Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Abandoning Traditional Taboos for Modern Security: Another ills of a Modern Civilization

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By Yaya A Bojang (Bojis)

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Our earlier societies were said to live in a very serene atmosphere where young people were known to be so obedient and well-mannered because of the etiquettes built by the traditional taboos (forbidden and acceptable actions or deeds) in society. Elders would set parameters and regulations as to how one should live his life in accordance with the best practices or what society dictates. The young ones had their limitations as well as women, and there were no major problems of unending lawlessness. Every situation or problem has its unique measures to be controlled.

Unfortunately, we have now replaced most of those rules and regulations in our domestic and official institutions with our modern laws that are never satisfactory to solve our current challenges. These rules are not only limited to our offices but even within our security forces. In fact, with state parameters; the bulldozers, the task force, the Anti-crime, and the Alpha team, things are getting worse than ever before.

Interestingly, in our traditional societies, the most effective method for any unfortunate case or situation was just a statement of deterrent by elders, which might not be genuinely given an explanation but would be strictly followed by everyone. Yes, in our generation, we term those statements to be enigmatic and superficial thoughts, but reflecting on ancient society, you would understand that the taboos were made to prevent a consequential situation for an individual. They might not exactly explain the reason or results of it, but they did know that most of these taboos were made from precedent and past experiences.

Precisely, reflecting on this taboo “do not buy a needle at night or is not proper to buy a needle at night”, normally they would attach the consequences of either bad luck or something would happen to the person. Technically, a needle is a sharp object that has the tendency to easily injure a person without one’s notice, and in those days, environments were always known to be dark as a result, dealing with a needle is absolutely not safe for anyone, even the keeper of it. But this deterrent statement would definitely prevent many injuries or cases of using a needle at night. And this was strictly followed without questions.

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Again, on this one; “It is not good to buy soap at night or even salt.” We are all aware that these items can not cause any harm to an individual, but it’s advised not to use either of them at night. What may be the reason? Laundry and Cooking are akin to women, and those items are mostly used in these processes, and getting them at night means you’re doing those activities at night. If that’s the case, we understand very well that women are so attractive to devils or evil spirits, and obviously, they’re so common at that time of the hour. One may not have a better means to stop women from these activities at night, but when a severe and serious consequence was attached to it, it would definitely be obeyed by women and even men, even in the case of taking a bath at night. This was also strictly followed.

The same is true with staying out late at night; elders would only say the devil does appear at night at this particular time, and that’s enough to shorten the night for the boys. But now, even anti-crime cannot get people off the street at 2 a.m. Historians would definitely tell you how effective the taboos were in our ancient societies.

Taboos were so effective in bringing society to order without resorting to force or violence. This has given our olden society a serene and humble environment that accommodates everyone. This is a different narrative altogether in our new generations of democratic laws and punishment, with police, soldiers, the immigration and many other services meant to protect our lives and property.

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