Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Morning Quotation Of The Day

From this post by Brook Wilensky-Lanford, author of Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden and blogger about the fine line between fact and fiction at
Eden isn’t quite the same as utopia: it doesn’t bother with social systems; it is exclusive, a party of two. Eden is also not the same thing as paradise. Paradise is an end: permanent, perfection. Eden is always capitalized, as if it were the name of an actual geographical place, but Eden is actually temporal.
It’s a cycle: in the beginning, things were perfect, yes, but then something went wrong, and we had to leave, and then we began to yearn to return. Yes, Eden was a place of plenty, with all the conditions most fruitful for life, but more in the way an incubator is a place of plenty—nutritious, but not designed to be permanent. So the Garden of Eden always includes the Fall. It wouldn’t be paradise if it weren’t already lost. Stay too long in Eden and it becomes a cryogenic Shangri-La whose perfection turns meaningless, even menacing. Perfection leads to destruction. Even—especially—in the Bible. Adam and Eve picked themselves up after the expulsion from Eden, learned to till the earth, begat several generations. But then God decides to destroy the whole earth with Noah’s Flood. The flood is sort of a continuation of the Eden story: creation, destruction, then recreation again.

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