essay on Edenic Happiness
Eden is often, if not always, associated with happiness. Adam is the first man (or the last) who experiences happiness, living in harmony with his environment, and enjoying in his human solitude this intimation with Nature.
The question one might ask is whether Adam is really happy in Eden, happy in his nudity. By nudity, here, I understand privation: Adam’s nudity is, in my opinion, a state of privation.
In Eden, Adam is not allowed to enjoy either life or knowledge; thus being deprived of the human dimension.
Adam becomes human only after Eva makes him eat the apple.
Therefore happiness as an idea or a state of mind – a concept debated over millenia by all philosophies –
appears as a questionable statement in relation to Adam(and Eve) in the Garden of Eden.
Because happiness as a complex feeling is not a natural state, but a human (read manmade) abstract notion.
Happiness comes both with life and knowledge.
Since the moment when Adam is banished from Eden,
doomed to temporality, to mortality, this duality life/knowledge has been split in him.
And Lord Byron tells us in “Cain”:
The snake spoke truth; it was the Tree of Knowledge;
It was the Tree of Life: knowledge is good,
And Life is good; and how can both be evil?
(Lord Byron,"Cain",act I,scene I)
This may appear as a riddle to any reader.
Indeed, in its answer lies the secret of happiness: never can humankind be happy with half-truth.
The key to happiness is a balance between body and soul, life and knowledge, work and pleasure, reality and illusion. Whenever the whole is split there is not only inhumanity, but insanity and infelicity as well.
And the humankind exists from the moment when Adam is expelled from Eden.
By living and striving to learn how to live, man finds a meaning of his condition.
After the Fall, Adam starts re-creating himself as a human being.
A fallen man, Adam, is a creature of God deprived of full enjoyment of Eden: life and knowledge.
Indeed, man appears in the world in its complete nudity. The newborn, this miracle of our planet, comes in its nudity before life and knowledge.
And neither clothes nor any other human being can protect it better than God alone, that is eternity and wisdom - peace.
© Elena Malec, Bucharest, March 4th, 1992. All rights reserved.