Whenver I hear someone get worked up about something arbitrarily 'bad' like swear words, it reminds me of how glad I am to no longer be Mormon.
Aren't swears weird? It isn't the sound that is offensive. If so, every culture would have the same curse words. And people aren't offended by words that sound very similar to curse words such as frak, shiz or freak.
It isn't even the MEANING of the word that is offensive. There are many many words that mean the same things as swear words. Crap, screw, copulate etc. etc. These are synonyms of certain swear words. There are even some words that mean the same AND sound the same, such as they way many Americans who are young or religious or in a business setting use the word 'Freak' as a stand in for 'Fuck'. Yet one word is highly offensive the other is not even though they both mean(in the context it is being used) and sound the same. So what why is one offensive and the other isn't? One has been labeled offensive, the other hasn't
That is what religion can do, it can take things with no actual 'badness' or offensiveness to them and make them bad. (I realize this isn't entirely a product of religion, but culture in general, but I know very few, if any, non-religious people who get upset about swear words.
In situations where swear words are being used and some people are offended and some aren't, who is more free? This is something that has long bothered me. When being offended at something is seen as good! In some cultures, such as mormon culture, the more easily offended a person is, the more moral they are seen. They are seen as more sensitive to spiritual things. But shouldn't why be offended one doesn't have to be? Wouldn't a more spiritual pathway be to find beauty and wonder in everything even the seemingly vulgar? Wouldn't the person who is able to not be offended be the one who is more free?
I think some religious ethical restrictions are positive. They may seem like they are constraints but can in reality make a person more free, such as avoiding certain things so as to avoid addiction, but when the restrictions are totally arbitrary such as with swear words, a person is allowing themselves to be hurt by something they have no reason to be hurt by.
Imagine how you would feel if you learned of a tribe somewhere that was deeply offended by depictions of Soft Baked Cookies.And that they lived in an area where people were very often depicting soft baked Cookies and so they were very often being offended. Imagine how odd it would seem. You would also feel that these people were less free than you, they being arbitrarily limited in what they could appreciate. Imagine they would try and stop people from depicting soft baked cookies. You would think the solution to their problem could be much more easily solved: Stop being offended by arbitrarily offensive things.
Although, i should add that while I am strong advocate of swear words not being offensive, I am not really much of a swearer. I see it as slang. I am also not a big slang user. When people use the word 'freak' or 'freaking' frequently it turns me off. Equally so with 'fuck' or 'fucking'. But not because I find it offensive in anyway, rather, because I like language to be accurate and sincere and rarely do slang words reflect the speakers intent as accurately and sincerely as other words might. Don't get me wrong, it has its place, and can sometimes be very effective, but it should be used sparingly and with good reason.
- ▼ March (10)
- ► 2009 (76)
- ► 2008 (118)