Why it’s Important to talk about Taboo Stuff

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“If you can imagine it, it’s real” said Pablo Picasso. If you can feel something, it’s real, I might add. I am doing what I believe in, by writing this blog. To censor myself, to write about things other than what I care about and to deny my readers the content about which I am ardent is to defeat the purpose of this blog entirely. This blog is about expanding consciousness. It is about the evolution of the human race by way of enlightenment. How are we supposed to make any progress if we subscribe to the old model of truth, reality, or what is acceptable to talk about that has kept us anchored in this miserable dimension—a dimension far inferior to our human potential and integrity? I am working from a new model— a model that I want our future to be based upon. A model of truth… A model that acknowledges rather than denies and suppresses the rich diversity and depth of the human psyche… because these aspects of ourselves that I write about, and which society considers taboo or deviant are beautiful! And I believe they are the very tings that make life worth living: questioning god, non-normative states of consciousness, exploring death, queer sexual desires, etc. And perhaps most importantly, they are real, integral aspects of ourselves.

If you can feel something then it’s real. Even if we don’t actualize these thoughts or feelings, they are just as real as what we do actualize in our lives. If a man has sexual desire for another man for example, as much as he goes out with women and tries to live a straight lifestyle, his attraction to men will still be there. The attraction is real! That is why I think it is important to talk about things that are stigmatized. I don’t think anything should be off the table in terms of what is appropriate to talk about. If it is thought, if it is felt, if it is imagined, then it validates itself as real, and holds a place in discussion. To ignore taboo thoughts and feelings as if they don’t exist only instigates the kind of despair I talked about in an earlier post. If you knew of a tumor growing inside of you, invisible to the external world, would you deny it’s existence and keep on living as if everything was perfect? Ideally, no! You would acknowledge and treat it. And knowing that you might die soon, you would reorient your life, so that you were living in accordance with your highest values and priorities. Likewise if you harbored thoughts, feelings, dreams, and opinions that were at odds with the way you were conducting your life, would you voice and attempt to manifest them? Or would you suppress them in favor of what was socially acceptable? I know it is a hard battle to wage: the fight for personal truth against popular opinion. But that is what I am trying to do here, by offering my honest opinions.

In my post about despair my thesis was that despair arises from a disparity between what we project to the external world (and to ourselves) and what we harbor within ourselves. When we project an image of perfection, and fail to communicate the imperfections that are very real and pressing within us, we cut off a channel of communication between ourselves and others. A communication that, were it to take place, holds great potential for the reconciliation of what we consider to be personal problems. It also promotes personal and communal growth and progress… in the direction of truth, which is what we want if we want to live peacefully within ourselves and in our civilization, and if we want to forge a harmonious existence within the natural world. Honest communication with our comrades also draws us out of isolation and self-ostracism, which is a very infertile and depressing place to be.

If we uphold an unrealistic, virtually asexual model of the human experience then we build upon a lie. Everyone looks to the public arena to validate their experiences, and to consolidate a sense of identity. I watched this documentary called Fabulous: The Story of Queer Cinema and within it numerous gay people talked about how they felt so amiss until they saw the first representations of gay characters in film. Suddenly they said, “Oh my God! That’s me!!” And with great relief, they were able to identify themselves as gay. For the first time they felt they had a valuable place in the world, and a culture that resonated with them. There was finally a term and a model for a feeling that beforehand, was abstract, unresolved, and causing them a lot of despair. But with that outlet, gay people around the world have been able to redefine our reality as we know it, so our culture is more in line with the internal human landscape.

I could simply write a post about how we have to be honest with each other… but then the content is just intellectual. Instead, I am being honest with you. St Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words” meaning that we must lead by example—we must exemplify the very truths we wish to enact here in our world. That is why I share with you here my sexual experiences and their significance. That is why I share my drug experiences. That is why I share some of my more controversial opinions about gender, god, prison, wealth, etc. There comes a point where there is a jump-off, between just preaching what one should do and actually doing it. If the preacher isn’t even embodying his own preaching, how should he or she expect any of his or her listeners to follow suit. The messages I am promoting here are not just theoretical— they are real! I am serious! I’m not going to just talk about Ayahuasca, I’m going to do it! And I’m going to tell you about it because it’s important. It’s important that you know about it because you may have the same questions brewing inside your head that I had before I did it. And if you were never exposed to my insights because I never talked about it (because it was a taboo subject,) you will have still pursued your inquisition, from the uninformed jump-off point. Let us inform each other, so we can help each other evolve.

I am writing this because I have come up against a little resistance from my elders about the content of my writing (I think particularly with respect to The Slut Chronicles). But I guess this is just the kind of reaction one can expect when he or she is challenging the long-standing model of social acceptability and truth. So I am trying to not be discouraged by the disapproval of some of my readers, and to remember what I believe to be true in my heart. When one gets close to the raw truth, he or she is bound to stir up some discomfort. In the light of the truth, the previous model of reality jostles and starts to crumble, and this is an uncomfortable process. But it is necessary, and just comes with the territory.

