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Old 10-06-2014, 09:45 AM
 
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Here's a question I am curious to see a discussion on...

My good friends are Sikh Indians and for those that don't know it, Sikhs wear turbans and don't cut their hair... ever (as children, the young men tie their hair up too). I've always been into learning about different cultures and studying religion and long hair and beards are a part of not only Sikh culture but also if you look at photos or depictions of modern day and ancient spiritual leaders (aka Masters or Gurus or Sages or Wizards), the men and woman almost always have long flowing hair (and the men have long flowing beards). In fact if you take a look at mythological depictions of gods you almost always see the same thing.

There are exceptions (there are always exceptions to everything), such as monks who shave their heads, but generally (world wide) that doesn't line up with most other cultural archetypes of wise or intelligent people. Even with this exception, I'd be curious to know what monk masters (Llamas, etc) think of this as well.

When I search the Internet, most hits for a search on "the spiritual or physical benefits of not cutting your hair" turn up the same 2 or 3 articles or quotes over and over again. Hence this post.

Here's an observation I have had... ever noticed in depictions of the human nervous system the similarity in how nerves look to how hair looks? Even if today scientists haven't figured out how hair may or may not receive or transmit energy, it doesn't necessarily rule it out as possible (just 75 years ago science didn't know data could be transmitted wirelessly the way it is today, no one even had devices to detect such signals actually, just 200 years ago no one had any idea what a virus was, 400 years ago no one had ever seen bacteria). Considering the relative age of civilization as we know it, I'm open to the possibility that we don't know what we don't know, and there might be something to the ancient archetypes programmed into each one of us.

Have any of you ever thought about this topic? I mean seriously, if we perceive people with long flowing hair and beards as being exceptionally wise or knowledgeable, why don't more of us have it? Why is the in thing to shave it off or to cut it short? Does hair loss have any impact upon performance or spirituality or anything else? Has anyone done research into this? Other than sanitary reasons might there be other reasons for why prisoners or conquered cultures historically had their head hair shaved off? Please share.
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:00 AM
Status: "Amused by BF." (set 6 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
23,269 posts, read 12,056,137 times
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Well, now I know why I'm so gosh-darn wise!

I've had long hair for over 45 years and a beard for about 25! Haven't had a professional trim in 15 or so years which might explain the acceleration in my wisdom-gathering during that stretch. Not only that - but I'm beginning to suspect there just might be a correlation between wisdom and hair turning grey too. (Although I prefer the term "silver.")

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Old 10-06-2014, 11:57 AM
 
Location: In a little house on the prairie - literally
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I know a number of Sikhs that actually do cut their hair. It is like a Catholic who uses birth control pills. Both are still members of their religion and not cast out.
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Old 10-06-2014, 11:59 AM
 
Location: southern california
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i dont think there is spiritual benefit to long hair unless god told you to do it.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Westeros
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I personally see no reason why having long hair and a beard would be in any way advantageous for someone seeking the spiritual life. After all, "spirituality" is usually thought to refer to one's feeling of connectedness to their own personal version of their higher power. That is, an increased degree of feeling as if you are a part of something larger and more important than merely the physical, everyday world.
So your grooming habits would affect this only insofar as how it made you feel. Would you feel better about yourself going au natural and not shaving or bathing? Or would looking like a 1960s holdover decrease your self-esteem and maybe make you feel as if you are not fulfilling your God-given potential or purpose in life? Many devout Christians I know--indeed most of them--feel as if they are better serving the Lord by keeping kempt and well-shorn. Look at all the ministers and priests in the churches. True, not all of them are living a true spiritual life just because they are ordained, but still, probably most of them are, and so far as I have ever seen they are almost always well-coiffed.
The longhair/beard thing became popular only because many of the early gurus and holy men belonged to poor, itinerant tribes and desert people, thus did not have access to grooming products. Perhaps they would have looked more like Joel Osteen than Charles Manson if they had?
Too: look at the Buddhists and Taoists with their shaved heads and faces.
Grooming is a personal choice and I believe it means nothing to God. It's what it is in your heart, not on your face or head that counts.
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:39 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
10,274 posts, read 10,379,895 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TroutDude View Post
Well, now I know why I'm so gosh-darn wise!

I've had long hair for over 45 years and a beard for about 25! Haven't had a professional trim in 15 or so years which might explain the acceleration in my wisdom-gathering during that stretch. Not only that - but I'm beginning to suspect there just might be a correlation between wisdom and hair turning grey too. (Although I prefer the term "silver.")

