I have to admit that I’m not in the best of moods today as I sit here at the computer. The world around me is going crazy. In Texas abortions have once again become illegal with penalties that are stricter than what exist for terrorists – Wade-Roe had been overturned. Likely most other Republican states will soon follow. In Canada the newly elected provincial government has fired the complete Department of Health, that same group that had the best defensive response record in the country for Covid19. Nationally, the Federal election is being covered by media with the intent on demonising the Prime Minister. Photos of him being hung, death threats, a group of American Patriots are following the Prime Minister around Canada to rile up and interfere with any public meeting [with the exception of in Quebec – an issue for the Patriots – where the language is French].
That said, this post isn’t really about the insanity that is running amok in the outer world. As Carl Jung once put it, “for in the self good and evil are indeed closer than identical twins.” It is something we all wrestle with, trying hard to be our best self. It is hard work, for it takes only a moment, a slim crack in our armour for our worst self to emerge and cause havoc. Yet, too many of us take that battle to the outer world and act out these two aspects of ourselves. We self-identify with the white hats and project the darkness onto others who hold opposite views. Good versus evil not dealt with as an inner “self” problem, becomes a world problem. Balance gets lost within and without. That lack of balance within is the root cause of most mental-health issues. We internalise “shame” for what we know is wrong with us, and express it outward in anger, fear, and hate.
As the outer world is presented with more and more nudity, one is deluded if one thinks that normalising nudity will be the end result. Human consciousness doesn’t work that way. The motivations for being clothing free within the normalising-nudity community aren’t built on balance. All the prejudices, the us vs them, are alive and well. The us vs them dynamic exists within the community itself though we are loathe to admit it. Rather than deal with the problems, they are projected onto the rest of society.
Personally, I am leery about groups, about collectives. I find that to fit in, I need to basically stop being myself authentically. I need to put on a persona that will allow me to enter into the collective. Going without clothing is often the same thing. We shed clothing to fit in with a group. Sometimes it is a compulsory thing such as a naturist club , sometimes it is to take a dare to fit in with a crowd [I did this in middle school when challenged to go skinny dipping in a prairie dugout], and sometimes it is to ease the tensions in a relationship with a partner who is a nudist/naturist. Of course, the opposite is more often the norm, wearing clothing to fit in, to belong to a group, to ease tensions.
In the end, it becomes a question that is tied to one’s solitary being. If all things are equal, is one nude or not? Even then, there are environmental factors that often makes decisions for an individual. I am clothing free as often as possible. When someone other than my wife makes an appearance in our home or yard, I wear clothing. Yet, when it is cold and windy outside, even if I am alone, I find myself putting on clothing to stay warm. In the house? Alone? Then, I am clothing free … unless the house is too cold – think of a prairie winter.
So what does any of this have to do with good and evil? Nudity in itself is a battleground. The collectives in one’s life determine, for the most part, that nudity is bad, evil is bad, nudity outside of the bedroom between a married heterosexual couple – preferably white – is bad. Laws are made, Church doctrine is entrenched, nudity is determined to be sinful and evil. If one attacks all that is nude, one is on the side of goodness. If one dares to be nude, even as a solitary event, then one becomes the enemy to be targeted and punished.
And to return to Jung’s words: “there is absolutely no truth that does not spell salvation to one person and damnation to another. All universalisms get stuck in this terrible dilemma.”