The Beauty of the Forbidden and the Brain


Throughout the ages, man has always seen
Attractive forces working in the banned,
Unending beauty in a thing obscene,
Desire to reach past allowed reach of hand.

‘Tis a question oft pursued by powered.
Torturing, why remained a mystery
Time could not cause it to become soured.
For humanity’s truth it is a key.

Causes include fear’s own titillation,
The appeal of the rebellious action,
Silhouetted caricaturization,
Made of bits of unknown untold fraction

We are evolution’s puppets, will-less,
When we peer into restricted abyss.

If one was to travel to primitive land of far, there the people’s lives are ruled by the ideas of ‘tabu’. It does not serve in any way to their behavior bar. They are without the gap between cause and effect that mars, thehierarchy of what they are not allowed to do. No beauty do they see in what has been found forbidden.

That’s not to say that fear is not a major driving force. The undesired retribution is wedded to deed. Such as the Lele tribe, where touch and death are not divorced. There, the pregnant are isolated without their remorse. Tabu acts bring death unto the children who inside feed. For this length of time no man finds beauty in his wife’s touch (Douglas).

Here the concept of ‘tabu’ is completely ruled by fear. Tradition and values let such a control establish. The consequences of acts are always extremely near. ‘Tabu’ and punishment are forever together seared. Contained in not a person is a rebellious wish. The pump of devastation they do not desire to prime.

In India, it is forbidden to contact refuse. The rule is so strong no one attempts to do so. It does not serve in the people to any fear induce. If they wanted to, it would not give to them any use. Interestingly, once something desired is away thrown, it becomes a mere part in the whole of the refuse raw (Douglas).

Early explorers declared these cultures as primitive. Their society was, comparatively, quite rigid. This was due to how the people saw how they themselves lived. For many consequences, causal reasons they couldn’t give. They hadn’t benefit of science, which became unhid, or desire to find a way to ‘tabu’ repudiate.

Islam and Judeo-Christian tradition tells us all of they that lived in paradise eternal: Eden. They transgressed against their God, who commanded that they fall. He clothed his rebellious creatures before the world they’d crawl. As for their paradise, they would have to die to be in. God stayed in their lives and cared for their children until now.

Ancient Greeks’ Prometheus stole fire from Olympus. When the gods found out they avenged themselves upon mankind. Before punishment was brought he helped them deceive Lord Zeus. He taught mankind their gods could be thwarted through use of ruse. Thus the allure of the tabu entered into their minds. A chance to get away from punishment was introduced.

Prometheus showed his men to fool the lord of the gods. He sacrificed unto Zeus the bones and scraps of the cow. This put Prometheus and Lord Zeus forever at odds. The gods were proven fallible by falsified facades. Punishment against man was also brought, the difference how: the giver’s liver will be eaten; man received his wife (Shattuck).

In both the cases aforementioned clemency was got. Jehovah and Zeus pitied man and granted him leeway- precedence that the punisher for mercy could be sought. God gave reinforcement which was inconsistently taught. Man was taught: to avoid punishment he could simply pray. The deity evolved into a parental figure.

With the combination of these two legends we find, a trend in which the “omnipotent” can be crossed safely. Any violation into the forbidden God will mind, there is also always the chance the vengeance will be kind. This chance assumes your transgression your deity will see, an intermediary established for the taboo.

The first glance at the beauty of the restricted is seen. The judge figure affected the ‘tabu’ conditioning. It gives the negative command some ambiguity. To Pavlov, it lowers learning to the second degree. This robs the positive punishment of half its meaning. It grants the violator a good buffer of safety.

Human beings appreciate the calm of security. It gives the sensation one is not a predator’s prey, if one accepts its effect evolutionarily. The more secure is one punished more   sporadically, as they know they will be safe if they act the correct way. This calm negates some fear which supposedly should be felt.

From this safe stance a view is given which allows wonder. Man can begin to consider violated action, the question of its effect he now has cause to ponder. Curiosity killed the cat, but man it does fodder. Whether he will be punished needs experimentation. An enigma’s beauty is the only part not questioned.

Traditions with varying repercussions lose respect. When a punishment’s need for interpretation is found, its fallibility causes it to decrease effect. Inconsistency leans laws’ learners to fail to reflect, guilt of impropriety has been proven to go down (Cornell). Thus, human enforcement opens itself to disregard.

The unpermitted has now combined safety with danger. A pleasing balance has been struck in most humans’ mindsets. It is as easy as stealing cows from in a manger- as Hermes did from Apollo, at that time a stranger. This is equivalent of dreaming, within safety nets, of flying free and lovely without fear of corporeal pain.

