Another topic that I was really going to try to avoid, mainly because I don’t want to seem like a total negative Nelly all the time. However based on some recent conversations, it became clear that I was going to need an outlet to vent some frustrations. Lucky you!!
Many people will use the term “fluffy” or “fluffy bunny” in connection with any sort of “love and light” Neo-Pagan/New Age beliefs or practices, that tend to focus entirely on the “positive” aspects of Paganism, rather than actually looking at the whole picture and accepting that there is a need for the “positive” and “negative” to maintain the general balance of things. While this isn’t always the most ideal view of things, it’s not really what I think of directly when I think of the term “fluffy”.
It is also often used to describe people who are misinformed, and while this is closer to my own definition (and the definition by which many others that I know tend to go by), there is a distinction that needs to be made. Just being misinformed about something, does not make one “fluffy”. There is a ton of misinformation out there, on a variety of Pagan topics, and realistically one could say that there is more misinformation, than actual good information. So just because someone thought they knew something and it turns out not to be true, shouldn’t be an immediate reason to call them “fluffy”.
The core of what makes one “fluffy”, is the act of being “willfully ignorant“. Which means that someone has pointed out that they are misinformed about something, has presented them with facts/details (often along with supporting documentation), and instead of looking over the information, doing their own research on it, and coming to their own conclusions – they automatically dismiss all of it out of hand, continuing to cling, almost without reason, to their original beliefs. Even when all evidence presented, is in complete contradiction to what they thought they knew.
No one expects anyone to take anything at face value, especially in regards to a long held belief. However it should be expected that one will take what has been said, and at least look into it. It’s true that one could probably prove almost anything using “stuff I found on the internet”, however that’s when one has to look to the type of resources that are being presented, and by what authority, or expertise that person has that is relevant to the topic they are writing on. Personal experiences are fine as well, however they should be presented as personal experiences (UPG), rather than outright fact.
Everyone is misinformed about something at one point or another, but it’s when one won’t even consider the fact that they could be wrong, that issues arise. It’s OK not to know something, however it’s not OK to completely ignore potential truths when they are staring us in the face.
edit – it’s probably worth noting that this is not a word that I use all that often, nor do I think it should be used often – which is also a bit of a pet peeve of mine, because I do think that some people use it too freely. I really am (in most cases) willing to discuss something for as long as necessary to help someone get whatever information they need about a particular subject. If I’ve hit a point where I start to consider someone to be “fluffy”, it means that I’ve given up hope, which thankfully doesn’t happen all that often. 🙂
“Willfully Ignorant” is how my other half defines “stupidity”, so I totally understand where you are coming from. Not sure how I would define “fluff bunnies”, though… interesting…. Might have to bring that up at Pagan Blog Prompts next week…
That works too, as it’s really the “willfulness” that makes the difference. It comes down to blatantly and purposefully refusing to see any sort of reason.
On a bright sunny day, you tell someone that the sky is blue, but they rabidly insist that it’s pink, because that’s how they’ve always seen it (generally due to misinformation from some other source). So you take them outside and show them, and they just shut their eyes tight and refuse to even look because they don’t want to accept that they may have been wrong about it.
Knowing that I’ve been in that sort of position before, I know it’s not easy to accept the idea that something might not be the way we thought it was. However if we don’t at least look into it, how can we learn and grow in our practices. Change is scary sometimes, but it’s not always a bad thing.
I’ve never considered willful ignorance to be “fluffy”. “Fluffy” hurts, but willful ignorance is a whole other kettle of fish. It just makes you, well, ignorant. Ignorant is a lot worse.
Fluffy, for me, has been people who are generally naive. It is someone who is generally playing in a religious puddle of shallow depth. Image is huge to a Fluffy Bunny; they practice Wicca (I find Fluffy to usually be a Wicca specific term) because they think it looks pretty. It is about easiness, and a world without darkness is pretty easy to live in!
I find “Fluffy” to be a passive kind of personality. A willfully ignorant person has to assert their will to ignore certain truths. A Fluffy Bunny just generally can’t be bothered to look deeper than the shiny, sparkly aspects of the Craft. Finding the darkness of any path generally takes some work. It is deep down, under layers, or in a cave. It is the underbelly (not necessarily bad) of the craft, and a Fluffy Bunny couldn’t be bothered to dig that low to experience it and then ignore it. They haven’t gotten that deep.
That is why I think Fluffy is such a bad thing to so many people; it implies that they are willfully uninformed, weak, or lazy, naive, or superficial.
Its the ‘willfully ignorant’ part that always gets me. And that is about the only time I’ll even use the term. I don’t much like the term, only because I think we’ve all been a little ‘fluffy’ to some degree. We were all new to this path at some point in our lives. And as we grew spiritually and gained the knowledge we just lost some of our fluffiness until there was no fluffy left to speak of. Just my thoughts… Great post!