pure western

  • someone: i cant believe after all these years and games Altair is still ur favorite assassin, whats so special about him anyway
  • me internally: Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad from Assassin's Creed™ (2007) was actually a unique character not only because not white (in a time period, the Crusades, that has been novelized from a purely white/western point of view over and over again) but also for the particular treatment of his personality and development. There was absolutely 0 effort in trying to make him likeable or even understandable, he is basically a huge asshole at first and even after the dramatic change his character goes through, he remains a deeply flawed, aloof, unapproachable man. Which I think is actually a refreshing concept - a character that is allowed to exist on his unlikeable own, instead of trying so very hard to appeal to the mass of gamers as it's often done by the majority of developers, ubisoft usually leading the way on this. And yet he's also very far from the icy, unchanging piece of granite that many thought he was at the time (probably because they payed little attention to the dialogues). During only the course of the first game he undergoes a change which remains among the most impressive in the entire series to this day. In fact, other Assassins have much more time and cutscenes dedicated to them and they change very little in comparison. The fact that Altair goes from the selfish, arrogant piece of shit he is in in the first part of the game to someone apologizing and trying to make amends for his mistakes in the second part, reveals he is more reasonable and reflective than everyone (maybe even himself) thought he was at first. His path is built on questions: those he asks to his victims before they die, and those he starts asking himself, about the real meaning of the Creed and its contradictions. This path begins in the first Assassin's Creed game, but it continues, partially behind the scenes, until his death. And if the development of his character is already remarkable in that game, what comes next is even more impressive. Altair's codex is probably the most interesting document in the entire series and it reveals a life dedicated but to the study of the Apple and to the Order, its refinement, its phylosophy, and the possible solutions to its ancient problems. The fact that in the second part of his life he suffered from deep depression due to his losses - his son, his wife, his best friend - and the many troubles of the Order in an age of great changes, only adds a new layer of interest and sympathy for me personally. Being chronically depressed myself, I cherish every positive representation of depressed characters that still try, still fight, and can even save the day every now and then. I think many of the reasons why I like Altair so much were not even accurately planned ahead by his creators and they are actually the result of coincidences, different teams and different necessities from one game to the other; but nonetheless I still love the character that emerged in the end, I love that he is capable and talented and still fail hard; that he makes huge mistakes and apologizes and tries to do better; that he doesn't just run around killing people, but he also sits down and thinks about what he's doing and why he is doing it; I love that he doubts and falters, even on the Creed that dictated his whole life. While there are many other interesting and more easily likeable characters in the series, Altair is still the n.1 on my personal podium because there's a depth, a complexity and a subtlety to the character that, in my opinion, is still unsurpassed to this day.
  • me externally: he's my piece of trash I personally took him out of the dumpster with my own two bare hands ten years ago and I'm keeping him

“We started out with the plan that we would make a more pure Sergio Leone-style western, but the film is different because of the actors who in a way been more psychological than we actually had planned. So the western is somewhere in between. We initially wanted to make the characters almost like mythical gods who walk around with guns. But then there’s still a little more psychology in the film - among other things because Mads Mikkelsen is the person he is. There are slipped slightly of Susanne Bier-style into the film.”

- Anders Thomas Jensen about ‘The Salvation’

guywithnowitt-deactivated201604  asked:

Which dragons would you say are good examples to study from to figure out traits and personality when trying to create a dragon character?

Well, first and foremost: I have a very specific idea about how dragons should be characterized that is far from universal.  I state this because I am 100% certain that at least a handful of my followers will passionately disagree with my answer to this question should they read it, and I am also 100% certain they have a right to disagree.  Dragons mean something very specific to me, and most people either have a much more lax idea of what they should be, or a very specific idea that is staunchly opposed to my own.  ALL are perfectly valid because dragons are made up and can be anything we choose to make them be.  I personally choose to make them something very specific, because that’s how I like my dragons.

In short, if someone reads this and says, “I disagree!”, they are right to do so.  If someone reads this and says, “I agree!”, they are also right to do so.

So before I list my literary examples of how to make a good dragon character, I should define what my idea of a good dragon character is, right?  Because again, in an OBJECTIVE sense, a good dragon character is as simple as “I made a character and said it’s a dragon.”

Here are my (personal) requirements for a dragon character, in bullet point form because I’m feeling a bit lazy:

- A dragon is a reptile first and foremost, and should have personality traits derived from reptiles.  Reptiles study things very closely before they act.  Reptiles are big on perception - they stare very pointedly at objects of interest.  Reptiles mix huge bouts of inaction with quick and precise action - a snake’s sudden strike, a crocodile’s lunge out of the water, a lizard’s sudden snap at a passing insect.  Reptiles are calm and reserved for the most part.  And while this may just have been a quirk of my bearded dragon, reptiles also have a really good, “What the fuck are you doing?” look.  No one can make you feel stupid with a glance the way a lizard can when its confused by what you’re doing.  You can spin a good character out of those traits, and most of my favorite dragon characters do.

