Written by Mark Langstone
S X E and S E X
Straightedge is commonly known as a global youth movement of individuals who shun the use of intoxicants of any kind, as well as refraining from promiscuous sexual activity. But what are the reasons behind such lifestyle choices – are these tenets connected, and what are the benefits of following them? One may easily understand how over consumption of alcohol or other drugs can negatively affect you physically and mentally, though often people argue for moderation which supposedly prevents such damage by limiting the intake to a reasonable amount, but why would casual sex have any adverse effect especially if it were what modern society has termed ‘safe sex’?
Anyone can reasonably understand the diseases that can spread as a result of unprotected sex are a serious consequence to loose behavior, but if one were to carefully utilize all the modern facilities for enjoying sexual union and thus eliminating the risk of contracting what can be fatal diseases, would there still be any problem with having regular sex?
To understand this question we have to see what effect sex has on both the body and mind – physiological effects and psychological ones, and then beyond the levels of the gross and subtle body, the effect on our spirit or inner consciousness and awareness. Whether we believe in the existence of a soul or not, are religious, atheistic, agnostic or haven’t really thought about existence on that level, we’d all agree that inside we are individual persons. We have a mind and a body and intelligence, but we can utilize those things as tools, they aren’t our actual identity which is a separate entity altogether. We’ll deal with this angle later, but first tackle the issues on a more practical and perhaps more tangible level, that of the body and mind which nobody would deny exist.
Physiologically, we are sexual beings – in the sense that we’re all either male or female. Unless you’re perhaps a plant or rare species that is asexual or serves the function of both sexes, we have to function within either a male or female body, which has undeniable influences on us and the way we act and think. We all grow from childhood and reach a stage of puberty when the bodily hormones change dramatically and the physical body we see in the mirror goes through vital changes as well. This is essentially the transition between childhood and early adulthood, and is characterized by the ability to now reproduce, if we choose to, which previously wasn’t an option.
But why do we have to undergo such changes? Why does nature force this upon us, and in doing so practically steal our innocence, a purity and simplicity which often people attempt to regain in various ways? The answer to this lies in nature’s function in continuing to propagate the species, a thankless task which ensures that every species either continues to produce offspring, or else moves towards extinction. In viewing natures course in this way, we get to see from an objective perspective the function of sex, which is quite a different viewpoint than the subjective one caused by our own desires for sex within our personal experience – something that has clouded our clear view of the issue.
Firstly, we may wish to deny the premise that sex is indeed a function of nature that obliges us to produce offspring, usually due to the fact that we want to experience the pleasure and often without the subsequent pain and hardship that is childbirth and raising children. More on this point later, but meanwhile, we’re trying to see objectively what function it is exactly that sex plays in our lives. Is it a natural pleasure there to be enjoyed to it’s fullest? Is it a God given right, or for the non-believer, a birthright awarded by nature that gives a pleasure unmatched by practically anything else on offer? Or is it not quite what it seems, but rather a sort of entrapment which promises pleasure and satisfaction but under the surface contains a hefty price to pay?
Opinions differ on the subject almost as much as people are different as individuals, but is there an absolute viewpoint rather than our relative opinions – relative in the sense that they change according to time, circumstances, personal experiences etc? It could be hard to determine absolutely what role sex actually plays in our present reality, but let’s begin with some undeniable, hard cold facts that may help to see the issue more clearly.
“One day, I´ll break these walls of flesh and bone
One day, escape this prison self-imposed
Yes one day I´ll be free, transcend all boundaries
Yes one day I´ll be free, one day, I´ll overcome conditioned minds
One day, leave this insanity behind, these chains, my own desires
But I´ll be free”
(Never Surrender ‘One Day’)SOME BASIC PHYSIOLOGY
Physiologically, sex is a vigorous physical activity that takes a great deal of energy to perform, even though it is over fairly quickly. That energy is understood by the wisdom of ancient civilizations such as the Chinese and Indian ones, as our ‘life force’ known as chi, or prana. Different languages aside, that vital force that sustains our life ultimately has a limit, and when the vital force is depleted we no longer live and thus death is inevitable for all beings. It’s simply a matter of time that the energy is fully depleted, or rather not just time but how much energy is expended during our alloted time.
