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Here’s another fine mess (3) disclosed...

So when the woman saw that (1) the tree was good for food, and that (2) it was a delight to the eyes, and that (3) the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3: 6 -8

The 3,000+-year-old book of Genesis contains a thought-provoking statement about the genesis of harm, hurt, mess and wrong in this world of ours. See bold above.

The “beginning” woman (and man) had everything in the entire world, including freedom. That wasn’t enough.  Adam and Eve became convinced – for three reasons – that the fruit from the one and only proscribed tree in the whole glorious garden was “right” – right for them both. Eve gave her reasons.

She "saw" that (1) “the tree was good for food”. She wasn’t hungry – she had all the fruit in creation to eat. But this fruit was also good for food. So why not eat it? What possible mess could occur if she has it?

She "saw" (2) “it was a delight to the eyes”. Everything around her was pleasant to the sight. It was all a delight. But she wanted this beautiful fruit for her very own. She wanted not only to eat it once but also to have authority to eat from that particular tree whenever she wished.

She “saw” (3) “the tree was to be desired to make one wise”. She and her husband were already intelligent but she wanted what was being withheld from them both. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  She wanted to be the one who knew about, and made the decisions about, what was good and what was evil, what was right and what was wrong about their own thoughts and deeds.

‘We often desire most what we ought not to have.’ (Anon.)

One of the contemporaries of Jesus Christ (AD 0 – 30 on earth) named John wrote an open letter to Christians towards the end of the first century AD. In it he stated: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—(1) the desires of the flesh and (2) the desires of the eyes and (3) pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

John recorded what he had come to see as true at the end of his long life. He saw the outcome of Eve’s thinking and action. All three of Eve’s reasons were, in reality, her desires for her own good: (1) “to eat” (including “to experience”); (2) “to own” (including “to be seen to have”); (3) “to get ahead” (including “to be the one who decides everything, including what’s right and wrong”).

(1) and (2) desires are well illustrated in the European migrant crisis. Migrants are OK as long as my desires “to eat” and “to own” (basically “to enjoy”) are not compromised. If they are, the migrants shouldn’t be allowed to enter.

VW’s (3) desire “to get ahead” – in particular in the US market for diesel cars – seems to have included a decision that it was “right” (VW’s decision) to fool emission tests. The consequences will never be known because it includes more, and more serious, cases of asthma in US cities.

Picture a world referendum. All people everywhere are asked to vote that their desires may be over-ridden by a higher authority. Will you vote “yes” or “no”? I’m not daft – you will vote “no” not because (you will claim) you want to retain your desire autonomy but because you can’t be sure what desires will in turn motivate this “higher authority”. For whatever reason the answer is “No” – even for potential migrants, none of whom desire any authority to say “no” to their desire to reside in Europe.

‘If your desires be endless, your cares and fears will be so too.’ (Thomas Fuller, historian and speaker, 1608-1661)

Meanwhile, many solutions to the messes that we are all in are being proposed. Some have said that all will be well when gays can marry like others. Or when the UK Labour party “eliminates” all right-wingers. Or when every ISIS person has been killed by the US, the UK and Russia? Plasters on a fatal wound? Plasters on desire? “Desire” plasters which themselves cause another mess.

Despite all this mess, we all continue with the system of desire which will never give birth to anything but mess.

Richard Syvret

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