PARADISE LOST: ADAM & EVE REVISITED

Originally presented 1/12/96
Document 1539N
Copyright (c) 1996, Jan M. Cox
 
"There was once a land where all the creatures were born under five feet tall. As Life decided they should develop further, all the sane, normal creatures in this land developed the unshakable impression that they should be taller."
 
 

Let's look at an old old story: Adam and Eve found themselves in Paradise. God told them, here is what you can and cannot do. Then sometime later, God came back around and said: "Somebody has been doing what I said not to do. Was it you?" And Adam's response cost man all that he possessed to that point.
 
 

I want to pick up this story and analyze it in a different way. The normal take on it is that man gave the wrong answer. God said, "Who's been eating of this tree?" Of course, it was Adam and Eve. And even though Adam may have been our genetic and intellectual father, he was hard pressed to come up with a quick, witty excuse. It was hard to explain. You could say that Adam immediately pointed to Eve indicating it was her fault. But the ordinary interpretation of what happened is that the supreme force--this extra-systemic force--asked man a question: Who's been doing such and such. And by all interpretations--in the Christian-Judaic creation myth and a myriad of others--man's downfall came because his answer--the specific answer--was incorrect. God said: "Who's ate the fruit?" Man said: "I did." And that was our downfall.

Consider that that interpretation may be a mundane, if not childish view. Here is another view: The real problem was that Adam answered at all. When he spoke is when he lost the battle and, having instantly lost the verbal battle the moment he replied to the question, also lost all he possessed to that point.
 
 

Picture this another way. There you are dancing with yourself in this confined tango with Life. There you are dancing with yourself and the mind, playing out your normal role, as soon as you are prompted. Because as soon as you are asked, "Hey, do you come here often?" you dance across the floor with yourself and you answer, "Well," and you bat your little eyes. Or Life says, "Is that a wound on your neck? Or is that a gold star you have?" or "You seem to be limping." "Oh, it's nothing." "Tell me about it." "Well, alright..."
 
 

That is the same thing as Adam saying, "Yes I ate the fruit!"

 It doesn't matter WHAT you say. The battle is instantly lost. Insofar as man looks at the creation story now, the general interpretation from the collective mind is that man did make an initial mistake for which we continue to pay. But no one ever considers that the act of answering--the act of responding--was the error.
 
 

The specific question doesn't matter; what matters is that Adam responded to the question. God could have said, "You got the time?" Ok, that's pushing it, that is almost innocuous. What I mean is, consider whether things could have been different if Life (represented by God in the stories) had asked nothing any more intense than that. Would things have turned out differently? Would we all still be wearing designer fig leaves?
 
 

Then you are faced with a doubly delightful impossibility: because Adam HAD to answer to get the mind going. His answer was the jump start of the human intellect. In all the creation stories about man the thinking creature, man was not complete until there was a verbal by-play with the gods. This represents the intellectual dynamic between Life and man, but the mind has to turn it into a specific situation. The mind has had to turn a universal back into a local anecdote and make is sound as though the by-play itself--the content of the conversation--was of specific importance. I'm telling you to look at what actually took place: not the content of what took place; not what was said, but what happened.
 
 

OK, so having instantly lost the verbal battle the moment he replied to the question, Adam lost everything he possessed to that point. Adam then had little choice but to concoct some story of a force outside himself whose nefarious chicanery was responsible for his downfall. Again, consider this in a wide symbolic sense, because this view of the creation myth replaces the whole idea of there being a God "out there."

(Let me remind anyone who may be hearing me for the first time, I'm just using the Biblical creation story as an example. I was going to use politics tonight, but religion always offers the widest possible range because it covers everything. So this has nothing to do with an attack on religion or ideas of God. You might even take this somewhat humorously, if you want to hear it that way.)
 
 

Adam had little choice. What else was he going to do? (Remember, I'm asking this question in a semi-facetious and totally symbolic fashion.) He had to make up a story about some force outside himself being responsible for the mess he was in. Think about it--just the story as it's told in Genesis. And notice that no one ever accuses God of pulling a fast one. Was it not chicanery? Who was in the superior position? God created man; God had to know what was going to happen.

We are considering that Adam, representing all humans, had no origins. Shortly after the neural cortex has been fired up, and "Adam" becomes conscious, he has a distinct feeling which all humans have. He mentally replays the whole creation myth. Every sane person on this planet replays the whole thing. It takes you several years--a dozen or more in some cases. But sooner or later you will have the feeling that you have lost Paradise. What's happened is you have become pubescent, your hormones have become sexually active and your intellect is activated enough so that you feel a distinct separation between yourself and everyone else. You begin to form what is normally referred to as your own distinct personality. You become somebody. And tied to that, although you may not be thinking in such mythical terms, is the feeling that you have been driven from Paradise.
 
 

Here is Adam in the same position, feeling he has lost something of great value. And he does not know what, because before you are conscious you cannot be conscious of what you were before you were conscious. You can't be conscious of what happened before you were aware. Adam had to come up with the notion of God, a force outside himself, because he was not capable of seeing: "Hey, there is no force outside of me--there is no me outside of the force." There's no where to go in a kingdom of infinite boundaries; there is no where to look when everywhere is here.
 
