So I was talking to a good friend online the other day, and she said her perspective was that Heathen’s generally were stoic…I thought about what she said, and the fact that Heathen’s are notorious for their boisterous revelry, and wondered why there was that perception.
Stoicism isn’t one of the virtues, but as I thought about it more, and talked with my friend, we got to discussing rage, internalization of anger, etc. I realized that there are in fact a couple of other virtues, that if we look at them, can lead a Heathen down a stoic path.
Self-reliance – “I shouldn’t burden others with my (sadness, anger, etc.) because its not their problem to deal with.”
This is a virtue that I think distinguishes heathen’s from many parts of the pagan community. Heathen’s typically strive to not depend upon others. This may apply to our emotions as well. We ask ourselves whether expressing our negative emotions to others places a burden on them that we should actually be addressing ourselves.
Discipline – As I look at this particular virtue, I ask myself is the expressing of negative emotions, and in particular rage, inconsistent with Discipline? As I think of rage in particular, I see it having a lack of control that is inconsistent with discipline. Now there are some traditions that are working on rage with a controlled construct, but even then, I’d argue that this discipline is not an internal discipline, but an enforced external one.
Industriousness– Is the expressing of negative emotion inconsistent with being an industrious person? I think that’s a hard one to answer. Some would argue that expressing negative emotion is being industrious. The problem you are working on solving is resolving those negative emotions. On the other hand, if we place ourselves where we are ranting, we may not be accomplishing anything other than the venting of the emotion itself.
Hospitality – I’m a very big proponent of hospitality, and one of things that I include in that concept is that I do not burden my guests with my issues that are not directly relevant to them. This results in a situation where I may have a guest over, and may be experiencing negative emotions, but elect not to express those emotions to them, because I’d consider that a breech in hospitality.
Perseverance – “I can make it through this, if I just hang on.”
Here we see a definitely stoic factor, if we believe we force ourselves to handle a situation, we’ll eventually get through it. Expressing negative emotion, or making radical changes based upon those emotions is inconsistent with the concept of perseverence.
Which leaves us with:
Perhaps I’ll consider those at another time.