I attempted to write a play years ago entitled "The Filth Eater." The protagonist was a seducer of women -- leading them happily into various circumstances and occasions of sin. He muses early on, "How could something that feels so good, so sweet, be so peculiar, be so wrong?" The action progresses, he ages and gradually becomes aware of the duality of his nature. The denouement of the play shows him to be "The Filth Eater": the seducer, the object of desire, and one who gives absolution, relief and illuminates truth. The play was allegorical, however I was not fully aware of this until recently. I thought I was simply creating an interesting character based on the Aztec (Mexica) goddess Tlazolteotl.
Mexico is the place where Europe and Christianity conquered Eden once and for all. The Conquistadors and the Dons and Padres bound, strangled and immolated the natives, denying humanity the miracle and redemption that the true marriage of the two cultures would have provided. Spanish Catholicism worshipped the blood offering: found it appalling and abhorrent on the industrial scale practiced in Mexico and proceeded to try and erase the culture and all it could have given in exchange for compromise and empathy. Greed does not nurture or suckle -- it covets and subverts. There was and is much to learn from the Mexica, now especially from the old goddess, Tlazolteotl, the sin or filth eater.
Tlazolteotl is represented, literally, with a ring of sh*t around her mouth. She was the patron saint of adulterers and the goddess of purification. In her person was contained both the validator and absolver of sin -- simultaneously acknowledging the inevitability of sin and forgiving it, bringing harmony to the community. Considering that occasionally they chose to walk around cloaked in the flayed skin of a sacrificial victim -- the Mexica were a pretty moralistic, uptight society concerning sexuality, in their own way of course. Organically they came to terms with the consequences of sexual misconduct: social disharmony, venereal disease and guilt. Tlazolteotl, by representing and validating sin and consequently forgiving it, gifted society with harmony and equilibrium.
The main character in my play, by getting his various sexual partners to readily and voraciously commit adultery, infidelity or acts leading to guilt or self-loathing, creates a firestorm of recrimination and a violent pool of emotional vertigo. However, he was not a simple seducer, he, because of his physical beauty and sexual prowess, was as objectified by his sexual partners as they were by him. He simply, unequivocally and unabashedly, validated the mutual satisfaction and pleasure of the act. However, this merely built more guilt, pathos and neurosis in his partners. He is unable to understand their impatience and hostility towards him until he comes to the realization that while he never personally judged the consequences of their actions, the women, understandably and rightly, did. He comes to understand that they don't need him to repent or say he is sorry; they need him to forgive them. They need him to redeem and be redeemed. They love him.
We desperately need a filth eater to step forward and lead this country and, by example, the global community to a place of equilibrium and harmony. We need a leader to come forth and acknowledge the obvious pleasure and comfort afforded us by our mode of living -- exploiting the earth's resources, diminishing and compromising us all. We need to admit that we have all enjoyed the ride, repent, collectively receive absolution and move to a higher plane of consciousness and right action. It can only work if it is an act of true love: love of self, love of humanity and love of the planet.
Was not Jesus also a filth eater? However, the institutional church, putting the emphasis on him as a God, has compromised his singular story of love with and about the common sensual plight of humanity. Jesus lived as a man among men. He reveled in humanity, even supplying the wine at a wedding. The redemptive and transformational power of Tlazolteotl, the goddess, was in her intimate connection to sin, her duality. A truly transformative public figure like my character or Tlazolteotl or Jesus will have to shift the global paradigm by unapologetically admitting to luxuriating in sin, forgive and move into the light, loudly and boldly.