So of course that energy is required to produce offspring, but in casual sex that energy is used only to bring temporary sensual pleasure, thus it is energy wasted. It takes 64 parts blood to produce 1 part semen, so from a male perspective at least, that’s a rapid depletion of energy and vital bodily resources, and probably comparable from a female perspective. By natures wonderful arrangement, semen is ejected faster than a speeding bullet in order for it to reach and fertilize the egg, which utilizes the life airs within the body and thus disturbs their flow which otherwise provide balance within the body and peace in the mind. Many great thinkers over the centuries have recognized the correlation between abstinence and focus of the mind, as athletes and sportsmen and women still do today to achieve their goals.
Since the sexual organs are reproductive organs, I think it’s inarguable that their function is to therefore reproduce. To use them for that purpose nowadays has been almost relegated to a secondary function compared to how frequently they’re used simply for pleasure, or so-called love. So much so that it’s almost a ridiculous proposal to suggest their proper use is only for procreation, and stating such places you firmly into the category of a stuffy and conservative thinker of times gone by. Sadly, nobody seems to analyze logically why the modern opinion that sex is primarily for our pleasure, and somehow a necessity in relationships, should be accepted without question. Simply the fact that we’re so addicted to it seemingly gives us the right to declare it perfectly normal to indulge in without limit.
If we think about what it is that we’re attracted by, we might not be so drawn to it after all. Each of our external bodies is made of various elements, which underneath the nicely packaged layers of skin, are not at all pleasant – flesh, muscle tissue, bones, tendons and sinews etc, around which veins of blood circulate. Not exactly the stuff dreams are made of, more like nightmares! True, the forms are created with a beauty and intelligence far beyond our own capabilities, but the blueprint for the forms lies beyond matter and is replicated in matter only in a gross and imperfect way.
Just as looking into the butchers shop window makes a sane person want to vomit more than go in and purchase the flesh to eat, looking at the body of the opposite sex (or the same sex for that matter) shouldn’t be any more appealing to enjoy in a vicarious sense than the aforementioned meat. The two things are very much connected, and the only real difference is that one activity is enjoying the flesh of a dead creature, the other while it’s still alive! Why should we be so enamored that the flesh hangs off the body in different ways to our own? Considering that the genitals serve a dual purpose, not just of generation, but of expelling waste fluid, shouldn’t we be aloof from such animalistic attraction?
And the bodily shape that attracts is serves a purpose also, in that it subconsciously directs us towards mating with a partner that is healthy and fertile, rather than wasting our efforts on barren soil as it were. The large breasts and hips on a young woman are signs of fertility, yet it’s usually far from our purpose to be fertilizing the ovaries – we just like the look of it! And for women, looking toward a strong and muscular male figure is also a sign that he is “fit” – not just in the modern sense of being sexy, but fit for producing a healthy child.
Knowing a few of these facts makes a person weigh up the consequences of sex with the pleasure, which brings up the topic of the difference between pleasure and happiness.
Chew the thorn, drink the blood, call it pleasure
But you’ll never quench that thirst
Sex is suffering, bleed the envy, bleed the jealousy, bleed the heartache
Call it pleasure, chew the thorn. I won’t”
HAPPINESS VS PLEASURE
In modern Western society especially, it is advertised widely that happiness comes from pleasure, often the pleasure of owning and controlling material possessions. Such pleasure is on the sensual plane, and at best a temporary lift, which one has to come down from back to mundane reality, much like a drug. And because the high is temporary, we have to chase it perpetually to keep experiencing it, and also due to the law of diminishing returns usually we need more of the substance to achieve the same effect. More consumable items to further burden the earth, bigger and better toys and gadgets than last years, more items for our comfort or illusion of security.
