Genesis: Creationism

After reading a few blogs it’s nice to see that a lot of our group has found appreciation for such an old text. Unfortunately I lack this groups enthusiasm.
Being raised Catholic for fourteen years really makes it difficult to reread Genesis, especially when it’s plot and ideals have embedded into my brain from as long as I can recall.  The thing that makes me cringe at reading the text the most is realizing how much my perspective on it has changed over the years. I read Genesis today with obvious skepticism. My religious views have changed, and I have a much different view of the world that conflicts with my naive childhood beliefs.

I was raised to read Genesis literally. I believed that there once was paradise called Eden, that the world had been purified in a great flood, and a single man rounded up every animal on Earth to preserve them for the next generation. It was like reading a fairy tale, the whole thing was really enchanting as a child. Now the magic is loss, the dream is gone. Like Adam and Eve, I see the world today for what it is.
But one thing I remember most as a child was thinking, “If only Adam and Eve had never disobeyed God. Imagine how beautiful the world would be, and how perfect it was to live in.”
But today I look at the text and realize that it is the complete opposite. Eve’s betrayal gave man true life. We gained our consciousness, our true perceptions and emotions. Without the Fruit of Knowledge we would be nothing but animals. Worse, man would be no better than an organic robot.
In reality, God had us created as maintenance droids. Man was made only to sustain the Earth’s creatures, there were no individual ambitions.

Today I read the story of Genesis as an allegory rather than pure scripture. Man’s rebellion infuriated God, it was a travesty. But the moral of the story is simple. It is man’s temptation that drives us away from paradise. It is man who corrupts all utopian theory.

The Bible (especially the new Testament) is truly a beautiful piece of literature. The teachings of Christ are ideals that all people should abide; whether they believe in a God or not.

“Do to others as you’d do to yourself.”

“He who is without sin cast the first stone.”

“Forgive those who trespass against you.”

These are morals that should be universal. They give us an enlightened insight and guidance. But it’s when the scripture is thrown in the hands of imperfect Man does it become tainted. The Vatican teaches of a man who was the poor son of a carpenter, who denied any value to materialistic possession. Yet St. Peters church is embellished with marble floors,  and filled with fathoms of wealth and priceless artifacts. The same applies to Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. It’s pretty on paper, but as soon as man shapes it into a reality the concepts are violated and it’s values are tarnished. Just look at Stalin and “5 Year” Plan.

Man is jealous and corrupt. We are imperfect creations who lack the mentality and virtue to resist mortal desire. It’s something that is within us that cannot be vanquished. It’s the Human Condition.

 

 

 


Double Standards within the Odyssey or Why Jason is an ideal “D-bag”

To anyone who apologized for their late posts, fear embarrassment no more. I am officially the last to post my interpretation of Medea.

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed Medea. I think there is something about tragedies that captures the several aspects of the “Human Condition”, such as jealous, hate, envy ect.
Such is the case in Medea, it is a tale of mutual destruction.

Both Medea and Jason are at fault for the plays climax. Neither party has any form of gains or resolution. However, I make the distinction that while Jason may have drove Medea to her vengeance, it was Medea who took her actions to far. Jason is embodies exactly what an “ideal man” should not be. He takes credit and the status of a hero for actions that weren’t his own. He manipulates Medea into carrying out his dirty work. It was Medea’s actions- not his, that resulted in his triumphs. Euripedes takes his own spin on the classic tale of Jason by stating that it was Medea (not Jason) who slayed the Dragon for the Golden Fleece, and she who bloodied her hands in order for him to succeed his uncle. Jason is a coward, blessed with unsown merit.

Furthermore Jason has no sense of responsibility or duty to his family. Although he claims that his marriage to Creon’s daughter is a strategic act to allow his sons to be placed into a family of royal blood, he still attempts to cast them out of Corinthis along with Medea. He is the definition of a hypocrite. It is only after his sons become corpses that he demonstrates a duty to his maternal obligations. He demands Medea give him their bodies so he can carry out his responsibility to bury them. But he only arises to this occasion after his chance of royal lineage is destroyed. When Medea brutally conjures the murder of both Creon and Creon’s daughter, she inadvertently kills Jason’s unborn child. Only when Jason has lost all opportunity of ascension to aristocratic society does he come crawling back to his family.

