Are we the stories that are told to us? Do stories define our culture. I believe that answer to be yes.
Let's take the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible.
Adam and Eve live in paradise after they have been created by God and they live a carefree life as all is provided. But of course there is a fly in the ointment! They have been warned by God not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge or they will surely die. And of course like all children they break the rule.
They have to try and experience life for themselves.
After God finds out that they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree, he is very angry and punishes them by taking away eternal life, he does not kill them as promised, but they now have to work for a living, and they are thrown out of paradise.
Pretty heavy stuff for a loving parent. Is this where we learn collectively that the answer to mistakes or transgressions is punishment?
This picture here says it all:
Adam and Eve live in paradise after they have been created by God. And since God is loving and caring he sits down with them and explains that along with creating them he has also given them “Free Will” and that He can’t reverse the outcome of decisions they make.
And He explains that they be advised not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Life will get very tough if they do. They will loose paradise.
And of course like all children they need to experiment with life and being advised that they will not die and be like gods they eat the fruit.
They try and hide after eating the Fruit but of course God find out. And instead of being full of wrath and almost cursing them – he sits down with them and explains that he is very sorry for them and that outcomes can’t be reversed and they going to be escorted out of paradise. They will need to work and they will die. Still very heavy stuff but at least he commiserates with them and he does wish them all the best.
The Adam & Eve story tells us how everyone has to leave childhood behind and become an adult and take their place among peers.
Do parents feel guilty of having children and raising them and then having to send them out into an uncertain world fraught with danger and economic uncertainties?
Are they, therefore, non-loving from day one? It is interesting that God created Adam and Eve but did not spend any time with them to educate them or show them the way of the world.
He seems to say: "I created you – you are in paradise – don’t break the rules – all will be fine."
I believe that that is the model that society has adopted and preaches constantly.
Where is love and caring and empathy in this story?
It seems to me our world, family, school, society at large, corporations and governments are all build on the punishment model.
And of course children get kicked into the real world when they are told they have to work and pay their way. The free ride is over.
And corporations play out this scene any time they kick out an employee because he or she is deemed to have broken the rule or can’t earn his keep, supposedly.