On and on it goes, as modern materialistic civilization spirals down into more complex problems – problems of sustainability of resources, mental problems and anxieties from a lack of purpose other than to enjoy to the max, and problems that while some have such luxuries the majority are have-nots and addressing the vast lack of equality for many means profiting from crime, often violent.
But what else can we expect? When we teach that happiness comes from ownership and control, those who own or control nothing but their own miserable and poverty stricken lives are bound to uprise and try to take by force what should be rightfully their share. And sex is perhaps the most used commodity to advertise such luxuries, with almost naked women on TV, billboards, magazines, and now the internet – flaunted to sell anything from fast cars to toothpaste! If you just look good by owning ________(TM) product, the opposite sex will gravitate to you like a magnet and you’ll enjoy, you’ll be SO happy!
We’ve seen and heard it a million times, in different cleverly designed ways, so much in fact we’re desensitized to it all and would think it wouldn’t have any effect. But of course it does, otherwise the advertisers wouldn’t spend billions of dollars on it, and what we have is a real life Big Brother society of programmed minds that move through life unquestioning like robots, simply working and consuming until death. Calling it brainwashing would be too kind, since washing the mind of such contamination is exactly what’s now required. In reality it’s actually evil minded exploitation of the weak by intelligent, yet manipulative, leaders of corporations – which these days are equally, if not more powerful, than governments.
Ironically, the very thing used most to propagate consumerism – sex and sexual attraction – when analyzed, doesn’t even bring the happiness so much promised by the ads. You get the nice house, fast car, and every conceivable gadget to ‘catch’ the ultimate partner, then soon realize that it’s not enough to satisfy our innate urge for satisfaction and happiness. Our thirst for lust is unquenchable by any amount of indulgence, and the solution isn’t in trying to get more, but in actually being happier with LESS! When you aint got nothing you aint got nothing to lose…
Of course we do need something, but that something is on a different level than material sensual pleasure. We can’t exist in a vacuum, leaving aside all pleasures of life, since the very nature of the living being is that he or she is pleasure seeking. It’s the platform or category of pleasure that we have to understand, which alone distinguishes humans from other animals.
“Taught how to purchase we consume by the pound
but open us up, there’s not much to be found.
If we can simply imbibe one sentence of truth
it outweighs all the shit we drank up in our youth.”
(Better Than a Thousand ‘Just One’)
HUMAN OR ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR?
Before we dealt with some of the physiological effects of sex. Now we are talking of matters above the sensual platform, the mental, intellectual, and metaphysical or ‘spiritual’.
What is it that distinguishes us from other species of animals? We seem to have much in common in that we’re busy obtaining the necessities of life for our survival – finding food, building shelters, defending ourselves from attack, and reproducing. Besides these basic activities which we share in common with all species, human beings have a distinct advantage in that their intelligence is more refined and consciousness developed to the point of being able to question and reason. This is what gives humans morality whereas animals generally don’t reflect upon their actions but act on impulse.
Because humans recognize pain can be as a result of their own actions, they often refrain from acting in a way that otherwise would be pleasing, whereas a fish for example wouldn’t first contemplate biting the hook, or another animal walking into a trap for food. The consequences of our actions are things we think about, not just immediate consequences but long term ones too, both for ourselves and others.
So in possessing this ability to reason, the level of our pursuits for pleasure should be higher than that of animals that aren’t endowed with it. Sadly, we see often so-called human behavior doesn’t include this accountability and commonly our actions lack any morality and are driven by impulses just like lower animals. Apart from acting in a way which is value driven, having higher intelligence means being able to pursue pleasures on the mental and intellectual platforms, producing literature, art, music etc. which is unique to human society. Yet if our intellectual pursuits remain in the realm of matter, of temporary sensual gratification only – albeit of a more refined nature – still we feel a lacking, and even the most cleverly produced entertainment can’t be enjoyed repeatedly and grows stale.
