With our modern eyes, we can laugh at the story of Adam and Eve. We dismiss it as nothing but mere myth. And we do so without acknowledging a lesson that the ancients were likely unaware of. And that revelation was the burden of knowledge.
Before let’s say the Axial Age, when humans were transitioning from hunter/gatherers to agrarians…long before modern society…people didn’t exhibit what we’d call “civilized behavior”. I’ve mentioned something similar before when discussing Rousseau. Humans weren’t necessarily “noble savages” that lived in tranquility with nature (as Rousseau would have us believe) but they were, in fact, living a state of being that was closer to Nature’s design. This was long before a proverbial “Adam and Eve” ate the fruit of knowledge…which propelled us forward into the Axial Age, and eventually into the imprisonment of society that we have today.
Whomever conjured up this Genesis Myth unwittingly got it right…humans fell from their state of nature and have doomed themselves ever since. Of course, we want to glorify our achievements: our ability to rise out of the food chain to dominate the Earth. But in doing so, we have placed Man above Nature. We don’t need God or Nature to subsist. “God is Dead” as Nietzsche would have us believe. And in this arrogance, we have ignored the limits of our understanding and abilities. We have turned Man into a God himself…a being that exists independent of the laws of nature.
Our day of reckoning may not come tomorrow. Or even a thousand years from now. Hellfire and brimstone won’t necessarily rain from the heavens (unless it’s a meteor, asteroid, alien invasion, or gamma ray bursts) but our days of Revelation will be generated among us. And we’ll be humbled back (or perhaps exterminated) to allow a new generation or species to live on with Nature.
Early mankind didn’t need a “knowledge of God”. They weren’t only living within the guidelines of Nature….they were, in fact, just another extension of of it. There wasn’t a conception of “right and wrong” or “moral obligations”. Of course, I might be echoing Rousseau in glorifying pre-historical humans. There was, in all likelihood, semblances of organized religion in these cultures, and therefore (presumably) certain ethical codes. But (again presumably) there would have had to of been a time when a supernatural world wasn’t distinguishable from the natural world of perception. What I mean by that IS that there was a time when there wasn’t a set of dogmatic beliefs that took the supernatural world and made it independent of the physical world. WHEN that distinction was made, that was when Adam and Eve ate the proverbial fruit.
(Of course, this wasn’t a sudden event as in the Genesis Myth. But it was instead a drawn out process. It may have happened before anatomically modern humans. Therefore homo sapiens might’ve been fucked from the beginning.)
This set into motion the modern human intellect, which sought to find “truths”. This led humans to discover many of the advancements that laid the foundations of modern society…and thus, to the discontents of modern man.
Does that sound crazy?
Well I agree, now that I went back and read all of that.
But, I want to challenge the notion that these “advancements” have made us better people. This “awareness” of a metaphysical or supernatural world of ideas have disconnected us with our nature, or our God in a Spinozian sense. We now have a disunity with Nature that we now attempt to reconcile.
Or at least I want to reconcile with Nature.
And that’s part of the problem. We’ve constructed this sense of a static being. And by extension, we apply that same sense onto God. Because WE are static, we conceive God as being the same way. We become limited by our self-imposed finitude.
Now, we take the assumption that God is this unmovable mover, of which everything sprouts out of. In my Sunday School days, I was taught that “God never changes”. We have been changed, and we need to change our ways and become more God-like. Yet we resist this necessity because we are so attached to the I. And therefore we remain forever disconnected from the Nature of our design.
The theologian Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) seems to indicate that God is a part of us. God is everything (and therefore not all that dissimilar from Spinoza). But more importantly, God isn’t a static Being. Therefore, (according to Prof. Lawrence Cahoone of the College of the Holy Cross) the Trinity can be conceived of as a stage of progression where God uses Creation as a means of understanding Himself. God and Creation are necessary for one another. So, to paraphrase Cahoone, Nature (or God) is moving from a state of unawareness to a state of total awareness.
This all sounds surprisingly similar to GWF Hegel’s thesis, antithesis, synthesis. But to what degree Hegel might have been influenced by this, I don’t know.
But this Eckhartian presentation of God challenges our traditional notions of the supernatural. Perhaps in my poetic sense of history, our unity with Nature and with God was established. Yet it was through this burden of knowledge that unzipped our unity with Nature, by providing us with a self, and taking God out of US and placing the Deity above or outside of nature. Therefore we made ourselves an inferior being, only to later rationalize human beings as being above nature and removing God altogether.
Do you follow all of that?
That would explain why the Genesis creation myth got some things right….because it separated God, Nature, and Man through the burden of knowledge. Even though, in our state of nature, all of these things were unified.
I know all of that is bullshit. However, although a return to a “state of nature” isn’t possible, I believe that it is through this unity…or this thesis, antithesis, synthesis…that we might finally uncover the mysteries of ourselves and unite mankind with Nature.
Okay, what in the hell was I talking about?