Monday, November 1, 2010

East of Eden

In the prelapsarian world, nakedness was not met with self-consciousness. Innocence prevailed and men and women defecated and urinated like cosmopolitan dogs, unashamedly leaving their piles or lifting their legs against corner lampposts. The invention of shame and modesty are not products of sin but of consciousness, of the thinking “I.” Why does the awareness of the self lead to the need to cover it up on both literal and metaphorical levels? What secrets does the “I” possess? Here is the point where sin comes in. Desire in Homo sapiens is partially an invention of consciousness, and leads to longing of the kind that Eve suffered when she was tempted to eat the forbidden fruit. Actually, nudity is only a subterfuge, a warning signal about the dangers of self-revelation. For instance, sexual arousal, in the surging of blood through the penis, the vagina’s lubricity, or the hardening of nipples, provides knowledge to the extent that it reveals what someone is thinking, or, more accurately, feeling. Perhaps this is the knowledge that hangs from the tree wherefrom Eve plucked the forbidden fruit. Human beings are possessed of a highly developed cerebral cortex, which provides the neural substrate for the notion of Orwell’s Big Brother. “Big Brother is watching” refers to none other than Freud’s superego, serving as night watchman over desire-producing faculties. Thought is the crime that nakedness scurries to cover up. 


  1. We sure are textile dependent creatures now, and not sms text dependent, although that seems to be rapidly evolving

  2. you mean textile dependent since we need clothes, I take it. This is a good point and makes me wonder if there was a first class dining room on Noah's Arc, which required black tie dress at dinner


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