Since sex is on the gross sensual platform it is more short lived than activities on the mental and intellectual platforms, which may endure much longer before the taste for them diminishes, and an intelligent person strives for things that give more lasting pleasure than a quick physical romp. Which is why civilized societies, unlike our present one, place value on relationships rather than exploitative pursuits that fail to take into account how another sentient being feels. In this way, straightedge upholds the tenet that sexual relationships be restricted to those within more committed relationships, and it’s adherents frown upon promiscuous behavior which causes emotional pain to others.
Most followers of straightedge principles see casual sex to be very much like another kind of drug that people chase to find pleasure but which ultimately ends bringing about pain. In a loving relationship there is accountability – in casual affairs there is really only the pursuit of one’s own selfish agenda, how to experience sensual pleasure with another person in the short term, disregarding any long term needs they may have and walking away from any responsibility. This is especially true when unwanted pregnancy occurs, and the burden if is often left solely on the woman who has to make the difficult decision what to do. The man can walk away, the woman cannot. So in that sense the responsibility lies with them both equally, and in a mutual relationship that can be dealt with carefully and with love and support. Casual sex doesn’t care about love or support or compassion or consequence – it only cares about getting what it wants right now, forget the future! It’s a selfish action that isn’t without consequences, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
What today’s society calls ‘love’ often is far from a proper definition of the word, and can be replaced almost always with the word ‘lust’ to be more accurate. Love considers what the person within the body wants and serves their purpose – lust only considers the body. It is this bodily consciousness that drives us to pursue and exploit other bodies, as well as to pursue other objects of desire whether animate or inanimate.
Being freed from such bodily identification in turn can help free us from the pushings of the body to enjoy other bodies in order to feel pleasure. This is where straightedge is a stepping stone to further self development, the means to an end – not necessarily the end itself. If we think we’ve reached perfection simply by abstaining from certain toxic substances, we should realize that while we’ve negated the destructive habits, that’s only half the battle – we have to also engage in positive practices that will help us to develop as moral beings.
“Slave to habit, a bottle, a pill-what will you do?
You’re losing your mind and you’re losing your will
Is that really you?”
(Better Than a Thousand ‘Demand Independence’)
S X E and SPIRITUALITY
Straightedge is a lifestyle choice taken by millions in all parts of the world, a choice to forego many so-called pleasures in order to improve ones body, ones mind, ones character, and in turn improve society and the world we live in. If everyone were to somehow follow the discipline, surely the world would be a better place in a number of ways. Being free of intoxication including the intoxicating effect of always chasing sexual pleasure, allows the mind to think more clearly and spend time contemplating deeper subjects than selfish enjoyment. Unfortunately, people are trapped in a cycle of dependency on one kind of a drug or another, including sex addiction, and it’s almost impossible to find anyone in this day and age that doesn’t rely on some sort of intoxicant to get by or isn’t dictated to by their lower senses.
This is a terribly sad situation, an indication that life is so bad that we have to ingest poison just to get by – which is the root meaning of in-toxic-ation, hence the common and ironic phrase in bars “what’s your poison?”. Or else we have to plough headlong into physical relationships unthinking of the consequences. But what is it about reality that we have to hide by burying our heads into one drug or another, or one sexual partner or another?
True, the reality of this world is often pain and suffering, but rather than make a solution to the misery we spend so much effort simply hiding from it pretending foolishly that it doesn’t exist. At least for Friday night… though everybody knows the next morning comes around and that reality is right back before us, and sadly we’re less equipped to cope with it by being hung over, or coming down, and/or entangled in a relationship with someone else we hardly know. In an attempt to relieve ourselves of the trouble and anxiety of life, we foolishly get ourselves deeper into it.
It is indeed a tragedy, and it would help to understand why people drive themselves to destruction by empathizing with them better than it would condemning them. Reaching out with compassion is harder than condemning the victims of drugs by simply stating it’s their own fault, and somehow helping others rather than simply refraining from intoxication ourselves is a more positive step, though providing a good example for others to follow also has it’s merits. Apart from the obvious immediacy of health care, support and counseling such victims require, a more long term solution is what’s needed otherwise the cycle just continues and people go in and out of rehabilitation still with no purpose or any wisdom to hold on to which can help lift them out of the gutter.
