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Paradises Lost


The choice was between awareness and paradise. Paradise was lost in that conflict. That is how the Bible tells the story of the origin of humankind. The great English poet, John Milton, converted that myth into one of the most moving epic poems titled Paradise Lost. Paradise had to be lost if the human creature had to rise above the state of being a mere animal, a creature with a lower consciousness level. Adam and Eve were innocent until they ate the fruit of knowledge, the forbidden fruit. The only condition that God had put on the first couple was that they should not strive to rise above being mere animals. “Do not eat the fruit of knowledge” meant that Adam and Eve should remain as ignorant and hence as innocent as the other animals in Paradise. Paradise is a state of innocence. It is not a place. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they lost innocence but gained awareness or a higher level of consciousness.

Milton’s epic poem presents Eve as “our credulous mother.” It is because of her credulousness that Satan tempted her rather than Adam. Credulousness is a version of innocence. Eve gets punished for her credulousness. Is credulousness a vice and cunning a virtue? In order to escape Satan’s temptation, what Eve really required was cunning. She lacked that cunning. Is that a vice? Well, in the creation myth of the Bible, yes. At least Milton suggests so.

Centuries after the creation myth became part of the Jewish scriptures, Jesus taught his followers to be as innocent as doves and as cunning as serpents. You have to be good at heart but keep the gun ready while dealing with others. Oh, no, don’t take that literally. Jesus wouldn’t have endorsed a real gun though he said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.” It’s a metaphorical gun that is required. Shoot the cunning devils as they come. Metaphorically, of course. Be cunning enough to know how to preserve your innocence. How to preserve your paradise.

That’s not easy. It is almost impossible to preserve dove-like innocence when you are struggling with wolves and serpents. Even Jesus didn’t succeed in the struggle. He ended up on the cross crying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Loss of paradise is an inevitable fate of human beings. We all lose our individual paradises in childhood itself. There is no escape from that loss. That is the real tragedy of our species, I think.

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Comments

  1. This post me really sad------ specially when I read last two lines -- I thought of my child growing up and inevitable loss of paradise like u told :( :( Yes at tiems it feels like clinging on to paradise but its not possible - "That’s not easy. It is almost impossible to preserve dove-like innocence when you are struggling with wolves and serpents. " --- so true! A very thought provoking post

    Dropping by from a to z "The Pensive"

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The most tragic thing is that innocence is now seen as a vice or a weakness. I wrote an earlier post on this: https://matheikal.blogspot.com/2022/04/the-idiot.html

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  2. Hari OM
    How interesting, as close to a Preachy Post as you've come! Which is just fine, for I enjoyed every word. YAM xx
    P=Psykadelika

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  3. I was nodding a yes all along. Is being credulous a vice. A personal one, yes! And one that's almost like a loop. You never learn. Human life is a dichotomy between the credulous and the cunning, is it?

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    1. Yes is the answer to that question. The pendulum keeps swinging between those extremes. Without learning the vital lessons.

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  4. I liked the conclusion. Yet This is an eye opener //Paradise is a state of innocence. It is not a place.//

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    Replies
    1. Let's hope some day some visionary comes to give us that innocence, at least a fraction of it, back.

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  5. Loved reading this post. It's so true - you can't remain a dove when left among the wolves.

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    1. Being a dove in such situations will be inviting ruin upon yourself.

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  6. I've loved the poem Paradise Lost for as long as I can remember. It's where I first came across the idea that Satan is a fallen angel.

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    Replies
    1. And Satan is the real hero of Paradise Lost. Milton was a naughty poet!

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  7. It's been a long time (another century) when I read Paradise Lost. The scripture you pull in is interesting. I think because it was lost - we have hope. (in Jesus) Cheers

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