Purity s Shadow Essay

2544 Words Mar 3rd, 2015 11 Pages
Johannes Kieding
Honors English 200-CC1
Professor Dunning
Fall 2008
Research paper
Due: 12/18/08

Purity’s Shadow

I am large. I contain multitudes.
-Walt Whitman

I wished the two girls to have some sign on their person as a warning to every young man that no evil eye might be cast upon them. What mark should the girls bear so as to sterilize the sinner’s eye? This question kept me awake for the night.
-Gandhi

As the green Earth darkens when turning away from the sun, so too the human soul forms a shadow as it turns toward one thing and neglects another. The mere fact of our selective attention – the gravitating movement to focus on ‘this’ and not ‘that’ – suggests the origin of the darker regions of the soul. The analogy of a
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Along with comparing pathological purity to a totalitarian government, the Roshi draws a parallel to Icarus of Greek mythology who aims with his self-made wings for the sun (spirit) but gets too close, falling helplessly as the wax that keeps his wings intact melts. Purity costs us the truth of our humanity.
Opening the Bible to several different pages, the present author notes that the words “the sins of the flesh” appear very frequently. Countless Buddhist scriptures, too, warn of the dangers of sensual pleasures. In fact, all main religions espouse the message that selfish desire and self-interest lies at the root of all evil. If Eve had been content without acting on her desire to eat the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the fall from grace could have been avoided. Given that all religions preach the paramount necessity for purity, how can the present author claim that purity comes at the price of truth? Given that scientists base their works on the purity of their objectivity, how can the author’s assertion hold validity? We cannot reach certainty by speculating on these matters, but by looking at the consequences of pursuing ideals of purity we gain a certain kind of understanding. Religion’s waging of war, killing countless “sinners,” could offer a clue to the kind of purity religion fosters. Priests sexually

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