What is required is an alternative to all the self destroying activities on offer today, which is what the independent hardcore scene, and in particular the straightedge movement, has attempted to do to a certain degree. However, to replace something lower like intoxication and casual sex, something much better has to be offered lest people not find the strength to abstain indefinitely and again fall victim. The replacement for drugs is often loud music and extreme sports like skateboarding etc, which are more appropriate for the youth but less so as we grow older. The alternative to casual sex is committed relationships, which again have to be based on substantial common interests and goals or else they disintegrate also.
Better than the lower pursuits which are destructive, are the higher ones which are less so, but are they high enough to let go of the ever tempting ones we left behind? If history shows the answer, then generally the answer is no, unfortunately. Most of the people who were ‘true till death’ in their early teens didn’t actually survive past college… and though many people have admirably stuck fast to their principles, certain websites list many once heroic followers who have failed to keep the edge, letting down throngs of now disillusioned followers, many of whom have in turn failed to uphold the tenets.
This is par for the course with any movement, that there will inevitably be casualties in the war on illusion, but maybe what would reduce those statistics is something of a higher nature still than simply the leisure pursuits of music or sport etc. Those things, while of course not condemned by spiritual seekers, still aren’t enough to satisfy the craving we have for unending pleasure and happiness, of unconditional love, and an ultimate goal and purpose to existence. And while literature fulfills the need of the intellect, there is still often a void in the heart to be filled with an ultimate purpose and goal to life which otherwise seems existentially empty and rather pointless.
While people living a straightedge lifestyle on one hand deserve to be congratulated, from another perspective it’s only congratulations to have joined innumerable species of life besides humans that also don’t intoxicate themselves. While that may sound harsh, and the reality is that many animals do get intoxicated on certain plants, it is an impetus to go further. The same could be said of the move towards vegetarianism and veganism, a great step forward but only one that brings us to what ancient cultures considered human. Straightedge brings us to the point of being civilized humans, whereas those who partake of alcohol and other drugs can be considered even less than many animals – especially considering animals generally limit sex to procreation. And further, those humans that eat meat are part of a system that systematically kills billions of creatures not strictly for survival, but for taste. Predatory animals kill out of sheer necessity to survive, and do so themselves – the dirty work is not carried out by others in hellish factories, and thus out-of-sight out-of-mind. If we’re prepared to do that only then would be free of hypocrisy, otherwise we carry on pretending the slaughter is humane and painless.
So we have to rise above the level where even some animals are already at in their behavior, including sexual habits. Though some animals get to enjoy sex up to 60 times a day, many do indeed cohabit with one partner, and we certainly don’t see a group of animals rape another helpless one which drags human behavior down to some of the most abominable we can imagine.
It’s often a debatable point how committed a ‘committed’ relationship is, and something only we can judge personally and honestly – not something that can really be legislated by the rules of straightedge or anything else. But considering that sex means to enjoy another’s body, whether consensually or otherwise, we have to draw the line between affection and exploitation. Certainly sex within a committed relationship, married or otherwise, for the purpose of bringing about children is very noble – since the small amount of pleasure is there is greatly outweighed by the following responsibility, which is why by nature’s arrangement sexual pleasure is so compelling otherwise who would take the trouble to procreate?
We like to experience the pleasure without paying the price of any inconvenience, somewhat like taking sweet medicine but after enjoying the sweet spitting out the medicine part! Contraception has become perfectly normal in modern society, yet if we consider the term it means contrary to conception, and like ‘contradiction’, goes against the natural order of things. Sex is natural, yet we avoid the natural consequences of it by utilizing the most unnatural devices. When was the last time we saw a condom growing on trees? Or a herbal contraceptive pill? The fallacy of the sexual liberation movement of the 1960’s was it’s failure to address this simple point, that if sex is deemed natural it’s consequences must been seen as such also.
