The Effect of Taboos



It's ironic how most humans' evil can easily be traced in their linguistic list of taboos, i.e. the subjects they are least willing to discuss. It says much about humanity's  chronic fears and hypocrisy. The causes of such unwillingness are complex and many.

We are taught at a young age to avoid taboos because taboos are improper, obscene, offensive, hurtful, or dangerous sometimes, that we automatically become scared of losing control over our behavior, particularly our speech and that hole in our face, lest it slip out something causing any of the above horrors.

To a child, this is inhumane, when a satisfactory explanation is not given, and in most cases there isn't. Adults themselves don't understand what to explain: all they do is pass on their fears and ignorance that had been forced on them to their children, killing their curiosity and growing an indelible impression of a life where mere words become a phobia. Even worse for a child is to learn their list of taboos the hard way after a taboo is uttered/committed, by the punishment they receive and the damage they have caused.

Nothing is wrong with avoiding words in contexts where they don't fit. Yet, the more contexts words are not welcomed in, the more pressure put on the brain, time wasted, useless words adopted, and useful words deserted.

Eventually, when a word is unjustly excommunicated from all contexts, it's a sign of extreme backwardness in society. Words are the messenger pigeons of our thoughts traveling from mind to mind. When they are locked up in our minds, our minds too become locked up, turning into prison cells that make up a larger prison of society: a torpid deathly society. When we kill a word we kill the thought it represents. So, let every word live until it dies naturally of obsolescence.

Live and let others live, talk and think. If you can't talk back, keep silent, rather than force silence on others. If you can't face silence, it's because you are afraid of your thoughts. Face your fears first, rather than wish company for your misery, by terrorizing others, verbally.

Communication technology exposes taboos fast, that one can no longer avoid. Explaining taboo meaning liberates those long over-fearing taboos, or "over-using" them: to vent anger, impress friends, confuse enemies, shock society, or boost ego. Taboos only mirror our endless fears, that we have to face one by one, by breaking taboos and whatever idol we create and worship.

Linguists excellently record taboos for us. Here are some:

  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Death
  • Body parts and functions
  • Gender similarities
  • Minority: ethnicity, disability, deformity ...

Humanity only fears its animal nature, that all taboos come from, when failing to accept, tame and refine it, to live in harmony with until we evolve into better life forms, by science, not myth or force. Like any subject, taboos are "untimely" to mention sometimes, but not to unjustly restrict, criticize or prohibit altogether. It's absurd and pathetic to ignore those most obvious facts in life (if not the twin-fact of life sometimes: death, that we all die eventually) in the name of appropriateness. Rather, when we simply "name things" correctly, putting each word in its niche, we speed up life.

  • We protect life, when we understand death, its causes and prevention (at least temporarily).
  • We avoid STD's, AIDS, unwanted pregnancy, divorces, broken families, abandoned children ... when we understand sex.
  • We avoid extremism, when we understand our beliefs and others', respecting, learning from, cooperating with, and even loving those with different beliefs.
  • We treat men and women equally, when we scientifically understand how they are more similar than different.
  • We avoid discrimination against any human we might merely hate because they are unknown or misunderstood. We can spend time learning all the above, rather than unnecessarily attack people, thoughts and words. Learning is fun, leading to fun, and fun is what life is about.

Any good argument or positive idea should go beyond taboos, where no taboo is a taboo, no question is a stupid question, and all questions are legitimate. Any truth-seeking person knows these basic simple facts.

Yet, early on in life "keep the lid on" is what we are advised to instead, if not forced. And when life is about to end, we may still hear the same old taboos we've heard for decades, not allowed to know what was going on, what life was about. But no hiding is forever: the more we hide it, the more it stinks; I mean, the human nature, or virtually anything "it" refers to. "It" is not worth crying for then.

The offense list starts early on in our life, at the moment of swallowing food, when they teach us, "keep your mouth shut," lest other people see how food is ugly, and how truth hurts! Food is another taboo example, as equally absurd to deny as we deny death: denying that we eat, like every organism does. Food is a taboo, although it keeps us alive, and for many animals it is life. Yet, many find it only appealing when it's still a visible whole before it's butchered, altered, and totally metamorphosed inside our mouths, finally becoming one with us. Once it's locked behind their front door, it transforms into a holy corpse in its resting place, where it's a sacrilege to disturb it! They worship their taboos, whether it's craved for, tasted, chewed, swallowed, vomited, or undigested holy ****.

It's a sign of decline in a language, reflecting the darkness its speakers live in, when it's loaded with asterisks, bleeps, misleading euphemisms and endless a-to-z words, instead of knowledge about what they refer to. Those masked words we use refer no more to meanings, as we had distanced ourselves from meaning, long ago when we preferred ignorance. Knowledge can never be achieved without meaning: facts, ideas, and good argument processing them.

We learn from history that nations go backward when freedom of expression is suppressed, by rulers who deprive their peoples of their most fundamental right to ask, that every child is born with. When curiosity becomes a crime, nothing remains but prevailing darkness. One day, all human evil, including that committed in the name of mindless appropriateness, may be brought to an end, without fear, shyness or sarcasm about it.


Tribal Instinct


Speech-Silence Dichotomy