…on my previous post. I’ll have more specific replies later, but here’s a thought.
I had to think about it a bit, the whole “softening up” thing. It’s not that I’m going to entirely stop criticizing anything I see as potentially off. I’m definitely still going to call out people who claim their practices are what they aren’t. And I’m still going to be clear about why I, personally, will not adopt certain things, such as the bulk of core shamanism, or the more severe practices at the other end of the spectrum that simply don’t fit my worldview, and suggest to others that they take these things into consideration for their own opinions.
However, I’m not going to go so far as to invalidate all the experiences of anyone whose practices significantly differ from mine. I can’t say for sure that if someone encounters relatively safe journeying conditions that their experiences are less valid; nor will I invalidate my own experiences simply because they aren’t as harsh as others’ (or, for that matter, assume that those other folks are “going too far”). I’ve been more critical of core shamanism than others, but I’ve had my personal misgivings with conceptions of deities and spirits that in essence say that we must give in to their every demand as a way to placate them because that’s the way it’s supposedly done genuinely. Either way, softer or harder than what I do, I’m looking at things from a more practical viewpoint, and less automatically critical.
So that’s a bit of a clarification. I’m not accepting things without consideration, but I am going to say that beyond a certain point my authority to criticize only goes so far because of subjectivity and the inability to climb into someone else’s head. I think a better criterion would be “Does it work?”. There’s also the argument over semantics and who’s a “real shaman”, but for the practices themselves, I’m going to be less liable to dismiss something because it involves things I personally disagree with.