A great loss to the VC

Good afternoon dear reader,
I wish, with heavy heart, to pass on news just come to hand…

RIP Sanguinarius | 1970-2015 |
SanguinariusThe VC has lost one of its pioneers, one of its most renowned and respected figures and one of its TRUE Elders. Our deepest condolences go out to Sangi’s family and friends.

Good journey Sangi, you will be sorely missed.
Deepest respects, sadly,
The team at RVL

(Thank you to Merticus for posting this advisory)

Real Vampires – The hardest thing about being us Pt.3

 

Heather Brewer’s ‘Vladimir Tod’ series, High School Bites

Heather Brewer’s ‘Vladimir Tod’ series, High School Bites

 Presented by
Tim

In October of 2012 I began writing a series of short papers under the working title “The Hardest Thing About Being Us”. The first part focused on questions of how we interact with the non-Vampire.

The second part, “Real Vampires – The hardest thing about being us” Part 2, turned attention to some of the dynamic of the sub-culture.

Now, with Part 3, we’re going to look into the topics of “Acceptance”, “Leaders and Followers”, “Protectionism” and “Welcoming and Helping Our Own”

Pic. by artyfakes.deviantart.com

Pic. by artyfakes.deviantart.com

Acceptance

Acceptance from both within and without. From within there is a matter of protocol, the protocols being set and established by those who set themselves as leaders, as being above the rank and file. If you do not adhere to the protocols then you are seen as counter-productive to the “community” and there goes any chance you have of being accepted within it.

Acceptance from without, from outside the “community”… a moot point. If we tell people what we are we are seen, at best, as being roleplaying kooks, at worst as being psychologically defective and therefore something to be shunned, feared and, if possible, exorcised.

In the earliest times of the race of man, tribal groups formed for mutual protection, for the common good. Each within the unit had a role and formed a productive unit in the “tribe”. Naturally, given the nature of the (m)animal, the stronger ones of the tribe set out to impress and impose their will, their thinking and their authority upon the other members of the tribe. In doing so they created oppression and inequality.
This, in its turn, gave rise to the formation of groups, bodies and organisations that proclaimed themselves to be leaders, protectors and authority. These bodies claimed the right to speak for the others in the tribe, or by this time, for those in the larger gatherings in cities and countries.

The only problem with that assumption, of course, is that it wasn’t backed by popular consensus. Those rights can only be conferred upon a particular body by majority consent of the cultural population that they are claiming to represent.

For example; what if 90% of an entire community decided to boycott the community, and the “leaders” of said community?

In any community that supports democracy as the cornerstone of freedom leaders are elected – that is the democratic process. Individuals who are not empowered individually can, as a group, exert influence to make their voices heard and their wishes known. This body of constituents can also be a positive force for positive change.

How many voices must there be in a community?

Let’s build our own example, the community of Fangtopia, population 72,000 souls.

Of that number –
5,000 are incapacitated and have no ability to speak or vote
6,000 are incarcerated and have had their rights stripped
12,000 are under the legal voting age
22,000 are of 18 – 30 years of age
16,000 are of 31-60 years of age
11,000 are of 61- 91 years of age

That gives a potentially strong voting base of 49,000
If the “leaders” of Fangtopia number a mere 100 persons then where does the real power lie? With the 100 or with the other 48,900?

In this sub-culture we call modern real vampire we have a semi-classical distinction of orders.
Dominant Class (Self-appointed leaders of long tenure – The Popular Kids)
Merchant Class (Those who traffic in information/misinformation)
Craftsman/ Artisans (Those who work at producing something tangible, be it beneficial or non-beneficial)
Subversive Class (Those who resist being manipulated and/or those who thrive on; and bring chaos)
Submissive Class (Those who don’t care about the wider sub-culture)

As I mentioned earlier, it was traditional in ancient cultures for the strong to suborn the weaker members of a tribe and subjugate them to their will, their plans and their course. As social development continued to grow and the focus shifted more toward group, collective effort for reward (i.e. agricultural settlement) leadership became a matter that was conferred by birthright, lines of succession and so forth, it was only in the 17th century that democratic process took the place of authoritarian rule in Europe and the United States.

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Today, in real life, we have leadership by election, well, at least the majority of “Free countries” in the world do. The first “elections” known were instituted in ancient Rome (509BC) and ancient Greece (507BC) and were practiced in ancient Arabia as well as medieval India and Bengal.

