Sunday, February 28, 2010
In the Beginning....
Perhaps history's first loser (at least in the traditional Judeo-Christian framework) is Havah, or Eve.
[Side note: I feel really stupid for just now noticing this, but Eve's name in Hebrew, HVH, is only one letter shy of the name of god, YHVH. Perhaps a subject for later discussion....]
We've all heard the story. Adam & Eve reside in all-inclusive splendor in a place to put St. Regis to shame. The wildlife is friendly, the buffet is open at all hours (vegetarian-only, of course), and the general manager takes a walk-through every evening to make sure the sunset is on cue. No fees, no tips required, just--by the way--don't eat from this one particular tree. We here at Eden know you have a choice in garden paradises, and we thank you for incarnating with us.
Until one day, Eve gets a wild hair and says, "Y'know what? I'm gonna take a look at that tree. Not only that, but I'll pluck some fruit, savor it, then give it to the douche I'm with so he can rat me out to the manager, throw me under the bus, and get us both booted off the island. AND, we'll lose our immortality and I'll get wicked cramps every four weeks. Sounds like a plan."
Or so holy writ--loosely translated into the New International Loser-Historian Version--would have us believe.
For 4,000 years (at least by Bishop Ussher's reckoning), women have borne the shame of the first mother's folly, and all humanity--indeed, all of nature--has suffered for her pig-headed sin.
But, what if...?
What if the human condition in Eden was one of catatonic servility (think Yvette Mimieux-type Elois from The Time Machine)?
What if Eden represented a time when humanity was in a condition little better than ambulatory plants?
What if by reaching for something more, by striving for that which was deemed beyond her limits, Eve cleared the pathway to humanity's full potential?
What if the Fall was actually the Awakening?
For thousands of years, the Genesis account has been made a whipping post of women, a warning against female contumacy. "Boy, you better keep her in line. Let a stray thought get in her head, and there'll be hell to pay."
The fact of the matter is that Eve (or the real-life Types to her Archetype) gave birth not just to mankind, but to free will and free thought. Yes, in Eden man may have been in direct communion with the divine, but in the mindless, will-less manner that trees and rocks are in communion with the divine. Through Eve, every one of us has the choice to experience the divine for ourselves. The divine in nature, the divine in a lover's caress, the divine in the voices that whisper in the silence.
Above all the rest of Creation, humanity has the opportunity to consider itself, to judge its relationship with the world about it, and to choose the path it will follow. History is rife with examples of poor choices, but every once in a while a great leap is made on the upward path toward enlightenment and reunification with the divine. Eden is within our reach, but it will be an Eden freely chosen and made all the sweeter for having been the product of that freedom.
The freedom first claimed by Eve.