Obscenity is objectionable not because it shows too much of a person, but because it shows too little and obsesses people with the too little

Obscenity is becoming increasingly accessible and visible in today’s media and especially on the Internet. And it has some aggressive proponents: “If people want to display their body, who are you to say that they are showing too much?”

The main problem with obscenity is not that it shows too much of a person, but that it shows too little. What explicit imagery shows is just the body, and not even the complete body; just the skin with its colors and contours. 

Those who consume such imagery soon reduce sentient people to bendable bundles of flesh. In real life, if they can’t bend other people, physically and emotionally, to their will, they deem all relationships messy and shift to the world of media-stimulated imagination. Avoiding the sacrifices necessary for establishing human connections, they court life-sapping loneliness. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (05.22) cautions that indiscriminate sensuality leads to inevitable misery. 

Such misery also befalls those who depict themselves sensually; their sense of self-identity gets devalued to their sex appeal. And when that appeal declines with the passage of time, their self-worth falls precipitously, reducing them to a depressed, ghost-like existence. 

Gita wisdom explains that the essence of the person is spiritual. Everyone is an eternal soul, part of the divine; their body is just their temporary dress. We souls in human bodies are not meant to merely copulate and reproduce; we are meant to evolve spiritually toward lasting love. 

To evolve spiritually, we need to connect with the divine and with each other in the light of the divine. To connect thus, we need to appreciate others as complete persons, not just their bodies. Spiritual education, coupled with modest dressing, helps us grow holistically: emotionally, relationally and spiritually. 

 

Think it over:

  • How does obscenity harm its observers?
  • How does obscenity harm its depicters? 
  • How can we connect deeply and grow holistically?

 

***

05.22 An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.

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2 Comments

  1. Beautiful!!!

    So true… But I never realised that obscenity is not showing too much but too little.. I would like to repeat it whenever I get a chance to make people aware that body is nowhere close to soul.. and identification with body makes us fall down by getting attached to just looks..

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