 

The Ancient Greek Senate Pic. Credit: antikleidi.com

The Ancient Greek Senate
Pic. Credit: antikleidi.com

Leaders and Followers

Some of the leading lights of our society have been labelled “media-whore”, “attention-junkie”, “cynical manipulators”, “delusional”, “narcissistic”, “egotistical”, “megalomaniac”, “empire builders” and worse. In one fairly recent incident that sent a shockwave along the proverbial grapevine, a long established and well known, highly respected web resource abruptly closed down. There one minute, gone the next and almost at exactly the same time a message was posted in a well-known and heavily frequented place of online commentary. The message did not remain very long and it was easy to see why, the language was, to say the least, extremely colourful and the vitriol, the pure hate and malice that was directed at the organizer of that particular forum was delivered in no uncertain terms.

Needless to say the proprietor did not suffer the message to remain but what did remain were questions, why? What precipitated this outburst? What events had taken place, ostensibly at the same time as we lost one of the sub-culture’s best resources, to cause the message to be originated?

As usual the majority will never know, it will be played down, swept under the rug and forgotten…almost. There are a great many people who now are being mindful of such small incidents and they are piecing together a puzzle that will NOT go away.

For many it confirmed long held suspicions, feelings and thinking, for others, it prompted them to question things they had previously taken for granted and it prompted some to disappear themselves. By and large it prompted many to reinforce their image of the inner workings of this sub-culture.

The late Sir Karl Raimund Popper CH FBA FRS, wrote;
“Philosophers should consider the fact that the greatest happiness principle can easily be made an excuse for a benevolent dictatorship. We should replace it by a more modest and more realistic principle – the principle that the fight against avoidable misery should be a recognized aim of public policy, while the increase of happiness should be left, in the main, to private initiative.”

It has also been said that strong leaders require a portion of arrogance and egotism to make them what they are, that maybe be true to an extent but a STRONG leader is NOT NECESSARILY a GOOD leader.

So where does leadership, in our society come from? Military service? Elections? University? The Bible? Egotism?

I have always believed that leadership comes from within a good person, who has good intentions and who exercises good judgment, and it comes in such a way that is clearly seen AND acceptable to the MAJORITY of the society, not to a select few allies – that is an Oligarchy and is not acceptable to the many.

Bust of Alexander the Great Pic. Credit - www.diffordsguide.com

Bust of Alexander the Great
Pic. Credit – www.diffordsguide.com

From ancient times of civilization leaders have come to be leaders by a number of methods, birthright, succession, war, tribal law but these days we have things called democracy and elections. That is how leaders are selected, not by themselves but by the majority of the population. The only obstacle to that premise is when you have no idea exactly how large the population is you can’t know when you have the majority consent of the society.

In secular and isolated groups, of defined numbers of members, it can be quite easily organized, and established as to who is the “leader” but with the consent of two, four, five or six hundred people of a completely indeterminate sized population the concept of “majority consensus” can’t ever hope to be established, much less ratified. Similarly a group of say one hundred, or two hundred persons can’t be considered to be speaking for, nor in the interests of the society… the “interests” are only ever going to be those within that assembly.

 

index civil defense

Protectionism

Sub-cultural groups share resources, information, ideas, interests and so forth but at the end of the day it’s a collection of individuals each having a unique perspective, unique needs and unique goals.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this essay, man originally came together in groups for protection, mutual protection, now, within our “society” our safety can only be assured, ultimately, by NOT being social animals. If you are of a particular ethnicity you are at risk of harm in certain locations, if you are of a particular religion you are in danger of being attacked over those beliefs by members of different religions, if you are rich; or perceived as being so, you are at risk of harm from violent crime, if you are poor you are at risk of harm because of the neighbourhood you live in. If you are strong you present a target to be challenged, if you are weak you present a target to be bullied.

So, given all of that why on earth would we wish to expose ourselves and our culture? Do we have to justify ourselves and our choices and needs to people who couldn’t possibly hope to understand or take it kindly? No, the predominant response to any sub-culture that is seen as being “extreme” or “abnormal” is almost universal… it will be negative, as it has been for the vampire for hundreds of thousands of years, it will incite hatred and fear, people will worry about their children, and they will fear what they see as depraved and amoral conduct.

Why do so many modern living vampires stay obscured?

It’s because they know, full well, the consequences, to themselves and their family, of revealing themselves to those who are not like them.

Why do individuals in a particular sub-culture NEED to be accepted by those outside the society?

Why do we NEED to justify ourselves? Make no mistake DISCRETION is PROTECTION.

