Saturday, November 23, 2019

Wisdom

In Japanese, as best I understand, the biblical Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil could also be rendered as the Tree of Wisdom. I like that.

As I see it, the moment described in the myth* of Adam and Eve where they are tempted and eat of the tree is not the theological breaking of relationship described as The Fall nor the source of "original sin" as it were. Rather this ingesting  of the truth of the difference between good and evil was always a necessary step for humanity to take. To develop as humans from the awakening to pleasure in a perfect Garden, to the reality that the opposite of pleasure also exists, was always a result of the evolution of choice.**

The Fall was rather the moment in which the relationship between the human and divine was shattered, when shame entered the equation and blame became the solution rather than dealing with the pain. Biology at war with Consciousness. Divinity and Carnality. The lesson we had to learn in order to embrace what we could become if we were willing to face the fear.

That lesson has taken us, as a species, on a trajectory. We can trace that path through our stories, both the fictive histories and historical fictions. The framing narratives we tell to explain how this division began within us, as well as the overarching path we've walked since. It is a path fraught with pain, evil, waste, horror, suffering, oppression, disease, and death. It is also filled with art, beauty, wonder, connection, sacredness, and life.

Good and Evil. Writ large and small. Fractal-image reflected in our bones.

The wisdom of the trajectory, is that we cannot escape the pain of the moment when chaos rips order away into death and decay. Entropy do as Entropy do. Given but our stories as shield against the night, can we tell one that finds the channel of Good within the raging river of Evil? Can we find the path emerging from our great gathering narratives that leads us towards more Good and less Evil?

This is the question that sits at the beginning and the heart of the Abrahamic religions. How can we cope with this knowledge of good and evil?

I believe that in the Japanese translation of the Abrahamic texts we learn to see that this divide is wisdom. The Tree wasn't a trap. It wasn't a god making petty rules to entrap his petty playthings. The Tree is our myth of knowledge-gaining placed where it ought to be in our meaning-making stories. As we gain knowledge we must pay the price of wisdom. We must hold the pleasure and pain of that knowledge. We must develop as individuals and as a species by growing our capacity to release and process the pain that is blocking us to more and greater pleasure.

On this trajectory we, as a species, have move from violence and inequality to a much more just and equal world. Yet it is still rife with corruption, inequality, greed, and harm to the most vulnerable and historically oppressed. It is two things. It is both/and.

Wisdom.


--

Damn Knowledge!
what fruit
teaches evil
from good
unto
death

what death
to desire
and suffering
leads
to illumination
of the
damned
knowers






_______________
*in the sense of collective-story of worldview-explanation/inculcation
**whether one ascribes to creative or evolutionary sources for all of existence, it cannot be denied that systems, cultures, and biological processes respond to their environments with successive iterations. Choice, as a biological-sociological construct also becomes more refined to its environment with successive iterations.

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