I’m opening up the subject and inviting one and all to contribute, if you will, to a discussion about “what is permitted”.
Here’s my two cents.
When dealing with art work that has an interest in the spiritual, the sacred, I often come across a lot of “pretty” work or work that makes assumptions about how important it is “to be nice”, promote “good” things, be symmetrical or use soft uplifting colors and ornament the work with symbols like a Cross or the Star of David or…you fill in the blank. Do you know what I’m talking about?
And I can understand that. I perceive spirituality as something that is in opposition to my animal nature, that slough I have to drag myself out of when I awake in the morning. This way of thinking says that spiritual art is something that helps draw me away from the painful or boring, anxiety ridden or lusty, particulars of this dog eat dog world by pushing away from it towards this preconceived opposite. Not tense–Peaceful. Not frightening–Loving. Not dark–Light.
For instance, one couldn’t possibly use the word “f..k” in a spiritual piece. (There, now I’ve gone and done it. This can’t be a spiritual meditation.) One can’t do a spiritual piece on pornography. One can’t do a spiritual piece that’s any good and have it showing sacred figures in an “unacceptable way”. Different traditions have different taboos.
I’m of the belief, presently (and constantly evolving) that everything is permitted. It is true, as a Baha’i I am not allowed in dramatic presentations to portray the person of the Manifestation of God (Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Muhammad, Zoroaster, Baha’u’llah), as this is seen as insulting by definition. And I accept this. I think it’s wise. We can talk more about this at some later time perhaps, but other than that…
I work from the point of view, that in principle, everything is permitted–certainly at first, and then choices must be made depending on what one’s objectives are, what the call of “truth” demands.
The first consideration should never include restrictions. They may come quickly, but held off as long as possible I think. Far better to be thinking about giving energy to what it is you want, what you wish to bring to life and deal with the consequences second. You must deal with them eventually, but not first, and … nothing is forbidden.