By Deacon Gray
(GYP)— With two younger Houses at war, the internet in an uproar, the feud between The House of Ma`at and The House of Anunnaki spent months of debate, harsh words and even at times threats over a basic concept. The issue at hand at the time was one of the authority of position, in short it was all about power.
Not many today remember those Houses, as both have since disbanded for various reasons, but at the time their debate was all consuming for the people within the VC. Does a House leader have the right to dictate what others within their house do? Do they have the right, or even obligation to protect their house members by decreeing that someone is “Persona Non Grata” that they feel is a threat to the organization?
At the time these were very real questions. What authority could we expect from a House leader? Should the Houses be run as a hierarchy where the elders could go so far as to dictate who someone in their house could speak to, or be friends with? What was the real level of investment a House member should have if they joined, and to what level should they take on the role of an acolyte?
In some Houses it was considered normal for a new member, or prospective member to be treated as a child to the House. They were to learn and grow, but not be heard. Their opinions weren’t considered based on valid experience and thus were either ignored, or minimized. Many “elders” felt that their position alone made it reasonable to consider themselves the elite voice, and basically overlord (or lady). “You’re a nobody — if you know what’s good for you, you will stop being disrespectful to your elders.”
By 2006 that little war was over, and for most the question was settled. While not all agreed, the overwhelming consensus was “It’s better to be solitary and not have to deal with that BS, than to deal with an egomaniacal would-be cult leader”.
Generally speaking I thought that whole era was pretty much behind us. The court of public opinion in the VC and OVC is pretty powerful, and anyone stepping up to declare that others “Will do what I say” gets laughed out of the forum. Forgotten, or unknown so-called “Elders” who join or rejoin the community online who proclaim “Don’t you know who I am?” find themselves disrespected, typically mocked and very often discounted from that point on.
In a gathering of a council of community members one, once well-known, community personality stepped up and demanded we allow entrance, and was more than a little angry that she had not been immediately invited into our gathering. “I was a community leader before any of you even joined it! You really need to learn to respect your elders!” In the end the whole group rolled their eyes and simply ignored any further request.
But those days are over, right?
Our community, if it does one thing well, is to re-invent the wheel. Out of the ashes new organizations are popping up, often with people leading them that nearly no one knows. Often they are claiming titles, whether in a “tongue-in-cheek” manner, or with very serious intentions.
With those new organizations popping up without the experience and history to learn from, they are quickly starting to make the same old mistakes. Already twice this year I have seen posts where people tried to tell their new following that, “if you associate, or speak to XXXXX than you are not welcome here.” Or “If you show up at any event, you’ll get beat up.”
A few months ago I was invited into a group that started by telling me that as a guest I was expected to publicly respect the so-called Elders of that group. They might be great people, those elders, but as we started out with a demand, I simply removed myself from the forum. Later that same year, an open house forum I was invited to informed me that I wasn’t allowed to disagree with the House Leader or his wife; rather than bicker I simply left. Oddly they both emailed me to ask why…when I told them, they were outraged. “How dare you! In our forum you will follow our rules. Just because you’re a ‘Deacon’ in another House doesn’t give you the right to talk to our House Elders with disrespect!”
BTW…my name is Deacon; it is not a title or religious position.
Anyway, as I had already left their forum peacefully and without any malice, I explained to them that simply declaring themselves “Elders” didn’t mean a damn thing to me, and they could take their online house and shove it up their online ass.
Now don’t get ahead of me here. Houses are not my enemy. I actually am a member of the House of The Dreaming. I support Houses because Houses get organized and accomplish things more quickly and easily in a lot of cases. Also it is nice to find a place to fit in and belong. I am also not anti-Elder.
There are true Elders of this community. Heck some of them even get seniors’ discounts at breakfast.
There are people who have not only been a part of this community, but active since it started. They know how to deal with cultish mindsets; they understand how this community works; they have witnessed the conflicts and resolutions, and have generally been major supporters of everything we have done and become.
These are the people who understand that within the community, respect is important, but a dictator always, always fails in the end. They know that if you threaten someone, or make up lies, eventually it will come to the surface, even if you did it for a good reason.
If I remember correctly there was a time, and still is in some places, where in order to open a House that was recognized by the other Houses, you had to actually have time as an Elder within the community. You had to have some basic qualifications and knowledge so that you didn’t repeat the old mistakes, that you understood the social graces, even if you didn’t agree with them.
Those traditions have been flagged in the OVC, but the failings that accompany the loss of understanding are starting to pop up again. I realize the traditions of the older community members aren’t going to suit everyone, but the education should be shared if at all possible. In the end, these short concepts I am presenting should be considered:.
- You shouldn’t try to dictate who someone in your house can befriend or associate with. Sure, there might be exceptions, but not many.
- You should never threaten someone with violence, or allow others to do so in your name.
- You shouldn’t try to demand respect. Whether in the VC or the Girl Scouts, respect has to be earned, but disrespect for the sake of disrespect is just foolish.
- If you have to ask people, “Do you know who I am?” you most likely don’t deserve to be known for anything except your own arrogance. In the community you have to earn your way; what you did 10 years ago doesn’t equal profound respect today. It’s what you are doing, not what you did that matters today.
- Accept the fact that to most OVC and VC members, you might be cool guy/girl elder in the community, but you’re still just “some dude” on the street. Don’t get to full of yourself; it makes you a laughing stock.
This community is a big place. There are those who are super stars in some forums, but never even mentioned in others, just like you can be a big fish in NOLA and be unknown in Las Vegas. Accept it, after all, the most respected amongst us are such because of they stay active, don’t get into a lot of dramatics, and have shown themselves for many, many years. They don’t demand your respect; they see you as peers, though perhaps younger ones who will someday lead this community.
© Copyright Dec 3, 2014, by Deacon Gray, The Graveyard Press; reprinted on Sanguinarius with permission from the author.