- Dragons are creatures of immense power and significance, even amongst other monsters.  There’s a reason dragons were so common in heraldry: they were impressive monsters.  While lions were the kings of beasts, and basilisk the kings of serpents (which, in Medieval zoology, meant king of reptiles and amphibians basically), dragons were something beyond that.  Dragons were disasters made flesh, a fierce force of nature that did not give a flying fuck about royalty.  Dragons were BEYOND mortal authority, and only the best of humanity could defeat them.  While there are more than a few comedic and underwhelming dragons I enjoy, most of them are defined as being abnormal for their kind - a dragon should be a big deal.

- Dragons are primal.  One of the symbolic aspects of dragons was the fact that they embodied all four elements.  They breathed fire, often lived by or in water, could access the riches of the earth (a trait held by most serpents), and could fly through the air.  As masters of the elements in the wild, dragons were tied to the raw, ferocious power of the savage world.  Dragons ARE the wild, the embodiment of everything strong that opposes civilization and humanity’s dominance of the planet.

- Dragons affect their environment.  A lot of dragons are venomous, and their presences can cause plants to wilt and certain wildlife to die off, letting only the most vicious and human intolerant life live around them.  They can be accompanied by earthquakes, marshes, plagues, and other things that make it hard for people to have farms and build castles.  A dragon’s presence makes things less hospitable for humans.

- Dragons are proud.  This is partly due to Christian influence - snake tempts Adam and Eve, snake is eventually interpreted as being the devil, snake = all reptiles, devil = pride, all reptiles = pride.  However, non-Christian cultures, including those that predate Christian influence,  will include this trait too, so it may not be entirely Christianity’s fault.  Either way, in both the West and East, dragons tend to be prideful creatures.

- Dragons are semi-social.  Even in Western myths, there are numerous accounts of dragons forming social bonds with others.  There are just as many myths about viciously anti-social dragons that lash out at anyone who comes near.  This is actually another reptilian trait, as a lot of reptiles - including most lizards - are semi-social animals.  This means that while they don’t need social bonds, they can form them.  Humans are purely social animals - we need social bonds.  Tigers are fairly antisocial animals - the really don’t like company.  Lizards, and dragons, are semi-social - they can get along just as well with company as they can without.  A dragon would never place the need on companionship that a human would - but they wouldn’t be opposed to it either.

A lot of my view on dragons comes from mythology - particularly looking at the nuances of it.  It’s really common, ESPECIALLY nowadays, to say that dragons were pure evil in Western mythology, and that they should just be the most revolting and awful things imaginable because that’s how myths and art portrayed them.  This is bullshit a drastic oversimplification of the truth.  There are good number of Western myths that portray dragons as revolting creatures, and the vast majority of Western dragons are antagonistic if not outright malevolent.  However, there are also a good number of myths in Western culture where dragons are neutral or even good.  There are several with dragons that are impressive in addition to being terrifying. There are even some stories with tragically sympathetic dragons - the story of Maude and the wyvern, which is one of my favorite myths, is a goddamn tearjerker for the poor reptile, who is explicitly portrayed as a victim of prejudice who is forced into acting monstrously.  There are even numerous Christian stories of saints who redeem dragons, making the creatures tame and benevolent only for the vicious townspeople to beat the poor creatures to death - one even ends with the townspeople realizing how horrible they were and renaming their town in honor of the poor martyred reptile.  There’s moral complexity in these medieval stories that a lot of people overlook in favor of presenting themselves as part of a more enlightened modern culture - or to have an excuse to demonize a reptile.

Ok, so, let’s finally answer your question: which characters in fiction are good examples of my (personal, subjective, not universal) standards for a dragon?

I’m going to boil this down to the three roles a dragon can play: villain, hero/heroic supporting character, and beast.

The best dragon character in fiction, at least for my idea of a dragon, is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Smaug from The Hobbit.  As always, I am going to stress that this is the book’s version of Smaug, not the crappy live action movie Smaug, and not even the Smaug from the 1977 cartoon, who I love but who didn’t quite reach the full potential of the character.  Smaug is a character I think a lot about, and may be on of my favorite characters of all time because he is just so well done you guys oh my god.

All of my rules for dragon characters are embodied by the literary Smaug.  He is an immensely powerful beast, whose name and status as a dragon inspires dread even in the hearts of thirteen axe wielding warriors whose daily life is full of trolls, goblins, and monstrous spiders.  He’s also incredibly cunning and collected.  When a thief breaks into Smaug’s home, the dragon doesn’t freak out.  He doesn’t immediately fly into a rage and run about his room looking for the guy.  He doesn’t, say, start a long protracted chase scene that is generic as hell and just… just fucking sucks.  No, Smaug is confident in his strength.  Smaug has a reptile’s patience.  He raises his head and looks around calmly.  He doesn’t have to rush things to find the guy, because he knows he will eventually.  He can wait - he just needs one perfect strike, so why rush things?

And when the hidden burglar starts to talk, why, Smaug talks back!  He’s polite and playful, and even though he throws out the occasional not-so-hidden insult, you get a sense that he really enjoys the conversation.  While he has no intention of making friends with the burglar, he does manage to enjoy the company - even if part of the reason he does is because he knows it will be all the more satisfying to eat this guy once he’s defeated the little turd intellectually by guessing his riddles.  Smaug takes pride in his strength of mind as well as his strength of body - Smaug likes to be clever as well as strong.

