On exploring our taboos


There are thousands of photographs of ladies’ feet on Tumblr, and the viewing audience is of significant size.

The teachers instruct us how to identify and resolve our taboos. A taboo is something that has a warning attached telling us to stay away. The taboo tells us the consequences of disobeying can be severe, if not completely disastrous.

Schools and religions specialize in taboos, so many of us are burdened with many of them. It’s even taboo to discuss the subject of taboos.

One of the most common taboos warns us about aspects of ourselves that we have denied, rejected, or rebuked in some way. The teachers have been advising us for many years on the sort of taboos that seem so dangerous to us that we have gone into complete denial that they even exist.

What is the obstruction in your life, and how do you transform it into the radiance?—Joseph Campbell

Mr. Campbell assures us that if we pay attention to our roadblock it will “lose its blocking force or become a guide.”

We use denial as individuals, and organizations also rely on it to avoid the appearance of guilt or failure. It does not work no matter the scale of the denial.

Some of my favorite teachers on the theme of denial: John Bradshaw, Thomas Moore, Joseph Campbell, Harville Hendrix, and M. Scott Peck. If your interest extends to denial inside organizations I particularly recommend Chris Argyris, John W. Gardner, and Abraham Zaleznik.

Our denial at both levels is likely to harden in place and become difficult to access, study, or resolve.

I now confess. I enjoy the sight of a well-groomed female foot, and I finally gave myself permission to explore this interest. I discovered that I have a lot of company, and that a huge number of women enjoy the attention they receive as their feet are photographed.

I had attached a taboo to this interest, and with no apparent reason other than none of the men I know have shared their interest in the subject—if they have any such interest. I did not want to be weird and conspicuous for it. As I learn from Life, I am less concerned about being conspicuous.

On the subject of men. We don’t share much about matters of substance. I had lunch today with a lovely lady who posed nude for me and my camera the first time she met me. In a lifetime of photography I have photographed one naked man. The photo shoot was to commemorate the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary. Guys rarely, in my experience, make the bold statement unless it involves power or money. The exceptions are artists. God bless them.

My suggestion to young people is to consult the experts in the field of denial, and to work with their advice to clear out your own psychological basement. I have been at this task for many years. It’s hard work. One reward is that I can now acknowledge my fondness for well-groomed feminine feet. What a relief.

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