It’s not often that I let it all hang out in my photos here at Naturist Lens. Why today? Well, it just seemed so natural. I tried cropping to perhaps be less confrontational for some but found that the quality of the scene was severely compromised. At least this isn’t being too overt, too sexualised. The last thing that the photo would do, perhaps could do, would be to stir someone’s fantasy. That said, it is beyond question, enough to affront and offend.
We live in a culture of hate in modern North America. We hate those who are different from us – different colour, different politics, different religion, different values, different anything. The roots of this lie deep in all cultures and are hard to escape. Probably at some point, this was essential to our survival in tribal units of a long distant past. It’s not easy to get past this basic hatred, but it is possible.
Another reason lies in proximity. Our hate lessens when distance grows. When the difference is in our faces, the anxiety level goes up. With social media, Internet, global news saturation, ease of travel across time zones and continents, we don’t have much relief from the difference of others.
To make matters worse, if that isn’t enough, when our collective’s belief system codify the badness of difference, through religious, political, and even legal codes, those who are different are scapegoats that hold the darkness of the collective. We make enemies of strangers because they are different – nudists, Muslims, indigenous peoples, socialists, those of black African ancestry – basically anyone that is not White, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant (very grudging acceptance of Papists, Catholics). Being W.A.S.P. is like a birthright to entitlement and everyone else is seen as stealing from us simply by having what we want. When others dare to do what we don’t want them to do, we punish them through laws, shunning, invasions, blockades, etc.
We segregate ourselves from these dark others. We build gated communities, we create tax systems to ensure that these others don’t get to near to us on an economic level. We use every tool we can to keep them out of our churches unless they come to acknowledge our superiority by being converted to the truth. We segregate others as much as possible – nudist camps behind locked gates, refugee camps in far-away countries, slums in our cities – our creativity at keeping these others at bay is taxed to the limit.
But it isn’t so simply defined for many in our own protected group also give rise to fear, to hate in us. Men versus women with women at the disadvantage. Heterosexual versus homosexual; liberal versus conservative; rich versus poor; middle class versus those in poverty. And within even tight groups hate shows its face – a small church community is rife with backstabbing and politicking and slandering and belittling the others who don’t hold us high thus denying us of our rightful place at the top of the tiny heap we call ours.
What to do in this culture of hate? Dare to be authentic. It’s powerful. Dare to be compassionate. Dare to let go of your own hatreds by accepting that the hate projected is about personal darkness denied. Lose the “special” and narcissistic self-definition. Learn that there is nothing that separates in the end as all are part of one whole that is indivisible.