 

 

Welcoming and helping our own

Recently I was involved in a discussion, in real life, not online and it revolved around a television commercial for UNICEF. A comment was made by a person involved that they could understand why such ads were necessary but that they were perplexed at the frequency of the ad’s appearance especially given the fact that there were “thousands of hungry and homeless right here at home.”

It’s a sentiment that I have come half way around the world to hear repeated and feel particularly strongly about myself.
For example;
In the years 2012 and 2013 the following countries spent the amounts shown in the table on foreign aid.

Expenditure (USD) by Country & Year
United States (2012) $30.5 billion (2013) projected $23.709 billion – Actual $31.5 billion
U. K. (2012) (£9 billion BPS) approx. $14.4 billion USD (2013) $30.46 billion USD
Australia (2011- 2012 fiscal year) $5 074 380 000                                                  (2013-2014 fiscal year) $ 5 111 968 000
Russia, (2012) $51.6 million USD + additional aid in kind (2013) $60.96 million USD + additional aid in kind
Sweden, (2012) $5.2 billion USD (2013) 5.83 Billion USD
Switzerland, (2012) $3.02 billion USD (2013) $3.197 Billion USD
Israel, (2012) $17.7 million USD (2013) $18.575 million USD
It might be interesting to try and discover EXACTLY what social reforms were made in these countries over these periods.

Helping others, without expectation of returns, who are underprivileged, needy, hungry, sick and homeless is a special thing, there can be no argument about that and it speaks to our compassion, as a part of a species, for our brothers and sisters across the globe or across town. There is probably no nobler an aspiration or action however, in focusing on those outside our society are we putting our effort and aid to where it will do the most good?
Countries spend large sums on Foreign Aid each year when they are struggling with issues of poverty, public health, hunger and homelessness right in their own backyard.
The VEWRS and AVEWRS surveys, conducted by the AVA in concert with Suscitatio Inc., also reported a high incidence of psychological and physical health conditions amongst respondents, wouldn’t it be better to expend our energy and efforts on helping those in OUR society first? In investments in healthcare and permanent housing plans?

In education and social improvement for our own?

New arrivals are still coming into our society on a daily basis and we need proper and established protocols to welcome them and help them find their way in the chaos. They come with a myriad questions and, more often than not from their comments and reports, they are treated with a mixture of disdain, derision, or hostility… why? What makes them so different from anyone of us except that they are beginning on a path that a lot of us have been walking for years, or decades? Remember, we were them once.

Many come with real and identifiable physical or psychophysical issues, many come out of seclusion and isolation looking for support and contact with their own kind and it is imperative that we meet them with warmth, understanding and good counsel but above all THE TRUTH.
We are soon able to identify those with real needs and those who are simply looking for “the miracle”, “the dark kiss” or the fantasy.

192lupil6cg62jpg

The Great Library at Alexandria Pic. source i09.c0m

Is it possible we could establish a central and freely accessible library, or information source from everywhere within the sub-culture?… a “wiki” for our kind.
At present, no chance. There is a great disparity of paths and many of those that, along with their proponents, practice exclusivity. It’s almost akin to a “racist”, or “class” attitude within our small sub-culture and any way you cut it THAT is unacceptable.

Could we point newcomers toward a central source that has “the truth”, proof of the matter? No chance.
There is NO PROOF beyond anecdotal reports, there is no one truth that addresses the heart of the matter for those who are trying to comprehend who, and what they are.
Why can’t we provide for own?
Because the modern vampire society is hopelessly fractured, combative, self-destructive, contradictory and demoralizing. Until we can, and do, address those problems and make profound strides in our conduct toward newcomers… and toward our own people, then we can’t even begin to address the issue of guiding newcomers. They arrive and they find a warzone, strewn with casualties, ruled over by an almost “Feudal” system of tribes, secret organisations and “gangs” – what must they think?

Now, I know that there are individual houses out there that DO take care of newcomers, they guide, teach and prepare them for accepting the new discoveries about themselves and their new environment and that is worth gold in a society covered in pyrites.

The obvious, and inescapable conclusion is that if we can’t, or won’t, as a society look after our own then what is the point in even calling ourselves a “community”, or whatever term you might care to use?
In failing our own brothers and sisters we are NOT an entity that is acting in its own best interests, nor are we working for the “common good”.

