IMPURE/Impurity: Argosian concept associated with spiritual worth. Some activities are ritually unclean and must be avoided while engaged in particularly holy activities, such as preparing for the Green Rites. Whole segments of society are considered Impure in Argos, including women, foreigners, homeless vagabonds and travelling entertainers called Jays. Even touching such a person might incur a penalty for someone preparing their Green Rites, for example.
Under the hood…
The idea of ritual impurity associated with certain peoples or sectors of society is for me one of the most noxious creations of the human imagination. It is an ancient idea but still persists to this day, and not just where you’d think. It’s frightening to me not only because of the suffering it causes, but because of what such habits of mind do to those who think of themselves as ‘Pure’ – and how twisted their notions of self-worth must become.
Can you imagine actually worrying whether seating your child next to another ‘impure’ child at school will affect your own kid’s spiritual well-being?
Can you imagine worrying about the fact that saying a certain word will defile your mouth?
Can you accept that these questions are being asked by people now, in 2011, in ‘civilized’ corners of the world, as they tweet news to friends and downloads apps onto their iphones?