The Garden, The "Fall of Man" and Civilization

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by c0de, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    ??? Pastoralism is a branch of agriculture.

    Two words: private property

    In a world of finite resources, it is problematic almost by definition
    We're not talking about the Australian outback. We're talking about a place where agriculture was possible.

    "Motive" ? ... well, let me put it this way:

    Do you know why modern Europeans are not lactose intolerant? Even though the more primitive inhabitants of Europe were lactose intolerant? Because modern Europeans didn't actually come from Europe. They migrated more recently, from the Middle East. People from the middle east, who had domesticated cows and goats had gotten used to milk. Slowly, they started advancing their settlements in Europe and came into contact with the more primitive cultures. But what happened to the older inhabitants?

    We don't actually know for sure... but the results of that encounter are clear. The older, less advanced culture was wiped out and replaced. That's just how the world works. Finding rational "motivations" in history, is a waste of time.

    Well, there you go.

    How many instances do you know where an advanced culture came into contact with primitive one and both got along? Certainly not in North America.

    Ask the lactose intolerant Europeans, who probably attempted to steal the crops and domesticated cattle of the newcomers, and ended up paying with their own extinction.
     
  2. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    C0de, also perhaps early European numbers were thinned by domesticated animal-borne diseases similar to cowpox. The people you mention from the Middle East would have already developed resistance to such diseases, but the hunter-gatherers would not have. (I read about this idea in Jared Diamond's book about the history of agriculture. Guns Germs and Steel: the Fate of Human Societies. chapter 11 "Lethal gift of livestock") As a more recent example: it is recorded history that when Europeans of the second millennium, like the Spanish, invaded the Americas they carried deadly diseases with them that decimated the native populations. (David Weber The Spanish Frontier in North America chapter on "Worlds Apart") If something similar happened to the early Europeans it would help to explain their efficient replacement. Disease travels fast, and the newly thinned Europeans native populations may even have welcomed incoming migrations having already been subdued through disease.
     
  3. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    Immunity is one of the the most powerful biological technologies, after all.
     
  4. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 New Member

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    I mentioned pastoralism as an extension of agriculture because it is the domestication of animals (as opposed to plants). Hunter gatherers may have domesticated dogs but not livestock.

    May I ask what your experience is in living without private property? The early church practiced "all things in common" but have you tried it?
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010
  5. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    You're misunderstanding the argument and the point of this thread. I'm not saying living like a hunter-gatherer is a better lifestyle. I'm in fact saying that progress was made precisely because settlement offered advantages a "state of nature" could not.

    What you need to accept is that was a compromise that carried with it certain negatives that are continually with us.

    I thought you were saying pastoralism isn't an extension of agriculture. That's why I was confused.
     
  6. Virtual_Cliff

    Virtual_Cliff New Member

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    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I thought Moslems held the Tawrat to be a holy book, and this text includes a version of the Genesis text. God's "resting" is given as the reason for the Sabbath, a holy day for the three faiths.

    You can't change scripture just so you can disagree with it. It says knowledge of godd and evil and that is what it means. Without this knowledge we would be like animals. Having this knowledege is what marks us out as different, with all the weight of responsibility that implies. We lost our innocence and gained wisdom, and there is no going back.

    As will all good myths, the Eden story is always open to new applications and interpretations. The clash between livestock and arable certainly gets a mention in the story of Esau and Jacob.
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    A while back my kids in Sunday School read this, I had them divide into three groups and work out a skit and come back and perform it for us...two did it quite literally, G!d, Adam & Eve, the devilish snake and even some other animals... One group modernized it. The teacher (G!d) told the students she had some work to do in the back of the room, and when they finished their test as they should drop it on her desk and they can have a piece of candy. But one, thing, don't take the red ones, you can have any other candy. A couple kids went up and honored her wishes, but then the sneaky little troublemaker got a red one...and encouraged others to get red ones.

    The teacher coming back to her desk and noticing most of the red ones gone commented, "Good, thank you, I don't like the red ones"

    Great kids eh? So the question is, do you think the Omniscient, Omnipresent couldn't wouldn't know what would happen? Or the one that knows all and keeps all in the book of life didn't know where A&E were, or what they had done? The story doesn't make sense as it is. Unless G!d intended them to eat, and enticed them to eat by the very recommendation not to eat in the first place.....
     
