How It All Began

Saturday, 10 February 2007

[Picture by Michelangelo]THE BEGINNING of mankind, of the planet, even of time itself can never be known, merely guessed.

In the traditional Jewish faith, the Tanakh or Written Torah has a book entitled Genesis that follows the pattern of the Ancient Greek. These traditions involve (a) gods, (b) a male, (c) a female, (d) a temptation, and (e) a tempter.

[Picture by Waterhouse]Both tell a similar story — a female (Eve, Pandora) companion is created for the male (Epimetheus, Adam). The Hermes box is too tempting for Pandora — or — the snake talks Eve into trying the fruit of the forbidden tree. Whatever. She eats the fruit / opens the box, and the result is all the ills of the world, banishing mankind to a life of hardship, with naught but hope.

It doesn’t matter if Hermes is sometimes Mercury or even Alipe, that the snake is sometimes called Lucifer or The Devil. These mythologies also go on to have a flood or deluge, differing merely in details, but not in substance. It is clear that they are trying to tell us something… but what?

[Picture by Rossetti]Are we supposed to believe that the creator/ God/ gods contrived such bizarre scenarios? Creating a female for the purpose of doing a Wrong/ Bad Thing? The male character is basically set up: it’s a con, a rigged game.

[Picture by Durer]However, we have to remember that the Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman gods were just like men (the main difference seems to be immortality/mortality), and in the Jewish tradition, YHWH, created ADAM in his own image and likeness, so it seems plausible that God/gods would be petulant or belligerent and experience the same emotions and emotive forces as we do.

Perhaps the story is telling us that there are always consequences — that some things have a price, that rules are not to be broken, that you shouldn’t go against the gods, that curiosity is to be managed, that we should not take things that are not ours.

[Picture of Sculpture of Pandora and Box]Maybe it is trying to tell us that we are living in a rigged game, and that at any point the gods/ God can just set up a new rule or deliver us a blow — banish us, send a famine, earthquake, flood etc. — all on a whim. Or maybe the story is telling men to be careful about females — that females are a punishment, that females are trouble… and will lead men astray.

I leave it for you to decide.

[Picture by Titian]I have deliberately drawn a comparison between the Judeo-Christian and the Greco-Roman traditions. You may already have been aware of the striking similarities, but if you were not, this may have been a surprise. This information would then be “news” to you.

Hey, that’s interesting: something so old can still be “news”! Which neatly brings me onto my real point: if it is “news”, then it follows that you were unaware of it before reading it here — so what if all of this is “news”? What if you had never heard of Adam and Eve or Epimetheus and Pandora? How would you go about satisfying your curiosity about “The Beginning”?

[Picture of ancient skull]A reasonable start might be to turn to the various arts and sciences: geology, archaeology, astronomy, biology and so forth. Science is all about answering questions, finding out patterns and being able to understand and therefore predict nature.

The nature of scientific enquiry is that it is in constant flux, it’s all reason, logic and best fits. Theories that fit the known facts — until newer facts are discovered and newer theories developed.

What I am saying is that thousands of people have studied, cross-referenced, compared notes, theorised, published and shared to create a massive, man-made body of work about this. It is all strictly empirical as per the Scientific method, and I would therefore tend toward accepting such findings and accepting the trend of the approach over myths and religious stories.

[Picture of evolving skeletons]I am not suggesting that “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”, (Darwin, 1859), is flawless, instead I am recommending the approach taken by Darwin over the approach taken by, for example, fundamental Christians or Jews.

There is nothing a modern person can do that would start with curiosity and finish with the book of Genesis, but there is every reason to expect a person today to start with an open mind and arrive at something that is closer to Darwin, Big Bang and so forth.

I would go even further and state that any person looking at evidence obtained empirically may come up with a new theory or support an old theory — but whatever is the destination, I can pretty-much guarantee that it will not involve forbidden fruit or Pandora’s box.

So I can categorically state that while we do not know (and may never ever know the factual actual truth), it is definitely the case that the story of Adam and Eve and Epimetheus and Pandora is false and fanciful myths. That much is certain. But it has to be stated that the history of oil painting and sculpture would be much poorer without these myths; imagine trying to paint the ‘Big Bang’ or ‘pure energy’!

[Picture of Jesus Teaching]Does that mean that I will be joining the Reverend Charles Darwin in eternal damnation? Who knows? For Christians, the Old Testament is an add-on, because Christians are followers of Jesus Christ — which means that the New Testament is the important thing because that is where a Christian will find the teachings of Jesus Christ… and as far as I can determine, Jesus Christ did not teach Adam and Eve and “Creationism”.

I can only suppose that if this was important, then Jesus Christ would certainly have made a point of covering the topic. To me, it seems not to be important as a belief to gain access to an afterlife in heaven. It should not be a big deal for Christians, yet somehow it is. Especially for protestant sects in the USA.

  • The strange Christian sects are trying to stop the teaching of sciences that may conflict with the Adam and Eve story! How mad is that?

