The Competitiveness of Nations

in a Global Knowledge-Based Economy

Harry Hillman Chartrand

April 2002


 page 2

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PRELUDE  (pp 3-56) *

Descent into Hell

2 {Of the Relativity of Time}

3 {Of the Original Text}

Page 2

4 {Of Civilization}

5 {Of the Past Present}

6 {Of the Great Tower}

7 {Of Paradise}

Page 3

8 {Of the First Man}

9 {Of the Fall}

10 {Of Life & Death}

*sub-chapter titling

2-10 by HHC



Translated by H. T. Lowe-Porter




Copyright 1934 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Published June 6, 1934

Reprinted Eight Times

Tenth Printing, January 1945

Originally published as


Der erste Roman:





4 {Of the Beginnings of Civilization}

FROM the days of Set” - young Joseph relished the phrase, and I share his enjoyment; for like the Egyptians, I find it most applicable, and to nearly everything in life.  Wherever I look, I think of the words: and the origin of all things, when I come to search for it, pales away into the days of Set;

At the time when our story begins - an arbitrary beginning, it is true, but we must begin somewhere, and fix


a point behind which we do not go, otherwise we too shall land in the days of Set - at this time young Joseph already kept the flocks with his brethren, though only under rather privileged conditions; which is to say that when it pleased him so to do, he watched as they did his father’s sheep, goats and kine on the plains of Shechem and Hebron.  What sort of animals were these, and wherein different from ours?  In nothing at all.  They were the very same peaceful and familiar beasts, at the same stage of development as those we know.  The whole history of cattle-breeding - for instance of the domestic ox from the wild buffalo - lay even in young Joseph’s day so far back in the past that “far” ‘is a feeble word to use in such a connection.  It has been shown that the ox was bred in the stone age, before the use of metal tools, that is before the bronze age; this boy of the Amurruland, Joseph, with his Egyptian and Babylonian culture, was almost as remote from those dim times as we ourselves are.

As for the wild sheep from which Jacob’s flocks - and ours were bred, we are told that it is extinct.  It died out “long ago.”  It must have been completely domesticated “in the days of Set.”  And the breeding of the horse, the ass, the goat and the pig - out of that wild boar which mangled Tammuz, the young shepherd - all that was accomplished in the same remote and misty past.  Our historical records go back some seven thousand years - during which time no wild animal was still in process of domestication. There is no tradition nor any memory of such events.

If we look at the cultivation of wild grasses and their development into cereals, the story is the same.  Our


species of grain, our barley, oats, rye, maize and wheat - they are the very ones which nourished the youthful Joseph - have been cultivated so long that no botanist trace the beginning of the process, nor any people boast of having been the first to initiate it.  We are told in the stone age there were five varieties of wheat three of barley.  As for the cultivation of the vine from its wild beginnings - an incomparable achievement, humanly speaking, whatever else one may think about it - tradition, echoing hollowly up from the depths of the past, ascribes it to Noah, the one upright man, survivor of the flood, the same whom the Babylonians called Utnapishtim and also Atrachasis, the exceeding wise one, who imparted to Gilgamesh, his late grandchild, hero of the legends written on the tablets, story of the beginning of things.  This upright man, then, as Joseph likewise knew, was the first to plant vineyards - nor did Joseph consider it such a very upright deed.  Why could he not have planted something useful: figtrees, for instance, or olives?  But no, he chose to plant the vine, and was drunk therefrom, and in his drunkenness was mocked and shamed of his manhood.  But when Joseph imagined all that to have happened not so very ago, that miracle of the grape, perhaps some dozen generations before his “great-grandfather,” his ideas of time showed themselves to be hazy indeed; the past which he so lightly invoked being actually matter of remote and primeval distances.  Having said thus much, it only remains to add - however much we may pale at thought - that those distances themselves must have lain very late in time, compared with the remoteness of beginning of the human race, for them to have pro-

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duced a civilization capable of that high deed, the cultivation of the vine.

