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Taboos: strictly forbidden, desperately wanted


Care to judge, or care to understand?

According to the Romanian dictionary, a taboo is “an interdiction with a religious character, in some primitive societies, applied to what it’s considered to be sacred.” In a figurative manner of speaking, a taboo means “a person, an object that isn’t discussed out of fear or shame. “Therefore we are thus speaking of things that are prohibited.

At a simple Google search, regarding the word “taboo”, the returned results are mostly related to sex or religion. One shocks and instigates, the other it’s to make some order. So it is clearly, that when we talk about taboos we are talking about contradictions and different views of the world.

The concept takes different meaning depending on the culture where it is found. Thus it becomes something we take contact with from the very early years of our lives, through our family or the society we live in. For example, in some cultures, the game of “mom and dad” is strictly forbidden, for it is thought it affects the mind of a child in a negative way. In others it is embraced because of the idea that it makes the children believe in the concept of “family’.

But as we grow, we tend to detach from the things we grew up with, at least to a certain degree, and embrace our own values, while making our own judgments. At least in the period of adolescence we tend to turn against most of the things we had been learn, and declare ourselves rebel and open-minded. Later, we have our own families we adapt to the beliefs of our times, and invent others.

Trough the history of times taboos had a great influence on the people: sex was a topic forbidden in most societies, along with other gestures that today seem simply hilarious to most of us( for example, in the medieval times, people didn’t wash themselves more than two times a year, because it was considered a sin to see your own body). One thing is certain: the more we evolve, the less we believe in taboos.

Today, in modern societies, taboos are species in danger of extinction. A taboo is a word that usually manages to ignite secretive laughs, and is seen as opposite to open-minded. Today, only small communities of people keep the old traditions and they are most regarded as old-fashioned. The majority of the society is split in two: the pros and the cons. The ones that encourage same-sex couples kiss in the street, and those who would rather put them to jail, and cover their children’s eyes.

Taboos are put to use in advertising campaigns –as something to be opposite of, as a contradiction to the modern world beliefs and the things our parents were afraid to talk about had become topics for their children’s social games.

But are taboos good or bad? It is hard to tell: since no one has been known to be perfectly able to tell good from bad, we do not know the answer yet. All we can do is respect the choices of each culture, and try to see their points of view. Yes, we might believe that some ideas are extremely old-fashioned but it’s not always up to us to speak about bisexuality, race or Buddhism.

Given the ideas above we can affirm that the forbidden had always been the most tempting of all. And our ancestors had always been taking little bites from the fruit of knowledge if only to destroy the belief that they had the trust in what was given to them. People built taboos because they were ashamed, because they were afraid and then broke their own rules.

We need taboos. Because it is in our own nature to be drawn to what it’s forbidden, we need things to be forbidden, so we can experience them. We need to be stopped from speaking about some things, so we can whisper about them when the „judges” won’t hear us. Our satisfaction comes from this, and the modern human can not live unsatisfied. Our joy is not always pure, so we break down centuries of beliefs. for our selfish entertainment. Human nature.

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