Symbols: Cain & Abel

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Scholarship / K. Symbols /
via IonaArc

Scholars too can get things wrong, even careful scholars. Without reference to God’s manuscript we can’t be sure what the Bible says; we can only be varying degrees of careful / careless about what we think is says.
I read the Bible as a kid. I heard it quoted, paraphrased, misquoted … interpreted on a regular basis till I was eighteen and weaned myself from my church. I’ve continued to hear it quoted, etc. since then, far more than most adults. And I avidly read scientists and science journalists refer to the Bible in relation to their regular studies. (And these days I avidly read New Testament scholarship by Bart Ehrman.) And I’m embarrassed to conress: we, the scientists and me, get things wrong too.

Once I remembered Cain as the farmer. Then I read the opposite: it was Abel. I think it was Nigel Calder, a favorite science journalist, who got me switched around backwards. But never mind names, me or him. Get the point: any of us can screw up. Intending to propagate information, we pollute with misinformation, mistaken quotes, wrong interpretations.

So maybe god will judge us by percentage of errors, not by who’s right.

Cain and Abel, one was a farmer, associated with plants, with plant husbandry: the other with animals, herds: hunting, nomadism … The farmers, men settled on settled land, were taking over the earth. (The tide could still turn.)

So: beware, check my “facts”:

from IonaArc, via 2005 02 19

Cain and Abel are not primary symbols at they are however important secondary symbols, and, since I just used Genesis with its Adam and Eve in a slightly new way, I’ll also update a twist on Cain and Abel. pk has already repeated the point that since Cain was a herdman and Abel a tiller of the ground, the “brothers” symbolize agriculture overwhelming nomadism, but with the symbols backwards: this herd follower may have murdered that farmer; but it was not herding that destroyed farming; quite the opposite: farming destroyed herding: consumed the habitat, replaced free herds with domesticated beasts, tethered or caged.
That point had been made by Isaac Asimov to name only one synthesizer to deal with these issues. What I am about to add about Cain and Abel is original pk this 2005 Saturday, February 19.

God created Adam: in his own image no less. We associate creativity with God, and intelligence, sentience … goodness. Therefore we may associate those qualities with man. That is, we already associated those qualities with men (with whatever degree of justification) and therefore we projected them onto god with a capital G. God embodies those attributes in the purest possible form … and we let our imaginations run wild. So far, I can buy into that view with only moderate raspberry blowing.Then God created Eve: from Adam’s rib.

Zero becomes one. (Zero already was “one”: therefore 1 = 0 + 1.) Now one becomes two. (God + world includes God, male, and female — God: Adam / Eve.) This is already a very different world from just zero: God alone, no world. This is also a very different world from God alone with just Adam (and Adam just alone) (except for God.) I’m not getting into gender in this post, so we proceed: Eve bore Cain and Abel. One world: one man, one woman, two brothers. Ah, a family. A society! Chaos is come again. God made the world from chaos: and chaos remade itself: immediately: parading as Order.

Cain slew Abel. Et cetera.

How’s that for brotherhood. Fraternity, equality … what can any of that mean?

A side word: None of these myths make for very good science. We need more of biology than “Adam and Eve.” We need more of cosmology than “In the beginning, God.” But never mind; we have fairly good biology, good evolution, and fairly good cosmology, fairly good and improving theories of chaos, gender, multi-body problems … My point is to exploit how rich (how open, how readable the myth is.

God and man is vastly more complex than just God. Indeed, how complex would one find God without man? (How do you like that “one” thinking in nothing?) Male and female is vastly vastly more complex than biology without sex. And once they breed: watch out: Flatland just exploded into M Theory. Especially once the breed interacts, takes, spoils eachother’s resources, crowds their turf. Actually, Flatland just exploded into M Theory with Darwin, Freud … Leary, Wilson, Diamond … as exponents.

2005 08 14 I must also develop the Cain and Abel theme in relation to primogeniture, to the relation of the father, of the mother. Cain MUST be elder, Abel the younger. The younger brother steals the birthright from the father, with the connivance of the mother. The band of brothers steals from the murdered father. Then they steal from each other. Primogeniture is set up, then violated. Cooperation among the younger thieves, aided by the female thieves (all of them stolen from), triumphs. For now.

Development will of course necessitate reference also to God, and the first few generations of Abraham: especially Esau, Jacob, Rebekah … And of course Freud, the band of brothers …

K. Symbols

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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