October 15, 2015

Miasma and purity thought

Slacktivist posted about Christian purity culture, and I replied with some stuff about miasma, mostly just repeating things I'd read other people saying, and somebody found it a bit hard to fathom from a Taoist perspective. I replied with this, and I hadn't put it quite this way before, and it clarified my own thinking for me. I'm putting it here so I can find it again.

I tend to think of everyday miasma more like washing my hands or taking a shower. You get stuff on you, you sweat, so you wash yourself, because there's dirt and sweat and germs. There's nothing wrong with dirt and sweat and even most germs, but you want to wash them off at regular intervals. And you wash before you go before the gods in much the same way that if you're all sweaty and dirty from working in the garden, you shower before you go over to your mom's house for your weekly dinner, or out with friends, or into bed with your spouse.

Loam and sand and mud have their place, and are good and useful and necessary things. Sweat is (usually) healthy and beneficial. Most germs are, too -- you have symbiotic relationships with billions of them right this moment! But you still shower and wash your hands.

To which the Taoist replied:

[M]y Taoist self says, "Were you supposed to get dirty? Then good. Time to get clean? Then do so. Getting those mixed up is what'll get you in trouble."

Which also hit the point nicely.

Slacktivist is actually really good for me as a place to clarify my own thoughts.