  8. Amergin

    Amergin New Member

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    What is knowledge if it is not knowledge of good and evil, up and down, black and white, safe and dangerous? The primary words were "the tree of Knowledge." Even if one tries to limit knowledge to good and evil, my point remains rational. The story was used by ancient warlords to keep people ignorant, submissive, and never to question the wisdom of the warlord. Genesis was an allegory perhaps deliberately intended to cower the mass of the people to the will of those in power. Good and Evil can simply be metaphors for obedience versus dissent. Either way, it was a political tool of oppressive rulers, from warlords, barons, dukes, princes, and kings.

    God was simply the mythical monster who would eat children who disobeyed their fathers. Noah's flood was another example implying that the human race was guilty of sin (i.e. disobedience.)

    Breaking news! We are in fact ANIMALS. We lack green leaves, roots into the ground, or asexual reproduction. Separating humans from other animals was due to ignorant Christian Superstition. Their arrogance led to thinking that humans have souls (making them little immortal gods.)

    Evolution led to a line of primates leading to Apes 15 million years ago. Further evolution by natural selection favoured apes with bipedal gait, tool using hands, and selected cleverness that led to us. It was not magic. It was real and is preserved in Hominid fossils for millions of years.

    We were not special. We were just smarter. We became dominant because of vocal language communication and social grouping. Individually a lone human faced predation by lions, hyenas, and crocodiles. Our dominating characteristics were intelligence, learning, communication, inventiveness, and the group tendency already typical of all hominids from Australopithecus to Homo sapiens. We were smart enough to invent gods to use as social tools and religions as rules of obedience and submissiveness to the leader.

    Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for 160,000,000 years. Top predators like T. rex were at the top. Group hunting raptor dinosaurs were the most intelligent. One wonders how smart they would have evolved in social group if the dinos did not go extinct. Some other animal better adapted to changing conditions will some day replace humans.

    We lost our pre-hominid ignorance and gained the more adaptive abilities of inquiry, knowledge, analytical reasoning, and social skills. Of course, we could not go back. Put any one of us in a wilderness with predators, he or she is unlikely to survive.

    Sure it is. It is allegory not history. We can only assume or speculate how those early humans prior to 200,000 years ago developed magical myths that today seem silly but not to the earliest Homo sapiens. The meaning of Genesis is best seen in retrospect and applying known history and events.

    We can look back and see Original Sin was the sin of seeking forbidden knowledge (forbidden by warlords.) The penalty was to be thrown out of the magical garden where food was aplenty and work unnecessary. We now see that it was the transition of humans from hunter-gatherers to pasturalism and later to agriculture. Like all of us, stories of the "good ole days" are elaborated to seem like some precious way of life now lost.

    We can listen to Elizabethan songs played by fancy string instruments and people dancing and it seems like a wonderful age. Americans see the cowboy as the greatness of America. He rode his horse, carried a gun, and herded cattle from Texas to Dodge. It is romantic. However, the reality is far from wonderful. The Elizabethan peasant lived in squalor and drank filthy water. Homeless people died in the streets of London with carts to carry them away before that stank too much.

    Old Times are viewed with rose coloured lens. We see the few good parts and forget the misery.

    Men and their families following the goat or caribou herds and fending off lions, wolves, bears, and human raiders did not think it was nice. Their stories are about a magic garden created by some god. In the garden food was everywhere and no work was required. How did we loose that...original sin against God? That sin was violating the ban on seeking knowledge.

    Agricultural groups were advanced from pasturalism. They planted crops that could be stored and prevent famine. Populations could grow and form towns and cities with enough time on their hands to become artisans, blacksmiths, bakers, carpenters, house builders, and priests. However, pushing the plough in the Sunlight with temperatures from 40 degrees to 50 degrees centigrade was felt to be miserable. Why were we expelled from the Magic Garden?

    It must have been an offence against the Gods. What would offend the gods? The major offence would be a mere human seeking the knowledge of the gods. Gods reportedly said, "Gen 3:22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.

    Humans socially and intellectually evolved from 200,000 BCE through hunter-gatherer to pasturalist, to farmer, to manufacturer, to space explorer. However, they still believed in the myth of the magic garden (hunter-gatherer.) The delusion of a Golden Age grew with time, as people were ignorant of the ways of their remote ancestors.

    Amergin
     
  9. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    According to the Quran, (not tryin 2 argue here) changes were made to the Torah and its not in its original state. Also, the sabbath isn't a holy day for us.


    Dude, u could have condensed this whole spiel into 1 paragraph.

    drop the lectures & adopt a more dialectical approach << free advice
     
  10. Victor

    Victor Silver Haired Member

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    Considering the fact that Eden is a Spiritual event and that it represents man's fall from a Spiritual existence to a physical and material existence, I find it rather immature to be looking for an earthly location for this 'place'.

