03.39: Slick about sin or sick about sin?
A tragic trend of our times is the glamorization of sinful, sexual indulgences as fashionable, as slick, as cool. This is especially evident in soap operas that portray sexual immorality as bold and adventurous. The intoxication generated by such illicit sexual fantasies often blinds people to its real-life consequences that are recurrent in the daily news: rape, incest and pedophilia. Most civilized people feel sickened when they hear of sexual abuses, yet these same people rarely feel sickened by their causes: the ubiquitous sexual images that are displayed on billboards, fashion ramps and celluloid screens.
Gita wisdom makes explicit the cause-effect connection between sexual images and sexual abuses. The Bhagavad-gita (3.39) unmasks lust by declaring it to be an eternal enemy (nitya vairi) that burns our intelligence like an insatiable fire (dushpurenaanalena). Sexual images that offer visual indulgence serve as a readily combustible fuel for the fire of lust. When this fuel is fed constantly, the fire of lust becomes a conflagration that devours people’s intelligence, conscience, common sense, even humanity. It is no wonder that the people who perpetrate horrendous sexual abuses are not some two-horned demons from another planet; they are humans like us, but humans whom lust has perverted into monsters.
If we wish to stop such abuses, improved police regulation is not enough; that will at best check the circumstantial cause, but not the root cause. That root cause is the aggravation beyond civil limits of lust, caused largely by the misleading glamorization and popularization of sexual images as slick. We need to end the double standards of being sickened by the effects of lust – sexual abuses – and allured by the causes of lust – sexual images.
We can no longer be slick about sin; we need to become sick about sin.