Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Taboo Tuesday

So today is a day for seeing whether Taboos are made to be broken... or are they better off left unbroached?
Two commenters yesterday commented that smoking is a bit of a taboo and I have this contribution from an anonymous contributor... "I am an ex smoker. People have no problem talking about smoking, and the difficulty of giving up, but what seems to be taboo - is perhaps the reasons why otherwise sane people do it. I can't speak for anyone else, it is all too easy to be a smug ex-smoker, and let's face it - an ex-smoker can always lapse again, but for me the reason for smoking is the Taboo. Frankly the reason it is a Taboo is because I lapse back into it when I most dislike myself, and this causes me to dislike myself further, a vicious addicts cycle ensues - the chemical illusion of pleasure etc."

Another anonymous Taboo pointer outer said "I knew a guy who went home from college every weekend, and used to come back occasionally with bruises from his father. We never spoke about it. I also know several people who have been abused as children, no one ever talks about abuse openly, because it's painful, because those who have no experience of it don't want to hear."

To those I can add that people don't talk very comfortably about death, bodily functions (both those of their own and others), things that are happening in very far away places to people they can't identify with, the truth of their emotions (sometimes because you don't know yourself what is the true position of your own emotions).

So why are these things taboo? Shame? Embarrassment? or do we simply find it difficult or pointless to talk about problems that we don't know how to fix? Are there loads of taboos that have been forgotten, that went away eventually because people didn't talk about them? Are there things you just shouldn't ever talk about...???


Bill said...

Why are taboos taboo? There are probably several reasons.

If you don't know where a conversation is going to go, you might make a situation worse by talking about it.

Also, I was present the other week when someone died. I stayed in the background. Others were there who were much closer to him than me. What do I feel comfortable saying about it? Not a lot. Why not? Probably because death is a "bodily function" like any other. We are not comfortable talking about our own, so feel it would be disrespectful to talk about other people's.

It's an interesting subject. (Interesting, too, how breaking taboos help make jokes funny).

swiss said...

taboos? life's too short....

Niamh B said...

Thanks folks... It's a weird one isn't it?