Pagan News and Views Since 1998

Why Authority is shifting in the Pagan Community

By Ed Hubbard

The Pagans of the 21st century, in the 3rd decade, has grown beyond most expectations. Only a few visionaries foresaw and predicted where we would be in terms of numbers, resources and acceptance. Now as we see this growth accelerate, we see a shift in what is seen as leadership and authority in our community. We are now entering the Attention economy, and that has forever altered how the Pagan community functions.

As humans, we have know that control of rare resources grants authority and power to those who do control. First it was food, until it became abundant. Then land became the rare resource, until we found land everywhere. Next was labor, until population and machines became abundant. We then we dealt in knowledge, and that became rare resource. For most of humanity access to information was limited. In fact, our teachings as Pagans, over centuries were not available except orally. Oppression of the written word and illiteracy combined to limit who had a deep understanding, and gave them authority over their community. That power of knowledge has now been broken, creating a shift, and most leadership is still in the belief that knowledge is the essential authority in our community.

Scarcity in our world, be it the mainstream or Pagan is no longer knowledge. There is a abundance of knowledge as there is abundance of food, land or labor. The scarcity is now attention, what we spend our thoughts on, create our focus on, and eventually act on. If knowledge is no longer valuable in and of itself, then authority in our community shifts to those who can gather attention and act upon it. Where the magic goes is where attention flows, and that is essential. No longer is being a author, writer, creator of knowledge enough to be seen as authority. Now it goes to those who can create attention and have people act on that attention.

As leadership, traditional teachers, Elders and officers of the traditions are wrestling with their legacies, feeling as if they are not heard or respected, we see the emergence of a community of heavily book learned, video fed, and audio savvy community. The difference in seeing knowledge as the standard of respect and the seeing the ability to create experiences that feeds attention as the new standard is a gap to be bridged. Those who demand and require respect for their accomplishments, their writings and teachings will find their legacy will diminish and eventually disappear. It has already occurred to many who have passed into spirit.

The next form of leadership in this Attention Economy will be those who have knowledge ad experience to become trainers, coaches, advisors, facilitators. As trainers, they will take teachings and give them practice in how to use that knowledge, how to cast the rituals needed. As coaches, once members are trained, how to improve in your magic and specialized skills on a personal basis. As they move into their power, to provide advise and ways to increase their speakers. Once the members move into leadership, facilitate and create opportunities to use their skills and talents. This is what the Attention Age looks like. Less hierarchal and far more cooperative. Those who master these skills will be able have their authority recognized and capable of creating change within our community. Paganism is changing and it's all about attention.

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