29 November 2005

Who Is Bad?

This could have been a post about original sin. I mean, if the very first sin was 'eating the fruit of knowledge' after God said no, then a whole thesis could be penned on whether the decision to ignore him was pig headedness or disdain, independence, feeling we know better, conceit, the need for power and control, or even all of the above.

One interesting truth about us as a race is the one often overlooked in this story - that we do fear to cross boundaries without some sort of perceived approval. Eve wouldn't have dared, except that the snake was there to rationalise with, was standing there (he had legs at the time, in this story?) egging her on and promising understanding and support and validation. He wasn't enough though - she desperately needed her other half to understand her, and the story repeated.

Crossing boundaries, overcoming morals or expectation to deliberately commit a perceived sin is something we rarely if ever do on our own. No, this isn't going to head off into a discussion of the perils of television, of normalising shocking events; nor of how a man, pushed too far by one means or another, can turn into a suicide bomber. I'm not even going to sidestep into the biblical advice to hear, see and speak no evil, although it makes sense. The only way to wrap your head round some things is to concur that they are not so unspeakable or unthinkable, to face your own potential for overstepping the mark.

The first instructions to mankind in this tale were:
  1. Go forth
  2. And multiply
  3. Subdue the earth
  4. and all that is in it
OK so that's inbuilt
  1. Curiosity
  2. Reproduction
  3. Need to feel in control
The funny thing is that, depending which version of the bible you read, it adds that God's intention was for mankind to live all over the planet. Either, then, he never intended for Adam and Eve to stay put in the Garden of Eden, or they weren't originally the mankind this refers to. They do turn up a chapter later and the only tag for the timing of their creation was that it was before the rains. Sadly there's nothing in the seven day creation story about making it rain at all - the waters of heaven and earth were separated, but there's nothing about making them swap places yet. This idea would also explain how Adam and Eve's children found wives and how Cain could have been killed by other humans when he got evicted. I'm stopping here before this becomes a query about missing links.

Okay so where are we? We feel more fully alive and validated when we are
  1. In control
  2. Conquering something
  3. Exploring (whichever boundary you personally choose to push)
  4. Having sex (when point 1 also applies)
  5. Getting approval (Eve got it from the snake, Cain didn't from God)
These are inalienable and unavoidable urges, but couple them with desensitization to outrage, absorption of the possibility and potential to achieve these by ignoring the needs of another; by considering ourselves to be deserving of more control and superior to or in more urgent need than others, and you have the root cause of every sin on this planet.

Compare yourself to any person who achieves more or less than you in the list above, and you have the root of jealousy, anger, rape, violence, pride, conceit, disdain, bitterness, theft, greed, even at its lamest the root of an inconsiderate and selfish attitude. Find others who feel the same and you bolster those bad things up with validation. Heck, we actively search for other people, news or soundbites or movie clips to build us up in our wrong attitudes, because the wrong is endemic now and so much of what others do causes us anguish. We rush to build ourselves new castles, to defend and reinforce our sense of personal right to this, that or the other. We're all infected.

This post was going to be about something else entirely, but the foundations of what I had to say have erm, expanded slightly on the page.
Split into two. See next post up.

1 comment:

Badaunt said...

I was going to wait for the 'next post up,' but it's not there yet, so...

This may or may not be relevant, but I've been catching up on my Butterflies and Wheels reading recently (I'd got behind with ALL my blog reading) and your post made me think of this one, regarding another possibility.

But when you read it, read the comments BEFORE you react - and note carefully her use of the word 'possibility'!

It's all fascinating stuff.