Smaug’s presence has caused desolation.  Crops don’t grow in his domain, and the humans that live by his mountain have been reduced from prosperity to living on scraps.  Even while sleeping, his presence is a grim specter that looms over the town.  When roused, he is a natural disaster on wings, bursting from the mountain to raze the town with smoke and flame like a living volcano.  Smaug is a primal force, and only a courageous man who is unusually attuned with the natural world can find a way to stop the tremendous beast.

I just… I can’t emphasize how much I love this character.  Though he has precious few scenes, every one of them is so perfectly written to give you a full, three dimensional understanding of what this monster is about.  Tolkien does so much with so little, and it’s no surprise that Smaug is so often imitated, even if few have ever come close to matching his complexity.

Smaug isn’t the only great dragon character Tolkien’s written about, though.  He’s the best by far, don’t get me wrong, but Tolkien’s two other big dragon characters - Glaurung from the various unfinished bits of Middle Earth stories that precede The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is pretty great.  He’s more of a henchman than an alpha villain like Smaug, but he’s a DAMN good henchman, and a spiteful, unrepentant dick to top it all off.  Glaurung is so wicked he even uses his death to fuck the hero over, making sure any victory over him is Pyrrhic at best.  There’s also Chrysophylax Dives from “Farmer Giles of Ham,” who is a far more comedic dragon that’s less evil and more a haughty asshole.  Chrysophylax is still an imposing villain even if he’s not as cruel or wicked as Smaug, and while he’s played for laughs he still fits most of my dragon criteria.  You might also like to do what Tolkien did and look at Medieval myths for inspiration - a lot of Smaug and Glaurung’s characterization comes from Fafnir in The Saga of the Volsungs, and Tolkien also took a lot of inspiration from the dragon from Beowulf.  All of these stories are an acquired taste, though - medieval literature, as well as “Farmer Giles of Ham” and the unfinished tales that Glaurung come from (which imitate the styles of medieval lit REALLY WELL), is very hard to read, because the story telling conventions are so different from ours today.  You need an accurate translation to get the full view of the characters - but accurate translations are hard to read if you’re not trained on how to read them.  You could go for an easy to read translation, but they almost always simplify the monster characters - few easy to read translations of The Saga of the Volsungs even remember that Fafnir could speak!

So yeah, Smaug is the quintessential villain dragon, and also a good pattern for heroic dragons as well (make him less of a dick and you have a good template for a heroic dragon).  What are some others?

For heroic dragons, I’d suggest looking at Draco from Dragonheart.  Say what you will about the movie’s overall quality, it does a damn good job with Draco.  Like Smaug, Draco is very much above humanity in terms of his power and connection to the natural world, and as a result he has a very alien worldview compared to the human characters.  Unlike Smaug, Draco is burdened by that power.  Draco wants to be a moral being - he wants to be good, and that’s hard when you have as much power as he has, and the longevity to see the full consequences of your actions.  What might seem like a good deed in the heat of the moment could have disastrous consequences in the future.  It makes him a hermit that’s reluctant to interact with the world, and he acts with trepidation that humans - passionate, short lived humans - don’t understand.  Draco can value human company and their worldviews, but he’s also infuriated by their lack of foresight - and especially at their impudent demand that he take action, when they don’t have to deal with the consequences of that action the way he has to.  There’s a loneliness to Draco’s power that’s really interesting, and an inherent tragedy to the way these squabbling humans take advantage of him throughout the story.  He is very much symbolic of nature - something powerful and beyond our full comprehension that we nonetheless abuse and violate, until it finally expires to save us from ourselves.

Yeah, try watching that movie with a smile on your face now.

I’d also suggest looking at the dragons from Flight of Dragons - y'know, that corny 70’s cartoon.  Smrgol, Gorbash, and Bryaugh are all pretty great examples of supporting character dragons that have varied personalites that are all equally valid.  They’re just really great.

Finally, for dragons as beasts, I suggest looking at the How to Train Your Dragon movies.  Again, there’s a broad spectrum of personalities displayed here, but they work really well with my (personal) rules for dragons.  They get the “Dragons are reptiles” part right in particular - there is a lot of reptilian body language in their dragons that I really appreciate.  Granted, they also mix in a lot of cat body language.  That’s ok too - cats and reptiles actually have a lot in common, including being semi-social creatures, and the two work pretty well together.  I get a little annoyed that people seem to ONLY notice the cat body language, but that’s my pet peeve, not yours.

Let the flame wars begin.

The Practice of Avalokiteshvara

by Yangthang Rinpoche

The essence of the mind of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas is the bodhichitta, the awakened mind. When this bodhichitta assumes a form, it appears as Chenrezig, Avalokiteshvara.

Whenever we practice Avalokiteshvara, the most important aspect of the practice is the generation and development of the bodhichitta, which is the compassion that Avalokiteshvara experiences for all sentient beings. So, if we also generate this same compassion, this same awakened mind, it will be very easy for us to accomplish Avalokiteshvara because the essence of Avalokiteshvara is the bodhichitta. Thus, the blessings and the results will be very swift.

