This is the 1st in a series regarding Truth and its importance.
When speaking, words communicate ideas and untruth fogs or clouds the issues. In a lot of modern dialogue, we often find duplicity, especially in selling/marketing and politics. When selling anything there is the use of psychological manipulation and political speech often characterized by an unwillingness to be honest and straightforward.
In this talk, we examine how one state in the USA is compelling the pornography industry to have stronger measures to prevent young children from visiting their sites through reliable age verification mechanisms.
Considering the average age of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old, the need for this is undeniable. Yet the biggest group of porn sites, around 4.5 trillion visits each month in 2020, according to a company spokesperson — which is almost double Google and Facebook combined, is pushing back claiming “safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission” and advocates for them say this regulation will have “a huge chilling effect on anybody who’s operating in the sexual wellness space, as well as obviously, sexual speech of all kinds including adult content.”
What!!! Porn is “Sexual wellness”?
Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.
So, I’m going to talk about something, and maybe over the next even few weeks, we’ll speak on the subject in different ways. And it has to do with why Speaking Truth Matters. And of course, when I say that, it’s not only in relation to this world—or let me put it the other way: it’s not just in relation to one’s spiritual life and spiritual well-being, but speaking truth benefits society as a whole. And you may wonder initially, “Well, that should be obvious.”
The problem is that I think many of us are unaware of how deeply the culture of untruth is ingrained in society, and it has, of course, devastating consequences. When somebody speaks, either lying, or duplicitously (You know this word? You say one thing, and you mean another), if you speak this way, then what it does is completely cloud or fog the issues, including your life and ideas on what is the purpose of life and what is, what should be my purpose, focus and direction.
So, in the culture that we currently live in, there’s two areas that are just filled with untruth and duplicity (they sometimes call it diplomacy, but that’s not the right way to use the word) and that is in politics and almost everything surrounding politics. I mean you notice how when people try to interview politicians, and they ask them a question, they never answer. What’s wrong with you?! And so, the polite reporter asks again, and then they just go off in a direction that they want to go and push their agenda and everything, but they’ll never answer the question, usually because it’s going to make them look bad, so they just avoid it.
But the other area that’s actually way more pervasive is anybody that is trying to sell you something. Anybody that’s selling is going to be speaking in a way that is filled with duplicity and dishonesty, and that’s just the way it goes. And we are so unfamiliar with it, in the sense that we’ve bought into the messaging and don’t really get what people are saying.
So, I’ll just touch on something that I saw just a few days ago. In the state of Utah, in the United States, they passed legislation that all (what do you call it?) operators of porn sites had to be able to validate the age of people coming to them. Minors are not allowed to access porn. And it was just like this massive eruption of pushback, I mean like monumental. And it’s so serious that the largest collection of porn sites have decided that they are no longer going to allow—they’re blocking everybody from that state. And of course, the reason they’re blocking everybody from that state is because they are not honestly trying to keep kids away from pornography.
How bad is it? Well, in the United States, amongst kids from 11 to 18, more than 85 percent of males frequently visit porn sites, and about 53 percent of girls, young girls. In the UK, the average age that children (an average means there’s some younger and some a bit older, so it’s average), the average age that children begin watching porn is 11 years of age. And of course, parents just have no idea. Everybody’s so busy, and nobody’s going to police things. And you have a situation where between 11 and 18 years of age in the UK, 22% of young people are considered to have an addiction, or more than a frequent usage of pornography. And of course, that’s—like how bad is that?
I mean it’s just mind-boggling what’s available there, and you’re going to introduce little children to something that’s going to shape their ideas of what is human sexuality, what it’s for, of the nature of relationships. The majority of sex portrayed or played out in pornography pushes some form of violence. And so you’ve got this—you get this message that it should be this way, and the little girls are learning, “Oh, I need to be dominated, I need to be brutalized a little bit, and it’s happy time.” And the boys are learning, “Oh this is the way things happen. This is the way the world works.”
And of course, from a spiritual perspective, the most detrimental thing to the use of pornography is the utter objectification of people, where people are simply seen as objects of desire and of sexual fulfillment, objects to be used. And so spiritually that’s absolutely devastating, but even from a material perspective, it’s—you’re going to produce a society that is highly dysfunctional, if this becomes a standard, if this is what people are taking on board. And it is what they are taking on board.
And so, in their big push back, the biggest collection of these sites says, “They have the highest standards of security and safety in the world.” [Laughs] And it’s just like, what are you talking about? What are you talking about, that it’s safe, when you’re portraying such—actually a lot of it becomes quite brutalizing.
So, it’s—and then you had an advocacy group speaking for them, and they say that this is really going to set back the issue of sexual health and freedom of speech. And it’s like, how can you possibly think that exercising controls so that young children can’t access this stuff is interfering with their sexual health? What do you mean “sexual health”? It’s so—
People have really learned how to take words and terms and weave them into the conversation to alter your thinking, to get you to do things or to get you to embrace things, and this has become the actual standard for the world and in a lot of different ways, and in a lot of places.
In the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, in the second pada, in the 32nd (I think it is) shloka, he speaks about the—he had spoken about the yamas and niyamas. These are the first two foundational things for a good, a proper yoga practice. And these foundational things are things to guide your life. And the yamas are five or six in number, and one of them is truthfulness. It’s considered critically important for your peacefulness, for your happiness, for your spiritual well-being to live in truth—not your truth, my truth. Everybody’s got these trips going on which is just based upon emotions and their minds. There are some fundamental realities, and truthfulness is really, really important.
And so I’ll speak about this over the next few weeks a little bit more, only because it’s really, really important; and it’s something that we can try to practice in our own life, in our dealings with others, in our search for happiness, in how we view the world, in relationships and all kinds of things. To be truthful will really, really shift your world, and to be untruthful will also really shift your world in another way, towards a place that is guaranteed unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
So, one has to be very brave to be prepared to be truthful. It really calls on you to make big changes in your life and to become more focused on a deeper sense of purpose in your life. People fundamentally are dishonest or lie or things usually to avoid responsibility, to try and exploit. These are the things that untruth are used for.
So, just throwing that one out there for your consideration, and we’ll dig into it a little deeper and in real practical ways to help you on your spiritual journey.
You know, it’s not just about showing up to a kirtan once in a while. It’s about the actual adoption of principles and practices in my life that transform me and give my life a much more wonderful sense of purpose and direction and fulfillment.
Thank you very much.
I’ll try and lead a kirtan. We’ll see what happens. So I’ll chant Aum Hari Aum.