This chapter's purpose was to come down from the high clear level a bit and show all this operating in the dirty day-to-day world. It was written in 1997, and frankly some of it is a little dated. Some of it was about feminism, because in the 80's and to a degree in the 90's feminism was a force that made us more compulsive and more shallow and less human, and it especially affected those who should have been our best eyes and ears.
Now, though feminism and other politically correct philosophies have created the conditions whereby the Christian fundamentalists and the neo-conservatives could rise to prominence, it is the latter philosophies that are now directly causing most of the harm. I also talk about cult thinking in general: If you are in something, if you have joined it, if you belong to it, if you define yourself and the world it its terms, if it is the lens through which you look at the world, if everything within this circle is good and everything outside is otherwise, then you are in a cult. Everybody does this about at least some things and to some extent. There is enormous variation in the degree to which people get into various things in this way, but regardless of the degree it is a very bad thing to do to any extent at all. The "hip" movement in the last half of the 60's was a movement away from this kind of thinking, then very, very far away, then gradually back again. And then the dreams took over once more.
The story of the Serpent in the Garden is about the denial of the Serpent. On the Serpent's advice, Man eats of the tree of Wisdom and acquires Wisdom. But this is a Sumerian story, and the Sumerian God wanted Man to be a mindless servant and nothing more than that, because obviously knowledge interferes with mindless submission and service to a cult. God then tells the other Gods that man must leave the garden lest he eat of the Tree of Immortality and become still closer to being God's equal, God wants Man to remain inferior. The Serpent is a trickster like Prometheus and Odin, and like Prometheus and Odin he is on mankind's side and wants the best for mankind. God is not on mankind's side and does not want the best for mankind. But as religious thinking developed, it was determined that nothing the God of the cult did could be wrong. Then obviously it was wrong to be human, and it was right to be less than human and to be something that fits well inside a cult. Something unimaginably evil happened in Sumeria, we are still under its influence and in fact we mostly consider it normal. This story reflects it.
The story says that man became innately sinful because he listened to the Serpent rather than obey directives, and therefore learned the difference between good and evil. As I have noted, cults define good as whatever is inside the cult and evil as anything that seems contrary to the cult or anything that seems both important and clearly outside the cult. People inside cults are in a state of amorality; they literally do not know the difference between right and wrong. This virtual world of artificial definitions must be believed and re-asserted over and over, otherwise it simply fades away in the natural course of things. One must believe without sense, without questioning the character of what one believes in, being aware only of the gratification and comfort and the feeling of importance the cult gives one. This is true whether one believes in an abstract entity, as in the case of the Christian-Jewish-Islamic tradition, a vaguely defined set of assertions as in feminism, etc., or if one is to believe an assertion one makes up at the moment.
In contrast, a thought, an expression of something perceived, doesn't have to be believed or even asserted, because it is an expression of something that one actually knows. Assertions are not something that is but something that one wants, that is why they must be believed and why one must make them over and over again and get as many people as possible to make them as well. Assertions will always result in evil, because their primary purpose is to enlarge the speaker and to diminish his or her "enemy." Assertions are always an attempt to create something that attracts other people and dominates other people and to create a world that supports these attempts and that focuses your attention and everyone else's on it rather than on you. The truth is, you can't create yourself and you can't create the world, at least not in the sense of replacing it. You can't invent yourself, you are something very specific and your choice is to be that or to be something less, something far less. And of course if one is willing to be human one becomes the enemy of all those who wish to invent themselves, since it inevitably becomes apparent that one does not regard those inventions as anything but what they are.
To deny the Serpent is a terrible thing. The Serpent is the world that has always been, before the Word, before anyone spoke, before anyone formed anything, before anyone wanted, before anyone willed. It is our only source of the knowledge of good and evil, and it is water for a burning soul.