It’s got Gallileo written all over it. One would have thought that we would have evolved away from primitive thinking. But let’s go back to the story of Adam and Eve and Epimetheus and Pandora — if the story is not to be taken literally, then maybe what is important is what the story is about — what is the point of the story, what is it trying to tell us (to do, to be).

Maybe it is possible for the two to co-exist. Mind you, for that to happen there would have to be a desire, and there doesn’t seem to be that want or need. Instead there seems to be a desire or need for dominance and aggression. Maybe we ought to look to the dollar for the real answer — the vested interests of those who want people to believe, belong and contribute money.

Funnily enough, possibly that is the truth in all this: maybe we ought not to open this box, this “can of worms”, maybe it is all not worth it — what is the point of it all? what good will it do? Is it merely curiosity? Can we handle the consequences of whatever we discover? Maybe we should be saying that whether the world was made in seven days or not is irrelevant. Maybe we should stop trying to disprove it, and at the same time stating that it is not to be believed. Maybe both science and religion are wrong here.

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7 Responses to “How It All Began”

  1. avanoo Says:

    RT,

    I’m writing to you because you commented on my WordPress blog, and I clicked through… and enjoyed your blog and thoughts immensely (we seem to be interested in very similar subject matter)! I’m working with my business partner Wilford to put together a community blog that consists of the best and most provocative posts from writers around WordPress.

    This community blog will reward its writers by giving us more visibility than, likely, we could get on our own blogs because:

    a) People with marketing expertise are working to publicize the community blog.
    b) A theme of thoughtful provocation encourages interesting subject matter and repeat readers.
    c) Each blog entry links back to the blog or website provided by its author.
    d) Regular writers will have featured links on the blog.

    It’s important to launch the community blog with a few committed contributors because that guarantees that we can regularly feature good content. If you’re interested in contributing, I’d love for you to be a part of this!

    Best Regards,
    Dan

  2. rtone Says:

    @Dan/avanoo
    Thank you for your kind words.

    I have to say first of all that I would feel fraudulent/ unworthy of being grouped with anything described as “the best and most provocative”.

    Nothing I write is intended to be provocative! This blog is an outlet for the frustration I feel when I see history being rewritten, or when I perceive ‘the public’ is being told what to think, how to think, and so forth. We are living in a revisionist age. I don’t like what I see happening; it makes me feel that I am losing my grip on things I thought I knew, and knew I remembered. This blog is my personal therapy. That’s all.

    I am trying to tell my truth, to relate my experience and memories, to right wrongs as I see them.

    As such it happens when it happens, when it has to happen — as opposed to any regular contribution sort-of thing!

    As a personal therapy, it is erratic, spontaneous and badly written ‘in the heat of the moment’, and I would be embarrassed to receive a lot of hits; it would make me want to spell-check and proof-read everything!

    This is my reason for declining your flattering offer — but I wish you well and look forward to reading all the provocative contributions from better and more deserving bloggers!

  3. ENRICO Says:

    Yes, I agree a hundred percent. All too often people think they know the difference between Science and Religion, but you have hit the nail on the head…

    Religion is what you are told, Science tells you nothing.

    Science is about trying to find out from clues, making guesses, and constantly refining the process over time.

    Sure, Science can be wrong, but it is never ever going to be as wrong as any religion!

    In other words, like you RT, I would be inclined toward a best-guess natural and unbiased scientific explanation instead of a unnatural, supernatural, biased toward an agenda, man-made one.

  4. Maximus Says:

    I would like to see a continuation of the topic

  5. AlecsTrunkin Says:

    Здравствуйте дорогие господа

    Нужна ваша помощь,с кем то советоваться из знакомых думаю не так поймут,поэтому решил на форуме.Мне уже 18 лет но у меня до сих пор не было девушки с которой у меня был секс, девочки знакомые были но как дело доходит до сексуальной близости я теряюсь и не знаю что говорить,мне кажется она не так поймет меня и даст по морде.Слышал у многих ребят первый сексуальный опыт был с проституткой,вот и я думаю может обратиться за помощью к проститутки и она поможет мне раскрепостится,научит как вести себя в постели с подружкой.Наверное многие били в моей ситуации и пользовались услугами проститутки москвы,отпишитесь у кого есть опыт в общении с проститутками будет ли толк.Буду рад любой информации.

    С уважением ваш друг Николай
    alecstrunkin@mail.ru
    Hi

    I need your help, I cannot talk to my friends about this and they wouldn’t understand me writing to a forum, but even though I am 18, I have not had sex with a girl. I have girls as friends, but when things get more intimate, because I did not know what to do or say, I lose out. Now I am desperate. I know that many guys’ first sexual experience is with a prostitute, so now I am thinking of using prostitutes to help me gain confidence with women, and to learn bedroom techniques that I can use on girls. Anyone who has experience of using prostitutes and would be happy to talk to me, could you please give me information and advice please?

    Sincerely, your friend Nicholas
    alecstrunkin@mail.ru


  6. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a
    little bit, but other than that, this is great blog. An excellent read.
    I’ll definitely be back.


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