Friday, June 20, 2008

Adam and Eve and the Serpent

I was meditating/journaling this morning. Now, I'm sure I'm not the first to have this insight, but here it is. The story of Adam and Eve is one about consciousness, etiology: how we became conscious. The result of consciousness is awareness of death. We are the only animals who are conscious; we are the only ones (well maybe with the exception of elephants) who are aware of our impending death. So, when God tells Adam that if he eats of the tree of knowledge of good and evil on that day you will die, God is telling the truth. A bit of Adam will die on the day he eats the fruit and learns that one day he will die. His unconsciousness of death, his naievte , his innocence dies. He physically lives, but it is no longer the same. He becomes aware of his own mortality.

Now, it seems to me that being aware of our mortality should make life sweeter. But, it doesn't seem to work that way. Many of us do everything we can to deny the fact that we will die. We exercise, we have plastic surgery, we eat anti-oxidents. We run. Or, we drink, we become addicted to our laptops, we do drugs. We isolate ourselves from life. We deny that we are mortal.

If we really knew we were going to die, wouldn't we live our lives differently? Wouldn't we care about the homeless man who is hungry and scared? Wouldn't we care more about the dying children in Africa? Wouldn't we care more about the mourning parents in China? Wouldn't we care more about our neighbors, the ones right next door? Wouldn't we care about the world we are leaving to our children, our grandchildren and (should we be so lucky) their children?

So, we have received a gift in consciousness with the blessing/curse of knowledge of our death. And we ignore the message of the blessing/curse.