Saturday, July 23, 2011
Once, and not as long ago as people want to think, the Norwegian people went about with axes and swords, and their villages had wooden statues of the Gods smeared red with blood at their centers, in low wooden buildings with heavy bronze and gold oath rings on tables before them. These were remarkable, tough people- with a society that was kinship oriented, held together by the ancient authority of oaths and bonds of ancestry, and fiercely independent. When they weren't scratching a living out of their harsh but beautiful land, they were exploring the world, raiding, trading, laying eyes on every corner of the known world. They even found their way to the New World long before Columbus did. This is a portrait of a hard-as-nails people, but also a people living in the traditional ways passed down to them by countless generations before.
But the world changed- a new religion, and the collapse of a world-defining empire started the change. The power of self-sufficiency and the power to see to a community and a family's protection was taken away from these people- the ancient duty of defence and vengeance for wrongs was taken from people and given to a new conception of "God" and given to the King, far away, and the King's men. Axes and swords were blunted. The spirit of going viking was tossed onto the middenheap of history. Now, the grandchildren of these people live in what appears to be a fully peaceful, quiet, and laid-back secular and socialist state where firearms (the swords of the modern day) aren't really owned by common people, and the "king's men"- the police- don't even carry firearms on patrol in most places.
But the King's Men took an hour and a half to reach 80 children that were being butchered by a lone maniac 48 hours ago. These quiet people are sitting by, shocked, and their King now declares that their homeostasis of peace and untroubled living will remain unchanged by this violent outburst. But I am left wondering if such an incident could have occured in Norway if it had never been rushed by force of conversion and cultural destruction 1000 years ago into the "new order" of the world. My friends in nations that are largely unarmed and peaceful may disagree, but I can't help wondering if people should ever be unarmed. An old Norwegian proverb says "A Knifeless man is a Lifeless man"- and a lot of hoary wisdom wrote that proverb.
But more than all that, the Old Culture of that land and its Old Religion produced human beings- male and female- who were as sharp and as dangerous as sword-edges. Today, we may look upon the old ways as barbaric and even frightening, but again, I can't help but wonder if sometimes, the old ways are best. "Peace" as an ideal is fine and well, but a massive population of people who are so fully unprepared for violence, and so fully shocked by it, doesn't strike me as a really healthy population. We may, pursuant to our modernist dogmas, think that it's better for a population to be so shocked by violence, and to assume the peaceful best- but is that better?
The new ways have made us all toothless in many important ways. It's true that politics in my country often makes me want to leave it, but I must say, I think the heavily-armed American population, a population which expects violence more often than not, and which has had to experience it quite a bit, compared to Norway, is an asset here. You might say that we just have more opportunities for mass shootings because of the availability of weapons- but with those opportunities come as many opportunities for non-maniacs with guns to stop maniacs with guns. And our police forces, in nearly every place, don't have trouble finding helicopters and boats when they need them.
This ties into what was lost when the red, living statues of the Gods were torn down and cast themselves onto the middenheap of history. The thunder God's hammer was always in his hands, ready to smash evil when it invaded the peaceful hearts of communities, and his followers carried his sign on their chest- the hammer- the sign of vigilance. That the wicked powers could invade the order of the community or the world at any moment was known, and it was an eternal warning for the heart of man. And greatest was the glory for the man or woman who fought, killed, and even died when the invasion came. Maybe everyone can learn from those ideals.
In times of tragedy like this, no words can make anything better. No words can stop grief, sound fitting, sound satisfying. I hope for blessings of strength on every family who had a beloved child taken from them by this insanity and wickedness. I hope that every child slain swiftly returns to their Ancestors, to rest among those who love them best. And I hope that the man who did this never looks upon the faces of his Ancestors, again.