Ever wonder what narrative the nudists are following?
It’s easy to understand greenies – a love for nature, the environment, animals and concern for natural resources becomes a passion and cause worth campaigning governements and big corporations about.
But what about the nudists?
I lived in South Korea for a few years and become accustomed to the “jim jil bang” or “steam room” sauna and spas. Common across Korea and Japan, these spas are regulars for people of all ages, and while segregated by gender, are completely nude.
However, picnicing nude, playing sport nude, swimming and otherwise doing all of normal life, outdoor and mixed gender activities entirely nude, is a curiousity.
Not all nudist colonies espouse sexual libertarianism. Many seem to be communities of people living normal lives communally – in the nude.
In Byron Bay and other hippie communities around Australia, high proportions of the residents would consider themselves left leaning, green voters. Within these communities, nudist colonies, nude beaches and other such activities are not uncommon.
These communities boast high density of artisans, permaculture experts and organic farmers, yoga and meditation classes and instructors and health professionals with a penchant for “herbal” remedies. Many of these would consider themselves to be highly spiritual people; nearly all of them would espouse pacifism. .
The elements that unite hippies, greenies and nudists seem to point back to eastern mystical thought.
Interestingly, Hebrew thought, also an eastern faith, has a lot to say about the relationship between these ideas. Hebrew narrative places the first humans in a garden, in relationship to each other, the planet and the divine, without barriers.
Breakdown in relationship with the divine caused the first humans to feel shame and seek to conceal their previously uninhibited nudity.
The breakdown continued to spread into bickering and blaming between them, the death of innocent animals, and finally the murder of one brother by another.
Within a dozen generation, the whole planet collapsed in a massive natural disaster wiping out all life.
So narrative synergies begins to emerge. These Eastern narratives are all reaching back to the Garden of Eden.
Nudists thus live within a highly ideological framework. Eastern meditation seeks to abandon the ego, abandon the self with its trappings and coverings which are the cause of the destruction of relationships with fellow humans, the planet and ulimately the divine.
The ego constructs barriers by identifying a self which is different to others. These barriers lead to bickering, blaming, fighting and bloodshed. It is these barriers that must go.
It is the human ego that destroys the planet selfishly and we face imminent judgement by nature in the form of tidal waves, asteroids, ice ages or global warming. The ego must be denied.
It is true union with the divine that we seek and eastern thought via meditative practices, the shedding of the ego, the oneness of self with the earth and with fellow humanity, that restoration is found.
Both eastern ideologies, Hebrew and Buddhist, espouse the centrality of love and peace.
But what is missing from the neo-Buddhist narrative – that is present in the Hebrew narrative is the “person” of the divine. In eastern thought, there is no person to know or unite with. It is the removal of “person” in a search for nirvana that is the fountain of peace. All clinging to “person” creates attachment, and attachment creates pain and suffering.
And arguably one cannot truly love, without attachment and personhood.
So Hebrew ideology and eastern ideology embraced by hippies, greenies and nudists, a kind of neo-buddhism, agree on many things. But they part ways on this one core feature.
For the Hebrews, to believe the divine is a person, the divine must have feelings, thoughts, a heart and must suffer pain. For the divine to be restored to relationship with humanity, the divine must suffer pain, because it was humanity that betrayed and denied.
When Noah and his family left that Ark after the catclysmic flood, God sent a rainbow and promised that never again would the world suffer in such a way.
Yet human ego still causes much bloodshed and destruction in the earth, more and more it seems with each passing year.
God’s promise to humanity, was also a promise to the earth, that something else, someone else would bear the pain and suffering caused by human “ego” or “sin.”
Nudists needn’t live in a forrest, eat vegetables, meditate and seek harmony with the planet and each other in order to save the planet and ourselves.
We humans need only look to the personal divine, the man-God, who took all the suffering we caused upon himself to restore relationship with us.
This relationship is true Eden, true community, true harmony with each other and the planet, true shalom in relationship with God.