Celibacy doesn’t seem a plausible option in a society that is so sexually agitated by media propaganda, so where restraint is unrealistic exercising some self control is the next best thing, and again the individual must decide to what degree he or she is committed to a life of purity. It’s generally considered fine to have any amount of sex within marriage or a committed relationship, but is that really a sharing of love and affection that endures time, or mutual exploitation which cannot last? Maybe if people would just stop gratifying their sensual desires long enough to understand that if you stop feeding the desire it stops demanding so much attention, and the habit can be brought under our control rather than it controlling us and distorting our perceptions.
In any case, sex is an intense, yet brief activity, hardly something as a main basis for happiness. So whether we abstain or restrict sex to one partner, the point is we’re still going to need something more…
“Sex – so easily caught in it’s snare, lies – looking for some skin to share
Pain in knowing I’m not immune, how many lives has it left in ruin?
I can’t turn my back, on what I know is wrong
I’m reduced to an object of desire, I want to put myself above
But I keep getting dragged into the fire”
(Worlds Collide ‘Objects of Desire’)
SUBTLE LAWS OF KARMA
The ancient Vedic culture of India, which is the oldest known civilization which produced many of the systems we still use today including the numerical system, and the advanced Sanskrit language from which all other languages have been generated, has much wisdom to offer in solving our modern dilemmas. It may seem that a society of old wouldn’t have relevance to today’s fast paced and materially advanced world – yet the same basic necessities of life are there despite our thinking life has changed dramatically, and the sun still rises and sets and supplies our food and necessities, none of which can be manufactured in factories. The greatest gift of that culture is the wisdom of the Sanskrit scriptures, written approximately 5000 years ago on palm leaves though handed down by an aural tradition much older still, such as the Bhagavad-gita. And one of the more easily grasped concepts from there is the one of karma – the universal subtle laws of action and reaction – which is becoming more accepted in the Western world as being perfectly plausible.
Everything we do, at least for ourselves, bears an equal and opposite reaction, just like the laws such as gravity – what goes up must come down, to put it in plain terms. So it follows logically that if want to enjoy a good result in the future, our actions in the past and present should be virtuous. Whatever done, if it causes unnecessary pain and suffering to other beings, is only rightfully experienced in turn by us to teach us first hand “how does it feel?”.
If we learn the lesson we develop more compassion for others and accountability for our actions, lest we suffer the consequences handed out by nature which can’t be escaped or avoided by means, modern inventions notwithstanding. So our actions are divided into karmic and vi-karmic – good actions and bad or negative ones, and the resultant reaction is appropriately pleasing or painful.
Since it’s practically impossible not to inflict harm on some other beings unconsciously, concession is there in that if we act wrongfully in full consciousness that’s far worse, and the more conscious the being we cause to suffer the heavier the penalty – just like killing a human being is deemed somewhat worse than animal killing, though both in one sense are equally wrong. Because we have to survive by eating other living beings, even plants which are conscious entities though their awareness is almost dormant, there is a process to minimize our impact, beginning with refraining from eating meat and fish, down to acknowledging that even our fruits and vegetables were products of living entities and offering the due respect and appreciation for having been supplied them.
Such laws are universal, and though subtle, are being perceived and investigated more by modern science in an attempt to reconcile the apparent differences between spiritual and secular viewpoints. In recognizing and adhering to such imperceivable yet real phenomena, people will surely be more thoughtful in their actions and the impact they have on themselves, other beings and the planet.
“I have been born in the age of thoughtlessness
And I too commit the crime of living in this world
Considering all to be mine
The earth the air the sun the trees
Like a body all work in perfect harmony
Will we fit into the system or create the disease?
Our greatest wealth it has been lost, I’d like to get it back at any cost
We dare live in this world without appreciation”
AWAKENING – EXPERIENTIAL OR BELIEF?
