Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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HomeOpinionCommentarySt Lucia Carnival and its embrace of nakedness

St Lucia Carnival and its embrace of nakedness

By Dr Velon John

To the Biblical adherents: When God created Adam and Eve, they for some time pranced around the Garden of Eden (perhaps for some months or years) in their pristine nakedness. Then at a critical juncture, and without producing any progeny, they partook of the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Also created was the tree of Life and of which we know very little about; why and why was it created?

And so we had Adam and Eve, very well endowed sexually and otherwise, enjoying the fruits and animals of that garden. Being fully endowed did they indulge in sexual activities? Were they aware of what uses their sex organs could be put to? If not, why not? They were not created as infants but as fully grown adults without disabilities, and that could take and understand instructions from their God. And since they were created fully endowed, very human activities were quite natural to them. In a very natural environment, they behaved naturally in their nakedness and were not ashamed.

As regards the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the directive given by God was only to Adam since Eve had yet to be created. And this directive was as follows:

Of every tree of the Garden of Eden thou mayest freely eat: but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil thou shall not eat; for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die.”

Did Adam know what dying entailed; what were the consequences of death? It was subsequent to that divine directive that Eve was created. What if Adam had partaken of that fruit before the terrestrial emergence of Eve? But then God knowing all things, past, present and the future could not permit such cosmic and ecclesiastical confusion. Eve obviously must have been told of that directive by Adam and her motivation to disobey was not lascivious in terms of her hopes, expectations and propensities. She wanted to be wise; she wanted to be knowledgeable; she wanted to be like God. What was her sin? Murder, grand theft, indecent assault, rape? As I see it, her sin was inspissated arrogance and or hubris.

For Adam, it was disobedience to his God, grievous gullibility and hubris. Indiscretions of the mind. For both of them nothing in the realm of things venereal. So why the allusion to shame and nakedness?

When they were created they were without clothes. They saw each other without clothes. Should there really be a difference at this time between seeing each other with clothes and without clothes? In a very natural world, they behaved quite naturally in their nakedness and were not ashamed at their nakedness. Does that mindset import a peculiar and grotesque behavioural posture? Were they to be ashamed of his penis and or vulva? What about their breasts and their bum-bum?

What has to be kept in mind is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Two fundamental categories of “Becoming”. Two existential templates that define mankind and its circumstance. Eve was not ashamed of her femaleness, nor Adam his maleness. It was there for all of Eden to see. For a whole “year” they feasted their eyes on their individual nakedness: then on the morning post their “gastronomic experience”  they were ashamed. Nothing has changed except their state of mind, and their body of knowledge: but not in terms of their “genderless” but in terms of their all-encompassing ontology. They saw in themselves the Good, and the Evil: they perceived goodness and bad: the pure and the depraved; and they were ashamed.

They were ashamed. They were not hiding their ontological nakedness which could not be kept hidden physically but symbolically. And that was the role of the “fig leaf”. They were hiding the totality of themselves from the “Great Betrayal”. And so from the very beginning nakedness was not something evil, something bad, something to be ashamed of something to be abhorred. In many a civilisation man and women conducted their daily living in varying states of undress and which could be attributed to the exigencies of climate, hygiene and personal and societal conveniences.

In the Garden of Eden with God around, nakedness was the norm. There was no nexus between depravity and spirituality. But after the “fall” which had nothing to do with nakedness a certain awareness, consciousness and reality emerged that fundamentally and existentially transformed the modus operandi and modus vivendi of both Adam and Eve. And that transformation had nothing to do with what was essentially sexual.

In Genesis the God said, ” be fruitful and multiply”  that is after he had created the birds and animals. After he created Adam and Eve that was not said to them. Wouldn’t it would have been superfluous seeing the man was cerebral? Are we to assume that in an environment of rabid sexuality, the dogs, the rabbit, the donkeys, the gorillas, the chimpanzees, Adam and Eve did not make the logical and biological connection considering their complimentary endowments? When Adam had an erection? Is it only the “gastronomic fall” or event that Adam became aware of the complimentary orifice of Eve? And there were two.

The point that is being made is that there is no consequential nexus between nakedness and spirituality. As man multiplied and evolved from foragers to settlements, taboos, rules, regulations and laws progressively circumscribed their modus vivendi. And some of these taboos and laws strictly controlled their interaction and relationships with each other. But nakedness was never a situation of wild abandonment that bordered to vulgarity. As the various tribal civilisations evolved, various aspects of community living became absorbed into religious activities with controlled nakedness forming part of diverse civil and religious festivities.

VOILA la Carnival !!!

A secular activity in a somewhat spiritual /religious context. It is now  2023 with thousands of years of evolution. At this point, we have gone beyond the Great Wall of China which was creative and utilitarian. And now in the context of our Carnival, we have the Bum-Bum Wall which is certainly not creative and utilitarian but expositional. Have we in some measure regressed? Fifty years ago there was partial nakedness in our Carnival and with the female cohort more partial than her male counterpart. Why more? But that is another story.

It is to be noted that the Bum-Bum Wall is female in composition and in our present context of societal sophistication and discrimination we now associate alarming degrees of of undress or nakedness with the females. It is to be further noted that the Wall is tainted by an element of vulgarity which paints the collectivity of females. In all of this, we must delude ourselves that a Wall is the monopoly of the female. There can be a male  Bum-Bum Wall and which can be supremely vulgar. But this I have not yet seen.

Our declaration is that nakedness is immanently a cultural construct and has not a religious or spiritual consequence per se. In some societies eating with your hands is the norm and going to the toilet with your bottle of water is right and proper. Walking into your cubicle with your roll of toilet paper is anathema. Is the Bum-Bum Wall an aberration or is it cultural or in the process of being cultural.?

Our society at this time defines nakedness in terms of various parts or portions of the human anatomy, and in the female in particular the pelvic area comes to the fore. In Carnival 2023 we saw displayed and exposed in most females the pelvic area; and that area was being gyrated with phenomenal sinuosity that intimated a degree of vulgarity. And that is where the problem lies. The infringement of taboos and laws were being flaunted in an environment of joyous lasciviousness, and that defined our Carnival for the greater part. Henceforth the Bum-Bum Wall will become a permanent feature of the Lucian Carnival and populist acceptance will become the norm.

In this year’s Carnival, there were ten heterogeneous musical bands, and the one that stood out in the competitive array was The Tribe of Twel. Its conspicuousness propelled it into a category that in a way was not really modern Lucian Carnival. It was like comparing oranges and grapefruits: significantly close in phylum but qualitatively different in rectitude, respectability and acceptability. Paradoxically the two types helped to create a joyous occasion without complementing each other. The “ nine” made their libation to Bacchus. The Tribe of Twel, their libation was to Bachuus and to Sophia. There lies the fundamental difference.

As I see it Tribe of Twel is indeed deserving of my applause and that of all men and women of balanced judgement.

As I take my leave, I would like to pose this question. It is simple but not simplistic, intriguing and thought-provoking.

It is this: What do you think of a nudist camp/colony? Or in the alternative, have you visited, or will you visit, a nudist colony/camp?

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