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The Fall 2

July 9, 2008

From the ever resourcefull Continuum Concept list I’ve just discovered a book called ‘The Fall‘ by Steve Taylor. I’ve already got a post called The Fall, so I’ve called this one The Fall 2 but really by the sounds of things this book has more to offer on the subject that my wee blog does. I like the sound of the book but I’m really amazed I haven’t seen it mentioned in our circle of blogs. If anyone has read it I’m interested to hear what you think.

Anyway, since it’s going to be a while before I buy, read and report back on the book, here (in the form of a guest post) is a review of the book by Tamara, from the Continuum Concept list.

The cover states: “The evidence for a Golden Age, 6,000 years of insanity, and the dawning of a new era.” On the back cover it reads: “It is not ‘natural’ for human beings to kill each other, for men to oppress women, for individuals to accumulate massive wealth and power, or to abuse nature. The roots of our current malaise like in an ‘ego explosion’ which occurred several thousand years ago. ‘Primitive,’ pre-civilizaiton men and women were largely free of our social ills and had a more unified and harmonious state of being than us.”

Taylor says that, due to dramatic changes in climate and the drying up of Saharasia (the Middle East and central Asia), survival became intensely difficult and caused a “sharpened sense of individuality,” or a greater sense of ego-separateness. He called these Saharasian societies the “fallen peoples”; and he called the psychic change the “ego explosion.” Of course, we in western societies are part of the fallen peoples. (BTW He says that on a positive note, this need to survive did inspire new inventions.)

He quotes the anthropologist, Richard Gabriel, as saying: “For the first 95 thousand years after the Homo sapiens Stone Age began [until 4000 BCE], there is no evidence that man engaged in war on any level… There is little evidence of any killing at all.” He gives descriptions of hunter gatherers and the “simple horticultural” societies, which he calls “unfallen peoples”:
– Usually not territorial, nor greedy. Lack of possessiveness about food and other natural resources; don’t collect and hoard things, especially unnecessary things.
– Egalitarain (rather than matriarchal; certainly not patriarchal). No formal leaders, no need for status or power. Women, children, and men considered equal.
– Belief in a spirit force that permeates everything, alive or inanimate. Belief that all things are alive.
– Reverential attitude towards nature; consider themselves custodians – but never owners – of the land.
– Virtually no aggression or violence or competition. Men no more aggressive than women; women no more gentle than men.
– Belief that everything is interconnected and interdependent – people, animals, things. Their identity is bound up with their community; they think and act in terms of the family group, or tribe.
– Empathic, compassionate. (eg. Aboriginal Australian cultures teach/model compassion to/for children.
– Natural state of contentment; no psychic disharmony. (eg. can sit for hours and wait, happily, without feeling anxious, angry… Are happy just being. Don’t need constant external distractions.)
– Less developed sense of ego.
etc.
He describes a “negative aspect” to unfallen cultures: their lack of understanding of cause and effect, their superstitions and taboos.

Interestingly, he says: “…it’s not merely justifiable to speak of all of these peoples as one basic type, it’s justifiable to extend the umbrella even farther, so to speak, deep into the human races’ past. The primal peoples who have existed over recent centuries have a basic core of commonness with the hunter-gathererer and horticultural peoples who have made up the world’s populations before 4000 BCE. The similarities between them are so great that it’s possible to say that together they represent a kind of original or even natural human type. It’s us – those of us who are descended from the Indo-Europeans, the Semites and other Saharasian groups- who are the different ones.”

He describes the characteristics of the fallen peoples as pretty much as the opposite of each item in the list above. About fallen peoples’ “fallen psyche,” he says it was:- the development of a new self-awareness which gave people the new ability to observe and judge themselves.
– a new kind of individuality and self-sufficiency: They started to live by their own will rather than the will of nature; saw themselves a separate from the cosmos.
– causing psychic dysharmony and suffering (a sense of aloneness and separateness; uncontrollable ego chattering; perceptual sleep – we think and do more but perceive less; we fear death).

Contrast this with unfallen peoples who “acted without analysing their behaviour, presumably because they were less self-aware, and so free from feelings of guilt and pride.” Taylor describes the views of Julian Jaynes, psychologist, who suggests that: humans prior to the 2nd millenium BCE “didn’t think in the same way we do because they had no ‘I’ in their heads to think with. Instead of having thoughts, he believes they heard voices inside their heads, stemming from the right hemisphere of their brains, telling them what to do. Thus, a person wouldn’t suddenly ‘think’ to herself that it was time to breastfeed the baby again… – instead, voices inside her head would command, ‘Breastfeed your baby again now.'” (I wasn’t clear as to whether Taylor agreed with Jaynes, but I found Jaynes’ idea interesting.)

Taylor guesses that because Saharasian people were challenged by drought and harsh conditions, they were forced to think more, had to “develop powers of self-reflection, and begin to reason and ‘talk’ to themselves inside their heads.” They had to focus more about their own individual needs in order to survive. And thus they developed a stronger sense of ego, or “I.”

The second half of book describes the psychology of The Fall. It becomes rather bleak when he goes into how little time he believes we have left to change the way we treat the Earth, or perish. But he believes we are in the midst of a “trans-fall era.” He believe we are capable of an evolutionary leap in which we can transcend ego-separation more or less en masse.

Taylor suggests we meditate, do yoga, tai-chi, or any spiritual activity that intensifies our consciousness-energy, because we do our small part to help our species move towards spiritual evolution. He says we can devote part of our lives to serving others and the Earth. We can live lightly.

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5 comments

  1. Sounds interesting… and almost identical to a book by James DeMeo called “Saharasia: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse Sex-Repression Warfare and Social Violence In the Deserts of the Old World.” I’ve been trying to get hold of a copy of the latter for ages. DeMeo says a lot of the same stuff, using a lot of Wilhelm Reich’s work on orgone, sexual repression, affection and violence.


  2. Hey, that what my next blog post was going to be about!


  3. Oops! :x


  4. […] Dan commented at the end of my last post there is another writer who has covered this territory, James De Meo. He […]


  5. […] EFT and Eyesight Pay Attention July 20, 2008 In my meanderings around Saharasia and The Fall I also came across Eckhart Tolle, I think Dan may have linked to an article about him ages ago but […]



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