Avalokiteshvara has many different emanations and many different names, but essentially they are one essence, which is the bodhichitta, the nature of the mind of all buddhas. He appears in a peaceful manifestation, an increasing manifestation, and a wrathful manifestation. He appears in different colours — sometimes white, sometimes red. Sometimes he appears with one thousand eyes and one thousand arms, sometimes with one head and four arms, sometimes with one head and two arms, and often holding different types of hand implements. He is sometimes referred to as “Thugje Chenpo,” which means the “One of Great Compassion.” He is given this name because it is considered that he is the very force of the compassion of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas, the embodiment of the power of that compassion. He is also called “Chenrezig,” which means the “One Who Sees all Sentient Beings Equally and Simultaneously and is Always Aware of Them and Their Needs.”

His consideration of sentient beings is all encompassing and constant. He is also sometimes referred to as “Jigten Wangchuk” because, until the three realms of cyclic existence are emptied from their depths, from his concerned activity he will appear in any way and in all ways. He will emanate completely and all-pervasively to make connections with and liberate sentient beings throughout the three realms. Thus, he is called the “One Who has Power Over the World.” These different names refer to the one deity, Avalokiteshvara. They are but different names for different emanations of the same single essence.

To explain it from the point of view of the three kayas, in the dharmakaya nature Avalokiteshvara is Buddha Amitabha, in the sambhogakaya he is Nam Nang Den So, and in the nirmanakya he is Chenrezig, who appears both peacefully and wrathfully. In the peaceful expression he appears with one thousand arms and one thousand eyes, or with one head and four arms. In the wrathful expression he appears as Hayagriva. The wrathful expression is simply an intense expression of utter compassion that is necessary to tame the minds of beings who cannot be tamed through peaceful methods. Hayagriva also appears in many different emanations, sometimes with nine heads and eighteen arms, sometimes with three heads and six arms, sometimes with one head and two arms, sometimes red in colour, sometimes black. When Avalokiteshvara appears as the protector, the dharmapala, he is the primordial wisdom protector Mahakala with six arms. When he appears as a wealth deity, he is the white Dzambhala.

All of these various expressions are but different methods that the expression of the mind‘s compassion manifests to accomplish the needs and the purpose of all sentient beings. And because the numberless sentient beings are themselves different from each other, many countless, different methods are necessary. In fact, there are so many methods that if I were to explain them all we would run out of time before I could finish and you would all become quite tired. In short, the number of manifestations of this deity is inconceivable, yet they are all nothing other than the mind of compassion, the expression of the great bodhichitta.

Therefore, we can say that, in a sense, more than accomplishing any other deity, to accomplish Avalokiteshvara alone is sufficient, because Avalokiteshvara is the essence of the mind of all buddhas and thus the essence of all deities. Furthermore, Avalokiteshvara is quite easy to accomplish. It is taught that if one practices Avalokiteshvara very well, for six months without interruption, then one will certainly have a sign of accomplishment. There is no way that there could not be a sign of accomplishment. This means that one will have a direct vision of Chenrezig or some other sign of accomplishment. Also, it is very easy to recite the mantra, “OM MANI PEME HUNG.” It comes quite naturally for everyone. Buddha Shakyamuni said that of all the different recitations, there is no greater benefit to be derived from any recitation other than the recitation of “OM MANI PEME HUNG,” the mani mantra. Of all practices that are based on recitation, this is the most powerful, the most beneficial.

To accomplish any other meditational deity we must know how to accomplish the generation and the completion stage, we must know how to perform the sadhana correctly, we must know how the practice is put together, we must know how to construct the mandala, and we must know many other things that can actually be quite difficult and complicated — just to accomplish the deity. But the accomplishment of Avalokiteshvara is quite different in that none of this is necessary.

There was a lama in eastern Tibet who was known as the “mani lama” because the only practice he did was Avalokiteshvara. He said that even when one is experiencing desire, or any of the other poisons, like jealousy or aggression, when negativity is arising in the mind, one can still practice Avalokiteshvara and recite “OM MANI PEME HUNG.” In other words, one doesn’t have to put the practice aside or transform the poison or do any other such thing, because the practice itself simply eliminates the conflicting emotions. This is because the six syllables of the mani mantra have the power to eliminate the six conflicting emotions, which are lack of awareness (delusion), pride, aggression, attachment, jealousy, and avarice. The six syllables also have the specific power to close the door to rebirth in the six realms of existence because each and every sentient being in all the six realms, without exception, has in its body six syllables that correspond to rebirth in the six realms. The cause of wandering in cyclic existence is due to the condition of the presence of those six syllables.

When you recite “OM MANI PEME HUNG,” the six syllables of Avalokiteshvara, it is important to understand that they have the power to subjugate and eliminate the ordinary samsaric six syllables, thus obstructing or closing the doors to rebirth in the six classes. That is one specific power of the mani mantra. Also, in this very lifetime, simply reciting “OM MANI PEME HUNG” will eliminate illness, disease, and demonic force possession. One will become happy and peaceful and fully endowed. Reciting it will enhance one’s power to meditate and one will develop deeper levels of meditative absorption in this lifetime that will carry over into future lifetimes. At the time of death one will not have to take rebirth in the three lower realms and will instead be reborn in Dewachen, the Western Pure Land of Great Bliss, or in Avalokiteshvara’s own pure realm of Riwo Potala, and there one will gradually achieve the status of buddhahood. Until that time, the blessing and the power of one’s practice will not be exhausted; it will continue to produce the result of enlightenment.

