When I was in school throughout the late 80’s and the entirety of the 90’s, there was a considerable amount of latent patriotism found in the ranks of the educators that worked to shape the malleable little minds of me and my peers. Paradoxically, however, the course material presented a view of American history that was far from flattering. The industrialists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were portrayed as villains with no room for a nuanced appreciation of their genius, innovative courage, or sheer determination to turn the United States from a war-ravaged farming commune, into an industrial powerhouse in less than a generation. What’s more, the barbarity of the African slave trade, the major grievance that started the Civil War in the first place, was laid at the feet of every white American and European, but not even a paragraph of text was read to draw attention to the Africans who brought that “stock” from the inland regions of the Dark Continent to the Ivory Coasts for “distribution”. Similarly, we read up on the Trail of Tears, but never learned about what the Native Americans did to their captives – white, red, or otherwise – long before the evil Europeans (as they were framed) came to do to them exactly what they, and indeed all humans, had spent thousands of years doing to each other. And on it went, with popular culture ready to pick up the “America sucks” baton when we got home, with TV shows, movies, music, magazines, and more to implant anti-western programming, both subtle and blatant, into our young minds.
Fast forward to today, and the anti-American messaging has only gotten louder and more caustic, with garbage propaganda like the “1619 Project” making its way into public classrooms. Likewise, teachers are themselves instigating their students to take part in political demonstrations both during and after school hours. That’s to say nothing of the teachers caught punishing students for having political beliefs they disagree with, as well as acting out the assassination of a sitting president in front of their class. I could go on, but I think the point is graspable. Not only do I worry that my daughter will grow up in a dystopian nightmare, I’m worried that she’ll be programmed to like it, and maybe even participate in helping to create it. So, when Odin said, “Fuck fear” at first it seemed like a really tall order.
“Wait…what?” I stammered.
Ignoring my confusion, he quizzed me, “What is Ragnarök?”
“Uhh…it’s the climactic war between the Aesir and the Giants.” I spouted back.
“And what happens in that war?”
“All the gods are slain. Even the mighty Thor, your son, is eaten by the serpent Jorgmungandr. The great wolf Fenrir breaks free of his chains, and the world is engulfed in cold and darkness.”
“And then it repeats. The gods and the world are eventually reborn and the cycle starts again.”
“And what of my great hall?”
“The Valhall? That’s where your Valkyries have gathered slain warriors to spend every day training and every night feasting in preparation for Ragnarök.”
“And do I ever gather enough warriors to succeed in changing the outcome of the battle?”
“Not that I know of.”
Odin again lowered himself to make close eye contact, “So then…knowing what will happen – knowing that there is nothing that I can do to change the outcome – knowing that no matter how many soldiers I recruit into my army’s ranks, that my children will still suffer and perish, you must now ask yourself the most obvious question…”
“Why do you do it?”
“That, my friend, is for you to figure out.” He said, righting himself, “But now let me ask you something else: Are you still a socialist?”
“Hell no! I’m entirely the opposite! I broke free of that toxic programming years ago.”
“I encountered reality. Facts – math, history, logic, etc.”
“Just like that?” he probed, “You were exposed to facts and you were cured? Other socialists encounter the same facts, why aren’t they converted?”
“I can’t speak for them, but the person that I am values logic above all else. I’ve always figured that what’s true can stand up to scrutiny. A lot of what I was taught to believe as a child couldn’t withstand the fire, so I left it to burn. Just like my family’s faith, or feminism, or veganism, or anything else that I devoted myself to. It works until it doesn’t and then I replace it with something better.”
“That’s right.” I answered.
“And tell me, how did you start your life?” he continued.
“Uhh…with the umbilical cord around my neck.” I answered, puzzled as to where he was going with his questions.
“And your daughter?”
“The same, actually. Except…she had it set around her neck twice.”
“So, let me see if I have this right: You were born with the cord around your neck and survived. Then you were raised in a religion that permeated every aspect of your life but didn’t fit who you really were as a person, and you were further indoctrinated by almost everyone around you to hate your country, your gender, your race, and yourself. You spent years as a bitter, angry, frustrated would-be-dictator who couldn’t get the world to bend to his will, which is fine because it was never really your will to begin with, and deep down you knew that. You thus developed a mountain of addictions to cope with that intrapersonal disjoint until your life started to fall apart in the form of a failed marriage, a failed book, and two failed careers, just to name a few of the significant loses you suffered – which is to say nothing of the entire fiasco with your Twin Flame. Then, you crawled out from beneath layers of addiction, loneliness, heartbreak, lies, manipulation, bullying, errant programming, and all of the pain, suffering, and heartache associated with the trauma you suffered to become a well-functioning and truly authentic human being, all in just a few years’ time. Then, not only did you go back to the careers for which you’re naturally gifted, you turned around and exposed to the entire planet every part of the agonizing process you endured in the hopes that it would inspire other people to overcome their problems as well, initiating a cascade of positive change in the world. Does that about summarize your experience in Midgard so far?”
I stood there in stunned silence for a moment before I managed to dribble out, “Uhh…yeah.”
“I see.” He responded, again bending forward to meet me at my eye, “Now, what makes you think that YOUR child, the one who started her life with the cord around her neck TWICE, couldn’t do the same? Or better still, who says she couldn’t fall farther, just to rise higher, and REALLY show you up?”
Odin smirked, straightened his posture and started to walk further down the trail. Geri and Freki sat in front of me, examining what I can only assume was a dopey, dumbfounded expression on my face as I stared off into space.
I must reiterate, that Napoleon Hill, as well as other thought leaders have said that when confronted with figures in their mediations, those visions would sometimes say something that was beyond anything that they could have dreamed up to say to themselves. No one knows how this works, least of all me, but I swear that if I had a million years by myself, I NEVER could have talked myself into shifting my perspective so hard, and so fast, as Odin did for me that afternoon. And best of all, he wasn’t even done.