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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Considering the Garden of Eden -- again

Earth? Earth mother? Sophia? What have you created? Considering the Garden of Eden story, I was thinking that this would be the time and place when dualism was born. For better or worse. Of course everyone seems to latch onto the idea of Original Sin and won't let go, the believers spin and weave in attempts to make sense of the idea, while nonbelievers point to the unreasonable idea that a god would take the misdeed of an innocent and make the innocent guilty, and further, punish the guilty, and atop that, punish all humankind forever more. I think both sides fail to grasp the symbolism of this story. First of all, without humans, not only does the concept of good and evil not make sense, but in all of nature it is absent. In all of nature (apart from humans) only “good” and “nothingness” exists. Bad doesn’'t exist, for everything in nature seeks to exploit it’s own potential to live and replicate. That either happens or doesn’'t happen. You might think of all nature as one big organism that exists, and exists only because each part that makes up the “all-nature” live and die to provide another part of “all-nature” with energy to do the same. Nothing is “bad” because in “all-nature” adaptation to prevent extinction is the only goal (if "goal" exists without humans) and total extinction would be the only "“bad”" possible. Yet again, even extinction couldn’'t be “bad” in a humanless and Godless “all-nature,” for in such a universe, everything just is. Or just isn’'t. No matter. For to matter requires intelligence to create the idea of mattering and not mattering. 

I think the Garden of Eden, this metaphor, explains the need for intelligence, for awareness, for self awareness, before the ideas (and concepts) of good and bad/evil can exist. Adam (aka mankind) before gaining knowledge of self awareness (or if you prefer, evolution before the brain/mind developed self awareness) was as innocent as a tiger pouncing upon a lamb and ripping it to shreds for a meal. Without self-awareness, “pre-humans” did whatever was required in order to live another day and replicate. After self-awareness (Original Sin) humans became aware of their every action and the consequences of these actions and further became aware that life and replication at whatever cost was no longer possible, for the new brain/mind was not only aware of each action, the consequences of the action, but also if the action had a good or bad value. And for the first time "“bad”" had a meaning other than failure to survive, the human brain/mind continued to develop this concept of “bad” until it became a powerful force that identifies all that would or could harm the individual, the family, the group, the environment around the group, and today the entire earth. These are things that no other life/creature can think, humans not only think, but can act upon these abstract thoughts. And so in the story Adam and Eve with full self awareness watched as their sons fought and one became a murderer and the other a victim of murder. Good and evil sprang to life as if it were an entity, a concept so powerful that not one human evermore can return to that Garden of Eden, that ignorant state of innocence where good and bad have no meaning. Or so it seems to me. 

1 comment:

Rosemary said...

Very articulate.
After pondering this for
a while, I am in agreement.
This has taken much thought
on your part.