My philosophically-oriented mind is very attracted to ideas and I delight in making connections between fascinating theories and my everyday inner and outer life. But my readers are teaching me that others don’t automatically make the same connections I take for granted and sometimes I need to clarify their practical applications. So I’d like to share a recent interaction with a reader who is helping me see how to do this. In response to “Who Was Eve: Wanton or Warrior?” Donna wrote, “You lost me on this one.” Here’s an improved version of my response.
Sorry, Donna. My point was that this story is about how primitive humanity, symbolized by Adam and Eve, was at the mercy of the rules made up by the leaders of their tribes. If a powerful group leader said, “I talked to God last night and God says you can’t shoot marbles with the kids from across the tracks,” or wear the color red, or eat a certain food, or whatever, they didn’t dare challenge his/her authority lest they be banished from the tribe, their only source of protection, and die all alone in the wilderness.
As humanity acquired greater self-awareness and better survival skills, some of our early rules became outdated, yet we were so conditioned by traditional standards that we continued to believe in them even when they had lost their relevance. As long as we didn’t stop to think about what a rule was for and why we shouldn’t break it, we were living in a paradise of ignorance and childish innocence in which whatever our tribe told us was good was good, and whatever it said was bad was bad, and all we had to do was obey and we’d be good too.
Thus, if the custom was to stone a child for disobeying its parents, jail a starving man for stealing a piece of bread, or ostracize a woman for exposing her ankles, we did it without compunction because we sincerely believed it was the right thing to do. It’s the same with parents and kids. Some rules are important when we’re young and vulnerable, but some are products of our parent’s particular neuroses. Eventually we have to decide for ourselves what’s really right and what’s really wrong because as long as our moral reasoning is based on following rules willy nilly, we’re capable of committing evil without even knowing it!
Eve represents the awakening soul which says, “This rule does more harm than good and I’m not going to keep it any longer.” So while her action was very bad from the viewpoint of her “tribe’s” limited God-image, from a higher perspective it was actually a courageous moral act. Eating from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil means seeing for yourself what’s right and wrong and challenging rules you know to be unjust or immoral whether others do or not. Examples of people who ate from the same tree, (became more conscious of what was wrong with their societies), include Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. They knew it’s evil to hurt, restrict, persecute, enslave or kill others who are different from “us.” This knowledge emboldened them to leave the narrow thinking of their groups and inspire others to do the same. This is why Eve is the mother of all Spirit Warriors who help humanity evolve into greater moral awareness and responsibility.
Thank you, Donna. I hope this clears up my meaning. And my sincere gratitude to all who comment here for helping me make better connections with others through my writing.