The following is an excerpt from the forth coming article on various personality types I have identified among the neopagan warrior and Celtic Recon community. It was pulled from another article entitled Fénidecht to be published in “Oak Leaves” Spring 2014 and on this blog June 2014.
In this excerpt I am discussing two types of ‘warriors’ we find online. The problem we have is that we can’t usually tell them apart until it is too late unless we know what to look for, and by giving information on these two I hope to increase awareness and decrease the killing of good discussions while not feeding trolls.
One of the most common féinnidi personality types I have come across is the “Challenger of the Norm.” They enjoy discussions with others and tend to ask questions of the community that force people to consider something that is counter to an existing belief or understanding thus disrupting how society thinks of itself. This has often resulted in the assumption that the féinnid is somehow trying to change things or be intentionally disruptive, while the truth may be as simple as that they want to understand another’s perspective and simply don’t know how to couch the question in a way that doesn’t seem as though they are pointing out errors in others’ understanding. Of course, sometimes an individual is in fact being intentionally disruptive, which is simply poor behavior. However, intentional or not, the community response is too often hostile, and instead of nurturing discussion and debate, the féinnid is flagged as a troll. Given an opportunity, the well-intentioned “Challengers of the Norm” will distinguish themselves by staying involved in a discussion; a troll, on the other hand, will post inflammatory statements with obvious intent to create trouble. While disruptive at times, “Challengers of the Norm” should be seen as the people who help us really know and understand ourselves by forcing us to periodically re-evaluate what we believe.
Then there is the‘Warrior Antagonist’, which is not a personality type limited to féinnidi but is a general type often found among those who identify themselves as warriors. They often appear to be “Challengers of the Norm” but as the discussion continues they tend to get more heated until finally a moderator steps in or the entire discussion shuts down. When challenged as to why they get so heated and fight the response is something akin to “I am a warrior and we enjoy conflict and fighting.” This is a behavior that no one, especially féinnidi, should accept. As modern warriors part of our martial training is de-escalation, team-work and in many organizations,including the armed forces and police forces, conflict resolution. The only time a warrior should escalate a conflict is to bring it to a quick end, and this only applies to actual combat situations. Escalating discussion and debates to the point of open hostility is also counter-productive and in the end only places the warrior in a poor light. With féinnidi already being misunderstood by the Neopagan community it is important to not be a ‘Warrior Antagonist’ and for non-warrior Neopagans to recognize the differences between the personalities to avoid killing discussions that could introduce new ideas and opinions.
EDITED – Updated the first paragraph after my editor pulled this section from the original article.