Where then do they lie in time, the beginnings of human civilization?  How old is it?  I put the question with reference to young Joseph, whose stage of development, though remote from ours, did not essentially differ from it, aside from those less precise habits of thought of his, at which we may benevolently smile.  We have only to enquire, to conjure up a whole vista of time-coulisses opening out infinitely, as in mockery.  When we ourselves speak of antiquity we mostly mean the Greco-Roman world - which, relatively speaking, is of a brand new modernity.  Going back to the so-called “primitive population” of Greece, the Pelasgians, we are told that before they settled in the islands, the latter were inhabited by the actual primitive population, a race which preceded the Phoenicians in the domination of the sea -a fact which reduces to the, merest time-coulisse the Phoenician claim to have been the first seafaring folk.  But science is increasingly unfavourable to all these theories; more and more it inclines to the hypothesis and the conviction that these “barbarians” were colonists from Atlantis, the lost continent beyond the pillars of Hercules, which in times gone by united Europe with America.  But whether this was the earliest region of the earth to be populated by human beings is very doubtful, so doubtful as to be unlikely; it is much more probable that the early history of civilization, including that of Noah, the exceeding wise one, is to be connected with regions of the earth’s surface much older in point of time and already long before fallen to decay.

But these are foothills whereupon we may not wander,

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and only vaguely indicate by that before-quoted Egyptian phrase; the peoples of the east behaved with a piety equal to their wisdom when they ascribed to the gods their first knowledge of a civilized life.  The red hued folk of Mizraim saw in Osiris the Martyr the benefactor who had first given them laws and taught them to cultivate the soil; being prevented finally by the plotting of crafty Set, who attacked him like a wild boar.  As for the Chinese, they consider the founder of their empire to have been an imperial half-god named Fu-hsi, who introduced cattle into China and taught the priceless art of writing.  This personage apparently did not consider the Chinese, at that time - some two thousand, eight hundred and fifty-two years before our era - to be ripe for astronomical instruction; for according to their annals they received it only about thirteen hundred years later, in the great foreign emperor, Tai Ko Fokee, whereas the astrologers of Shinar were already several hundred years earlier instructed in the signs of the zodiac; and we are told that a man who accompanied Alexander of Macedon to Babylon sent to Aristotle Chaldaean astronomical records scratched on baked clay, whose antiquity would be to-day four thousand, one hundred and sixty years.  That is easily possible, for it seems likely that observation of the heavens and astronomical calculations were made in Atlantis, whose disappearance, according Solon, dated nine thousand years before that worthy’s own time, from which it follows that man attained to skill in these lofty arts some eleven and a half thousand years before our era.

It is clear that the art of writing is not younger than this and very possibly much older.  I speak of it in par-


ticular because Joseph entertained such a lively fondness for the art, and unlike his brothers early perfected himself in it; being instructed at first by Eliezer, in the Babylonian as well as in the Phoenician and Hittite’ scripts.  He had a genuine weakness for the god or idol whom in the East they called Nabu, the writer of history, and in Tyre and Sidon Taut; in both places recognizing him as the inventor of letters and the chronicler of the beginnings of things: the Egyptian god Thoth of Hermopolis, the letter-writer of the gods and the patron of science, whose office was regarded in those parts as higher than all others; that sincere, solicitous and reasonable god, who was sometimes a white-haired ape, of pleasing appearance, sometimes wore an ibis head, and likewise had certain tender and spiritual affiliations with the moon which were quite to young Joseph’s taste.  These predilections the youth would not have dared confess to his father Jacob, who set his face sternly against all such coquetting with idols, being even stricter in his attitude than were certain very high places themselves to which his austerity was dedicated.  For Joseph’s history proves that such little departures on his part into the impermissible were not visited very severely, at least not in the long run.

As for the art of writing, with reference to its misty origins it would be proper to paraphrase the Egyptian expression and say that it came “from the days of Thoth.”  The written roll is represented in the oldest Egyptian art, and we know a papyrus which belonged to Horus-Send, a king of the second dynasty, six thousand years before our era, and which even then was supposed to be so old that it was said Sendi had inherited it from Set.  When Sneferu


and that Cheops reigned, sons of the sun, of the fourth nasty, and the pyramids of Gizeh were built, knowledge of writing was so usual amongst the lower classes that we to-day can read the simple inscriptions scratched artisans on the great building blocks.  But it need not surprise us that such knowledge was common property that distant time, when we recall the priestly account the age of the written history of Egypt.

If, then, the days of an established language of signs are so unnumbered, where shall we seek for the beginnings of oral speech?  The oldest, the primeval language, we are told, is Indo-Germanic, Indo-European, Sanscrit.  But we may be sure that that is a beginning as hasty as any other; and that there existed a still older mother-tongue which included the roots of the Aryan as well as the Semitic and Hamitic tongues. Probably it was spoken on Atlantis - that land which is the last far and faint coulisse still dimly visible to our eyes, but which itself can scarcely be the original home of articulate man.


