` It has been equally terrifying and satisfying, to take note of the many media accounts of individuals, incarcerated for decades, who are, ultimately, found to be innocent of the relevant crime by the utilization of new, scientific techniques, developed over the years in the crime lab. The earlier techniques, fingerprints, footprints and later, blood analysis, have advanced to include such factors as DNA analysis and other chemical and biological techniques. Contemporary, Statutory criminality, unlike earlier, criminality, can thus, be validly, attributed with science. History, by contrast, reveals an uncountable number of horrendous, human atrocities, by man against others of his species, only revealed, by educative reason and objective reading of factually validated, historical sources.
Errors in the just attribution of guilt, empirically, are, unfortunately, numerous and eternal. In an earlier essay, we take issue with the “Original Sin” conceit of many western religions. In our view, as has been observed, the choice of Biblical language, in this instance, is the “DNA” indicating the error in the very concept of Man’s universal sin, for which he is, responsibly, tasked, religiously, with lifetime repentance.
Adam (primitive) man, accompanied by his mate, early woman (Eve), come to the “Garden of Eden,” where they encounter the forbidden, “Tree of Knowledge,” on the bough of which, a snake lies coiled. The snake (“serpent”) induces Eve to give Adam an apple, which he sinfully, eats. Thereafter, the couple, as “punishment,” for the “eating fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge, (“Original Sin”) are banished, forever from the Garden of Eden.
Any student of classical mythology is doubtlessly, aware that a snake (“serpent”) was the eternal symbol of fertility (possibly, a “Freudian” reference). It does not require much of a stretch of the imagination to, accordingly, see the snake (fertility) coiled on a bough of the “Tree of Knowledge,” as representing, mental fertility, or the capacity for self-awareness. Adam, thereafter, discovers his nakedness (awareness of self) and the first couple was, as punishment, banished, from the Garden of Eden (ignorance), forever. Is the acquisition of self-awareness, or the ability to reason, sinful?
Moreover, the myth’s relation that Eve offered the apple (knowledge) to Adam has been perceived by us as an extremely laudatory assertion (to women) that Homo sapiens’ capability for intelligence, or awareness, was, originally, given by women to man. It is, nothing short of uncanny to note, in this respect, that women, like the Greek, (Prometheus), were thereafter, punished, as the bringer of knowledge to Mankind, in the latter case, by the general award of secondary status.
However, empirically, objective, instances, suitably labeled, “Original Sin,” historically, do exist, which, are in bright contrast to those that are mythical or Biblical. Empirical depictions of truly, venal, “Original Sin,” are shown for example, by the many revelations of mistreatment and cruelty, historically, and eternally, practiced, against indigenous peoples, in our nation, as well as elsewhere. It is an ineradicable blemish on the human persona, that such unspeakably, immoral and devastating acts, are perpetrated against vulnerable, or minority people, with the confirmation or disinterest of the dominant population.
Our Nation, the land of liberty and freedom is, forever charged, with the instances of kidnapping of uncountable hundreds of indigenous American children from their parents and families, to live in military barracks and be converted to “civilized,” Christianity. We read and hear heard about, critical, r drug and alcohol use by such people, but eschew any understanding, of the acts of destruction of their supportive, venerable and stable culture by religiously, biased, Evangelical Christians.
Our Nation can also atone for the cruel, tragic and prejudiced, acts of displacement of peaceful Native Americans, from their ancient, arable lands of Southeastern United States, to territories thought, ”more suitable for redskins,” viz., the windswept non-arable plains of Oklahoma. Such wrongful displacement, referred to in the literature, as “The Trail of Tears,” resulted in great suffering, many deaths, and the uprooting of the culture and societal foundations of an admirable and self-sustaining people. This historical wrong may be also includable, in the misused phrase, “Original Sin.”
During the halcyon days of the British Empire’s, Rudyard Kipling and Queen Victoria, the “civilizing” program, ethnocentrically, and evangelically, called, “The White Man’s Burden,” represented the reductive misunderstanding of the culture of many productively, peaceful, indigenous peoples and led to the decimation of their historic cultures. Belgium, Spain, France, Portugal, as well as America, have historically been, among such, sinful offenders. If there, conceivably, were any utility to the bizarre and empirically, irrational phrase, “Original Sin,” these arrogant, ethnocentric, nations, would justly, and deservedly, be entitled to its, censorious application.
We are responsibly required, to include in the list of wrongdoers who qualify for the subject phrase, those Americans, who kidnapped innocent, black human beings from their traditional homes in Africa and elsewhere, commercially separated their families, and, unforgivably, robbed them of their lives and humanity, for many generations of cruel chattel slavery. The full and just expiation, of this, American. “Original Sin,” unhappily, still seems to be a work in progress.