Sunday, May 10, 2015

Northern Ethics

In the blog I discuss the similarities and differences between Objectivist ethics and Northern (Odinist/Asatru) ethics.

Video: Northern Ethics (Northern Runes Radio)

"Ethics is an objective, metaphysical necessity of man's survival - not by the grace of the supernatural nor of your neighbour's nor of you whims, but by the grace of reality and the nature of life."
--Ayn Rand

I find our Northern ancestor's code of ethics (nine noble virtues or twelve traits) interesting because it was developed in the crucible of the harsh environment of northern Europe. I find it satisfying that Ayn Rand's Objectivist ethics are basically the same but developed from a purely theoretical basis.
Either way Rand's ethics or Northern ethics are both valuable ways to live a productive and happy life.
You can find out more about Objectivist ethics here

Northern Ethics

Nine Noble Virtues (Stubba, Odinic Rite)

  1. Courage
  2. Truth
  3. Honour
  4. Fidelity
  5. Discipline
  6. Hospitality
  7. Self Reliance
  8. Industriousness
  9. Perseverance

Twelve Traits (Eric Wodening, The Elder Heathenry, Its Ethic and Thew)

  1. Industriousness - Be productively engaged in life. Avoid laziness. Strive to accomplish good things.
  2. Justice - Let equity and fairness be your hallmark. Treat others in accordance with what they deserve, and give each person a chance to show his or her best.
  3. Courage - Fear is natural, but it can be overcome. Train yourself to do the things you fear, both physically and morally.
  4. Generosity - An open hand and an open heart bring happiness to you and to others. The miserly are never happy.
  5. Hospitality - In ancient times, travelers were greeted with food, drink, and a warm place by the fire. See that your guests never want.
  6. Moderation - Enjoy all good things, but do not overindulge. No one admires a glutton or a person who cannot control his or her appetites.
  7. Community - Cooperate with kin and friends, do your fair share, and remember your responsibilities to others.
  8. Individuality - Although we belong to a community, we are also individuals with distinct personalities and clearly-defined rights. Respect the individuality of others, and insist on the same in return.
  9. Truth - Be honest and straightforward in all your dealings. Avoid deceit and deception.
  10. Steadfastness - Learn to persist, to endure in the face of adversity without discouragement. Do not be blown about by every changing wind.
  11. Loyalty - Be steadfast in your commitment to others and to yourself. Have a true heart.
  12. Wisdom - Learn from your experiences. Grow in the understanding of the world, and of the human heart. Comprehend as much of the universe as you can in the years available to you.
The key difference between Northern ethics and Objectivist ethics was the role of the family.

Tribal nature of Northern Ethics

  • European ancestors have been in Europe for ~40,000 years.
  • Christian Europe only for 700 to 1700 years.
  • Live your ethics/religion everyday.
  • The physical world is an expression of the spiritual world.
  • The body is one of the many parts of the soul complex.
  • There was a knowledge of the interconnectedness of all things.
  • The way the ancestors lived was a reflection of this.


Cattle die, Kinsmen die. Cattle die, kindred die, Every man is mortal: But the good name never dies.
--Odin, Havamal
  • Frith is like a glue that held society together. Beyond, love, loyalty or trust. Everyone's actions had a profound effect on everyone else.
    • If you commit a dishonourable act it was as if your family had commited the act. The act causes shame on the entire family.
    • If you perform a great deed your family gets to share in your honour. Adds to the haminga of the entire family and by extension to the entire tribe.
  • The individual is important but their actions can have consequences for the rest of the family.
  • Pride taken in their name.
    • Son's took father's name. Leif Ericson was the son of Eric the Red.
  • Immortality is achieved by the continuation of the family line.
  • People who believe in reincarnation believe that reincarnation occurs in the family line.
  • Frith includes ancestors and decedents.
  • Afterlife is not a big concern to our ancestors like there is for followers of Abrahamic traditions.
  • Niflhel is for oath breakers, murderers and dishonourable men.
  • The concern was how you affected your family in the here and now.
  • The question was, "How will my decedents remember my name?".
  • Will my name bring honour or shame to my family's name?
  • We need children to keep our families going.
  • Frith extends back to Gods and Goddess as they are our ancestors.
  • Need to understand your past to understand you place in the present.
  • Our ancestors lived in honour and did not hold any grudges against anyone that did not harm them.

Stand tall,
Cameron Mottus

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