Friday, May 26, 2017

Kicked Out of Eden

In fantasies and dreams we think of Eden as the perfect place to live: peaceful, without war or strife, where bountiful food grows and drops into our laps. We won't have to struggle to exist and we will fight no more forever.

On a cloud not far away is the dream of Paradise where all our desires are fulfilled and we live in bliss plucking harp strings and singing praises to our god. Some are taught that Paradise is inhabited by virgins ready and waiting to be plundered, taken, and then what? Virginity is fragile. Once the virgin has submitted to the pleasures of sex, the virgin is used and no longer the epitome of innocence. Once a virgin has given up virginity, all that is left is life among the rest of the mortals, child birth if the virgin is fertile, raising up children, breast feeding, diaper changing, eventually adulthood and then death. That is where Paradise begins to look like the rest of the world full of noisy people where virgins are virgins only once and then become one of the noisy rabble of humankind.

In short, Paradise has a very short shelf life. Maybe that is why Paradise is only a dream, a fantasy of immortality and perfection that last as long as a Hershey's Kiss in the hands of a hungry child. And that may be part of the problem -- children.

How long will Paradise last once children are born? Once children grow up and decide they have destinies of their own, they are no longer children and will have to face the unknown country of adulthood and children of their own -- and on and on and on...

Unless Paradise is made up of immortal children who never grow up and want to take charge of their own destinies, Paradise is doomed.

Let's face it. God didn't set Adam and Eve free or post cherubim with flaming swords at the entrance to Eden because he wanted Adam and Eve to come back and visit once they got settled out in the wilderness. God drove Adam and Eve out of Paradise perhaps in hopes that they would perish in the wilderness and Paradise would remain unsullied by Adam and Eve's offspring or the generations that would follow. Paradise would once again be peaceful and quiet and messy humanity would take their chances, slim as they were, in the wilderness where wild beasts and marauding tribes would kill and destroy them. It was unthinkable that Adam and Eve would live to have children of their own that would grow up, marry, and have children of their own and so on and so on and so on...

And yet here we are, the 9 billion offspring of Adam and Eve -- if you believe the story about Eden and Adam and Eve and all that. The point is that Paradise was never meant for adults because adults get together with other adults, virgins give up their virginity, and children are eventually born, grow up, become adults, and carry on meeting, getting together, having children who have children who have children and so on. That's how we got from 2 people in Eden to 9 billion people as the result of Adam and Even being driven into the wilderness where they survived and thrived and created generations of children who grew up and so on and so on and so on....

Did you get it yet? Paradise is a dream humanity was never meant to make into a home. Paradise, or Eden, or Utopia, is a fantasy of peace and tranquility that will suit only the dead -- or children.  Only immortal children can exist in such a paradise because children are content to be led, guided, and willing to play forever . . . as long as the children are immortal and never grow up. It is not children that can live happily and comfortably in an unchanging landscape without struggle and without advancement beyond the next hill, the next corner, the next mountain. Children are content (for the most part) to play and never think about tomorrow because tomorrow is the same as yesterday and today. The thing is that a human child grows up and struggles to take the next step, pull away from the parents, and decide what's next. Without the natural growth of the child into a teenager willing to face down the parents -- or guardians -- and demand to take their lives into his/her own hands, to take the next step -- or the next bicycle ride without training wheels -- into adulthood and self determination and the future that can be molded, chosen, and mastered (after a fashion), humanity stagnates and eventually dies.

I don't think Adam and Eve would have been driven out of Eden if it had not become apparent that they were no longer biddable children. Adam and Eve had taken the next step. They had chosen to become adults and as adults they could no longer live in Eden. There were rivers to cross, paths to travel, mountains to clime, and a future full of uncertainty and possibility to conquer.

Once the fantasy and dream of Paradise and the unchanging landscape of virgins and innocent play palls, there is only the future: adulthood and self determination that results in another generation that will begin as children and struggle against the restraints of rules to take the reins of their own lives in their own hands and venture out into the undiscovered country of possibility and the future.

Children don't want to remain children forever. They want to grow up and be adults, to grasp the reins of their own lives and take their first steps into the future where anything can happen.

God may have driven Adam and Eve out when they were no longer biddable children, but no doubt Adam and Eve would have walked away once they became aware that life meant struggle and self determination even though it also meant children of their own who would travel the same path from innocence to knowledge and finally into whatever lies ahead. Humanity is driven to evolve, to succeed, to fail, to lose, to gain, and to stretch the boundaries of complacency and innocence even if it means pain and struggle along the way.

That is all. Disperse.

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