its coming hastened by teaching ourselves to stop seeing any possibility of peaceful interaction with those that are not “with us”.

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8 thoughts on “Wolf Age: Dangers of Memes

  1. I’ve also had the pleasure of encountering wolves in the wild, though it was far enough away that I had to see them through binoculars. It is true that wolves have occasionally made prey of human beings, but as you said, the majority of the time they’re just trying to live their lives and mind their own business.

    This reminds me of a more humorous link a friend of mine shared on Facebook after the recent shooting in Las Vegas, poking fun at how the media like to call murderers like that “Lone Wolves.” Poor wolves still get such a bad reputation!

    View at Medium.com

  2. I read it to the end, and it made me think. As a dog person, i know that canines of all sorts aren’t the simple beings that some would have us believe, but I’ll look at all memes more wisely from now on. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Wolf Age: Dangers of Memes – carolsimmons

  4. THIS. This a BILLIONTY times. It should amaze me how many people I run into who have crappy nature literacy, but even some of my fellow nature-based pagans know more about the symbolism of nature than nature itself. And really, if we acted more like real wolves the world would probably be a better, more collaborative place, especially of our “prey” are the collective problems we face like poverty, hate, etc.

    Also, I am assuming you’re already aware of Barry Holstun Lopez’ “Of Wolves and Men”, but if you aren’t I highly recommend it as a detailed takedown of myths about wolves and why we have such deeply polarized feelings about them.

  5. heathenembers says:

    Thanks for another very insightful post. I wrote a post a couple of months ago inspired by the proliferation of wolf-themed memes doing the rounds. The symbolism has gotten way off the reality and just feeds into a very shallow mindset.

  6. Pingback: Wolf Foolishness and Real Wolves over Metaphor | facingthefireswithin

  7. As always, if you don’t see it my way you are a fucking idiot, right. In the end a wolf will eat you if he is hungry enough count on it. Consequently we need to feed them so they wont eat us. Lets not forget, the noble Wolves will eat each other under certain circumstances.

    • Why would we feed the wolves? They do fine on their own. The “noble wolf” if part of the bullshit. The wolf that is, more commonly sups on marmot than moose, and will only go after prey as dangerous as moose or man if they have no other choice. Deer can be stupid, as grass doesn’t run away. Wolves have less freedom to indulge in bullshit as wounds cost you the ability to “handle” prey, reduce your efficiency in hunting. In layman’s terms, wolves who go after stuff that can hurt them tend to starve to death. They don’t. In winter they form packs because the easy prey is gone, dangerous prey is all that is left, and we fall into that category on a bad day, so try not to be the best choice they have available. There is much to admire in their reality, much more than there is in the fantasies some spin about them.

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