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Donnerstag, 30. April 2015

A thing for escapism - More thoughts on the film "Mara und der Feuerbringer" and a resolve

Okay, so you all know it. We all are faced with a world full of war and greed and hate, and there seems to be not much hope at all left. Every day in the media, in the web, we are faced with new catastrophes and new forces of Evil trying to take the oh-so-superior Western civilisation to hell. If you read the newspaper, you have to hold it straight up to keep the blood from dropping out of the lines. Once the communist regimes of Russia (and the Russian people) were the personification of Satan, and we were told to hate them, now it´s the Muslims. Good jobs are scarce, and if you don´t have one, you are subject to exploit and abuse or even worse. Kids should not play, but learn in order to get a good career going in order to "survive". Survival is estimated by income. The middle class is practically non - existent. You are either upper class or antisocial (a quote from a head of corporation I had the doubtful pleasure to meet). Bad news pepper your mind every day, every minute, every second. It is not a place for dreams, this world, isn´t it? Is it really?

A very strange thought occurred to me, and a very strange observation I have made. I meet many people from the "upper class". In fact, many of my former mountainbike team are actually members of the upper class. At work, I work with upper and middle management people in business promotion. I noticed something very strange. Many of them get dumb.

What I mean is, those people should be well educated and sharp - witted, and they actually were once. But many of them seem to degenerate, to a degree that some of them are not even able to fulfil  the least requirements of social structures. They are still able to maintain their life, because they live in a structure that degenerates with them, but, judging from an outside point of view, their intellectual capacity is deteriorating fast. This observation is not even exclusive to myself. I would be glad to pass it off as a hallucination of a guy that encounters a bit of a hardship sometimes and has many things in his mind to work on, to be diplomatic;-). But this observation has a strong backing in scientific research, so much in fact that it is a commonplace. It is a well-used theory that our intensive use of computer aids and comfort add to this degeneration of our mind. Now this could be just another kind of bad news, and many might get into bed, draw the blanket over their eyes and not get up again, and I´d be lying if I said I could not understand them.

But I also made another observation. For I met other people also. Different people. Often people who have to work extremely hard to just so make a living for themselves and their families. They don´t have a good career, or maybe some of them actually do, for this observation is not exclusive to people without a decent job. But they have something in common. They are sharp of wits, socially and intellectually competent, and many of them are what many so - called heads of society would call a hazy-eyed dreamer.

 Reenactors, artists - mostly deviant artists - bushcrafters, preppers, Pagans, Christians, Muslims. People who call themselves druids or heroes. Musicians living just so from the extraordinary music they make with a guitar consisting mainly of holes, duct tape and splintered wood. I think of Rhobynn Byrdd, a ranger and druid and musician the magic troll and I met once in Marburg. He sat there, all clad in green, barefoot with the aforementioned guitar and his clothes and the shoes standing near his battered backpack held together with twine. Everything he had was beaten, used and battered, he took a swig from abottle of cheap beer, and yet he did not look like a bum. On his guitar case there was a silver badge of the tree of life, and when he sang, he transformed the hallway into a concert hall, or better yet, the Golden Halls of Lothlórien or the halls of Rivendell. We bought a CD from him, and he traded in some dreams and weird tales and we talked a huge pile of shit. But that wasn´t all of it. When I first read the "Lord Of The Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien, I had the same impression getting to know him when  the author described the first encounter of the wayfaring hobbits with Aragorn, Arathorn´s son. I am well aware that Rhobynn´s life is not at all romantic. And this is the dimension of truth behind it all: For if you really try to FEEL the figure of Aragorn, Arathorn´s son, you notice that he isn´t romantic, either. And Rhobynn is not a figure in a book. He is not a fantasy novel. But he refuses to give up his hope and dream. He stubbornly clings to being a "ranger". He stubbornly clings to his dream, even in a damp tent in a November rain with little to eat and no warmth at all. And this makes him a real - world hero. He fights enemies of mankind we cannot even agnize and that would "make our hearts freeze" could we take them for real. Rhobynn´s art and prowess are extraordinary. He is a story become true.

He lives in a dream.

I have met many people like him in the last few years. Many of these experiences I made with the love of my life by my side, and I cannot tell how grateful I am for that. And, talking of which, I have realized that we are like them. We are dreamers, yap. We care about all those people suffering in Nepal now, but then we know that the elders of the Inuit tell the hunting grounds become strange. The North pole has shifted, so they say. Shamans and dreamers report that something is changing, and many of them tell of something very grey and dark on the rise. Sounds like a fantasy novel? They also say the earth will shift. Nepali Bön priests tell of the serpent that is preparing either for war or shifting in its sleep. Maya and Aztec astronomers announced the rise of the winged serpent. Myth. Magic. Hazy-eyed dreams. But we ask, why has the earth trembled? In what direction has it risen or fallen? We ask the signs, and many call us cold - hearted to ask these questions. But we ask because we want to know how to give hope the way Rhobynn gave us. We are druids and tellers of stories.