Avalokiteshvara is truly unlike any other deity. Many people are attracted to the wrathful deities, like Vajrakilaya, Hayagriva, Guru Dragpo, and so forth, and want to accomplish them, but unless one knows very well and exactly how to practice the generation and completion stage inner tantric practices of the wrathful deities, it is very difficult to accomplish them. Avalokiteshvara, however, is very simple to accomplish, and the mani mantra is very easy to recite. So keep these things in mind.

There are many who think that the Avalokiteshvara practice and the mani mantra are just for simple folks and children and old people, not for real practitioners and scholars. This attitude is based on ignorance; it is absolutely mistaken. In fact, of all deities, Avalokiteshvara is the principal deity and the most important. This is true today and it was true in the past, during the time of the great panditas and mahasiddhas of India, almost all of whom achieved their realisation through their practice of Avalokiteshvara. Each and every one of them had visions of Avalokiteshvara, and it was through those visions that they received their spiritual attainments and realisations. And in Tibet, especially, all the greatest masters had the strongest connection with Avalokiteshvara. They had visions of Avalokiteshvara, they were given prophetic indications from Avalokiteshvara directly, and it was through Avalokiteshvara that they achieved spiritual realisations.

The blessings of accomplishing Avalokiteshvara are extremely great. Have no doubt about this. To recite even just one round of the mani mantra is of tremendous benefit, inconceivable benefit. To pray to Avalokiteshvara from the depths of one’s heart and recite the mantra is truly a very profound practice in itself. If you pray to Avalokiteshvara regularly, and recite the six-syllable mantra as much as you can, it is absolutely certain that when you pass from this life you will not take rebirth in the lower realms. So, consider this and incorporate the practice into your life.

You should see all appearances as the form of Avalokiteshvara, you should hear all sound as the speech of Avalokiteshvara, which is the six-syllable mantra, and you should consider that all arising thoughts are the mind of Avalokiteshvara. You should have compassion and loving kindness for all living beings without exception, from the tiniest insect to the largest being, because all of them, just as you do, wish to be happy and have a desire to experience bliss. Not a single one of them wishes to suffer. So, it is important to always have loving kindness for all sentient beings, maintain the threefold state of pure awareness, and recite “OM MANI PEME HUNG” as much as possible.

anonymous asked:

what are the easiest ways to tell coyotes and wolves apart in pictures?

the first thing to look at is the ears; coyotes have much taller and wider ears than wolves, usually with more of a point to the tips. 

if that doesn’t give it away, look at the facial proportions. wolves have large, sort of bear-like faces, with broader muzzles, bigger noses, and smaller eyes in comparison to coyotes.

you can also look at the body proportions. coyotes are a bit petite, while wolves are generally pretty bulky, with thicker limbs and much larger paws. coyote tails will often be poofier than wolf tails as well. 

the differences are more obvious in western coyotes though, many eastern coyotes have some wolf in their bloodlines and will have traits that resemble wolves, such as smaller ears and broader muzzles than the more ‘pure’ western coyotes. that can make it tricky to tell them apart sometimes, but the overall body and face proportions of coyotes and wolves are distinct enough that once you familiarize yourself with them, it’s pretty easy to distinguish a wolfy-looking coyote from an actual wolf!

also, you won’t really be able to tell this in individual photos, but it’s worth noting that wolves are much bigger 

i hope that helps!  

anonymous asked:

Sorry guys but if you want to experience a fandom in a good way, it is better if you can go to Japanese fandom. Western fandom are so fucked up. I'm not trying to jinx any fandom but in the early days it is good but as time goes on it will get to the point you want to set your brain on fire so that you can forget. I used to think Japanese fandom can be crazy and after 3 years in several Western fandom...Pure batshit crazy. Can't even enjoy fanart nowadays cuz there are fcked up anti fanart.

Mod K:

From what I’ve seen of the JPN fandom on twitter, they are really chill and positive for the most part. I often see them complaining about western fans on Netabare, heh. And on twitter.

anonymous asked:

Do u have any ideas/meta/headcanons about wandless magic? bc I've seen some headcanons floating around which were basically saying wands were a European thing & that loads of wixen in other places (the headcanons I read centered around the Native Ameicans I think) just used wandless magic but then when the white settlers came they banned it bc they thought it was dark. Or something? I was wondering about your opinion on that idea & just wandless magic in general bc I think it's rly cool. Thx! :)

So I looked through my tags for stuff on this and there’s a lot of stuff, so for starters I’d advise going through my meta tag and my tags on alternate forms of magic/alternative forms of magic and the Shafiq family, possibly also the fics from independence/resistance week. That should give you an idea of what I’ve already written on the subject.