5 {Of the Past Present} Index

CERTAIN discoveries have caused the experts in the history-of the earth to estimate the age of the human species at about five hundred thousand years.  It is a scant reckoning, when we consider, first, how science to-day teaches man in his character as animal is the oldest of all mammals and was already in the latter dawn of life big upon this earth in various zoological modes, amphibious and reptilian, before any cerebral development took place; and second, what endless and boundless expanses of time must have been at his disposal, to


turn the crouching, dream-wandering, marsupial type; with unseparated fingers, and a sort of flickering pre-reason as his guide, such as man must have been before the time of Noah-Utnapishtim, the exceeding wise, into the inventor of bow and arrow, the fire-maker, the welder of meteoric iron, the cultivator of corn and wine, the breeder of domestic cattle - in a word, into the shrewd, skilful and in every essential respect modern human being which appears before us at the earliest grey dawn of history.  A priest at the temple of Sais explained to Solon the Greek myth of Phaeton through a human experiencing of some deviation in the course of the bodies which move round the earth in space, resulting in a devastating conflagration on the earth.  Certainly it becomes clearer and clearer that the dream memory of man, formless but shaping itself ever anew after the manner of sagas, reaches back to catastrophes of vast antiquity, the tradition of which, fed by recurrent but lesser similar events, established itself among various peoples and produced that formation of coulisses which forever lures and leads onwards the traveller in time.

Those verses which Joseph had heard and learned by heart related among other things the story of the great flood.  He would in any case have known this story even if he had not learned of it in the Babylonian tongue and version, for it existed in his western country and especially among his own people, although not in quite the same form, but with details differing from those in the version current in the land of the rivers; just at this very time, indeed, it was in process of establishing itself in a variant upon the eastern form.  Joseph well knew the tale: how all that was flesh, the beasts of the field not ex-

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cepted, had corrupted most indescribably His way upon earth; yes, the earth herself practised whoredom and deceivingly brought forth oats where wheat had been and all this despite the warnings of Noah; so that the Lord and Creator, who saw His very angels involved in this abomination, at length after a last trial of fence, of a hundred and twenty years, could no longer bear it and be responsible for it, but must let the judgement of the flood prevail.  And now He, in His majestic good-nature (which the angels in no wise shared), left open a little back door for life to escape by, in the shape of a chest, pitched and caulked, into which Noah went up with the animals.  Joseph knew that too and knew the day on which the creatures entered the ark; it had been the tenth of the month Marcheswan, and on the seventeenth the fountains of the great deep were broken up, at the time of the spring thawing, when Sirius rises in the daytime and the fountains of water begin to swell.  It was on ~day, then - Joseph had it from old Eliezer.  But how often had this day come round since then?  He did not consider that, nor did old Eliezer, and here begin the foreshortenings, the confusions and the deceptive vistas which dominate the tradition

Heaven knows when there happened that overwhelming encroachment of the Euphrates, a river at all times tending to irregular courses and sudden spate; or that startling irruption of the Persian Gulf into the solid land as the result of tornado and earthquake; that catastrophe which did not precisely create the tradition of the deluge, but gave it its final nourishment, revivified it with a horrible aspect of life and reality and now stood to all later generations as the Deluge.  Perhaps the most recent


catastrophe had not been so very long ago; and the nearer it was, the more fascinating becomes the question whether, and how, the generation which had personal experience of it succeeded in confusing their present affliction with the subject of the tradition, in other words with the Deluge.  It came to pass, and that it did so need cause us to feel neither surprise nor contempt.  The event consisted less in that something past repeated itself, than in that it became present.  But that it could acquire presentness rested upon the fact that the circumstances which brought it about were at all times present.  The ways of the flesh are perennially corrupt, and may be so in all god-fearingness.  For do men know whether they do well or ill before God and whether that which seems to them good is not to the Heavenly One an abomination?  Men in their folly know not God nor the decrees of the lower world; at any time forbearance can show itself exhausted, and judgment come into force;’ and there is probably always a warning voice, a knowledgeable Atrachasis who knows how to interpret signs and by taking wise precautions is one among ten thousand to escape destruction.  Not without having first confided to the earth the tablets of knowledge, as the seed-corn of future wisdom, so that when the waters subside, everything can begin afresh from the written seed.  “At any time”: therein lies the mystery.  For the mystery is timeless, but the form of timelessness is the now and the here.

