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Unformatted text preview: re mystical
explanation, a sort of acceptance of the group as the unit and the individual as an incomplete fragment.
 The Sepoy Rebellion had its roots in a food taboo, and Mussulman, Hebrew and Roman Catholic place a
religious value on diet. Most of the complexities of existence are of our own creation.
What is true of hunger is true of thirst and fatigue. Desires in these directions have to accommodate
themselves, in greater or lesser degrees, to the complexities in which our social nature and customs have
involved us. It is true that desires upon which the actual survival of the individual depend will finally break
through taboo and restriction if completely balked. That is, very few people will actually starve to death, die
of thirst or keep awake indefinitely, despite any convention or taboo. Nevertheless there are people who will
resist these fundamental desires, as in the case of MacSwiney, the Irish republican, and as in the case of
martyrs recorded in the history of all peoples. It may be that in some of these we are dealing with a powerful
inhibition of appetite of the kind seen in anhedonia.
The elaboration of the sex impulses and desires into the purposes of marriage, the repression into lifelong
continence and chastity, forms one of the most marvelous of chapters in the psychological history of man. The
desire for sex relationship of the crude kind is very variable both in force, time of appearance and reaction to
discipline and unquestionably arises from the changes in the sex organs. Both to enhance and repress it are
aims of the culture and custom of each group, and the lower groups have given actual sexual intercourse a
mystical supernatural value that has at times and in various places raised it into the basis of cults and
religions. Repressed, hampered, canalized, forbidden, the sex impulses have profoundly modified clothes, art,
religion, morals and philosophy. The sex customs of any nation demonstrate the extreme plasticity of human
desires and the various twists, turns and customs that tradition declares holy. There have been whole groups of
people that have deemed any sexual pleasure unholy, and the great religions still deem it necessary for their
leaders to be continent. And the absurdities...
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- Spring '11