Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler
The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Out of the Garden of Eden: The Cultivation of Cultural, Agricultural, and Spiritual Knowledge
Written and Researched by: Alan Reed Bishop of Hip-Gnosis Seed Development and Bishop's Homegrown
The Middle-East is rich in diverse spirituality, culture, beauty, exotic tastes, and turmoil. My goal here is not to vindicate or get behind any religious zealotry or to try to persuade or change the minds of people who come into a conversation with concrete belief and convictions, people of such mindsets are often dull, unable to adapt, and un accepting of new, invigorating ideas, even those which do not seek to change their own belief, which are actually ideas that are quite old and just need to be re-born from the ashes much like the phoenix from time to time. In fact I am a firm believer in everything which takes the time to believe in me, ideas too are seeds and need to be planted, fertilized and cultivated all the same. To my mind having an idea is so much more appealing than having a belief, but then again, I'm a pretty open minded kind of guy, I get called a hippy a lot, but this is generally by folks who haven't seen my harsher sides.
In this article I will discuss one of my ideas regarding the exit from the Garden of Eden as a metaphorical idea for the evolution and rise of civilization, cultural ideas, and spiritual cultivation. It is not my intention to try to persuade anyone to believe what I believe, I only ask that my "idea" is respected and that discussion is polite and not of a stingingly religious or zealous nature.
Genesis has taken many forms over the years and has been interpreted in a myriad of ways by a myriad of cultures over thousands of years. Most generally accepted is the idea that the Garden of Eden is an actual physical place, an actual paradise of earthly delights if you will, it was filled with gods love and admiration of man, and with the exception of the exclusion of Lilith that same love was extended to women. Of course threes the idea of the serpent, dependent upon who is reading such verses the serpent could be anything from primal impulse to Satan himself in the flesh, begetting Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge, forever mortally sinning. These ideas are of the most basic type which have been circulated and handed out in sermons for centuries; these ideas do have merit and value and are certainly of religious and cultural importance for they are the starting point of three of the world’s major religions.
Thousands of years of research have been devoted to the many mysteries of the Garden of Eden and many a soul have tried to find this sacred place, most generally described as being at the meeting place of four major rivers, most often the Tigris and Euphrates are considered the most logical and indeed as so much in Mesopotamia, this area is most likely where civilization itself was born, so it isn't too far fetched for me to think that maybe the Garden of Eden may represent, not just an area, but in fact an Idea, in particular a metaphor for the transition of mankind from a loose society of hunter-gatherer societies into one of agrarian agriculture, abstract thought, spoken word history, and spiritual evolution!
This is to say that in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia that man had existed for a number of years as a primitive gatherer of fruits and hunter of game animals until an event intervened and caused a distinct and intense change in the ways of that loose and clannish society, possibly a catastrophic event that changed the very way that mankind saw his world and experienced it, in order to survive more efficiently mankind saw the need to create civilizations which wherein the citizens could work in conjunction with one another to tame the wild crops, tame the very essence of life, nature itself and allow nature to do it's bidding for him in such a way that wondering the wilds could never do. There is after all protection in numbers and indeed power in knowledge. Perhaps climate change as we are experiencing now facilitated this change, rising sea levels or searing drought may have made wild crops less dependent, perhaps outside sources of conflict spurned such decisions. THis truth is we will probably never know, but the idea stands up in my mind, that perhaps we can see some metaphors in this ancient and important idea of the Garden of Eden.
Perhaps Adam and Eve represent the very earliest of humans, the hunter gatherer tribes, provided all by the powers that be on the earth, nature herself, they take no more than nature gives, for they don't know yet how to manipulate seed and earth to their advantage.
The snake may very well represent the events which befell our hunter gatherer society, catastrophic events that force us to change the very way which we looked at our world and the way in which we interacted with it.
The fruit of the tree of knowledge may represent the very idea of planting and cultivating seed, cultural ideas, spiritual belief, and civilization.
And the sin and inability to once again enter the garden may represent the fact that mankind will never again be able to erase the cultural, spiritual, and agricultural ideas that he has taken upon himself, forever removing himself from a somewhat feral and free existence of a lower think, less intellectual being.
From the moment the very first Man or Woman made the observation of seeds sprouting plants which can be grown for food, food which can nourish oneself or food which can be traded for other food or goods, which spawn societies of people working in specialized areas to provide food or services to trade for food, and Man or Woman made the decision to start to "tame nature" and cultivate the land, the very idea of civilization and agriculture have existed. Of course, living life in a less stress induced way, sharing new ideas, and trading with other societies leads to belief, particularly belief in things which cannot be explained by the very basic ideas which have formed within society, these beliefs become spirituality, spirituality that is fertilized by new ideas of what "God" can and does represent, what "God" gives and takes. Rain, Fertility, Children, Death, all ideas to be expanded upon become part of the mythology and cosmology of new religions, belief which further ties together societies, societies which further create isolated bands of people, Isolate bands of people living in societies create unique and different cultures, trading expands and diversifies those cultures. Spoken words hand down memories through the ages whereupon pieces are lost and new ones added, and so we have the very history of agrarian culture, all explainable using the idea of the "Garden of Eden" and therein there is still room for an Idea of God for every person of whatever religious or spiritual persuasion.
It's a truly beautiful idea. Seeds themselves are an expression of this idea; their very stories are an expression of this idea, their history, and their nutrition. Each seed holds the promise of 10,000 years of human history. Of what "reality" truly is. Not the reality that is bought and sold in the domestic world every day, not that reality which is consumerism, box stores, oil wars, and concrete jungles, but those realities which include self sustainable ideas, societies and cultures which could still be relevant 10,000 years from now, expanded upon, shared with one another, given as gifts of seed and ideas. Not consumerism, not video games. Instead, Earth, Love, Seeds, the gift of Life, of sharing, community, belief, knowledge.
These are the "Ideas" that motivate me. These are the "Ideas" that are important. And these are the "Ideas" that I hope to nourish, plant the seed of, fertilize, cultivate, and use to nourish the souls and bodies of my friends, family, and my customers. These are the extensions of Bishop's Homegrown and Hip-Gnosis seed development. These are the culmination of 10,000 years of human experience and what is true, natural and beautiful. These are not dangerous ideas about genetic modification, food additives, and oil wars. These are not life destroying carcinogens or capable of creating escalating religious zealotry, power grabs and global warming. These are the natural world, the reality that lies beneath a couple of generations of cold souls and miles of concrete.
The Real is what I call it. It's just an Idea that I wanted to share.
Alan Reed Bishop