My last post was on Chuck Palahniuk's masterpiece, Fight Club. A lot of people found Fight Club offensive. Such is the case that his novels are labeled as transgressional fiction. Chuck Palahniuk's page at Wikipedia says he's a transgressional fiction novelist. What does transgression mean?
Transgress means: Infringe or go beyond the bounds of (a moral principle or other established standards of behaviour) or click here for a detailed list of words.
All artists and scientists are thinkers. Writers are thinkers too, so writers are artists. Artists are original thinkers. And when one ponders deep enough, one is bound to question established norms. Once in a while, artists everywhere create 'works' that offend a set of people who form norms for the society. (usually the torch bearers of morality, be it politicians, lawmakers or religious groups). These set of people are considered 'enlightened' by the common man. These set of people give the common man his thought and tells him what is right and what is wrong. The common man is robbed off his gift of 'thinking on his own' and lives his life with others like a herd of cattle dictated by a shepherd.
Radical thoughts change the world, following the norms doesn't!
The 'father of modern science', Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher Galileo published 'Dialogue Concerning The Two Chief World Systems' in 1632. Post publishing, he had to spend the remaining years of his life under house arrest as he was suspected of heresy! Today, it's a fact taught in school that earth and the planets revolve around the sun and our man Galileo was arrested for finding out the truth which was against the established doctrine of the Church!
Today's transgression is tomorrow's classic. Sample this, James Joyce's Ulysses was banned in 1933 because of a soliloquy at the end of the book was considered obscene. Today, it's considered one of the greatest novels ever written!
Every feat of human achievement has been opposed and ridiculed when they were attempted for the first time. Every path breaking book was banned or criticized when it was published!
Writing is all about the right to offend. The only people who talk and make noise about the 'right' things are politicians and religious groups. Writers have been writing wrong, are writing wrong and should continue to write wrong. What wrong am I talking about? The 'wrong' of today which is accepted as right by the society and never questioned. The 'wrong' of accepted notions of correctness and decency. This is how the status quo can be questioned and change takes place in the society.
The central idea of freedom of speech and freedom of expression is the right to offend. Heresy builds up the tolerance levels of a society. I want my country to be a tolerant one where every man can speak his mind without fear of being killed. While watching a TV channel with your family, if a lovemaking scene appears, you change the channel, right? Similarly, if you don't like what you hear, don't listen to it! Ignore! That's what democracy is all about.
We're the largest democracy in the world, (You see Indians find orgasmic pleasures in quantity. We need to focus on quality) but USA is undoubtedly the best democracy in the world. USA today, understands that democracy and religion/culture are 2 different things. Democracy is rational whereas culture and religion are emotional. It needs to be kept out of democracy. I'm taking an extreme example as it widely known. The USA is a predominantly Christian country, and teachings of the Church condemn pornography, but USA is the largest producer and consumer of pornography. The country has Churches churning out sermons as well as multi billion dollar pornographic studios churning out movies by the day. Both co-exist!
The Vatican is in Italy and most of the thinkers have been Italian. Think about it. Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo! They were transgressors of the past but the society is refined now. Freedom exists in the true sense.
My thoughts and writings, sometimes, are offensive and they definitely would not please a lot of readers. I'm a religious fellow but in my head, I'm a heretic who always questions norms. Over the years, I have cultivated the ability to be 2 different persons in the same head and coexist.
So I say, transgress if you want to grow. Piss on the status quo. Where heretics and critics are silenced, there will be a repressive society. (And unfortunately I live in one!)