So why is it important to talk about taboo stuff? It is precisely the attitude that some issues should be glossed over or swept under the rug (to not offend others or make them uncomfortable) that delivers a death sentence to enlightenment and to freedom. Let’s take sex for example. Sex is just as much a part of the human experience as anything else. Why can’t we talk about it? When we don’t talk about these things that are so integral to our human experience, they get pushed underground, and from a lack of understanding, get carried out in a perverted way. If the floor was open to talk about sex, without shame (a sentiment the topic inherits by way of being undiscussed), then we could flesh it out to the point where people could make educated, healthy, empowered decisions about how they want to have it. That way we could prevent a lot of the detrimental-type sex people have when it is so stigmatized (date rape, demeaning sex, one night stands that leave you feeling rotten). And we could enable the type of sex that is uniting, loving, and divine. The sexual drive will always be there. Sex will always happen. We all know abstinence campaigns don’t work. The overbearing homophobic mother’s diatribe doesn’t dissuade her son from being attracted to men. So let’s talk about it.

Let’s talk about “drugs.” Let us understand what it is we are really looking at. Because I think we are smart enough that if we look closely we will discover that the issue is not at all what our culture leads us to believe it is. Eating mushrooms does not mean you’ll be hallucinating unicorns and driving off bridges. In fact, the first thing I thought when I ate mushrooms was, “Why didn’t anybody TELL me they were like this?!?! Mushrooms could save the world!!” Therefore, I will be completely honest with you about them, and let you make your own decisions. Likewise, if we make ourselves still enough in the face of the sunset I think we’ll come up with a different perception of God than some invisible man up in the clouds with a list of ten things we must never do lest we be banished to a fiery anguish forever. Screen-Shot-2013-06-18-at-10.09.42-AM-189x300“One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding” said Richard Dawkins. And I think this is the case with most institutions- that they stigmatize skepticism or the questioning of their foundations. Think of the institutions of marriage, the military, patriotism… Terence Mckenna said, “My attitude was always, If it’s real, it can take the pressure (of critical interrogation). You don’t have to pussy foot around the real thing. If they’re telling you, you must lower your voice or avert your gaze, then you’re probably in the presence of crap! Because the real thing is real. It doesn’t demand you adjust your opinion to suit it. It’s preeminent. That means it shapes the agenda.” Therefore let us listen. Let us listen to what reality is telling us.

It is an insult our intelligence to swallow cultural conventionality like a pill in the psych ward—to take social norms for face value without testing them against our personal experience. It is to disarm ourselves of the deductive reasoning we inherited as human beings— not as sheep, not as cattle, not as lab rats- but as humans! Let’s talk about dreams. Let’s talk about magic, about death, about love, about our deepest fears, our biggest regrets, whether monogamy makes sense, whether behavioral medication makes sense, whether the industrialized school system makes sense, whether our leaders are a bunch of crooks. My favorite quotation of all time comes from Walt Whitman who said, “Reexamine all you have been told. Dismiss that which insults your soul.” So here I am, talking about sex and psychedelics and all of the above because I believe that if we really understood them, we would open ourselves to a much more empowered and righteous existence!

I write to you in a way that assumes your intelligence. Unlike advertisers, industries, and politicians who ransack your sanctity to serve their own agendas- who commodify you, who belittle your intellect, who reduce your interest to monetary matters.

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I’m not hypnotizing you out of my own self-interest for power. In fact, I doubt my posts have much emotional appeal given they are pretty stifling to the ego. But they are honest. And that is the highest honor I can give you. The only thing I will ever tell you to do is to think for yourselves. I do not censor myself because I have faith in your capability to form your own opinions given the raw data. And I believe you can handle the truth. I also write to you in a way that recognizes your humanity- the complex, abstract, taboo forces that are within us all. Because I do not think they are ANYthing to be ashamed of- whether they are perverse sexual desires or unconventional thoughts. Like I said, if it is imagined, if it is felt, it is real, and holds a place in discussion. I do not censor myself out of assumption that you will not be able to understand or relate to me and my “weirdness.” “Namaste,” the traditional greeting in much of Asia literally translates to: the god in me recognizes the god in you. And that is what I am striving to do here- to recognize the god in you. And in order to do that, I speak to your higher self. I want to treat you as complex, beautiful, ebbing, beating, intelligent, feeling, and free creatures, which is your legacy. Let’s “recapture our souls from the nets of propaganda, market management, commodity obsession, money fetisheshism” as Terence McKenna said. And of cultural security, I might add. Let us distinguish what is in our best interest to know from what is in culture’s best interest for us to know. Let’s talk like grownups.

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