While true modern taboo has not the power of ‘tabu’, there still exists a risk in its disobedience. If found, one’s social standing it has the power to rue. The stigma reaches not only the deviant, but, too, his family, friends, and all who share public acquaintance. Social knowledge of the rebel equals sharing his deed.

In India there is a rigid system we call ‘caste’. If one is taboo, one is considered Untouchable. The isolation is so enforced it would be thought waste, to marry below one’s status would mean to be defaced. Those that are forbidden are not even reproachable (Douglas). Watered-down, the same applies for those that shrug our system.

The benefit of the risk can be displayed neurally. Undertaking a degree of danger releases hormone- endorphins from hypothalamus, pituitary. This chemical allows humans to live less painfully. It can be produced by those jogging or with broken bone. It may help to equate it with a natural morphine.     

Endorphins free the receptor from hunger or from pain. It also gives them the experience of well-being. This is a cause for feeling beauty I don’t need to explain- beauty’s subsequent elation has become a refrain. Slightly feared actions, therefore, give humans a good feeling. This state has also been conditioned with procreation (Wikipedia).

Taboo hints at a goal further search will let us obtain. We seek out the reward; we hope to dodge the shell of shame. The first possibility is happiness from the brain, the other is forced existence of isolated pain. It all depends whether one escapes that with many names- Supreme Court judges, society, your god or gods.

Because the banned has become beautiful, so the rebel. He has so become, his appeal is a commodity. Hollywood has discovered this attribute they can sell. The stock of rebellious sex stars has done very well- like James Dean, who remains a star for perpetuity. He began a female craze with Rebel Without a Cause.

Why should one become attractive when one is in peril? The risk they undertake should make them undesirable. Popular connotation gives us a clue why there will be pull- “teenage rebellion” has been quoted for a while. Stereotype, maybe, but one that’s not unviable. In one sense, it’s the old generation’s control’s death knell.

The teenage years are, more than anything, transitional. The connotation plays with ‘tabu’, which it hasbecome; like isolation, rebellion is communicable. Disobedience can serve in the sense traditional- when the boys leave their home to change into men, in tribes some (Douglas). Among others, it could be transition into adult.

In most society, a degree of youth is desired. Short of pedophiles, young children are not conquest-able. Similar, so are those above the age of bearing child. Potential mates do not want one whose resources are tired. First blush is the prime time, in the “genes’ eyes”, for nuptials. Male investment is returned with larger offspring chance (Wright).

Another evolutionary display is the strut. The rebel is peacock-like in his search for attention, living dangerously with competitors in a rut. His attribute is the hazard in which he himself puts. Sacrificial organisms aid the genes’ promotion (Wright). Only one aspect of rebels’ beauty’s mate selection.

Flaunting vulnerability is a display of strength. It shows the deviant has no fear of consequences. Even unsuccessful attempts insinuate “great length”. That is meant in the male preoccupation way of ‘length’. Rebellion forces leaders to go on defenses. Strange things occur when one threatens the system of power.

Once established rulers become afraid, insurgents win. Most sovereigns show no sign of fear if they can help not to. In their populace’s eyes, fear is weakness’ begin. Their reign’s armor can have not a chink of doubtfulness in. They are the establishment responsible for taboo. The rebel attacks and takes some emotional control.

Dissenters primarily self-serving vanity feed. They fight they system and people they have been taught are right. Some may argue this is an instance of mere greed. It is truly an autocratic, narcissistic need. The heretic is the only correct one in his sight. To think one’s right and all the others wrong shows one is vain.

High self-regard is not necessarily something bad. Low confidence is widely linked to many disorders. Vanity can cause trouble if it controls a lad, but it is thought to be a drive mankind has always had. The others are hunger, sex, and fear by Sumner’s orders (Sumner). Satisfying a drive is a source of man’s pure pleasure.

The same has been philosophized for power since time’s dawn. This thought’s flaw is it separates power and vanity. Control gives man a mountain peak to put himself upon. It is dreamt a state where men and women equally fawn. Whether fear or respect, rulers are treated loftily. The vain seek such seeming universal adoration.

Self-regard is not the only reason for such a search. Freud believed one cause was the urge to overthrow Father. This parlays to God’s role as Dad and acts against the Church. Religious rebellion began when faith first emerged. A similar Elektra theory explains for a her. Freud believed the cause of the urge is fear of castration (Nunberg).

