Thursday, March 22, 2007

Good and Evil

Not counting children's books and knitting books, I'm reading two books right now. The one on my nightstand is Black Dahlia Avenger by Steve Hodel and the one in the bathroom (don't judge, we all read there) is Letters From Earth by Mark Twain.

Mark Twain is a smart, opinionated, funny man. I don't think I can honestly say I've ever read anything from him. I take that back. I tried to read Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court but it was depressing and boring to me. This letters book is definitely NOT boring.

It has letters from Satan who is visiting Earth millenia after it's inception to see how things are going. He sends letters to his other angel buddies (Gabriel and such) on the sad and confusing state of the human's view on God and religion. There are also writings about/from Adam and from Eve's diary. Today, from Eve's diary we learn about the introduction of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They are told not to eat from it as they will surely die. Eve writes about how they have no concept of what good or evil is as they have never been exposed to evil. They have no baseline for what evil is and as such, you can't compare and know what good is. They also have no concept of death and therefore no fear of it. They are a scientific couple and are being driven mad for the not knowing. They decide to eat the fruit, then they will know what death is and get it over with and then they can move on with their lives. Then they get distracted by the sighting of a new animal and go off chasing it to study it. I love this book.

I once worked on a woman at the spa that was in Tucson for a symposium of women on/for/about religion. She had a wonderful theory about that tree. She felt it wasn't so much a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil but more a Tree that allows judgement. We can't make judgements of others as a) that's God's job and b)it is our judgement of things/others/ideas that cause people so much grief. Her idea was that God was trying to spare us this grief and keep that burden for himself.

Further in our conversation, this woman told me that some of the other women in this symposium were from Iraq/Iran and similar countries. They were thanking the Americans for coming and helping them and that this was the first time in their lives that anyone had asked their opinion or listened to them on any level. Can you imagine? (For a better view on that kind of life read Reading Lolita in Tehran or The Handmaid's Tale.)

I have very different views both about religion and the war in Iraq then this woman but her ideas intrigued me just the same.

The Black Dahlia book is pretty interesting. It's written by a man who believes his father was the culprit and that LAPD and the DA's office engaged in a massive cover-up. So far his reasoning about his father is pretty sound. I haven't reached the part where he explains his theories about the why/how of the cover-up. It's well-written but his father was a really crappy dad and that puts a bit of a taint on the whole theory for me. We'll see.

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