I decided that today, instead of a regular blog post, I would write a quasi review/commentary on a book I recently read: The Fall (The Insanity of The Ego in Human History and the Dawning of New Era) – by Steve Taylor. The book gave me much to think about and although I don’t agree with all of the author’s viewpoints, I found some of his perspectives worth considering. Generally this book can be described as a high level analysis on the evolution of human consciousness and how it has impacted our individual being, cultures, and world views. Of course the overreaching theme of the book is to describe “The Fall” of humanity, which in this books case, does not come from a religious allegory, but from a cultural evolutionary downfall.
I am always interested to learn about the evolution of consciousness in any way, and I find it quite relevant that specific cultural and religious memes appear to have a direct relationship to the world views at the time. For instance, one of Taylor’s main points is to distinguish primal cultures and their perspective on spirituality versus the more advanced cultures and how these differing perspectives influenced religious doctrine and relative social implications.
Taylor presents some extensive, albeit slightly biased research, on the world views of the primal cultures and the migration/evolution of these cultures into what we might now consider our original ancestors. Since we are talking some 8000 years ago, the archaeological evidence collected leaves a lot to the imagination as to the cultural mindsets of the day, but nevertheless, there is compelling evidence that the primitive cultures had a very specific viewpoint on spirituality and society in general. Taylor’s premise is that before a mass migration of primitive societies, which was likely caused by some catastrophic shift in the environment, most primal cultures’ viewpoints on spirituality and culture leaned towards inclusiveness, fairness and equality, including equal distribution of food and supplies. He goes on to describe a mildly Utopian vision of these cultures that includes innocence towards violence, child nurturing, and intense oneness with nature and spirit. Overall, these societies considered all things to be spiritual and therefore included themselves as an extension of spirit. With Taylor’s assessment of primal spirituality, I have no qualms. To me, it makes perfect sense that without the fear and suffering associated with social hierarchy, inequality, and separation from Source, there would be no reason to assume that EVERYTHING you experience isn’t part of a spiritual realm. The universe, even to the primitives, is a awe inspiring and infinitely wondrous site to behold. I have no trouble agreeing that the more innocent we are as humans (less ego conditioning), the more likely we will be to include ourselves as a “part” of that infinite universe, as opposed to the more modern views of religious systems, where the heavens belong to the deities, and we can only hope to be included someday.
Taylor goes on to describe “The Fall”, as the period after these native cultures migrate into other parts of the world and due to their disassociation with their native environments, transition into a more segregated and violent culture. Taylor gives numerous examples of migratory societies where we begin to see the emergence of not belonging, new fear of death, conquering attitudes, possessions, greed, ego development, general suffering, psychic entropy (endless thinking of past and future events).
The religions that developed out of these new societies were religions that focused on separation of the deity(s), as opposed to the intense inclusiveness of spirituality of the more primal cultures. As people became more independent with their survival (which can be thought of in both positive and negative ways), their viewpoints on God(s) also become more separated. Whereas the primitive man viewed God (although he/she didn’t call God, God), and man, as a more united interdependent relationship, later cultures viewed man as being totally dependent on God. According to Taylor, our more evolved sense of self separated us from the Infinite Allness of the spirit world and morphed into anthropomorphic versions of our relationship to spirit.
Overall, Taylor’s explanation of “The Fall” and the historical and cultural implications of the evolutionary migrations of man are logically presented and backed up with some compelling expert analysis. My issue with the book does not come with Taylor’s explanation of the historical evolution of culture and society, but with his grim assessment of human nature in general.
I have to agree that to discount the historical evidence of the rise of the major monotheistic religions in relationship to man creating God in a fashion that provides the masses a “reason” for living or a way to escape their newfound suffering, would be extremely short sighted. From a 50,000 foot view, as you watch history unfold, much of the mystery or majesty of religious foundations gets ripped away as religion becomes a primary mechanism to control, suppress, and segregate. But to discount religious inspiration and divine intervention as a part of this analysis would also be short sited.
This book is quite comprehensive when it comes to explaining Taylor’s version of “The Fall” and the implications of that fall. However, the book covers an extremely large period of time and geography, so in that respect, the analysis Taylor gives may be a little overzealous to lump his theory as the reason for the entire downfall of human nature. He has hit on some important ideas though that we can learn from. Being the optimistic spiritualist that I am, I see the evolution of culture and society as a needed push to discover the deeper dimensions of the self and our relationship to Universal Creator.
I get the sense that Taylor feels that a return to those primitive mindsets and societal structures would be an answer to today’s prevalent suffering and disassociation with spirituality. I don’t agree. The primitives did not have the knowledge and the modern man appears to not have the true spirit. Perhaps there is divine logic in this historical path after all, to come to an acceptance and understanding of both. In my opinion, the only way now is forward – to an even more expansive understanding of consciousness and awareness to our spiritual inheritances.
I am a great respecter of all world religions, even those that may have had dubious origins of rebellion, control, and segregation. I think many religious figures that we revere today are still important and timeless spiritual sages/teachers/symbols and discounting their teachings would be foolish indeed. Yet, it is important to also open the heart and mind to what history has to teach us, as presented by authors such as Taylor, and come to our own conclusions. For me, living within the absolute, strict, and literal interpretation of any religious doctrine is robbing ourselves of opportunities to discover even deeper levels of spirituality and expanded living experiences. I invite all fellow seekers to read The Fall, because I believe it is in the exchange and contemplation of new ideas that we get our fullest and most powerful intuitions.
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- Tagged as: Adam and Eve • creationism • ego consciousness • ego evolution • Fall of humanity • Garden of Eve Myth • religious angst • spirit versus religion • Spiritual enlightenment • The Fall
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