Sunday, June 17, 2007

Eden Reconsidered

So the central creation myth of western culture has it that Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. This is presented as the punishment they received for having defied the explicit instructions of a vengeful God who told them to leave well enough alone. They reached for more than what they found there in Paradise, and lost everything as a result. Before The Fall, they were naked and innocent, living off the fruit of the land (literally), bearing their children and living happily without suffering -- ignorant and free.

From my perspective, this narrative is clearly about the so-called agricultural revolution. It seems the abandonment of the hunter/gatherer existence our species had enjoyed for many millennia was a painful, reluctant process.

And then there's this: a garden is a place of cultivation. Adam and Eve were not kicked out of the Garden; they were kicked in to one!

Forget the Garden of Eden; Adam and Eve lived in the Jungle of Eden. The garden/farm is where it all went sideways. We've been suffering the consequences of this shift ever since.

The abandonment of the foraging life in favor of agriculture is our original sin.