A few key posts you should definitely read:

Wand magic & other forms of magic, even within the Western context

Wand magic & non-western cultures

This submit by essayofthoughts and my reply

Magic as electricity & wands as punishment

This fic on departmentsofmysteries

This myth on how wands came to be popular submitted by essayofthoughts

These posts on encyclopaediaarcana  [x, x, x]

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Basically, I think that wandless magic was the way magic was originally practiced all over the world. Wands serve as conductors for magic, so if your magic is not very strong or if your control over magic isn’t very good, then you use a wand to channel your magic and produce the effects you want it to - essentially, wands started out being used either where magic had to be used in incredibly precise or tiny amounts (so to filter out interfering amounts of magic) or to help people who were not very good at magic. In some cases, in Roman Europe, especially, wands came to be used as a way of punishing powerful wix who stepped outside the bounds of the community which is an idea that the ficlet on departmentsofmysteries looks at. Eventually they take precedence over wandless magic because wandless magic is extremely difficult to perform - it requires a great deal of concentration and will power, whereas wand magic is essentially magic lite, you don’t need to put much effort into it to get it right - and wand magic is easier, saves time etc etc. I also think it ties into the fact that wand magic would have made sense in a militaristic setting, for fighting on the battlefield - ritual magic can only take you so far and there’s only so much concentration you can dedicate to channeling your will into creating the kind of magical effects you want WHILE fighting - so I believe that yes, wands would have become popular during the time of the Roman empire and its imperial/expansion project.

Whether or not wands are purely a Western concept or not, is something that I have mixed feelings about. If we’re drawing purely on historical/archaeological records, there are mentions of things like staves/staffs/wands being used as props during magic - or even other non-standard props being used to facilitate magic e.g. the use of a distaff (for spinning wool) in Seidr. Like I said, if we think about wands as conductors of magic, it would make sense for wix all over the world to have had them in some form or the other, particularly where magic would have had to be applied in controlled or restricted measures in order for rituals etc to work properly. By saying that wands are purely a Western concept, I think it does a great disservice to non-Western countries where wands or things like wands could have been used to perform magic in very particular settings, but maybe not as widespread practice.

I’m not saying that every non-Western culture has wands. Some do, some don’t, some have things that look like wands and some have things that don’t quite look like wands but yet are very much part of the process of doing magic. It’s just not very ‘recognizable’ to settlers, which, I think, is where the real problem stems from.

Wandless magic however is a little more complex, I think. Of course, it exists in various forms across cultures, but in the areas strongly influenced by the Greco-Latin magic system (i.e. HPverse magic) - and by that extension the Roman expansion project - wands would have eventually gained precedence over other forms of magic. I’ve looked at the kind of prejudice that would have been there in the early 9th and 10th centuries regarding the use of wands in this fic on the Ollivander family. Also iirc, being able to perform wandless magic in HP canon is considered a mark of a great/skilled wizard - I’ve managed to count only four book-canon wizards who are mentioned doing wandless magic (Dumbledore, Voldemort, Snape & Lupin) and if you increase this to film canon you have Hermione as well. So there’s still a kind of reverence for wandless magic, but essentially the Greco-Latin magic system view is that fwiw, wand magic is much more practical for the substance of day to day living and for all wix to perform.

In the colonial context, wands take on a kind of symbolic meaning, if that makes sense? It’s a way for the colonizers to “distinguish” themselves from the colonized and to reassert their own superiority and by that extension, to impose that superiority on other people - irrespective of their own views on wandless magic in their own native culture. The wand stands in for them and for their culture and for their magic, specifically, and so must be protected at all costs - and imposed on everyone else as part of the ‘civilizing’ project, i.e. to make others just like them. Does that make sense?

Whether or not wandless magic is dark - this is actually interesting because a lot of the dark magic that I’ve created for this ‘verse is largely non-wand magic/ritual magic. Arguably this might be because I am more fascinated with exploring the realms of dark magic and what it could be used for than I am for looking at light magic, but I think possibly what you could also infer is that really powerful dark magic is almost always wandless/ritual based simply because it requires that much concentration and willpower and sheer energy to be poured into it in order for it to be successful. Most of the really powerful magic we see in HP canon (barring the Patronus charm) - and also don’t necessarily seem to follow the standard formula of say the spell and the thing happens, e.g. the Cruciatus, or are wilder/less controllable e.g. Fiendfyre - is, incidentally, dark magic. Combine that with the ‘civilizing’ project of wixen colonialism and it could explain why wixen colonizers wrote off all non-Western wandless magic as dark. There’s also the possibility of it being a purely pragmatic decision couched in moralistic terms to lend apparent weight to it: wandless magic and ritual magic are far more powerful and far more difficult to combat/work against - moreso when it is unfamiliar magic - and so in order to create a rule-able people, making wandless magic a question of light and dark (rather than one cultural form of magic against another) they create a case for banning this magic that is virtually unassailable. Because everyone wants to be a ‘good’ wix, not a ‘dark’ wix.

I have a lot more thoughts on wand magic and its links with the kind of socioeconomic/cultural systems that developed in “the West” but I don’t think they’re particularly relevant to what you’re asking.

(All of this theory of magic, ofc, is predicated on the idea of magic being a form of energy - I am overwhelmingly fond of flourishandblottsstories’ piece on magic being the result of excess electrical energy in the nervous system.)

