Interestingly, there were pockets of "unfallen" people groups ... those who managed to hold onto their more matristic/matriarchal view (and keep in mind that matriarchy doesn't mean that the women ruled over the men ... just that they were revered, and perceived/treated as equals).
For instance, the Lapplanders of northern Scandinavia ... the tribes of Siberia and Mongolia ... tribes in the Indian forests ... all of these retained their unfallen life.
But -- outside of the Saharasian-reach, unfallenness was maintained until roughly 1600 AD...! Australia, and North and South America were not invaded by the fallen people for many centuries ... as was the case for the Pacific Islanders. And many remote areas of Africa also remained uninvaded. All of these groups remained largely free of war, inequality, hostility to sex/body, and social divisions. The exceptions to this are the people who were subjected to climate change -- wherever rapid aridity. In every case, warfare and social violence coincided with exposure to intense aridity. In addition, as European (descended from Sahariasion invaders) conquest/colonization was introduced, violence became the result.
Even today, there are pockets of "unfallen" people groups ... let's look at a few of them, to see what we can learn, about what life was like before the fall...
The Aborigines of Australia: Now, at first-glance, we may see polygamy, and think them to be patriarchal ... but let's look deeper (surface understanding causes much misunderstanding). In their culture, women are considered to be more "complete" early in life ... even at puberty ... while men are seen as needing to take more time to become "complete" ... through initiation and experiences. So, women can marry right away, but men must wait. It seems that some men die before maturing (I shall withhold comment here!), so the women marry into other marriages. Their marriages do not exhibit sexual domination ... women are not seen as "property".
Native Americans: Again, at a first-glance, I would venture a guess that many of us would think, "wait a minute -- what about all those savage, war-mongering Indians of the Plains?" However, this image comes from only one particular Indian culture -- the Plains Indians of the 18th/19th centuries, who were invaded by the Europeans, and who had their land displaced ... they acquired their violence due to being disturbed and conquered. It was brought about by cultural disruption and group migrations. Guns and horses were not part of their aboriginal societies ... they were introduced by the European invaders/colonists.
Now, we have to look at the aberrational societies of the Mayas, the Incas and the Aztecs -- as they are more closely akin to the Saharasian people ... as a result of their more egoic ways, they also developed a high level of sophisticated development, including math, astronomy, calendars, writing. They also manifested the elaborate tombs, much like the pyramids of Egypt. Like their Saharasian counterparts, they also exhibited intense warfare, incredible violence (including ritualized violence and human sacrifice), a lust for power and wealth, and strong dominance over women (even though some women could be priestesses ... yet these priestesses were slated for human sacrifice themselves).
So why these anomalies, among all the other peace-loving, egalitarian Native Americans...? One likely reason was that the areas they inhabited became quite arid, quite suddenly ... and the effect was like what happened in Europe, Asia and Africa. It's also quite likely that the Sahariasian people migrated from Asia to the Americas, via the Bering Straight ... and that their influence on the native people would have an egoic effect.
One thing I found quite fascinating is what Steve Taylor shares here:
"Whereas 'fallen religion is based around the worship of anthropomorphic gods who overlook and control the world, 'unfallen' religion is based around an awareness of a Spirit-force, which pervades the world and everything in it [Panentheism]. The religion of the Plains Indians, for example was basically 'unfallen' They believed that there was a Great Spirit, or Life Master, which pervaded all things and that natural phenomena were controlled by spirits [energy]. The religion of the Inca is typically 'fallen' in that they believed in an all powerful creator God, Virachoa ... who they prayed to and made offerings to."
Wherever God is "like a man" (anthropomorphic), violence prevails. Wherever God is perceived to be the Spirit-force in all things, peace prevails.
For the sake of conserving time and space, I'll share some highlights of life among the unfallen peoples (Native Americans, Aborigines, some sub-Saharan African tribes, some Oceanic island nations, and Papua New Guinea):
- Peaceful, democratic, consensus-led, non-patriarchal
- Low violence and warfare (conflicts often settled with contests, such as singing contests, or sports contests)
- Egalitarian relationships - low levels of possessions and status
- Focus on community, together with "individual rights" - much sharing of all things
- No ownership of items, or of the land
- No external laws -- just guiding principles -- each one a "master/authority of self" (and yet peace, rather than chaos, reigns ... hmmm...)
- No formal leaders -- "what's good for the whole" instead
- Equal status of women
- Earth is a gift -- we are all equal stewards
- Generosity is encouraged -- greed is frowned upon
- Unselfishness -- open hospitality, even to strangers
- Children considered to be "fully human", and experience a high degree of freedom
- Women do most of the food-gathering, and men do most of the child-watching (children benefit from close ties to both parents -- both are nurturing)
- Individual autonomy is respected -- no coercion, control, manipulation (all seen as violations of the Spirit in each one)
- Children are not controlled -- allowed, even encouraged, to learn through making mistakes (not seen as moral failings, but necessary for learning)
- A lack of weaponry -- only tools
- Openness toward sex ... not seen as shameful, but natural -- the body is respected, not shamed
- Nature is revered, cared for as a gift for all -- the earth and all things on it are seen as "alive" -- filled with Spirit-- all things and all people are seen as a manifestation of Spirit -- all inter-connected as One -- all Life is Divine Life
- We are stewards and custodians -- NOT owners -- Ownership implies superiority and dominance
- A state of contentedness ... no "hurry up" ... living in the present moment, rather than a past- or present-focus ... state of peace, strong sense of well-being
How does this strike you? My feeling is a longing ... almost a remembering, a homesickness, for this sort of life. As if this is how I'm *meant* to live ... and that I'm caught up in a world-wide sickness, an insanity that has taken over (images of The Matrix!). This description resonates for me ... it feels more *real* for me than what I've been mesmerized into accepting as "reality".
It seems to me that THIS is how life is meant to be lived ... and that we're meant to return to it, for our own survival, and thrival.
Next -- examining the Fall myths, to discover why the Fall occurred in the first place ...