There are those Houses/Organisations that have structured programs for greeting and mentoring newcomers but, naturally, that entails joining the “club” and how does the newcomer tell whether they are joining the right one for them? A centralized and freely available guide that detailed organizational methods and aims for newcomers would be the best measure. As examples we could look to House Rakoczy: The Prospect Phase as detailed at the House of Twilight page. The Temple UVUP of our friend Rev. JP Vanir, The Mission Statement  and the Basic Tenets.
House Kheperu deliver The Kheprian Castes information, written by Ms. Belanger, that delivers good descriptions of the base unit, or triumvirate and the modus operandi of House Kheperu.

GUIDELINES and TENETS for newcomers to choose from would, without a shadow of a doubt, help, guide and maybe even SAVE a newcomer to the sub-culture.

 

In Conclusion:

One of the hardest things about being us is US, is the METHODS that are employed toward newcomers and towards each other. We make it unconscionably hard and far more difficult than it has to be, and why?

Is it because we seem to enjoy spending lot of our time…

soliders-vietnamfighting running battles against often unseen “enemies”, maybe…conducting and participating in all out “Flame Wars”,

_716609_napalm300vitriolic confrontations that splatter across social media, or perhaps we’re pursuing

$T2eC16RHJF8FFpw0h3+TBRcG4H5u8g~~60_35…subterfuges and skullduggery galore.

We’ve got it all… So much so we’re in danger of becoming our own longest running soap opera. It’s a habit we MUST kick if we’re going to improve things, and not just for US but for those of the new generations to come.

 

References:

http://www.houseoftwilight.com/ , http://www.scribd.com/ , http://www.kheperu.org/ , http://www.oecd.org/ , http://www.politifact.com/ , http://www.theguardian.com/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ , http://aid.dfat.gov.au/ , http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/ http://www.nsi-ins.ca/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/

 

 

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Community Development: A world of hope

 

community

Presented by:

Tim

Introduction

Vampires, modern living vampires, very often refer to the sum of the interactions between themselves as the “community”, it is a term that has been in use since the beginning and is probably, by far, the most easily and universally recognised descriptor of what we recognise as being the “social” group of modern living vampirism. You may have seen (read) me arguing the point and trading precise definitions with others, of the word “community”. One of the reasons that I feel so strongly about the use of term in our situation is that the basis of the definition is restrictive in its literal meaning and in considering such it becomes even more necessary to examine the prospects for future “community development”. It is a simple fact of life that if a community doesn’t develop, change and grow then the eventual stagnation will become too great for the community structure to resist and the growth will be overtaken by social entropy.

 

Each community faces unique challenges that are, often times unavoidable but it is how that community faces and rises to those challenges which define it as being a strong or weak community.

I was talking with a person the other day who has visited Detroit and mention was made of the fact that the city was disappointing and that they couldn’t believe the number of abandoned and derelict buildings there, the fact is that with the all but collapse of American car manufacturing it was inevitable that a community based around that industry would suffer with the loss of industry. Think of a mining boom ghost town of the old days, while the gold was coming out of the ground the town was alive, vibrant, full of people and rich in “community” but when the gold ran out and there was nothing to replace it… entropy set in and eventually the community is abandoned.

One image that may be closer to home for everybody exists in the health care sector. When you are in pain or have a health problem you go to a doctor or a hospital. Those people or institutions set to work to isolate the problem assess it and fix it and everybody says thank you. Now think about how many people you know that “hate” dentists. Why do people hate dentists? What have dentists ever done to deserve their hatred? Often people will go to a dentist because they have a toothache but in order to stop the toothache the dentist, often, has to inflict a greater amount of pain, if you go to a dentist for a check up you may be feeling fine when you go in but the dentist finds a problem that needs fixing and all of a sudden someone is ramming horse-scale needles into your mouth before the scream of the drill sets your nerves on edge and they cause more pain by drilling at your teeth, followed quite naturally by the recovery period which is filled with a kind of sickly, burning soreness that can take a couple of days or more to go away. People hate dentists because in order to cure the pain, or potential pain, dentists have to inflict pain. People hate dentists because dentists inflict pain, that’s the general logic. It doesn’t matter that you might not have looked after your own dental hygiene properly, it doesn’t matter about the accident that cracked your tooth and it doesn’t matter about the chap that punched you in the face in the half-time brawl at the football, those reasons pale into insignificance next to the fact that you are being “hurt” by the man in the white smock coat. Being hurt by the dental health community.

 

Communities are defined by their effect on those within and around them and the development of communities, according to Wenger, McDermott and Snyder [1] “is their ability to generate enough excitement, relevance and value to attract and engage members

 

Yes, the modern living vampire sub-culture may be a sub-culture and it may, at times, attract greater than usual participation and activity but the end result always seems to be a return to hiatus and very little “community development”, if any. If, on the other hand, all of its constituent elements be they artistic, social, charitable, academic and cultural could be forged into a working community development program then the benefits for the whole would be astounding.
 