  • What she says: I'm fine
  • What she means: There are just so many misinterpretations of Buddha- first of all, historical Buddha was not obese. The "chubby Buddha" or "laughing Buddha" is a 10th-century Chinese folk hero by the name of Budai. In Chinese Buddhist culture, Budai came to be revered as an incarnation of Maitreya, the Bodhisattva who will become a Buddha to restore Buddhism after the teachings of the historical Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, have fallen out of knowledge. Second of all, the Buddha is not a god. In early Buddhism, Siddhārtha Gautama possessed no salvific properties and strongly encouraged "self-reliance, self discipline and individual striving." However, in later developments of Mahāyāna Buddhism, notably in the Pure Land (Jìngtǔ) school of Chinese Buddhism, the Amitābha Buddha was thought to be a savior. Through faith in the Amitābha Buddha, one could be reborn in the western Pure Land. Although in Pure Land Buddhism the Buddha is considered a savior, he is still not considered a god in the common understanding of the term

itsnastyson  asked:

There are only two genders tho so wyd

If you look back on the hundreds of indigenous cultures before European colonization was a thing, you’ll find that many have different views of gender.  Some had 5 genders, some had 3, and some had none.  The idea that there are only two genders and that they match up with your biological sex is purely Western European.

-Mod Eevee

anonymous asked:

islam means submission. pure islam, untouched by western morals and values, believes peace will be attained when the world converts to islam. the qu'ran and the hadiths and the various interpretations of sharia law that were put forth by the pedophilic muhammad and his followers, successors, and scholars, are misogynistic, enforce gender roles, and are deeply rooted in homophobia and anti-semitism. get your head out of your ass.

1) when in the quraan does it say that peace will be attained when the whole world converts???? like living in a muslim country, learning my religion my whole life NEVER have i heard anyone say this, or anyone try and teach this to me 


2) here is a thing from the sharia law:  “ A Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim man and a Muslim man can only marry a Muslim or Ahl al-Kitāb . He/She cannot marry an atheist, agnostic or polytheist”

when the sharia law was made it was made as a strategy to spread islam - so this meant when you get married you marry someone of religious belief and in islam the religion of the father is passed down and taught to the children so islam as a religion can grow, and in order to do that you would have to be able to reproduce which meant heterosexual marriage would be much more popular AND i will talk about how homosexuality is in fact NOT haraam in my next point


3) In the quraan and the ahadeeth, there is literally NO word for homosexuality, there is no word that translates directly from arabic into english that means “homosexuality”, when looking up homosexuality and islam online, most people that go against it will call it “the sin of lut and his people” or something along the lines, but it is UNCLEAR what the actual sin is and is most likely oriented around rape, violence in sex, incest, and beastiality, these things oppose islam because they cause pain/disease, and homosexuality does not, this whole sin of lut thing may have been changed around to create the awful stigma around homosexuality in islam. 

ANOTHER point that people bring up to say that homosexuality is haram in islam is that sodomy is one of the greatest sins, but sodomy doesnt even??? mean????? homosexuality?? and it just means taking it up the butt which isnt necessarily homosexuality so ??

i also want to mention the fact that allah created humans with a mind that has freedom of choice and animals without, if muslims say that being gay is unnatural how come animals WHO HAVE NO CHOICE can be gay 


4) ISLAM MAY JUST BE THE LEAST MISOGYNISTIC RELIGION, honestly this is such a bs thing that people bring up because SOOOO much evidence in the quraan has things that bring up women?? here are some examples i found (and there are many more)  

 The Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said: “The most perfect in faith amongst  believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife.”

[3:195] Their Lord responded to them: “I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female — you are equal to one another.”

“[49:13] O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another.”

before islam the arab world would bury newborn girls alive, and then when all of these suras came the whole dynamic of how women are viewed changed - there are islamic countries today that put down women but i promise that this isnt rooted from islam?? if you think islam is misogynist, then why the fuck are there more women in the government of the UAE than there are in america? fuck you 

honestly youre telling me to get MY head out of my ass when if you just googled “islam and womens rights” there will be so much proof of equality of women in islam

by the way islam had sooo many more rights to women if you compared it to the bullshit europe was going through at the time, we also helped create the renaissance so youre WELCOME 


5) ISLAM IS NOT AGAINST JEWISH PEOPLE HOLY FUCK theres just a big population of arabs who are anti-semitist soley because of the israel-palestine situation, in islam the torah is considered one of the three holy books in islam and islam is about equality for everyone, it talks about how all souls are created equal, and no matter who you are you are no less than human, the anti-semitist culture in the arab world was created hundreds of years after islam and definitely is something that goes against the rules of islam

anyway theres that so unless youre going to get off anon so i can block your islamophobic ass im not wasting my time with you

anonymous asked:

How should I respond to people seeing Christianity as a eurocentric tool for imperialism?? I'm sometimes embarrassed that I'm still holding onto Christianity when it seems like it's only the "popular religion" that it is today because of its adoption by white westerners and the imperialistic conquests, genocides, physical and cultural displacement, etc. caused by efforts to spread it. I don't know what to think of this haha. Thanks (for a lot of things i don't have room to explain here haha)!

Hey dear friend, thank you so much for this question — I believe it’s absolutely important to get this one straightened out, quickly and completely.

First please know: I’m responding as an Asian-American Easterner born and raised in the West, who is fully aware and infuriated by the danger of Western imperialism and the cultural gentrification of “manifest destiny.” In other words, I have every reason to be disgusted by Christian/western/imperialist attitudes. My own country’s history (South Korea) also has a terrible past of being oppressed by particular people-groups that have nearly stamped out my heritage.

