Monday, June 22, 2009
Captain James Cook, spreader of "taboo." There's a tiny bit of irony in the fact that we want to explore taboo and the word was introduced to us by an actual explorer.
In order to explore Taboo, we must disclose an overall meaning of it. This is Wikipedia's definition:
"A taboo is a strong social prohibition (or ban) relating to any area of human activity or social custom declared as sacred and forbidden; breaking of the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society. The term was borrowed from the Tongan language and appears in many Polynesian cultures. In those cultures, a tabu (or tapu or kapu) often has specific religious associations. It was a word brought back by Captain James Cook in 1777 after a long sea voyage to the South Seas and introduced into the English language.
When an activity or custom is classified as taboo it is forbidden and interdictions are implemented concerning it, such as the ground set apart as a sanctuary for criminals. Some taboo activities or customs are prohibited under law and transgressions may lead to severe penalties. Other taboos result in embarrassment, shame, and rudeness. Although critics and/or dissenters may oppose taboos, they are put into place to avoid disrespect to any given authority, be it legal, moral and/or religious."
Of course it had to be an uptight English man who introduced the term. To them, it seems everything is taboo!