Monday, August 18, 2008
A look at TABOO
A taboo is a strong social prohibition (or ban) against words, objects, actions, or discussions that are considered undesirable or offensive by a group, culture, society, or community. Breaking a taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent. Some taboo activities or customs are prohibited by law and transgressions may lead to severe penalties. Other taboos result in embarrassment, shame and rudeness...
That is what Wikipedia has as a definition of the word Taboo. National Geographic televises a sort of Documentary of the same topic, and it give an insight look on other countries and their different cultures and perceptions on life.
What if in order to be considered a woman youd have to get your face tattooed, what If to be initiated as a man you had to be suspended by hooks that were dug into your skin, what If your religion consisted of eating, sleeping and living your normal everyday life, with disease infested rats?
Or...Maybe your village wont consider you a man unless you strike another village man across the back with the strongest branch you can find until one of you gives up..and to make things much more difficult, when you are being struck you cant show emotion. You must keep a straight face in order to consider that a failed attempt by your opponent.
These examples may seem in humane, even brute and against all morals, but they're not. In many countries, Africa, Thailand, China, South America just to name a few, these rituals are performed every day as someone is always being put to the test of proving themselves.
With as diverse and Culturally different as we are here in the United States, nothing compares to what other natives across the world go through. Feats unthinkable in our minds. Hard to stomach. Taboo.
As I sat the other night I was searching my tv guide for something to watch and Nat Geo caught my eye with their show, TABOO. If you haven't seen it, you should catch it. It really opens your eyes to what goes on around the world.
Sunday...known around as the day of god. Where most get up early just to go pray and take trips to church and adhere to their religious duties. What if your god required you to sleep, live and even eat with Rats. It is said that rats carry tons of diseases and multiply constantly making it nearly impossible to get rid of them. I dont know about you guys but when I see a rat in the NYC subways and even in the city streets I get goosebumps and stomp as I walk so that they wont run out on me, Im definitely terrified of them, so I tip my hats off to the many men and women in India who follow this religious tradition. It is said that by eating from the same food as the rodents and worshipping them, you will be reborn as a rat until you can be reborn into human form. Pretty hard to swallow, but it is practiced daily at Rajastan's famous Karni Mata Temple in India. Karni Mata was considered in the 1900's to be the Rat Goddess and still to this day that lives on. Here's a short video so you can see for yourself.
Typically here in the Good old USA, once you turn 18, you are considered an adult, a young man or woman. Pretty easy huh? Other countries require you to take considerable beatings and put your body and not to mention your mind through unthought of pain and strain. Maybe women would be more beautiful if their teeth were one by one chipped away at to make them sharper, thats what Tribes over In Indonesia believe.
Check out the short video.
Imagine waking up one day thinking that youre going to get your face tattooed, or your teeth chisseled. Or to think that if you dont do what you are told by a tribe member you get punished by getting razor cuts across your back. Imagine waking up in a world where you had to tattoo your body not for the mere love of the art but because you were known as the most notorious Yakuza member in Tokyo, not by your face or name, but by your hidden tattoos.
As we wake up every day living our normal lives, know that there are others out there putting themselves through bodily harm, living in unhealthy conditions, but mentally and emotionally strong at the end of the day...That is Taboo.