There are many like us, and please forgive me if I cannot be too objective. It is just a feeling I have. I see the children of reenactors, and I work with the  children of the middle management. The  middle management kids often are to be called as bad an attribute as retarded.

One 9 - year -old I worked with and who was absolutely normal according to the interview I did with the parents was not only far too small for the age (I first mistook him for a 4-year-old), but severely motorically challenged, so far in fact that he was not able to distinguish his hammer from his arms, had difficulties of hitting the anvil in front of him and could not tell left from right. I had to "anchor" him by touching the body part he had to move just in order to make him step up the step ladder in order to achieve the proper working height over the anvil. He visited a private school, a gymnasium of a very good reputation. But also his abstraction capabilities and intellectual capability was not "adequate" (I hope you know that I do not mean a disqualification by this, but refer to the system valid in the society of five years ago.) in a degree that terrified me. And the examples are legion. There is two kids of thirty maybe coming to the smithy not acting severely socially inadequate, and I mean it, when I say. I am not talking swear words or a bit of testing borders, but trying to swing a hammer full -tilt at the face of their fellows just to see what happens.

Now enter the encampment area of a re-enactment fair. Escapists and dreamers are gathered there, not being able to stand reality and dressing up like characters from a fantasy film. Some of them can be respected by the so-called normal and socially relevant people by doing actual living history and re-enacting the Viking age in a human zoo, but most of them actually do not put a mask on, but a mask off on the weekend. There are some middle management types, good people, bad people, and people in general. People from many social classes. But take a look at the kids. Often sooty, dirty, barefoot, and some even wear sharpened seaxes. They treat each other a bit rough often. But they act responsibly around the fire and the weapons and gladly accept responsibilities such as chopping wood and fetching water. And I have never in the roundabout 25 years of re-enactment seen a reenactor´s child kicking or beating anyone who had fallen to the ground, with the exception of an observed martial arts contest.

Dreamers like Petr and his son. Escapists. How come now that those escapists seem to be more capable than the "Herrenmenschen", the masters of virtual and economy? How come that those apparent outcasts are socially more capable, more intelligent and more virile?

I could bore you with scientific studies and sociological research. But I am a dreamer, so I´d try to answer the question with a dream.

In "Mara und der Feuerbringer" the protagonist, 14-year-old Mara Lorbeer has to face the "Feuerbringer" a demonic would-be god that was born out of a demon, a wrong translation - and, as I interpret it- psychological neglect. One could learn that there also is more to the dubious Dr. Thurisaz mentioned in the film, obviously making a big business out of selling esoteric seminars. But there is more to the seemingly superficial seminars. I a second part of the film we COULD learn, why the firebringer gains his power and whereof he is made. Mara is not done with him in the least, and the second book and the third (and I guess the fourth, which is currently in the making) will offer a lot of insight into the mythological world which is courtesy of Tommy as well as the Vikings themselves. And here is where the rubber hits the road and myth and magic meet the so - called actual world. The film was made with two big - term corporations. It was considered as recommendable by objective and independent institutes in Germany, and yet by active ignorance became subject to sabotage. But I do not want to rant on endlessly about that fact.

There was a growing community of people with a dream centering around Tommy and his achievement. Reenactors, poets, students and professors of Old Norse literature as well as druids and storytellers, musicians and lovers of fantasy and science fiction. How I am informed did they fight the sabotage and even managed a small victory in that smaller cinemas now boycott this abominable Marvel Avenger cartoon novel trash film in favour of a great movie made with heartfelt love. It was love that created this victory, and you can take for granted that I do not advertise this film because I get money or any other advantage from it than the dream coming to life. For if you look closely at how the topic of the movie and the adventures of Mara Lorbeer interfere with reality you notice something weird and wonderful: That where the story ends, another begins. And this latter story is deeply rooted in our prosaic everyday life, a life we thought was bereft of any wonders and cleaned and sanitized from all magic.

There is a loving community now. Dreamers, for sure. Escapists.

But escapists with teeth and nails. And as Mara Lorbeer faces the deity that wants to doom the world, with a little help by the professor and the Gods, the real story happening alongside it in the so - called real world coincides.

