Monday, July 13, 2009

Shameless Aphrodite

Shame. It’s one of the most useful of all emotions if what you want to do is belittle, crush, manipulate, and control people. People who feel shame will do a lot of ridiculous things to cover that shame, and sometimes, the same we feel is justified. A rapist should feel shame. A thief should feel shame. A murderer should feel shame. But, should a woman feel shame at her breasts and hide them her whole life? Should a gay man feel shame and live in a closet his whole life? Should men and women feel such shame at the act of sex that they often refuse to talk about it or hear about it to such an extent that they are not educated about things, like Sexually Transmitted Diseases, that can save their lives?

No, and it is a shameful thing indeed that for thousands of years now, the Abrahamic Religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) have made it a point to establish moral codes that do very little to truly reinforce good behavior while castigating people for perfectly normal behavior like sex, love, and the free expression of emotion and physical affection.

These religions have all changed and evolved over time, but they retain these ideas of orthodox behavior, a kind of Borg-like conformism that I find entirely offensive. We love you, as long as you are just like us. We want peace on Earth, and that will happen as soon as we make all of you just like us. Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us.

But we see in Aphrodite something of a spark of hope. You see, Aphrodite broke the conventions of society. Women were supposed to be quiet, demure, not seen, she was bold, flirtatious, and open for all to see. Women were to marry and have children to whomever her father chose, she married and then fell for a man she wanted, regardless of what her father and society said. She did not feel shame at being caught, in fact, she was gorgeous in her captivity and even her detractors wanted her.

That is not to say that Aphrodite does not respect and expect propriety, but rather that she wants us to feel what we feel and be honest about it. She wants us to enjoy sex, to fall in love, to express our joys and sadness and not feel shame at it. She is not shameless, she transcends shame.

2 comments:

Becky said...

Hector, I've had a chance to catch your meditations blog on occassion and really enjoy how you write about the Gods and Goddesses.

Héctor said...

I appreciate that tremendously. I keep writing as a labor of love, but no one is really reading it, it seems, so when I get one or two comments, I really appreciate it.