Taboo's Junk Trunk: A Storage Dump for Taboo's Random Literary and Cultural Blatherments
Why do we believe in innocence? Why do we believe in corruption?

We talk about the innocence of childhood. We long for the simplicity of a sand castle, we believe in soap bubbles and fireflies and the purity of our youth. And when we deal with the adult complexities of taking responsibility for our actions and for the hurts and "crimes" of other people, we imagine the old times of our lives when we were removed from the tireless pain of "reality."

The biblical account of the Fall from Eden is a powerful metaphor, regardless of what we believe. Adam and Eve, created by the pure force of Truth, created even from the stuff of Truth--they lived uncomplicated existences. They lived in harmony with growing trees and flowers; they clothed themselves in nothing but the same stuff of truth.

But within those unknowable boundaries of Eden, god created two Trees: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge. Adam and Eve eat from the Tree of Life; but they are told not to dare the Tree of Knowledge. Why did god plant the Tree of Knowledge at all? Does god create this temptation in order to define the Truth of freewill? Must Adam and Eve make a choice between Life and Knowledge? If Eden is a place of innocence, then what test could the Tree offer? If Adam and Eve are truly innocent while living in Eden, and all their intents innocent, then why is the tasting of Knowledge such a crime?

When they eat from the Tree of Knowledge, god exiles them from Eden, and they have no way of ever again reclaiming innocence.

We use the word nostalgia to mean a longing for a time or place that no longer exists. But when we experience nostalgia, we are longing--and the act of longing takes place now.

Right now, we yearn for something that no longer exists. Why? What condition of living now prevents us from having something we remember? This is Exile. We can no longer return. We can't go home, again. But why?

When I wrote In Memory, I tried to remember how I felt more than ten years ago when my girlfriend died. I remember feeling nothing. I remember trying hard not to pretend any feeling that didn't take me naturally. But in the act of writing, of trying to remember, I discovered I could now understand levels of feeling that, at the time, felt like nothing at all. So did I feel something then--when I believed I felt nothing at all--or is the feeling happening now?

Nostalgia is a present-time yearning for a time or place that no longer exists. Right now, we long to return to a time or place that exists only in our memory. Right now, we have a memory of something that no longer exists. But the memory is now; we remember now.

Nostalgia itself creates the memory, not a sand castle, not a playground where we used to gather when we were children. Nostalgia is a present-moment delusion, a wistful longing for something that never existed. We create the idea of innocence to prove to ourselves that we are corrupted. We lack something now, we believe. We must have lost something, we believe. But there is nothing that could be lost. We believe we have forgotten something special, something pure. But if we remember that purity, then we haven't forgotten anything.

Why do we experience nostalgia? Is this Exile? Is this the curse of freewill? But if we can't lose something like innocence, then there is no Exile. Nostalgia is the longing for something we never had, because we believe that we have lost something. We create the idea of innocence, but we also create the idea of Exile.

In the end, we are dissatisfied with ourselves. We believe we are unworthy.

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