Other explanations of power-hunger’s cause abound. Alfred Adler thought it was inferiority doubt (Wikipedia). To him, humans are fighting for completeness to be found. No man feels himself to be completely strong and sound. Some struggle to keep their secret flaws from being found out. Power over others can be used as way of measure.

Insubordination is now shown to be born of fear. It is not a fear of others, but a fear of oneself- fear that in the society’s pack, one brings up the rear. It drives human beings to try to further their career- Adler claims it is necessary to one’s mental health. They attempt to alleviate insecurity’s pain.

As the rebel displays such strength and purpose, he models. Others watch him pursue his ends and learn his behavior. Even if one has been trained to think his actions awful, they want his ability to desire and drive fulfill. Such is the appeal of the rebel and his endeavor. If one can’t be him, one wants to know him to share his role.

As other, non-upstarts, share the human motivation, so they have the same vanity and autonomic drive. This is why they choose to ally with a revolution. They join the latest edition in their evolution. If lucky, they’re members of the club that others all strive. They watch the population from their vanity tower.

The dissenter has a chance of becoming alpha male. This is a position viewed as extremely beautiful. It is the ruling role in which much power is entailed- and it is available to rebels who do not fail. The beneficial traits are both public and personal. Alphas are attractive to those under their direction.

Tests have been done on those who have high status where they’re in. Such tests were on frat officers and on vervet monkeys. Neural benefits these alpha males apparently win. They have higher than normal amounts of serotonin (Wright). This means that just being a leader is enough to please. Serotonin serves to beauty’s experience advance.

The chemical secretes into extra neural spaces. Then the neurons can pick them up when it’s necessary. Neurologists still argue what serotonin’s place is. High levels of it have been linked to happier faces (Wikipedia). There are many places on the neuron that will carry. Well-being and serenity show when the two consult.

Peace and happiness are themselves appealing attributes. It serves to attract both peers and potential mates. Man can relax and therefore spends time around ease acute. Mates also prefer for offspring to have status roots. It ensures resources will be provided at good rates. It, too, places the gene in good position to mix well.

Offspring of high-status parents invite good wed later. Status is an easy way for the gene to multiply. It’s sole “purpose” is to make it’s host a better mater. In addition, it makes the aesthetic of it greater. Rebellion is a way to earn such a status simply. To Kolmogorov, one of the best ways there ever was. 

Man has drive towards the off limits past social urges. He is attracted by his unending longing to know- he seeks to serve all ambiguity cleansing purges, not helped by willful veils, such as drawn by Catholic Churches. The Pope tried to squash scientific thought in days of old- which only made more beautiful ideas like cones and rods.

By definition, heretics are usually not taught. Only information which is accepted is passed on. Those who theorized such were and are sent to rot. But man always wants to have more than what he’s got- not teaching something just adds a note of rebellion- perceived as learning more than the other generation.

So the Church began the fascination with the occult. Other faiths were not shown, so leaked details became gorgeous. It opened a population who wanted to be sold. It is with relative ease one can recruit for their cult. Mankind’s drive for truth can open him to the dangerous. He will continue to look for what he has not yet seen.

Why man wants a thing simply restricted has been proven. Vanity, power, rebellion, and safe fear all play. But more plays when he wants to learn more than has been- when he discovers new circles he hungers to move in: the drive to be the salvaging, illuminating ray. It is rewarding to march in this un-heard of rhythm.

Aforementioned attitude affords ambiguity. One can fill in the reasons or details as one wishes. He can inject upon unknown his personality. He can write his own answer to a perceived mystery, Ptolemic in the way his world affects how all swishes. Facts are scarce, so collaboration he does not need.

The taboo unknown often is seen in a human form. The preferred example is Dracula, the vampire count. Van Helsing, a man of learning, fights his shape-changing form. Dracula’s appearance fails to have any defined norm. Mysterious relics affect him in unknown amount. He displays how the unknown our attention we let reign.

It is always pleasing to have the complex simplified. The unknown can be regarded as a complex concept. This explains our attraction to Dracula and his bride. He serves as an example of unknown personified. Humans have an ability- even infants are “ept”. We can visualize faces without looking too hard (Rubenstein).

Without details, one has an idea of what the banned is. Here and there it is possible to pick up small details. This is enough for one to form a prognosis. Our cognition allows us to form a general gist, made of generalities of what the unknown entails. This prototype serves us well, while not total perfection.

