Yesterday I blogged about character flaws from a writing perspective. When you’re thinking in terms of making people up, it’s very easy to discuss flaw as an interesting feature. However, when dealing with real life and actual people, it’s a far different sort of issue.
Most people following a spiritual path are on it in part with the intention of bettering themselves. Personal growth, moral development and spiritual enlightenment are very much goals for many folks. Through spirituality, we seek to be better people, perhaps even to transcend the human condition and reach towards something divine.
Nothing in nature is pure, perfect or free from flaws. To acknowledge the existence of ‘flaw’ we have to postulate some kind of judgement, perhaps even an external judge. In Christianity, sin and failing are measured according to the dictates of God, and clearly defined. Druidry doesn’t have that. Most druids don’t seem to work with an idea that there is any specific arbiter of right or wrong in the universe, no one keeping score, or taking measure. Followers of Kemeticism may believe that their heart will be weighed in the afterlife, but what of the rest of us? How do we define flaw, should we define it? What does it mean to be working towards enlightenment, or perception?
I’m not sure that from a personal druidic perspective, ideas of ‘flaw’ or ‘improvement’ are remotely helpful. We should seek to know and understand ourselves, in all our complexity. There may be aspects of who we are that we find unhelpful, or wish to change, and seeking to change for these reasons is good. There may be aspects of self we feel we should change for the sake of others, and this is altogether more complicated. How much should we change to fit in? Or to be convenient? How much duty do we have to conform our selves to the requirements of others, or wider society? Do we have the right to hang onto self harming or dysfunctional behaviour? If it is an aspect of self, does that make it ours to keep, no matter what, or is there some kind of obligation on us to ‘improve’?
In psychology, the critical measure of whether something is ok or not is, is it functional? Does it stop you from living, or can you get by? It’s not a bad way of trying to decide what’s acceptable. Can you actually live with it? Is it costing you people you really don’t want to lose, or are you protecting your integrity in face of folk who mean you no good? These are never easy decisions to make.
One person’s notions of ‘perfect’ and ‘flawed’ will vary hugely from another’s definition. There are no clear cut right answers, and druids have no book to refer to for guidance. It’s one of the many things we have to make sense of for ourselves. Who are we? And who ought we be?