Saturday, November 22, 2014

Kama and Culture

"Indians are among the most prolific consumers of internet pornography" finds the data collected from a porn site over a year.

Given our formal cultural acceptance of Kāma as a legitimate goal of  Hindu life, this would be unremarkable. The cultural acceptance, of course, goes at least as far back as Rishi Vatsyana (of the Kamasutra fame) in the 2nd Century BC and has since been regularly reiterated in the literature, songs, paintings and most vividly in sculpture.

A later day Victorian ethics brought to our shores on the ships of colonists, however, continues to distort our views on the subject. [I am not sure what influence the Mughals had.] Now that a new cultural nationalist government is in power, one would assume them to be eager to rectify this distortion. But such are the paradoxes of politics that they plan to do the exact opposite.

On a slightly different and a more practical note -- being a civilized grown-up entails taking responsibility of and control over one's own libido. And to the extent porn sites provide a rather safe outlet to a person's natural biological needs, they serve a utilitarian purpose. It is fatuous of those who argue that this leads to degradation of morals. It does not -- unless you define watching porn itself as immoral, which I strongly deny on multiple grounds. [And I speak for many (mostly from college) when I say that watching porn does not necessarily make one an immoral person. This is by now amply borne out by our personal experiences.]

P.S. In case you find the subject or this post offensive (though I do not see why one should), please consider closing the browser. Comments are welcome.
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