Wednesday, June 08, 2005

thomas edison and original sin

icarus reflects upon the philosophical meanderings that are part of his higher education from time to time:
While sitting in my leftist infested American Foreign Policy class, my professor, also a jaded communist, keeps pronouncing that human nature is evil. He says it so much that the rest of the class has now begun the practice of finishing his sentence for him. "Things are bad because human nature is...class? 'Evil!' That's right, evil, very good."

so why is it that we always get this one wrong? i think it's because we need to place the blame for all manner of calamity resulting from the poor stewardship of our free will on somebody or something other than ourselves. it must be in our nature to be evil- this absolves us of both guilt and responsibility.

however, when i dig back into the creation story told in the first couple chapters of the first book of the bible, i find some wording that is troublesome if i am to subscribe to this doctrine of inherent evil. quite frankly, i can't get past it:

sorry for the lengthy quote that ensues. i just don't want to break up the context too much...
then God said, 'let us make man in our own image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

so God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

so God blessed them and said to them, 'be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves along the ground.'

then God said 'i give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. they will be yours for food.

and to all the beasts of the earth and the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground- everything that has the breath of life in it- i give every green plant for food.' and it was so.

and God saw all that he had made and it was very good.
(genesis 2.26-31)

okay, here's my little point- the main reason why i just can't buy the 'evil human nature' deal: the bible holds that God, upon looking at all he had made (which incidently culminated with the creation of beings capable of relationship with him) did not say that it was 'fine', or 'acceptable' or 'sufficient for the timebeing,' he said that it was 'very good'- that what he had just finished working on was, in his view, superior to everything he had already created so far and called simply 'good.' if we look at the bit where he envisions humankind for the first time, we see that people were planned to be and realized in the image or likeness of God. i guess this and the 'it is very good' remark tell us more about God than about man.

if evil were natural, then God would have looked at something inherently evil and, upon declaring it 'very good' would have been declaring himself inherently evil as well, as man is said to be in the image of God.

although a lot of people like to see God as a cosmic spoilsport (all the fun stuff is seen as illegal- whole nother blog there), or a cranky king (bringing down harsh retribution upon any who fall short of being perfect in thought or deed) or a vain and needy emotional and spiritual being (creating beings for the sole purpose of worshiping himself), all of these are better examples of man creating God in his own image, than the other way round.

no, i believe that what is natural has been replaced by that which is flawed and unnatural: a soul corruption that has spread through our species through both nature and nurture, along with that pesky thing called 'free will.'

so we went from 'very good' to 'worth dying for' with one bad decision.

either way, i can't swallow the idea that we are naturally evil... if we were we'd hardly be worth all the fuss. it would make more sense for God to act in the manner of thomas edison upon inventing yet another lightbulb that failed to work... just put humankind in a box, log it away as yet another way to NOT create a recipient of his greatest love and attention, and start all over again.

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Blogger Icarus Goodman said...

Interesiting stuff,

As I know the story, Man was created as a good thing. They themselves I doubt could really act as good or bad as they didnt yet have knowledge of good and evil, but once they disobeyed god that is when they become tainted.

According to original sin, because of adam and eve's decision we are all born sinners, or at least born incapable of not sinning. Kind of an evil by nature rhetoric. I never liked it either as people do often use it as an excuse for bad behavior.

Blogger jollybeggar said...

yep- i guess the place i push back is exactly there: using 'sinful nature' excuses to not even bother to try to live in a manner befitting the 'crowned of creation.'

however, when we speak of a 'sinful nature' it would be more appropriate, in my view, to refer to it as a fallen nature... something that was created 'very good' and then headed south when humankind got experimenting with experiences and parameters. otherwise it sounds like the propensity to do the wrong thing was part of the original design.

all i know is that my own personal sin problem has much more to do with the decisions i make then it does with these adam and eve people. whether their story is to be taken literally or allegorically, the end result is that people are capable of darkness and that there are many factors that influence just how dark they ultimately become... the degree to which that darkness deepens is still down to the choices that they make when faced with options.

life is options. that's why the zen-leaf is such an excellent illustration of cause/effect and possible futures. the challenge is to personally make positive 'what-ifs' rather than be enslaved by a human history of 'if-onlys.'