What often turns people off from pursuing spirituality, is the misconception that it necessarily means joining an ‘organized religion’, whereas in fact the goal is to become self realized and wake up from the illusion of our bodily identification, not to identify with another sectarian group again based on the body. We have to understand that just as we’re not black or white, and such racial prejudice comes from superficial differences of skin pigmentation, we are similarly not separated by nationality, sex, age, or religion. All these differences are based upon bodily misidentification only, and simply serve to divide people rather than unite them.
What unites us is that we are metaphysical, sometimes called ‘spiritual’, living entities, and while we occupy various different bodies we’re somehow separate from them, and identifying with the body is as much an illusion to have to shed as is identifying with our clothes. Furthermore, being freed of such identification and gradually awakened to our true spiritual nature beneath all the gross and subtle coverings of the body, mind, intelligence etc., we can also realize that other species are essentially not different from us also, and thus the propensity to exploit either humans or animals is not at all beneficial or even desirable. It is this awakening to reality that is required to change the face of the earth, not more separate groups to fight amongst themselves over superficial differences.
People approach this task differently and achieve various levels of heightened awareness, all of which have their merits, and the distinctions between them the subject of another article altogether. My chosen path is that of bhakti-yoga, or Krishna consciousness as it’s otherwise known, which has been synonymous with the hardcore and straightedge scenes for many since the early 1980’s. Rooted in ancient Indian culture, it is still a powerful way of living practically in the world yet advancing towards understanding things beyond normal levels of perception.
Others choose to tread the path of Buddhism, some Christianity, and many other faiths have found their way into hardcore – or rather hardcore kids have found their way into such paths. In the early days of straightedge, there was more of an understanding that such a lifestyle choice was a step to becoming more conscious and aware of things around you, and not that just to be straightedge itself was the goal but a tool to awakening more to reality. This was reflected in the names of some of the bands; Wide Awake, Aware, Vision and Beyond to mention a few, as well as terms such as ‘Positive Force’ being used as well as straightedge with similar views and goals, and making a comeback more recently with bands like Soul Control, I Rise and Have Heart.
Somehow though, at some point in time that focus shifted, and became more militant rather than a positive individual choice. Militant and often violent behavior from certain sections of straightedge communities thought it necessary to use force to establish their views, and so far done much damage to an otherwise positive and peaceful worldwide movement. Though, on the other hand, the infusion of spiritually inspired bands entered the scene in a dramatic way in the early 1990’s, as bands like Shelter, 108, World’s Collide and Abhinanda began to get noticed in a big way. At that time, an important theme was beginning to be understood – before we can change the world we have to be able to change ourselves. What was needed was a process to further purify our own lives of the same problems we were trying to eliminate from the greater society.
What needs to be understood now though, is the goal of all paths is enlightenment and freedom from bodily misidentification, and not that they are merely ‘beliefs’. Belief doesn’t get us anywhere without working on what it is that is chaining us down. When we put into practice what we’ve read or heard in theory, only then does personal experience overtake what otherwise could be accused of being merely fantasy, and unless we do the experiment first hand we have no way of verifying it either way.
When we work on that and begin to glimpse the divine states of consciousness – then we’re starting to go ‘over the edge’.
“Did you really fall for this again?
Did you believe that he was a man?
Did you think there was something real
In the things we’ve said.
Just to be a lord over you (in bed) ?
He’ll tell you everything
You’ll ever want to hear
Cause he wants to be you most dear
He wants to be the reason for you tear
And the music that’s playing in your ear
He wants to be your reservoir of pleasure
And wants to be your heart’s only treasure
Your everything, your only-thing
Your god, he wants to be your god
How far you fall for it – how far you fall
He’s the only “he”
What you see in me, that’s a falsity
Govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
This ain’t no song of flattery
I’m pointing out our stupidity:
Dumb femininity, dumb masculinity
Think about it
Did you dream you were more than his trophy?
Sex turn you to dirt, a non-entity
Sex turns you (us) to stone and that’s reality”
Mark Langstone (AKA: Vijaya-Gauranga das) has been involved in the hardcore and straightedge scenes in the UK since 1989, and since emigrated to Sydney, Australia where he supports his family working as a graphic designer.