The Deluge, then, had its theatre on the Euphrates River, but also in China.  Round the year 1300 before our era there was a frightful flood in the Hoang-Ho, after which .the course of the river was regulated; it was a repetition of the great flood of some thousand and fifty


years before, whose Noah had been the fifth Emperor, Yao, and which, chronologically speaking, was far from having been the true and original Deluge, since the tradition of the latter is common to both peoples.  Just as the Babylonian account, known to Joseph, was only a reproduction of earlier and earlier accounts, so the flood itself is to be referred back to older and older prototypes; one is convinced of being on solid ground at last, when one fixes, as the original original, upon the sinking of the land Atlantis beneath the waves of the ocean - knowledge of which dread event penetrated into all the lands of earth, previously populated from that same Atlantis, fixed itself as a movable tradition forever in the minds of men.  But it is only an apparent stop and temporary goal.  According to a Chaldaean computation, a period of thirty-nine thousand, one hundred and eighty years lay between the Deluge and the first historical dynasty of the kingdom of the two rivers.  It follows that sinking of Atlantis, occurring only nine thousand years before Solon, a very recent catastrophe indeed, historically considered, certainly cannot have been the Deluge.  It too was only a repetition, the becoming-present of something profoundly past, a frightful refresher to memory, and the original story is to be referred back at least to that incalculable point of time when the island continent called “Lemuria,” in its turn only a remnant of the old Gondwana continent, sank beneath the waves of the Indian Orean.

What concerns us here is not calculable time.  Rather times abrogation and dissolution in the alternation of tradition and prophecy, which lends to the phrase “once upon a time” its double sense of past and future

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and therewith its burden of potential present.  Here the idea of reincarnation has its roots.  The kings of Babel and the two Egypts, that curly-bearded Kurigalzu as well as Horus in the palace at Thebes, called Amun-is-satisfied, and all their predecessors and successors, were manifestations in the flesh of the sun god, that is to say the myth became in them a mysterium., and there was no distinction left between being and meaning.  It was not until three thousand years later that men began disputing as to whether the Eucharist “was” or only “signified” the body of the Sacrifice; but even such highly supererogatory discussions as these cannot alter the fact that the essence of the mystery is and remains the timeless present.  Such is the meaning of ritual, of the feast.  Every Christmas the world-saving Babe is born anew and lies in the cradle, destined to suffer, to die and to arise again.  And when Joseph, in midsummer, at Shechem or at Beth-Lahma, at the feast of the weeping women, the feast of the burning of lamps, the feast of Tammuz, amid much wailing of flutes and joyful shoutings relived in the explicit present the murder of the lamented Son, the youthful god, Osiris-Adonis, and his resurrection, there was occurring that phenomenon, the dissolution of time in mystery, which is of interest for us here because it makes logically unobjectionable a method of thought which quite simply recognized a deluge in every visitation by water.


6 {Of the Great Tower}

PARALLEL with the story of the flood is the tale of the Great Tower.  Common property like the other, it pos-


sessed local presentness in many places, and affords quite as good material for dreamy speculation and the formation of time-coulisses.  For instance, it is as certain as it is excusable that Joseph confused the Great Tower itself be temple of the sun at Babel, the so-called E-sagila use or House of the Lifting of the Head.  The Wanderer from Ur had doubtless done the same in his time, and it was certainly so considered not only in Joseph’s sphere but above all in the land of Shinar itself.  To all the Chaldaeans, E-sagila, the ancient and enormous terraced tower, built, according to their belief, by Bel, the Creator, with the help of the black men whom he created expressly for the purpose, and restored and completed by Hammurabi, the Lawgiver; the Tower, seven stories high, of whose brilliantly enamelled splendours Joseph had a lively mental picture; to all the Chaldaeans E.sagila signified present embodiment of an abstract idea handed down from far-away antiquity; the Tower, the sky-soaring structure erected by human hands.  In Joseph’s particular milieu the legend of the Tower possessed other and more far-reaching associations, which did not, precisely speaking, belong to it, such as the idea of the dispersal.  This is explainable only by the moon-man’s own personal attitude, his taking umbrage and going hence; for the people of Shinar had no such associations whatever with the Migdals or citadels of their cities, but rather the contrary, seeing that Hammurabi, the Lawgiver, had expressly caused it to be written that he had made their summits high in order to “bring together again” the scattered and dispersing people under the sway of “him who was sent.”  But the moon-man was thereby affronted in his notions of the deity, and in the face of Nimrod’s royal