There’s no doubt that Christianity has been associated with some awfully terrible injustices. The Crusades, witch hunts, slavery, child abuse, and the early church’s indulgences and cycles of corrupted power are just a few of the detestable atrocities that, whether directly or indirectly, were fueled by religious fervor. We must be held accountable for every single infraction. When a Christian asks me, “How do I defend Christianity’s history?” — I can only say, “Don’t.” Christianity ought to be the most self-critical life philosophy, always asking the simple question: Is this making us better or worse? We must own up to our past, not avoid it, and if anyone challenges us on how Christianity has been harmful, we must give ground to these righteous accusations. Many people are mad (including me), and understandably so, at how Christianity has danced around its mistreatment of others.

Having said that: I believe the idea of the Christian Imperialist, while obviously holding some credence in very specific instances, is largely a tired, exaggerated myth if we look at the whole picture of Christian contribution. This perpetuated tale of “eurocentric displacement” is just as eye-rolling as saying “Christians caused the Dark Ages” (they didn’t, in fact they mostly got us through it) or that “Christianity is a white man’s religion / a copy of other religions” (it can’t be both and it’s not either).  I’m just downright jaded and perplexed by this lie; it’s a really long game of backwards telephone, and ironically, it’s almost always repeated by white-Western historians who know nothing outside the “educated enlightenment” of their white college professors.

Let’s take my own home country as an example. The Christian faith entered South Korea in the 1920s, at a time when S. Korea was isolated from outside nations, by an American missionary crew that was killed as they left Christian materials to their killers (there are conflicting reports on how this happened, but it’s unanimously regarded that the reverend on this crew was responsible for bringing the Gospel in his expedition, and was indeed killed). This event is far, far and away from “white Christian imperialists” who pillaged villages and burned down huts, which in itself is a preposterous image born of bad Hollywood.

Another example. Hudson Taylor was an European missionary who spent half a century in China. He had studied medicine and brought countless medical supplies to be of practical use, and even dressed as the locals and learned their language fluently. You won’t learn about Hudson Taylor in your regular history books because he doesn’t fit the narrative of “evil white imperialist devil.” And never, ever was there an instance when Taylor demanded someone “get saved” before he offered supplies to them. Missionaries simply never worked on a ratio exchange of confession for provision — yet another Hollywood invention.

One more example. It’s true that particular Western values have infected African and Asian culture, attempting to make them more “westernized” and “updated.” We look at certain African and Asian spiritual practices as obsolete or superstitious, and westerners have often tried to supplant these ideas with a proselytized version of rationalism. However, Christianity generally has no issue with the supernatural. Most African or Asian Christians will tell you that the Christian ethos has more or less respected traditional ethnic values of spirituality, and if anything, have preserved them more than drowned them out. Christianity has made more fulfilled Asians and Africans, not more versions of “western white religion.” Pure westernism tries to get rid of anything metaphysical, but Christianity in its purest form has always co-existed with both science and spirituality. That might sound ridiculous to you, until you actually travel to these places and see it for yourself.

I could go on. I could tell you about how most of our family ethics and moral values today, which we take for granted as “obvious,” come from a Judeo-Christian worldview that was not obvious to a blood-soaked world of the first century. I could tell you how women and children were objectified and trampled until Judeo-Christian values raised them up to be cherished, treasured, and given proper inalienable rights. I could tell you how early Christianity actually originated in Africa without a single white person’s help. I could tell you that my own country, along with Cambodia and Vietnam and China, have a history of imperialistic oppression, none of whose perpetrators were white or Christian. I could tell you how the religious are often the most giving people-group, and also the most persecuted and killed. Even apart from Christianity, I could go on about how major world religions have positively contributed in tangible charity, amidst the negative that they have wrought. I could tell you how most of this will make your average scholar kind of mad, not because it’s wrong, but because it’s not deniable.

Yes, I confess that religions have done some evil things, and we must not shy away from our mistakes. Religions have been dragged into wrong movements and co-opted as motivation. Even the examples I have given you are not perfect people who have always gotten it right. I hold myself accountable and responsible for where I have fallen short. But if we’re going to have a myopic nearsightedness about Christianity, then I’m essentially propping up a revisionist history of what Christians have really done. I’m taking a part and applying it to the whole, which is biased and prejudiced. And I’m just so unimpressed with it. There are many, many better arguments against Christianity that have bothered me much worse, and this one is mostly Swiss cheese. I admit that Christianity has gotten it wrong quite a lot, but I celebrate when it’s gotten it right, and I still believe the good has outweighed everything else.

— J.S.

When I was a kid, games had a lot of guidelines for what was acceptable. You could never have religious iconography, no swearing, games involving demons were often never brought over and games were altered significantly to appease the largely-Christian moral guardians of the time. We didn’t get a core Megami Tensei game until midway through the PS2 for these reasons.

But I saw the medium evolve, and slowly grow out of this. By the start of the PS3 era, gaming was fast being appreciated as a legitimate artistic medium and censorship was getting increasingly rare. Games didn’t have to alter their forign origins to appease a western audiance anymore. Gamers fought hard for that, you know? I thought that we were over this.

To see game censorship, to see really arbitrary changes to appeal to western audiances, or to see companies not bringing over games purely because they think westerners wil be offended… It’s sad. I want games to progress and evolve, not return to the state they were 20 years ago.