Gray hair is hereditary. You get it from your kids.
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:48 PM
 
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Just ask Samson about long hair, if you could that is
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Old 10-07-2014, 04:45 AM
 
Location: New Jersey, USA
618 posts, read 435,796 times
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Hello all.

No offense, but claiming that there could be mysterious advantages to long hair and beards is an appeal to ignorance.
Argument from ignorance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That said, I have a lot of respect for the Sikh religion and find it rather sad that their spiritual beliefs are written off as a lack of access to grooming products. On the contrary, they are required to carry a comb and use it regularly (twice a day) so that their unshorn beards and hair are NOT mistaken for poor hygiene.

The mentality behind not cutting their hair and beards is simple and (in my opinion) quite logical. If god designed you perfectly, then you shouldn't change it.

Thanks.
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Old 10-07-2014, 05:18 AM
 
2,775 posts, read 2,578,951 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyker View Post
Hello all.

No offense, but claiming that there could be mysterious advantages to long hair and beards is an appeal to ignorance.
Argument from ignorance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That said, I have a lot of respect for the Sikh religion and find it rather sad that their spiritual beliefs are written off as a lack of access to grooming products. On the contrary, they are required to carry a comb and use it regularly (twice a day) so that their unshorn beards and hair are NOT mistaken for poor hygiene.

The mentality behind not cutting their hair and beards is simple and (in my opinion) quite logical. If god designed you perfectly, then you shouldn't change it.

Thanks.
Hyker, I think you are wrong about the application of the "appeal to ignorance" to this situation. I'm not claiming that there could be mysterious advantages to long hair and beards, I'm saying there may be real advantages to them that perhaps haven't been measured yet. There's a difference as what I'm saying and questioning is indeed the root of all scientific method related research not an appeal to ignorance.

I concur about the lack of grooming products as a misplaced argument for the Sikhs having long hair. Also with why Native American Elders, and modern day Guru's have long hair as well. I don't think it's at all rooted in tradition based upon a lack of grooming tools... combs/hair grooming/cutting devices have been found in archeological digs world wide that are tens of thousands of years old.

I have heard Guru's state "My hair grows, so I let it" but honestly, then that begs the next logical question... Do you cut your nails? and then Do you clean dirt from your oily skin? etc etc... there's plenty of examples out there for why despite "God's" design, people should groom or otherwise alter themselves.
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:43 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,562 posts, read 3,132,544 times
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Religious beliefs have all kinds of strange obsessions. Hair seems to be one of them. Why? Who the hell knows. Of course, as an atheist, I find all of this ritualistic behavior and the nurturing of taboos to be utterly meaningless (and quite often silly), and women especially have often been compelled by a religious society to do certain things with their hair - the most common being to cover it up.

I've often wondered why there is this ludicrous obsession with hair - especially the idea that wearing it loose and unbound is a sign of maidenhood or even a sign of immodesty. It's as if religion had to create a secret code that women had to put out there into society that says, "Don't hit on me. I'm married."

However, given that most of these religious customs are rather ancient, it should be understood that today's hygiene practices are still relatively recent. This is an important consideration because, for many millennia after the fall of the big bath culture (Rome), humanity pretty much wallowed in its own filth. Perfume was invented for just that reason; small vials of it were often worn around your neck during the 15th through the 18th centuries - so a small dab of it could be placed just beneath your nose when the stink of unwashed flesh became too much to bear. It was said that Queen Elizabeth I took a bath once per month - whether she wanted to or not!

People of lesser means had no access to baths. Indoor plumbing wouldn't be around for centuries yet, and water had to be manually heated with a fire. Unless you had servants, you probably weren't bathing very often, especially in the winter. City folk could bathe at any time due to a lack of water access.

So ... with that in mind, unshorn hair and beards is a nasty attractor of lice, mites, fleas, and other disease-carrying insects and your stench attracted flies. I'm not an expert on the history of hygiene, but I know enough to realize that humans have never been a clean animal - and we still aren't in many places.

It wasn't until the 1930s and 1940s when homes began to come equipped with bath tubs as a standard feature.

Thus, I very highly doubt that long hair and beards that could not be kept clean was a pretty severe detriment to humanity and risked inviting any number of plagues and diseases.
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