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policy of concentration had dispersed himself and his; and thus in Joseph’s home the past, made present in the shape of E-sagila, had become tinctured with the future and with prophecy; a judgment hung over the towering spite-monument of Nimrod’s royal arrogance, not one brick was to remain upon another, and the builders thereof would be brought to confusion and scattered by the Lord God of Hosts.  Thus old Eliezer taught the son of Jacob, and preserved thereby the double meaning of the “once upon a time,” its mingled legend and prophecy, whose product was the timeless present, the Tower of the Chaldaeans.

To Joseph its story was the story of the Great Tower itself.  But it is plain that after all E-sagila is only a time-coulisse upon our endless path toward the original Tower.  One time-coulisse, like many another.  Mizraim’s people, too, looked upon the tower as present, in the form of King Cheops’ amazing desert tomb.  And in lands of whose existence neither Joseph nor old Eliezer had the faintest notion, in Central America, that is, the people had likewise their tower or their image of a tower, the great pyramid of Cholula, the ruins of which are of a size and pretentiousness calculated to have aroused great anger and envy in the breast of King Cheops.  The people of Cholula have always denied that they were the authors of this mighty structure.  They declared it to be the work of giants, strangers from the east, they said, a superior race who, filled with drunken longing for the sun, had reared it up in their ardour, out of c1ay and asphalt, in order to draw near to the worshipped planet.  There is much support for the theory that these progressive foreigners were colonists from Atlantis, and it appears that


sun-worshippers and astrologers incarnate always made it their first care, wherever they went, to set up mighty watch-towers, before the faces of the astonished natives, modelled upon the high towers of their native and in particular upon the lofty mountain of the gods of which Plato speaks.  In Atlantis, then, we may seek the prototype of the Great Tower.  In any case we cannot follow its history further, but must here bring to an end our researches upon this extraordinary theme.


7 {Of Paradise}

BUT where was Paradise - the “garden in the East”?  The place of happiness and repose, the home of man, where he ate of the tree of evil and was driven forth or actually drove himself forth and dispersed himself? I Young Joseph knew this as well as he knew about the flood and from the same source.  It made him smile a little when he heard dwellers in the Syrian desert say that the great oasis of Damascus was Paradise, for that nothing more paradisial could be dreamed of than the way it lay among fruit orchards and charmingly watered gardens nestled between majestic mountain range and spreading seas of meadow, full of bustling folk of all races and the commerce of rich wares.  And for politeness’ sake he shrugged his shoulders only inwardly when men of Mizraim asserted that Egypt had been the earliest home of man, being as it was the centre and navel of the world.  The curly-bearded folk of Shinar, of course, they too believed that their kingly city, called by them the “gateway of God” and “bond between heaven and

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earth” (Bab-ilu, markas same u ursitim: the boy Joseph could repeat the words glibly after them), in other words, that Babel was the sacred centre of the earth.  But in this matter of the world-navel Joseph had better and more precise information, drawn from the personal experience of his good and solemn and brooding father, who, when a young man on his way from “Seven Springs,” the home of his family, to his uncle at Harran in the land of Naharain, had quite unexpectedly and unconsciously come upon the real world-navel, the hill-town of Luz, with its sacred stone circle, which he had then renamed Beth-el, the House of God, because, fleeing from Esau, he had there been vouchsafed that greatest and most solemn revelation of his whole life.  On that height, where Jacob had set up his stone pillow for a mark and anointed it with oil, there henceforth was for Joseph and his people the centre of the world, the umbilical cord between heaven and earth.  Yet not there lay Paradise; rather in the region of the beginnings and of the home - somewhere thereabouts, in Joseph’s childish conviction, which was, moreover, a conviction widely held, whence the man of the moon city had once set out, in Lower Shinar, where the river drained away and the moist soil between its branches even yet abounded in luscious fruit-bearing trees.