We all are faced with doom. It is reality. And a dark and unholy shadow is lurking in the sunshine of a world we thought was ours to take and shape. And it was all of us who invocated the shadow by forgetting to dream and love and tell our children wonderful stories. It is quite unhelpful to sit back and grin and look forward to the Apokalypse, as many monotheistic fanatics do. This attitude helped pave the road for the Evil that has befallen our world, the cynical grey god of a machinery human.

This cyborg human subspecies is thrice blessed and thrice cursed. First, it seems overly powerful and almighty. It has no dreams and thus no fear. It has not feelings but lust, greed and hate. It has everything it could want for and yet will always hunger for more, until it has eaten the world and all of its dreams. It feeds on all things colourful and turns it into a hopeless grey.

Am I wrong? Read the newspaper, watch the TV, browse the internet. And find your own opinion.

I am a dreamer. I guess I am a bit like Tommy, and Jonny, and Rhobynn. I am frightened, and cold, and I often have no hope left in the November rain.

But there is the love of my life by my side. I do not know how I will survive or fare. But I know there´s always help. As long as you stubbornly believe in your dream, and if you can´t do it, stubbornly believe you could, I guess there´d always be a way.

We will walk into the woods, into the night, along the stems of moss and tree into the golden twilight where both worlds meet. There it will be we will be clothed. There it will be we will find our weapons. There will be the place of our feasting and our fighting.

Death to the Maggot of Grey!

Marihar Iala Makija!


  1. Why are "upper class" people dull and incapable and are "underclass" people sharp and capable? The reason is a plain as the screen in front of me right now; survival and the absolute need to stay on top of things.
    The rich don't need to adapt, fight, survive. They have become lazy and complacent,. No need to use brains, hands and social skills for an everyday living and that is most likely to blow up into their face, when the whole things goes belly up. They will not make it for long. Same goes for the dreamers and escapists. They can't handle the truth right now and they most certainly will not be able to handle the even far more ugly reality of tomorrow. What will remain are the cunning, the skilled and the utterly ruthless.

    As far as the movie goes; haven't received a response from the makers about a dvd or something, so if it pops up in Germany, please think of me. ;)

  2. I´ll certainly will, Ron;-). As for the escapists, I am not quite sure if they´d fare so badly. A guy like Rhobynn is a dreamer, for sure. But, being homeless, he also is a master of survival. People like Peter Johnsson, Petr Florianek, Jake Powning, and Tommy Krappweis are artists and thusly dreamers and deemed escapists, but I daresay they´d not fare so badly. I am personally an escapist, too, for we are talking survival. It is not possible to survive when some pyromaniac lights the fuse of a nuclear bomb or Monsanto succeeds to establish their brave new world and the bees die out. Those are far more realistic scenarios than the one "what if I get dropped naked into Siberia". I do not want to have a long life actually. I do not want to survive a scenario that is a realistic survival situation like those mentioned before. I am not depressive that much, but it´s a fact that the world will become a toxic, hostile hell in the next ten years. Our bushcraft skills will be worth next to nothing if there´s no lifestock or plant life left. So bushcraft is just another form of escapism. A good and healthy way to pass the time left until we all will die, but no real help when you forage for plants or animals that will kill you no less because they are contaminated or transmutant when things DO go belly up. It all depends on your level of awareness. I am an escapist, because I can´t constantly about the fact that I WILL necessarily die in the next ten years. That does not mean I give up. But survival is unrealistic.

    Telling stories and dreams and fantasy are often what separates the human from the manager. And what little hope I have, I have in a "rewilding" of our minds, bodies and souls. So I guess, skóggángr, as I like to call all that, is a means of trying what you can in order to live a little longer than ten years - and adding quality to it. And there are many things that make life worthwhile. Those are deemed "escapist" in our society, but effectively are not in my book.

    1. Sounds like we have quite different definitions of dreamers and escapists.
      To me those are the ones who run away from everyday life dressing up like goblins, fairies, starwars clonetroopers, princesses, steampunkfigures or any other oddballvariation you can think of and live and breath these rolls every waking minute of their sparetime.
      Bushcfart escapism? No, not the ones who actually practise it. Besides learning to survive they also learn to love and respect our world and live with it. Not those wannabees who collect whatsamathingies, shinies and sharpies and dress up in Chinagear. Those are pretenders just like the first category I described.
      And I do think there will be a very powerful reaction from the low levels and aimed towards the top before things turn as bad as you seem to expect. Things are in motion, slowly but unstoppable...

