The Temporality of The Fall (Genesis III)

The most mysterious founding myth of the West is the fall.

“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

Hegel believed that the fall retroactively creates the paradise. That only after the fall, after acquiring the knowledge of good and evil, that we can strive towards God. Therefore, the fall is a structural necessity in the Christian understanding of being. This can be extended to every single structure, every single belief system: its very violation is the condition of its possibility.

One can develop this further with the idea of the command to not eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge, and the fruit itself as well as the act of transgression. First, the command only functions as a command if it is vulnerable to violations. So the very act of eating the fruit consummates God’s command. Second, the fruit itself, I would like to think, is itself an ordinary fruit. It is the transgression of God’s command in eating the fruit that makes the fruit the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. God’s command, then, creates its own conditions of violation (as human speech creates its own conditions of satisfaction, in Searlean talk) and the very problem that it is prohibiting against.

This is, I believe, what every great works of art do. They are answers to problems that they themselves create.

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