Theologians have long favoured the theory that Eden was situated somewhere in southern Babylonia and Adam’s body formed of Babylonian soil.  Yet this is only one more of the coulisse effects with which we are already so familiar; another illustration of the process of localization and back-reference - only that here it is of a kind extraordinary beyond all comparison, alluring


us out beyond the earthly in the most literal sense and the most comprehensive way; only that here the bottom of the well which is human history displays its whole, its immeasurable depth, or rather its bottomlessness, to which neither the conception of depth nor of darkness is any longer applicable, and we must introduce the conflicting idea of light and height; of those bright heights, that is down from which the Fall could take place, the story of which is indissolubly bound up with our soul-memoriess of the garden of happiness.

The traditional description of Paradise is in one respect exact.  There went out, it says, from Eden a river to water the garden, and from thence it was parted and into four heads the Pison, Gihon, Euphrates and Hiddekel.  The Pison, it goes on to say, is also called the Ganges; it flows about all India and brings with it gold.  The Gihon is the Nile, the greatest river of the world, that encompasseth the whole of Ethiopa.  But Hiddekel, the arrow-swift river, is the Tigris, which flows towards the east of Assyria.  This last is not disputed.  But the identity Pison and the Gihon with the Ganges and the Nile is denied with considerable authority.  These are thought to be rather the Araxes which flows into the Caspian Sea, and the Halys which flows into the Black Sea, and accordingly the site of Paradise, would still be in the Babylonian sphere of interest, but not in Babylon itself, rather in the Armenian Alpine country north of the Mesopotamian plain, where the two rivers in question have sources close together.

The theory seems reasonably acceptable.  For if, as the most regarded tradition has it, the “Phrat,” or Euphrates, rose in Paradise, then Paradise cannot be situ-


ated at the mouth of that river.  But even while, with this fact in mind, we award the palm to Armenia, we have done no more than take the step to the next-following fact; in other words, we have come only one more coulisse further on.

God, so old Eliezer had instructed Joseph, gave the world four quarters: morning, evening, noon and midnight guarded at the seat of the Most High by four sacred beasts and four guardian angels, which watch over this fixed condition with unchanging eyes.  Did not the pyramids of Lower Egypt exactly face with their four sides, covered with shining cement, the four quarters of the earth?  And thus the arrangement of the rivers of Paradise was conceived.  They are to be thought of in their course as four serpents, the tips of whose tails touch, whose mouths lie far asunder, so that they go out from each other towards the four quarters of the heavens.  This now is an obvious transference.  It is a geography transferred to a site in Near Asia, but familiar to us in another place, now lost; namely, in Atlantis, where, according to Plato’s narrative and description, these same four streams went out from the mount of the gods towering up in the middle, and in the same way, that is, at right angles, to the four quarters of the earth.  All learned strife as to the geographical meaning of the four head waters and as to the site of the garden itself has been shown to be idle and received its quietus, through the tracing backwards of the paradise-idea, from which it appears, that the latter obtained in many places, founded on the popular memory of a lost land, where a wise and progressive humanity passed happy years in a frame of things as beneficent as it was blest. We have here an un­

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mistakable contamination of the tradition of an actual paradise with the legend of a golden age of humanity.  Memory seems to go back to that land of the Hesperides, where, if reports say truth, a great people pursued a wise and pious course under conditions never since so favourable.  But no, the Garden of Eden it was not; it was not site of the original home and of the Fall; it is only a coulisse and an apparent goal upon our paradise-seeking pilgrimage in time and space; and our archaeo1ogy of the earth’s surface seeks for Adam, the first man, in times and places whose decline and fall took place before the population of Atlantis.

What a deluded pilgrimage, what an onward-luring hoax!  For even if it were possible, or excusable, how-misleading, to identify as Paradise the land of the golden apples, where the four great rivers flowed, how could we, even with the best will in the world to self-deception, hold with such an idea, in view of the Lemurian world which is our next and furthest time-coulisse; ~a scene wherein the tortured larva of the human being - our lovely and well-favoured young Joseph would refused with pardonable irritation to recognize himself in the picture - endured the nightmare of fear and lust which made up his life, in desperate conflict with scaly mountains of flesh in the shape of flying lizards and giant newts?  That was no garden of Eden, it was Hell.  Or rather, it was the first accursed state after the Fall.  Not here, not at the beginning of time and space was the fruit plucked from the tree of desire and death, plucked and tasted.  That comes first.  We have sounded the well of time to its depths, and not yet reached our goal: the history of man is older than the material world


which is the work of his will, older than life, which rests upon his will.


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