The Seven Design Principles

As eschewed by Wenger et al, “The goal of community design is to bring out the community’s own internal direction, character, and energy.”

The principles designed by the authors, simply listed, are:

1. Design for evolution.

2. Open a dialogue between inside and outside perspectives.

3. Invite different levels of participation.

4. Develop both public and private community spaces.

5. Focus on value.

6. Combine familiarity and excitement.

7. Create a rhythm for the community.

 

It may be perceived, by different observers that these things are, to one extent or another already appearing to some stage or another but the entire project of community development hinges on not one, two or three of them being in focus at any given time rather that all receive the equal input and effort to bring on the whole rather than trying to keep the “parts” tied together.

The principles can be as flexible or as rigid as required and the developments driven by community needs rather than outside expectations. For example, outside charities are indeed worthy causes and the activities that are directed to that quarter are undoubtedly something to be proud of however, they do not directly benefit the modern vampire community wherein there are many who are in dire need of aid and support. Caring for, and working within, ones own “community” primarily enhances the quality of that community sector and therefore makes the entire community stronger and more stable. When community figures are known and respected for listening to “their” people then they may achieve greater things still.

In a paper delivered to the Shaffer Symposium at the University of Wisconsin in 2001, Dr. J.M. Cavaye observed:

Community development initiatives clearly need to provide information and services.

However, development agencies need to do more than disseminate information and services. Staff need to also partner communities to help them gain access to services and information. This means training, coaching and working with community groups to help them access appropriate information and help them improve their capacity to navigate the broad array of services available.”[2]

 

In order to develop, extend and “rethink” it is vital that old and outdated ideas give way to new ideas, concepts and thinking. It has been almost fourteen years now since the first version of the famous Black Veil (http://vampyrium.wordpress.com/the-black-veil-publications/)was written as a guide for the community and in that time there have been great changes indeed, there have been steps forward and there have been setbacks, the fact is that somehow, through it all, the “community” has survived. It has survived because new thoughts kept it growing and for those of us who have been around for ten or more years in this environment it is sometimes difficult to let go of old ideas and old ways. If the newcomers, with their fresh ideas and interpretations, are not nurtured, and their ideas allowed to grow and blossom, then we become an old, archaic and irrelevant icon of the past. Rather than trying to “train” new people to think like us we should be training ourselves to let go of prejudices and preconceptions so we can open the way for another burst of growth and expansion of the global vampire sub-culture.

In conclusion:

The demographic of the sub-culture is changing, the people who are coming into the field have different concepts and ideas and while not all have been tried before some have, maybe they have been tried to no avail but that doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Perhaps, at other times, it wasn’t the right time and place for an idea to take root, grow and produce benefits but if we look on at the new ideas, sneer and say, “What do you know, you’ve only been here five minutes?” then we are condemning ourselves to the image of a cynical, crusty and inflexible old grump which will drive the new ideas away… just when we could use them.

Somebody once typed to me, “Community unity is a myth.” Vampires are a myth but here we are and I would imagine the people of north America felt that way too… until the War of Independence.

 

Man on the moon was a myth, a fantasy, giant squid were a myth, travelling at hypersonic speeds was a myth… if they had stayed that way we wouldn’t have those things and the contributions and spin-off benefits that we have today. Nothing is impossible but it really does depend on a suspension of disbelief, a willingness to engage positively toward a group goal and the flexibility to put prejudices and preconceived ideas aside in favour of hearing and reading the new.

 

I don’t believe that “Community Unity” is a myth, I never have. I’ve never believed those who say it’s a pipe dream because so many things have, over the centuries, been seen in the same light and have, ultimately, been realised. I think it’s time to realise the truth that the modern real living vampire community can be so much more than it is and it is time to form a sub-culture wide approach to making that happen.

 

© TB/RVL 2013

 

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The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented, and accept no liability, nor responsibility, for the use or misuse thereof. Anything that the reader takes from this article is taken at their own discretion. 

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1) Seven Principles for Cultivating Communities of Practice. Wenger, McDermott and Snyder, HBSWK Pub. 2002

2) Cavaye J.M. (2001) Rural Community Development: New Challenges and Enduring Dilemmas. The Journal of Regional Policy Analysis Vol 31 No 2 pp 109-124.

 

Further Reading:
The Citizen’s Handbook