The Eh Rune is the Rune of horses. It is symbolized by the horse. Sometimes we miss their significance. In this age of motors and engines, horses have become a pastime. Only a hundred and fifty years ago, they were the major form of transportation on land . Even as recently as a century ago, horses were the main type of personal transportation. At that time, horse breeding was an industry much like the auto industry that supplanted it.
Horses gave mankind greater mobility. However, they were not always the large, powerful animals of the last 2,000 years. The original horses were small. In very ancient times, jackasses were the beasts of burden. The Sumerians mated jackasses with horses, and thus produced mules. Larger horses were bred and used for Egyptian chariots. Further north, the wild tribes of the steppes bred horses larger and larger until they could be ridden.
The horse was a step forward in mankind’s progress. Horses provided mobility, speed and power. Riding a horse, a person could go faster and farther than on foot. Horses could pull chariots, carts and wagons faster than jackasses or oxen. The horse greatly improved travel and commerce.
Horses are a popular theme. I am reminded of the little wooden Swedish horses called a Dala Hest. These are colorful, ornate renderings of the horse in rosemaling paint. From horse motifs in ancient Pagan cultures to the little pink-haired toy ponies cherished by little girls, this animal is more than just a pet.
Just as the horse empowered mankind, so the Eh Rune has within it an empowering aspect. Here one finds the thing that gives him the power to do something that may have been beyond his means. At the very least, it helps him do something better. The empowerment can be anything from tools to ideas. What is important is that they provide a way where before there was no way.
When we covered the Ken Rune in this latest series of Rune articles, the title included The Power of an Idea. Many a stroke of genius came by way of an idea. Of course, getting results required more than the idea itself. Someone had to take that idea and formulate it so that it could be implemented. He may have had to work at it earnestly. Very few ideas do the work themselves.
Ideas can do many things. With the Eh Rune, we are considering ideas that empower. These ideas partake both of the Ken and Eh Runes. They inform and they give the power do something that was not previously possible.
An interesting example of empowerment involved Albert Einstein. in 1915, Einstein presented his Special Theory of Relativity. It has limitations. Einstein wanted to develop a more inclusive General Theory of Relativity. He was unable to do this, but had an idea of how it might be done. Einstein had to empower himself by learning non-Euclidian geometry. Only when he mastered this obscure subject was he able to develop the General Theory of Relativity.
Learning can be a form of empowerment. The difference between inability and capability if often a matter of what we call “know-how.” This is why education is essential in modern societies. Educations empowers people to function successfully in society. Just as rites of manhood were part of maturing in earlier times, so the high school diploma has become a token of adulthood in ours. Knowledge empowers. The ability to use arithmetic and communicate both in writing and verbally are learned skills. Those who can use them function well. Those who cannot do so will suffer the consequences, as they lack skills considered essential in this day and age.
Eh Rune empowerment is not so much the information itself, but the acquisition of the information. In effect, the Rune embodies the process that empowers. The process is but a means of empowerment.
A good example of empowerment and its lack came about in the1980s. The people who owned Lionel trains at that time had moved most of their production to Mexico. The result was a disaster. Products came north that were mis-assembled, partially assembled or downright inoperable. Mexican workers obviously lacked the skill and knowledge to handle basic assembly of model trains. As a result, Mexican manufacture ended. Many model train companies had greater results taking production to Korea and China. The Mexicans did not even have the basic skills that would have allowed them to learn to make Lionel trains. On the other hand, the Chinese and Korean workers were so empowered and so those countries attracted foreign companies and thereby prospered.
(I live in a town that has a large number of illegal immigrants from Mexico and its southern neighbors. They need people to do things for them which folks like us normally do for ourselves. It is pathetic to see people so incapable of handling even minor things such as mailing a letter at the post office. Then again, an empowered people are an independent people. I wonder if keeping people dependent is not in the best interest of their governments and their churches.)
Dependency is a way to keep people under control. An empowered people are independent because they have the strength and ability to see to their own needs. If you can do for yourself, you can figure things out for yourself
.Things can also be empowering, provided you are able to use them. The right equipment at the right time can make all the difference between an impossible task and an easy one. There was a television comedy about a tool salesman who ran a small cable show. When it came time to doing a job, his motto was “More Power.” More often than not, “more power” ended up causing a disaster. His company’s founder had a more appropriate slogan about having the right tool for the job. Indeed, it is not the amount of force that empowers so much as having the right kind of force.
A 10,000 kilowatt searchlight is not going to help when you only need a 12 volt flashlight to find something in the attic.
Being empowered means having the ability. Back when the martial arts were gaining popularity, there were many advertisements in pulp magazines offering “black belt by mail” courses. Some self-defense schools also offered an easy way to a black belt. However, having the title is not empowerment unless one has the skill. You can be sure that those with the cheap black belt would not feel empowered if they actually had to use their skills. On the other hand, those who empower themselves by developing skill do not need a title to validate their ability.
The same happens in religious and esoteric activities. There are people who are more interested in getting titles and degrees than having filled the requirements. I had mentioned in the discussion of the Jer Rune the problem of “rushing through the grades.” This is a case where individuals inwardly think that having recognition equals empowerment. Those who seek and attain empowerment for its own sake find that they do not need to be recognized for it.
There are many examples throughout history of empowerment that accords with the Eh Rune. Resistance fighters have little effectiveness when they work off their own resources. Weapons, radios, training and coordination provided by an ally are needed to empower them to act successfully. Steam engines empowered man to move faster and transport more cargo than natural means such as manpower, animal power, wind and water. Longships and better sailing technology empowered Vikings to extend their range all the way to North America, North Africa and Byzantium. Though the examples are many and often complex, the principle underlying empowerment is simple and easy to grasp.
The old Chinese saying is an axiom of empowerment: ‘Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him every day.”
A person who has the skills, knowledge and ability to earn is empowered and more independent than one who does not. We see this today in our own society. Those who live on handouts such as welfare are dependent on the entities who provide for them. These people can only get as much as that entity is willing to give. They are dependent on that entity, be it an agency or program. Those with a skill earn more and enjoy greater independence.
Where there is independence, there is empowerment.
Education can be empowering. A good teacher seeks to empower his students. The lesser kind of teacher seeks to have a gaggle of followers dependent on him for knowledge. That is the antithesis to empowerment. The Japanese believe that it is an honor to a teacher when a student surpasses him. Indeed, a teacher has succeeded when he has shared his knowledge so well that the student can work on his own.
Just as the domesticated horse helped man surpass his own physical limitations, so the Eh Rune empowers and enables an individual to do things that were impossible to him previously. The independence of the horseman is also the independence of the empowered person. He is free of past limitations because of it.
We miss part of the horse’s significance by living in the mechanized age. Into the early 20th Century CE, horses were a necessity. They provided the motive power: pulling wagons, carts and stagecoaches. Indeed, in the 19th Century, the first railroads relied on horse power. Here in New Jersey, one of the campuses of a community college was once a breeding farm for horses. In its heyday, that farm was the equivalent of a modern automotive plant. Large numbers of horses were bred for everyday use. There was a time when the livery stable was as common as the gas stations of today. The farrier, the saddler and the cartwright were the auto mechanics of their day. Now, these skills are considered archaic and are the province of a relatively few specialists.
One of the reasons I do not have a group nor offer titles is that they fly in the face of my goal. I write and teach in order to empower people. The idea is to give them the tools and knowhow to do it themselves. One thing I dislike is when people want to latch on to me as if I am their leader and guru. I am neither. People do not need a leader or guru. They need the knowledge and insight to do it themselves.
I prefer having friends to having followers.