Tom Lee: My Growing Taboo Awareness (…for Wise Democracy)

Cultural Intelligence


Tom Atlee

My Growing Taboo Awareness (…for Wise Democracy)

“Taboo” means that if we act, speak or think in certain ways, something horrible is going to happen – usually social ostracism like loss of status, friendships, income, etc. We will be shunned and looked down on by many of our associates. As a form of peer pressure, it is a pretty big deal.

Taboos exist in most – perhaps all – societies. Taboos often exist to support social order and well being. In modern societies we see taboos against pedophilia, slavery, torture, and killing innocent people. Even if we didn’t have laws against these, social ostracism would go a long way to restraining such violations. Many of us have even watched certain frowned-on behaviors evolve into taboos, such as smoking and certain inter-gender behaviors, and from there evolve into laws.

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