Everyone's crazy these days, everyone except maybe some primitives still living in the forests somewhere before the fall. Oh yes, there was a fall, a great big one. Mankind was jettisoned into madness by something so severe that they feared it deeply, beyond words even. There are many names for what happened, sin for instance. One great writer called it a disease. But I prefer this thing called consciousness, though the term illness suffices. It appeared rather sharply, suddenly and probably within one generation of offspring. The earth is like that; she can make something happen whenever she wants to make it happen and nothing can be done about it. Anyway it came like poison. Women experienced it before men did, hence the Adam and Eve myth where Eve infected Adam. The disease was contagious. Women got more of it, that’s why they are sicker than men. Another more acceptable way of saying this is that woman are more conscious than men. Everyone wrote about it, the Greeks, the Jews, the Egyptians, and all about the same time. They remembered. That's why all the old literature describes some act of being cast out. It's symbolic of what happened and still to this day there is no way to directly describe it without symbolic metaphor, without myth.
The ancients, our forefathers and mothers, knew right away that something horrible had happened. They felt it. They knew it, and this knowing itself was horrible to bear. To know was a symptom. Every thing seemed strange and horrible. Even the animals were odd looking, now that they could be seen. Everything appeared in its maddening essence. Their forefathers didn't have it. They remained unaffected. Some remnants of this remain in the present generations where the young and old are suspicious of each other, angry and resentful even still. Remnants of the great happening remain everywhere. He who has eyes to see, let him see.
This was the big bang. Even science can’t escape its metaphors. That’s not the universe expanding into infinity it is ourselves. It’s what happened to us. All the dark matter out there, that’s us too. All sorts of attempts have been made to figure out what happened, and now science is the new approach. Like the poet Robinson Jeffers said, “Better bullets than yours have missed the white breast/ better mirrors have cracked in the flame”. But it all goes back to the same place again and again. That’s part of the illness. All sorts of hellish things appeared suddenly from nowhere, like death for instance. Death appeared for the first time. It was horrible and still is. Everyone is mad like this, everyone but the few who were spared and remain so even to this day. Though we would like to see them sick like us which is what spreading the gospel means; to make everyone sick with this mysterious disease. Mother Earth in her infinite wisdom, kept a few of her children pure in the deep, lavish jungles of the Amazon or somewhere in the jungles and plains of Africa. To be unaffected, that is an accomplishment. They were protected from the disease. The great truths are always simple; misery loves company. Nietzsche, who understood all this, said Christianity closed the door to mass nihilism and suicide, and that he said was "much, very much". I believe it was. But in the process things only got a little worse, perhaps much worse, but certainly not better. Science has helped but it's a small palliative, a salve if you will, but no cure. That's one of the hallmarks of this illness, things only seem to get better but they never do. It's very disappointing.
The Adam and Eve myth says man became like God, which is what God says happened. Like everything else that has two sides, it can also be said God became like man, distant, aware, but unable to do anything about it. In fact God may be the name that designates the onset of this illness. Whenever we think of God we feel this event happening in the entrails of memory still with us. Nothing ever goes away. For that we are fortunate.
Redemption from the fall, that is what it means to remember the days when it was not like this, when we were one with it all, as we like to say. We remember that time and occasionally experience it. Nothing goes away, so we have it in us to remember. Jung called this the collective unconscious. It's hard to get along in this illness, hard to endure it and endure it in others. Perhaps the only thing left from those earlier days still unblemished is love. That is what the word love point towards. It means, the last remaining remnant of experience in memory that is actual and real before the fall. Which explains why it is so sought after and so humanizing. I love we are before the fall. Christ said so and he experienced and remembered this great event more than anyone perhaps. Freedom from death, freedom from being cast out, redemption from separation which the illness induces, a God who is forgiving and wants our return, that is what he preached. It's what we all desire, and it's what those first horrified generations desired. To be healed of this thing designated by the words Good and Evil. Both are words pointing towards the event that initially induced this state of being. They are two sides of the same coin. Nietzsche understood very well when he titled his great work Beyond Good and Evil. Man has to overcome this illness.
But man is no slouch. He has discovered and at times created ways of being with all this. Hope signifies what he created in the face of it all and hope is that which counters the awful weight man endures. Compassion is another of man’s creations. Keeping busy helps sometimes. This is all very real and very important in man’s struggle over what occurred to him. These are the spiritual cures for a physical illness which man has devised. That is the meaning of courage. Everything on a large scale is repeated on a smaller one. Acts of courage are heroic attempts to face the inevitable and endure. It is said by the great poets that praising helps, and nature helps as well. They are medicine for the spirit.
Man’s condition was eventually used to oppress him. Nietzsche is right when he says man’s great question was not that he suffered, but why did he suffer. Into this the priests of religion injected, man suffers not because there is evil, but because he is evil. Man himself is evil. This is the great blight imposed by religion, to attempt to alter the state of man’s memory, but it will not last. They acknowledged something happened and they distorted the truth by saying man caused it to happen. Man had caused the change that occurred in him. How dreadful, cruel, and stupid. Many people see and understand this. The ones who see clearest we designate as poets. That’s what poet in its highest sense means, to see clearly and remember what happened. We need to remember.
Christ was the greatest poet who ever lived thus far. He was murdered because he understood all this. He remembered clearly. Those who oppressed others through turning back this suffering of the self on man, had to kill him because he threatened their hold on others. He took it upon himself through word and deed to express this truth; you are not guilty and to free you I will assume all the guilt you suffer. Greater love has no man than this. You are free, and that is what saved means, to be free of the distorted and mistaken historical enslavement of the self through guilt for what we are. It is hardly describable how real this is. Christ understood this and said so; the kingdom is here within you. He realized we hadn’t forgotten, but that we had been led into confusion. Nevertheless this freedom was short-lived because the church took hold of it and distorted it into the same old oppressive doctrine. This is the meaning of religion: to breed self-contempt. Psychology is man’s attempt to free himself from history.
© David Cancilla 2003.