18.32: Rationalize = Rational + lies: Glamorizing lewdness as “boldness”
The Bhagavad-gita (18.32) indicates that people captivated by ignorance mistake the virtuous to be vicious and the vicious to be virtuous – and strive to intellectually rationalize (rational + lies) their miscalculations.
This rationalization is evident in the contemporary movie trend to glamorize lewd, obscene scenes as “bold.” The Gita (3.41) states that the road to self-mastery begins with regulation of sensual expressions of lust. This regulation implies strictures against public depictions of overt sexuality. Such strictures are not hangovers of an outdated puritanical culture, but are essential safety nets to prevent human culture from degenerating to a bestial level.
Just as bacterial culture refers to an environment that facilitates the growth of bacteria, human culture refers to an environment that facilitates the growth of the humane side of human beings. Obscenity in the public media sabotages this basic purpose of human culture because it systematically provokes the exploitative, immoral carnal drives among humans, and thereby brings out their bestial side and buries their humane side.
A cursory look at the daily news shows the heavy social costs of rationalizing obscenity: images of explicit sexuality are often seen next to reports of horrible sexual violence. Does one need to be a Sherlock Holmes to understand that the first is a major cause of the second? No, one just needs to be a student of the Bhagavad-gita.