The Garden of Eden
Here I am, thinking about the ultimate nature of reality, as usual, and I review my metaphysics to see it if adequately covers the essential mystery of why there is any universe here at all instead of just nothing, and how did it “create itself” ex nihilo? My candidate is the Tao ~ as Lao Tzu says in his Tao Te Ching “From Tao there comes One; from One there come Two; from Two there comes Three; and from Three there come all things.”
So what is this Tao, whence it all appeared? The concept of Tao is based on the principle of enantiodromia, reversal in extremis ~ whenever anything reaches any extreme or limit, it turns around and goes the other way. They call the going out yang, and the going in yin. Thus yang and yin follow each other in turn. The Hermetic alchemists call this process Solve et Coagula. Heraclitus expressed a similar idea: in order for anything to exist, its opposite also has to exist.
But whence comes this Tao? It has to be considered the ultimate nature of reality, which is inevitable, a priori, like mathematics. Perhaps that doesn’t sound altogether satisfactory; perhaps we want something more definitive, like deus fecit. Well, those are the alternatives. But if the Tao be accepted as fundamental, then we can deduce the entirety of the unfolding cosmos ~ almost. There are two other things we need for our cosmos to pop into being spontaneously. One of them is random error, which can occur anywhere, anytime, giving rise to the limitless potential of the cosmos to go in any direction at any time. Most of the time, events follow the expected inertia inherent in the situation, but not always; at any link in the chain of causality there can be any point of error or discontinuity, and events can be merrily careening off on any new course. This is one of the laws of physics that I just discovered. Murphy only had the Special Theory; I give you the General Theory. (Murphy: anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Me: anything can go wrong.)
But there is also the third essential precondition to postulate a universe ~ teleology ~ purpose or design. The evidence seems to be that things do not happen entirely by chance. There seems to be some intelligent design selecting from the innumerable possibilities of the unfolding of the infinite cosmos to form the sequence of what actually happens. In the case of our own planet, that would be Gaia, trying to stay alive over here.
But, as a Goddess, Gaia is far from omnipotent. In fact, all of her marvelous design features, all the cycles of organic process that work together to sustain the living organism, have been thwarted and nullified by the exploding, out of control errors of humanity, especially over the last couple of centuries. Now most of the tree cover on the planet is long gone or severely compromised, and the remaining scattered remnants of organic life are seriously hampered in their efforts at survival due to the increasing toxicity of our land environment and the necrosis of our oceans.
We need a whole new regime, with new priorities, to work with Gaia instead of against her. Gaia has been plundered for her riches, and now she is worn out and dying. The whole earth needs to be cultivated as a garden! If we want to live happily ever after in the Garden of Eden, we have to clean her up, restore her, replant her, and take care of her. Once the planet is covered with trees and gardens again, our climate will stabilize, the topsoil will come back, and the cycle of floods and drought can be replaced with a permaculture garden. It is possible to reverse ecological collapse; I have heard that live fish have been spotted in the Thames again!
Whenever I think about philosophy or metaphysics or theology, I always end up thinking about planting more trees, and quickly.
The Evanescent Press