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you are a pretentious moron. You do realize that the bible was written by man and not god and has gone through dozens of translations before even being translated into English right? I mean people are just guessing what God said, it is not like Adam and Ever said "Oh wait God, can you repeat that I need to grab a pen and write this down" and whoever wrote down what God actually said for the bible wrote it in an ancient language that has long been dead for thousands of years, that was some cumbersome that it did not contain adverbs such as very, which is an English language creation.

Please, I implore you, actually think about things instead of taking them for face value, because Humans have free will. You have to question even things you read in the bible, because it was written by man and subject to the writers own feelings and style of writing as well as all the translators interpretations of what they believed the text to mean.

Blogger darren e. logan said...

humans were created as hunter/gatherers, in tune with the laws of nature & living in balance with the rest of creation.
the day we decided not to behave in such a manner, to become 'civilized' and decide that all of the earth is for us to use as we please (all food for us, wage war on ALL competitors, deciding which species deserve to live & die) was the day we were cast out of the Garden. THAT, in my opinion, is the Original Sin.It is the moment in which we decided that we could choose whatever definition of love we wanted rather than continue to understand and live it's greatest, most expansive meaning - that everything is connected and that there is unity - ALL is God, including 'His' Creation (being the Body of God).We devalued that which was given us, birthed a type of egotism and narcissism, and started to behave in a way similar to the one which got Lucifer booted out of Heaven (i.e. "WE can do better than God, WE can decide the fate of all life) so, in a sense, all civilized people ARE inherently evil; meaning: at odds with natural law and behaving as if we are exceptions to the rule of life, that we can do whatever we want with no consequences or responsibility, because, hey, we're intelligent, never mind that intelligence is an aesthetic value & that any hierarchy imposed to judge it is nothing but a creation of the human neuro-semantic system and is species specific, or in other words, completely abstract and subjective (if the need to use external technologies in order to survive is a measure of intelligence rather than weakness,we really are in a bad spot!). the very way we live is the most violent act towards creation which has ever been performed. We live in the same way that cancer cells do, with very little regard for our host and an obscene obsession with uncontrolled and irresponsible expansion and growth, both internal and external. if we want something to blame, we should blame our ancestors.We've been programmed culturally through unthinking and unquestioned traditions which have been passed down as if they are universal truths which are eternal. It is important to note here that, as far as we know, never before in history have so many traditions seen such a wide diaspora in which they are imposed on bioregions in which they did not evolve and in no way are in harmony with, which could be considered an extremely entropic force.
it may not be our fault that we became this way, but if we can recognize it, we can change it. it has only been a little over a century since the advent of psychiatry, linguistics, general semantics, and the study of how our brains work and how we actually learn. we are some of the first generations to even have the capability on such a large scale of 'changing the program'.
we need to figure out a way to move back into a sacred balance with the Community of Life.

another sidenote: as a species, we survived hundreds of thousands of years as hunter/gatherers with no ill effects to the WORKED. and it is becoming clear with new scientific findings that our ancestors lived much longer than the short lives we have been led to believe that they had, and on top of that, had MUCH more leisure time than we do. in a matter of a few thousand years, the 'Civilized Human" divergence has taken over and claimed most of the material world as its raw materials and disrupted the balance of the community of life. Civilization seeks to imprison and control nature. In a sense, this is even true of such Eco movements as Permaculture.
which way would you imagine God would approve of?
Which one is based in humility and love? which one is based in violence, judgment, lust, greed, and gluttony?

Thanks for the great post. happened upon your blog via searching for Dark Side of Edison facts. feeling the need to read more of your posts. :)


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