    Man in his beginnings, we are told, was a spiritual being as are the angels. And Jesus defined the essence of that existence as being eternal when he responded to the Pharisees concerning the woman who had married the seven brothers. He said, "There is no giving or taking of marriage in the kingdom for we are like unto the Angels!" Judaism in that era considered Angels to be spiritual beings, neither male or female, and of an eternal nature.

    I would suggest that mankind matured out of a need for survival once the 'good old days' were gone and his need to provide for himself overcame inertia and a painfully empty stomach. The transition from spiritual to material surrounds us every day and should be every bit as valid as consideration as trying to find Eden somewhere on this hapless planet!

    Victor G
     
  11. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    In Genesis, Eden was a garden where the first humans lived after creation on a material Earth.

    I doubt it.

    Such verses can be interpreted in many ways (especially considering all the verses on the subject, in all the scriptures combined).
     
  12. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 New Member

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    I ask whether you have tried living without private property because you raised the issue in a previous post and I wonder where you are coming from (theory or practice).
    I lived in christian community during my twenties (many in my church have been doing so since the 1970's) where all property is held "in common" rather than strictly "private". However, the only way to be completely free of private possessions would be to go naked (and no, we have not gone that far:eek:) because the moment one has clothes one has something that is yours and yours alone. Thus I agree with your assertion that there is an element of compromise in any lifestyle.

    However, I did not challenging this conclusion but the text on which you based it.
    Whether you considered hunter-gathering as morally "better" I did not know, but your original post asserts that it is better by describing the agriculturalists as "upstarts":

    "...By challenging God's very omnipotence. In so doing they represented the agriculturists, the upstarts who insisted on taking matters into their own hands, relying upon their knowledge and their own skills rather than on His bounty."
    (bold text as in OP, blue text mine)

    This text presents hunter-gatherers as reliant upon God's bounty but, unlike Adam and Eve, the most ancient hunter-gatherers (Cro-magnon and Neanderthal) were being buried with their property long before the shifts to agriculturalism or civilisation, indicating that they were already reliant on their knowledge and technology: clothing for protection from the elements, and on tools for a variety of purposes.
    Surely the clothing and tools of hunter-gatherers are as much a product of the fall as the fields of the agriculturalists?
    This would make the fall a parable of a much more fundamental shift from "wild-man/ape-man" to hunter-gatherer "upstarts" rather than the later shift suggested.
     
  13. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    To me it would be a very romantic account of Mesopotamia since people lived in a low plain at the mercy of a river that constantly waggled about and flooded. They needed the water but also were threatened by it and probably thought lots about their rivers. Perhaps they were thinking of their rivers as a snake with its tail in the mountains and its forked tongue as the Euphrates and Tigris. ...Or perhaps one day the river/snake went up into the hills to tempt Eve then was driven down and forced to stay in the valley, cursed to taste the dust from then on. Perhaps the snake is the streams that start in the mountains and then flow downward carrying silt. I can think of a lot of ways that the whole river situation could match that of the serpent in Genesis. These would be consistent in a fuzzy way though not in an absolute.
    Actually the story talks about a competition between Abel the pastor and Cain the farmer, but I don't see a direct comment about 'Hunter Gatherers'. We are really schmoozing the part about Hunter-Gatherers into there anyway. Probably if you called anyone that to their face they would punch you.
    I bet its less about being a hunter gatherer or agriculturalist and more about moving down into the valley. As for conflict, the conflict would be for land near to the water. The nearer the river, the better the soil. One's life and station would depend on this.
    (I recently saw a movie about a WWII veteran, Sgt. York, who was born in the mountains of Tennessee, USA. It showed how hard people had to work to survive in the mountains. The story talks about how much he had wanted to move down to get himself a piece of 'Bottomland' to improve his station in life, before he was drafted into the war. It was a black & white film based on the true story of Sgt. York's life.)
    I'll bet there was a lot of conflict, similar to conflict between farmers, ranchers and natives in the Old West USA. The river farmers would have held dearly to their plots while everyone else was forced to live in the hills. Probably the two competing environments created two or more classes of people in the area, possibly antagonistic.
     
  14. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    I love that movie and would commend it to anyone. A favorite bit was the state-line tavern, with a line down the floor marking off Kentucky from Tennessee-- because you see, there is no drinking allowed in Kentucky, and no dancing in Tennessee. But the religious conversion scene, much better done than movies generally manage, is the most relevant; check it out if you can find it.
     
