Happy Tyr’s Day
“Self-Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved not only for the individual but also for the family, clan, tribe, and nation.”
Principle: To achieve and maintain personal independence and advocate for independence in my family, state and nation.
This virtue is much more complicated than it first appears. We also need to remember that as we move from the Foundational Virtues to the Business Virtues that this is my distinction but in other views, this virtue is handled in a different place. What all of us acknowledge is that the Nine Noble Virtues weave together to form different concepts and at Self-Reliance, we see a lot of that.
Mostly though there is one word that guides my thinking on this virtue – ‘independence”. It is that line ‘the spirit of independence’. I would say that one cannot be dependent on others and self-reliant and as such one is not truly free if one is dependent on others. Your dependence means that the people you are dependent on can take it away and thus can dictate terms in some way in other areas with the threat of taking what they give you away.
This idea of self-reliance meshes well with the libertarian concept of the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) as to be self-reliant it can be seen that attempts to force or defraud others are not self-reliant but rather the actions of the thief and extortionist. No thief or extortionist is self-reliant.
In Asatru, the person who is valued is the one who goes and, using industriousness, makes their own life. The person who finds ways to leach on the lifeblood of the industriousness of others is not. Hospitality is the guard against those who find themselves in trouble due to no fault of their own as in Hospitality (which we will discuss in a couple weeks) you find each person having the requirement in that virtue of helping those in need if it is in their power to do so.
To the Wolves and Ravens:
“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”
The need for self-reliance is obvious for personal development. No one grows stronger or better by being in a dependent state in relationship to others. It is liberty and independence that have as their responsible core the need to grow and be better to live a better life. We need self-reliance to maintain our freedom by working for it. As much as I believe it is true that liberty requires a sacrifice of blood from those who would try to take from time to time. The constant maintenance of liberty is done by people working hard every day to maintain their self-reliance.
We want self-reliance as well. I suppose in Asatru this is best reflected in how the Norse people looked at the gods. They certainly didn’t look to them for help all the time. The gods were mostly invoked; if at all, through a good relationship where a person maintained a friendship with the gods but never presumed too much on it. They only turned to the gods for help when needed like a friend would with a friend. This creates respect that is both wanted and needed when carried over to human relationships as well.
Rationally this guards us against two things. One the one hand we seek to be prosperous enough so that no one can control us. Having prosperity allows one to look an employer in the eye and remind them you can live without them or have enough to live through hard times. On the other hand, the followers of Asatru recognize the dangers of materialism as not all one acquires leads to the utility of being valuable practically. Simple prosperity is more desirable that opulent displays of wealth because opulence is a drain on one’s prosperity and actually threatens self-reliance and thus freedom.
Wisdom plays its part and I will let my source document speak on this issue because I can’t think of a way to put it better:
Being self-reliant also means taking responsibility for one’s life. It’s not just about refusing a welfare check or not lobbying for a tax exemption, but also refusing to blame one’s failures on religious intolerance, the patriarchy, or an unfair system. The system may, in fact, be unfair, but it’s our own responsibility to deal with it.
– The Values of Asatru
Wise words. My ultimate advocacy for self-reliance is reflected in my own success, despite the obstacles, to be self-reliant.
I would say people become much too reliant on others and it robs them of what they could have. They look too much to others, like the government, and thus borrow from the future of prosperity of others to feed their own in the now. The national debt of the United States is one great symptom that shows the harmful results of this overreliance on others. This is not to say you can’t when truly needed, get help from others, but we often do so to the point it is harmful to others and this robs both them and us. Life would indeed be better for all if people found as many solutions to their own problems on their own first; only relying on others when absolutely necessary.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.