Prototypes give us the impression a thing’s traits. We don’t have to see every cat to guess yours has four legs. Possibly not true, this trick lets us move at faster rates. That way, we know a given tiger is not a pet great. Evolution this prototyping capacity begs. Not every skunk, because of this, must be stopped for and smelt.

Creating prototypes is a basic human function- done as man finds tidbits of undisclosed information. For the forbidden it’s an excellent introduction. Of every rumor it is merely a hodgepodge junction. Curiosity is the purpose for its creation- making tangible idea of what the unknown could be.

The unknown has many human desires caricaturized. The first is the human fascination with the novel. We love to see what we never thought could be realized. The newer the object, the more it’s seen as beautified (Berlyne). While not shockingly new, taboo stimuli excite well- fascinating novelty, but slightly familiar, too.

Often, taboos restrict human motivational drives. Dracula feeds, drinks. takes women, and controls resources. All of these are seen as mandatory for joyful lives. Rules are established to ensure not one ever arrives. Man is forced to want these things by unstoppable forces. The caricatures of pleasure, forbidden are configured.

The illicit’s concept has become a caricature. Its prototype is now fascination’s embodiment. It is an exaggeration of what man reaches for. It is a caricature which grows into more and more. With each experience it strengthens the subject’s intent. As the banned grows, it is apparent it has its own life.

Every exposure to the forbidden’s limits molds it. Each time action is prohibited, rebellion sparks. When novel stimuli are shown, man wants to perceive it. With the hint of the unknown, man wants to examine it. He wants to get the reward of knowledge and leave no dark. The caricature has man’s essential being seduced.

Taboo’s ambiguity aids its exaggeration. Because so little is known about it, it needs answers. It is rewarding to ponder taboo’s vague distinctions. One may consider unspeakables, with titillation. The allure of the “wrong” is true to the caricature, which offers beauty in discovering the not allowed.

Human beings are built to perceive the world around them. It is necessary for the survival of the gene. It is from this reason that the drive to discover stems. It rewards him as he makes sense of the world, or attempts. Tools like grouping exist to help understand what was seen. If perception is quick, the man may live to procreate.

Human beings dislike that which remains mysterious. It arises in them degrees of internal conflict. A violation of the taboo is such a status- ‘cognition dissonance’ happens with the rebellious (Festinger). ‘Tis the enigma effect of crossing the interdict. The dissonance gives man unending interest, in awe.

Drive for completion is a facet of man’s attitude. He typically gets more reward from completed objects. That’s cause is it takes less time to see shapes simple and crude. This gives man some more time to be out foraging for food. Therefore, evolution “built” in man rewarding effects. Incomplete objects are less pleasing because they waste time.

Often man can imagine a broken images’s fix. Neurons excite as a fourth corner is put on a square. Man does not see it as four randomly arranged sticks. He is often even unaware of his mind’s eye tricks. If well executed, the undone can be yet more fair. That is because of the reward said above at work such.

As order is created by man, so he is made glad. The order’s a function of his reasonable guessing. This reward man seeks when he’s titillated by a tad. He seeks when he knows an answer’s possible to be had. His mind guesses likelihood via top-down processing. These mental actions are the real beauty of the hidden.


As near the end I wish to leave you this:
Beautification has worked this thesis.

I pray it has not been awful taxing.
Treating you to factorilization.
It simply sought truthfulness’s sanction,
Body as well as theorization’s.

Now it is stark man’s driving vanity,
Perpetually pursuing power,
Neural reward, pleasure, autocracy,
Drawing others as bees to his flower.

Sexy as a hormonally-crazed teen,
Excited as adrenaline trapt, canned,
Or flushing out all the gray in between,
Like Ulysses in wondrous unknown lands.

Works Cited

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Development of Conscience in Preschool Children”.  Dissertation Abstracts
        International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.  Vol 65(4-B).  Univ
Microfilms International, 2004.
Douglas, Mary.  Purity and Danger.  USA: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, 1966.
Festinger, Leon.  A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance.  Stanford, California: Stanford
University Press, 1968.
Nunberg, Herman.  Curiosity. New York: International Universities Press, 1961.
Rubenstein AJ, Langlois JH, Roggman LA, "What makes a face attractive and why." Rhodes G &     
Zebrowitz L (Eds.), "Advances in Visual Cognition." Westport, CT: Ablex. 2001.
Shattuck, Roger.  Forbidden Knowledge.  New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1965. 
Sumner, William.  Folkways: A Study of Mores, Manners, Customs, and Morals
United Kingdom: Dover Publications, 2002.
Wright, Robert.  The Moral Animal.  USA: First Vintage Books, Sept. 1995