Rebellion & Taboo

Posted: January 20, 2013 in Defining Taboo
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“I rebel, therefore I am,” says the great French novelist, playwright, essayist, and philosopher Albert Camus. According to this idea, rebellion is essential to realizing our existence. Here existence is closely aligned not only with choice, but also with resistance.

As taboo concerns itself with the restriction of certain practices, rebellion, on the other hand, concerns itself with the dissection of these practices. But more than just the dissection of any restriction we find perhaps the examination of such restrictions. Rebellion at its center is the examination of limitations. In more than one way, the act of opposing separates us from the actor, the actor being one who behaves in a manner of disingenuousness. To act is to be dishonest, duplicitous. And the actor is constricted in their role, unable to rebel. The actor does exist and yet the character being acted out does not really exist in our limited definition of existence.

Yet it is from the rebel’s need for rebellion that we find humankind’s state of living— what will and will not be tolerated. Although an actor may not necessarily be a rebel, the action of acting re-emphasizes our ability to rebel. In life we should not be actors so much as rebels.

  1. campbelllaura says:

    I think rebelling with a cause is essential to whether or not we thrive as humans. Rebelling just to rebel is pointless and immature, but when going against something is going to make a positive difference, it needs to be done.

    I agree that it is much better to rebel (for an important cause) than it is just to act and go with the majority for the sake of fitting in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Rebelling is not opposite acting, but opposite obedience (to authority). And obeying God’s authority is the truest nature of human, not rebelling. Deep waters with swirls of pride lurking to allow our heart to deceive itself. Original rebellion would that we become independent of God, be our own authority.

  3. Nice article on rebellion. But rebellion as a goal for itself doesn’t really count as a good means for detabooisation. Rebellion without analysis of the grouds of a taboo is only destructive. It therefore makes the rebell likewise unfree as the taboo itself.

    • bejamin4 says:

      Thanks for the comments. Mostly, i agree with them: to rebel just for the sake of rebelling may not be worthwhile. And, in fact, it may really not say anything about breaking down a taboo if there is no reason behind the rebellion. Although I think rebellion and taboo are used in marketing for that very reason alone, sometimes. But yes, the intent is just as important as the action.

  4. World of Gauche says:

    Well said. Albert Camus is one of my favorites.

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