 

Look at the creation story as anthropomorphizing man's mind. Instead of Adam, think of man's cortex. The mind has the feeling, "I have run amuck and I have lost something, something precious, something I had as a child." Men take this feeling personally. They feel some sort of personal responsibility for the loss. Normally this verges on outright guilt or self-loathing of some kind: "It was my fault." Given that, what choice did Adam have but to come up with his story. Now forget Adam--I'm talking about your own intellect. Adam represents the highest point in everyone's nervous system, at the ordinary level of development.
 
 

You develop to a certain point and your intellect feels, "Here I am only fourteen years old and already I've done something wrong. But wait a minute, I don't remember doing it," (which is the equivalent of "I couldn't have done it."). There is the budding intellect ("I'm only fourteen years old...I'm only eight thousand years old...something's wrong, but I don't remember doing it...")

 It's as if your parents said to you, "Remember when you were six months old? Let me tell you something, when you were six months old you tried to stab your little cousin in the head with a kitchen knife." What good does that do you? You could strain to remember forever. Your mom might say, "Try to remember because you might experience psychological trauma later in life if you don't come to grips with this now." You may say, "Alright, I'll think about it," but you'll never be able to think about it. That is impossible. Something that happened to you before you were conscious may as well have never happened.
 
 

Let's stop here and consider the question: How can progress be both progress and not progress? Man is now better off than he was before he was conscious, in the same way a fourteen year old child is better able to cope with life than a six month old child. But the child may not comprehend the situation.
 
 

Consciousness made man what he is on this planet. So there is no doubt humans are better off now that they're conscious; there is no doubt Adam was better off, once he spoke. Yet, as soon as the words were out of his mouth, almost immediately, he knew something was wrong. Which is another way of saying man went from the silent Garden of Paradise where everything was perfectly peaceful, where there was no stress, no effort, nothing demanded of him, into the intellectual world. Suddenly, he was kicked out of the Garden. There he was in Paradise and the next moment, it was as if he'd been pushed out onto the streets of Detroit.
 
 

There Adam stands--there man's intellect stands--and right behind him is the Garden of Eden (which you could also look at as man's hind-brain). The cortex cannot actually look back, but it knows the older brain is there. And it knows--it just has this awful feeling--"I left something, I dropped a prize." This feeling is not man's imagination. Man did not simply concoct all these stories out of thin air. He is experiencing his own nervous system wherein the Garden of Eden is underneath or behind the more complex cortex.

So there Adam stands. I ask rhetorically, What else could he do but some up with a story? And that is an absolute master stroke. There is nothing comparable, in the history of man, to coming up with the idea of God. For those of you who enjoy this sort of thing, a poet said: "Dear God, in how many ways can Thy blessed name be spelled." And God said: "How many ways can you spell excuses!"
 
 

That's the hard version. I started to have the big one say, "How many ways can you spell explanations," but excuses actually covers it. I don't mean "excuses" in an outright pejorative sense, because men often think of them as explanations; but they are not conclusive or satisfactory and so don't qualify as real explanations. When you look around inside your own cranium, there is nobody there but you. Adam looks around and he has this idea: Somebody else made me do it. And of course that somebody had to be an outside, superior force. So then he also accuses this superior force of trickery--which is why I'd prefer to call it an excuse rather than an explanation. An excuse attempts to explain but does not satisfy.

Take this a little further and consider that there is no story the mind can concoct within a kingdom of no boundaries that explains why "I'm a prisoner here, I am captive." Again, this is played out in all kinds of myths. Remember the story of Moses leading his people from captivity to a land of freedom, a land of milk and honey. In that promised land, it would be as if the curse of Adam was reversed and Paradise regained. That is man's thinking, after he has realized, "I am off by myself and I have lost something." Very shortly, he also begins to feel, "This place is less than satisfactory, and I am captive here." Although he has nothing to compare it with, he has the nagging feeling that he has left some superior position. So he thinks, "What am I doing here? Why don't I leave?" "Wait a minute, somebody, some outside force, is holding me. There's a conspiracy."

Consider how in a land with no boundaries, rebellion remains an illusion. If you can turn that inside out, you can see the mind being unable to free itself from its own boundaries. The mind says, "I'm being held captive." You ask, "By who?" And the mind points to "out there," somewhere.
 
 

Adam stood there outside the gates of the Garden. He looked out at the world and thought, "What am I doing here?" and there was no answer to the question. He felt he had lost everything, "But it's not my fault." So he made up the idea of God.
 
 

Modern man stands there in front of the pre-cognitive areas of his brain. He looks out and asks himself, "What's wrong, why can't I express myself, why can't I come to full creative fruition, what's holding me back?" and he answers his own question by pointing to his past or present circumstances, to the political climate or the fact that he married and had children too soon. One way or another, he believes something "out there" is holding him back.

It does no good at the ordinary level to tell your mind or anyone else's, "Even if circumstances changed, it would not lead to internal freedom." You can never prove or disprove that to the mind. Like Adam, you have no choice, at the ordinary level, but to make up a story. Like Adam's, at the ordinary level yours will be a story of Paradise lost and never regained.
 

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