  15. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    If you look at my original quote, I am emphasizing agriculture itself, which is perhaps the key line in the sand that was crossed.

    Not according to this narrative which these researchers have suggesed.
     
  16. Amergin

    Amergin New Member

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    Rubbish. The Eden Story was an irrational myth with two versions that are mutually contradictory. Humans were not created on Earth, we evolved on an ancient Earth from a line of non-human animals over 600 million years.

    Humans did not live anywhere immediately after creation. Creation occurred 13.8 billion years ago. The Sun did not condense from a nebular cloud until 4.8 billion years ago. Earth did not condense until 4.5 billion years ago like the other planets. Unicellular life began about 3.7 billion years ago. Multicellular creatures did not evolve until some cells made collagen to hold them together. That was in the Ediacaran Period from 600 to 540 million years ago. Mammals evolved from reptiles in the Triassic or late Permian. Primates evolved about 60 million years ago.

    Apes evolved from monkeys about 15-20 million years ago. Hominids began with the Human-Chimpanzee common ancestor, 5 or 6 million years ago. We evolved through Ardipithecus to Australopithecus, to Homo habilis to H. ergaster, to H. erectus, to H. heidelbergensis and H. rhodesiensis, to H. sapiens, to H. sapiens sapiens. H. heidelbergensis went on to become Neanderthal. Homo sapiens began about 200,000 years ago. That was 13, 800, 000, 800 years before modern humans lived on Earth. It took Earth 4,499,999,800 years for humans to evolve and walk the Earth. At different times there were at least two separate genera of hominids (Australopithecus and Homo), and often three separate species living on earth up until about 70,000 years ago when H. erectus still survived in South and East Asia, H. neandertalis in Europe, and H. sapiens, sapiens in Africa and possibly Arabia.

    There was no Magic Garden of Eden. That is just a faerie tale. In addition, 6000 years ago humans had already populated the entire Earth. Europeans 30,000 years ago had already invented religion and carved fertility goddesses. Humans created God rather than the reverse.

    Amergin
     
  17. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    God created us through evolution


    Why do you feel it necessary to provide lectures on the obvious?

    I agree.
     
  18. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 New Member

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    The raiders and farmers of Zoroaster's day must have settled their differences and joined forces. We only know about Zoroaster because the raiders carried his writings with them when they migrated south east to conquer the Indian civilisation, where they created the cast sytem (setting themselves at the top). They also migrated south west and conquered all the countries of the middle east and North Africa as far as Libya. We know their language as Aryan, but when, in modern times, the Nazis hijacked that term they renamed what remains of their country according to their own pronunciation of the term - Iran.

    Just as the Zoroastrian religion united the people of the Russian Steppes, so later Islaam united the Mongol peoples. In both cases they established empires which enforced a peace among tribes and civilisations which had previously been at war. In the time in between these two empires, the dark ages, the trade route known as the silk road was impassible. Marco Polo was only able to explore it after the conquest of Genghis Kahn.

    What is relevant to this thread is that neither of these conquering groups were themselves city builders or even, particularly, agriculturalists. What they did was take over and unite pre-existing civilisations while leaving the dirty work to those they conquered. A better analogy for this is not the story of the fall, but of the Tower of Babel:

    Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. Genesis 11:9

    Theses groups effectively reversed, for a time, the curse of Babel by imposing a single language (The Persians adopted Aramaic as their international trade language while the Mongols adopted Mandarin) making it possible to trade much further afield than city states could.

    There are some similarities to the American Wild West, but a closer analogy, to my mind, would be the Norman conquest of England. ie. It is because the Normans came in as a ruling class (in effect a 'cast') that we have different names for animals in the field and meat on the table. We still use the Saxon peasant names for the animal - pig, cow, deer... - and Norman-French names for what is on the table - porc, boef, venisson... - because the conquerors did not dirty their hands with agriculture.
     
  19. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    Thanks for the info, Aardvark.
     
  20. Victor

    Victor Silver Haired Member

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    "In Genesis, Eden was a garden where the first humans lived after creation on a material Earth." No, cOde,go back gently... Eden was a spiritual presence, not a physical dwelling that man was cast out of and then protected by two 'angels', effectively, time and space!
    Nothing has entered it since and will not as it is separated from our dimension by one split second of time. It is always that one microsecond in time and space apart from us. [Consider string theory here.] When time is altered we will meet it head on, and who will survive......
     

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