Euripedes’ Medea-not unlike Homer’s Odyssey, is filled with empathy towards the inequity of women. Even in her rage, Medea acknowledges that Jason would have had a fair excuse for his abandonment if she were infertile. To Greek society, women were only an extension of property to men. They were valued for only their beauty and ability to create further male heritage. For women, marriage was not for love, it was never consented by them. Medea states that if she as a woman recreated Jason’s abandonment she would be perceived as “a whore”, while Jason maintains his hero status. Jason even goes to such lengths as to say that he wishes he could ” Banish women, send them away with all there trouble. Then children would come from a better source.” Pretty bold statement…
As we can see from today’s context; their are obvious double-standards present with gender inequity in Ancient Greece. For it’s time, the plays criticism of Greek culture was greatly suppressed. Euripedes laughed in the face of social taboo.

In conclusion. Euripides… Whatta’ rebel.


Homers; The Odyssey

This isn’t my first time reading the Odyssey and I have to say that I’m not cringing at the thought of rereading it. The Odyssey is actually a pretty interesting tale which has unique ideas and themes with strong historical significance to it.

I decided to begin the tale once again by first reading the Introduction to the epic by Bernard Knox. Hindsight this was a poor choice, but no regrets. I found some interesting facts about the book and grasped some much needed context.  For example although The Odyssey is often cited as a sequel to the Iliad, scholars debate whether or not Homer himself wrote it; if it was in fact ever written during it’s conception. Both books predate written parchment and many have investigated grammatical inconsistencies and different ideas and themes shared in each. Apparently men could retell the entire poem in proper prose from mere memory alone. Really makes you wonder how much the human race has dulled itself down through the eras due to our reliance on tools as a human extensions.
My overall summary of the novel is that it embodies the heroes quest, and is defined by a long series of struggles faced by our protagonist. Odysseus has a pretty rough ten years before he returns to Ithaca, and even his homeward arrival requires many labors and epic feats just to return into his own house. But it is these struggles that bring out the best of Odysseus’ character and ability, which I think can be applied to human race as a whole. It is only under our greatest burdens that we find our greatest potential.

Telemachus; son of Odysseus, has ascended into adulthood but has been left fatherless for his entire life. Telemachus has had to take his father’s place as ruler and protector of Odysseus’ house and has been left to defend his mothers fertility and heritage from covetous suitors. The story is not Odysseus’ alone, but also a coming of age tale for his son. The goddess Athena comes to the aid of Telemachus and counsels his actions towards the pursuit of his father, and although she guides him it is clear that she merely guides his actions but not his own discretion. It is Telemachus to rises to the occasion and uses his own voice and words to slander and banish the suitors from his own house, not Athena’s. Even if he fails to do so. I interpreted the role of the immortal Athena as a question of fate vs. human free will. As Zeus makes it clear in the beginning of the novel “Ah, how shameless- these mortals blame the gods. From us alone, they say, come all their miseries, yes, but they themselves, with their own reckless ways, compound their pains beyond their proper share.”
We as human beings often blame our flaws and problems on simply poor luck and merely curse fate. Yet it is often our own discretion towards scenarios and opportunities that quickly pass us that bring upon our own problems and miseries. It is fate that brings upon both misfortune and fortune, but it is our choice and will of what we make of it.

 

 


About me

Hey my name’s Kyle and this is my first official blog. I enjoy long walks on the beach and own many leather-bound books.

I’m from Toronto ON, and enjoy classic literature, films, kayaking, and traveling. Really trying to broaden my horizons this year and reinvent myself. To my fellow Arts 1 students, feel free to talk to me at any time. The best way I learn is talking to others and exchanging ideas so it’d probably be beneficial to both of us.

Kyle