Paleopuritanism and Neopuritanism

Lust, Harpo:61, 6006 YD

by Robert Anton Wilson

…As psychologist Theodore Schroeder pointed out, “obscenity” is the modern form of “black magic.” Both concepts are operationally meaningless; there is no instrument which, pointed at a book or painting, will tell how much “black magic” or “obscenity” is in it. These things are in the nervous system of the observer. Attributing them to books, art, ideas, etc., in the external world, and seeking to punish the perpetrators, is the same kind of hallucination that produced the witch-hunts in which nine million innocents were killed.

Clarification of this issue explains what the Buddhists mean by “maya.” One could lead a group of both old Puritans and new Puritans through a gallery featuring photographs of flowers without any problem arising, even though flowers are the genitals of plants, as everyone who passed Botany 101 knows. However, try to navigate that group through an exhibit of photos of animal genitalia and almost anything could happen, when the emotional imprints are activated. The external stimuli (natural sexuality) are the same, but the imprints are different. Contemplation of this parable should clarify what Buddha meant in saying that most people see only their own “maya” and never experience objective fact at all. Of course, if the exhibit featured human genitalia… a great deal of angry speech about “smut” from the first group and “sexism” from the second would be heard. All of this speech would confuse the internal glandular-emotional emergency imprint with the objective external stimuli, and there would be a desire to punish the photographer.

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