“The transgression does not deny the taboo [the forbidden] but transcends it and complements it”

“the fact that there might have existed a devil meant that the divine separated into two parts which ignored and failed to recognise one another. The divine part became impoverished. Now I don’t believe that today one can represent a sense of the sacred if one does not at the same time take note of the totality of those aspects, which are the divine and the diabolical.”

-Georges Bataille

Shock, thrill, reaction…this is what usually comes to mind when one mentions transgression. A black metal band burning Bibles, Ozzy biting off the head of a bat, Andress Serrano’s photo of ‘piss christ’, the list goes on. The act of transgression has been reduced to the juvenile teen that wears all black and hails Satan. These pop culture occurrences played they role, much of it for entertainment value. Unfortunately a better understanding of transgression and blasphemy has been lost in the sea of gaudy ‘shock rock’.

Trangressive acts have no power if the taboo is not acknowledged foremost. One cannot cross a line if they do not acknowledge the line to begin with, otherwise there is nothing to transgress! The end goal of transgression is to purposely violate the ‘good/bad’ duality resulting in nondifferentiation or nonduality. In multiple teachings this has been considered dangerous, an inverted approach. If one is not of sound mind I suppose it can be dangerous. Within every culture, every religion, there is this that we do and that we do not do. That we do not do is the ‘Other’, or the ‘Abject’, it is over there, away from us, eerie, like a dark forest one does not enter. This fear is necessary for order, and correct for the majority. The Orthodox is safe, steady, and secure. Transgression crosses the line between the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ in order to see the non-differentiation. This results in acceptance of the whole, not just one side which is a malnourished state. It can be argued in our late modernist world there exists no more taboos. This is blatantly false as even liberal nations acknowledge extremes as taboo. One cannot judge it objectively, as what is taboo or prohibited differs by region and culture. It also differs between individual subjectivity. For a Muslim eating pork is strictly prohibited, within their subjective existence it is prohibited, while the average American have no qualms about it.

To use a simple example, we still hold on to a prudent position regarding nudity. We either consider it unwholesome or on a personal level we are not secure enough to be nude in front of others. This may sound trite, but speak to those who have gotten over this inhibition and have no problem being nude in front of others. It crosses a line, a duality, transcending it altogether. Another excellent example is the practices found in BDSM, which despite its growing community the public is still wary. Pain and pleasure are elementary to us. We prefer pleasure and avert what causes pain. BDSM, I mean this as a whole for the sake of convenience, transgresses this assumption as outright pain can be experienced as euphoric pleasure. Likewise inflicting pain onto others, typically seen as unacceptable by society, is made into its own pleasure. This is between two consenting adults to channel these prohibited desires within a safe environment. Again the dichotomy of pain and pleasure is crossed, transgressed, which reveals the nondifferentiation. In a submissive/Dominant relationship there is relief in transgressing ones own ego. A woman that is assertive in her everyday life may desire to transgress her temperament by completely submitting to a partner, and this is not always easy. In the most extreme example there are the Aghora, a small school of Tantra in India. In no way do I claim to be an expert or guru, this is only to my understanding. The Aghora have been seen as untouchable, tainted, and for good reason. The cremation ground which is typically considered unclean is seen as sacred ground. Those who retrieve the dead and cremate them are seen as untouchable according to orthodox teachings. The Aghora not only retrieves the corpse, but meditates while sitting upon it. They have been known to consume the flesh of the deceased as well. Their scantly clothed body covered in the ashes of corpses. To the Western mind this sounds diabolical, monstrous, but it is not that at all. By committing such transgressions with a specific state of purpose and mind they have crossed the duality of dharma/adharma, realizing a kind of oneness, for lack of a better word. If a person committed these transgressions in a profane state of mind or out of maliciousness, he would certainly be doing harm to himself or others.

One form of transgression is blasphemy, the most well known is the Black Mass. I will not say the following is synonymous with the above, as it is Western inclined. For centuries a person was indoctrinated in Christian teachings at an early age, ingrain the tenets into the subconscious to such a degree it will remain with them until death. There is a good reason the Jesuit maxim is “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”. Indoctrination is a powerful tool. Needless to say if one is indoctrinated then the idea of going directly against it is taboo, frightening even, a threat to the soul. For one who was born into Christianity and leaves the religion, the ingrained tenets continue with them, even if he shouts to the highest he is an atheist. The objective of blasphemy is to expunge the subconscious of this indoctrination, and one does so by committing a transgression that goes directly against the indoctrination, therein is the value of blasphemy. It does not require an elaborate ceremony, a sacrificial goat, or other fancy embellishments. Simple and direct is best. As most transgressive acts, the person will feel a tinge of inhibition inside resisting. Blasphemy is only a method of purging indoctrination from oneself, or theistically speaking ‘divorcing’ oneself from the former religious hold. This is purely based on pragmatism, it comes down to the question ‘does it work? did it give results?’. That alone is sufficient for validity.

There is plenty to be said about transgression, blasphemy, heterodoxy, widdershins, and so forth. My goal is to be concise and succinct, with as little ‘fat’ or ‘fluff’ as possible. Hopefully I have achieved this in the above.