    2. Ron, my definition of escapism was made to provoque a bit, to be honest. I am quite obviously not having the opinion that bushcrafters are hazy-eyed dreamers, and while I have a lot to learn still, you know (hopefully) that I am trying hard to become better. But just as you mentioned the pretenders in bushcraft, the same goes for reenactors, writers and, well, even LARP players. I know a lot of goofbrains, but that´s not the point. What I can safely say is that sometimes you need an alternative train of thought to find your resolve. If you retreat and curl up and make yourself belive you are a little fairy, you admit defeat. But, so to speak, you walk into the "other world" to ask the "fairies" for weapons, again metaphorically speaking, you might get a new perspective. I practice viking reenactment. I don´t do this because I believe I am a viking, but because that historical persepctive offers me the opportunity to gain a new perspective and to try very efficient methods not of survival but of living simple. That was what I wanted to say. I do not talk about the goofballs, but of real people, and you have to trust me when I say that I have met some in fantasy and historical reenactment, and many of them are also practicing bushcrafters trying hard. So it´s not that black and white. And we have to find alternatives and perspectives. I look for them in a place where few people venture, and it surprised me myself that there were quite a bit so-called escapists (which are often quite capable) there.

      I believe that the reaction from the low levels you have mentioned will only be successful if it´s an evolution, not a revolution, even if a revolution is more propable. But we need a new world with heart and soul as well as rationalism. We need a whole world, not a half, but the missing parts will only be found in realms beyond, metaphorically speaking.

    3. Serious reenactment is a physical study of history and a hands on learningexperience, true. And that is where part of the solution lies; in our history. Relearning old skills, including respect and understanding are cornerstones for our future as a species. And not just for us.
      I too have experienced the world of fantasy, LARP and what not, but I found many of the participants to be not really in touch with reality during their play. To me most seemed to be trying hard not to think about that. Would that broaden their mind, their horizon and give them answers? It sure might, but I wonder what their questions might be and how their horizon might look.....
      We all have a tremendous amount of knowledge and skills to rediscover and to learn. Hell, just looking at the map of the journey I am about to embark on is overwhelming. We each have our paths to take and each will be different. But I really hope many of us are going the same direction toward a common goal. A realistic, attainable goal, reached over a very bumpy and probably ugly road by focus, hard work and determination. Not a glorified, distorted happily ever after, hazy-eyed, dreamed up fairytales..... Although I must confess that I sometimes quite strongly feel that the first often seems like the last....

    4. You are right, of course, and it makes me sad to think how many good minds are being lost to reality by embracing this weekend warrior attitude. And many LARPs and even re-enactment fairs (and certainly some bushcraft TV-shows) are just another method of indoctrination. But, "Onen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim" (I give hope to the humans, I do not keep hope for myself) is a good motto to live by in my book. Even if I have no hope, I try to give hope to those dreamers to go and try out not living in a dream, but living FOR one. Peacefully joining forces, discovering how it might work the other way round. I met a guy yesterday in Marburg, and avid reader of fantasy novels, a fan of Sir Terry and LARP person and reenactor - and a singer-songwriter I like a lot, not only as an artist but as an individual. He sings about it. He makes great folk music and gives people some moments in life to reconsider. He is a dreamer for sure, but doe he live in a dream? Not at all. I personally have the hope that we all could join forces. Artists, farmers, blacksmiths, dreamers, singers, weavers, craftsmen. As humans, to rid our world of the inhumane by ceasing to believe in it. But one needs an alternative. For some, some few of course, those stories might do the trick. If you look at all that´s wrong in our world, some few that use the chance given would be a great victory. It´s not my way of living. They call me Fimbulmyrk, but that´s not my fault;-). I have earned that name in the real world, as an artist and someone with a hard life. It´s not a character in a role play. When I play, then out on my bike or with my creativity, writing, painting, whittling, forging, cooking, surviving a sometimes shitty life. I don´t feel LARP is a solution, either. But some few might transcend the cheap stories to find better ones and go from dressing up like a goof and waving around rubber swords to learning old new skills and maybe reading, writing and singing. And we don´t need more soldiers, we need warriors, in my opinion. Warriors of the mind and soul, not the sword, but warriors still. LARP is like Geocaching in that it is a method for modern, degenerated man to experience stories and learning rules just as Geocaching offers modern man an excuse to go out into the woods (not that I like them that much).

      That realistic, attainable goal you have mentioned to me is quite similar to yours. We can´t evangelize, however. The map of my journey overwhelms me, too. How can we claim that people not familiar with the thoughts we think don´t get lost on THEIR journey? That´s what I want to say. When I get lost in the woods, I see it as a chance to see new places, since I can´t help it anyway. Many of those who lose themselves might never return, but some will, and become something else, knowing that the fish with the golden crown is something altogether different to an actual fish. And this is my hope.

    5. Some very interesting and intriguing points of view....
      I'll have to think about those for a while.


Now go on, discuss and rant and push my ego;-). As long as it´s a respectful message, every comment is welcome!

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