Richibi’s Weblog

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Tag: the Tree of Knowledge

“Adam and Eve” – Lucas Cranach the Elder

Cranach Adam Eve

Adam and Eve (1596)

Lucas Cranach the Elder


from The New Yorker, January 27, 2014

Adam and Eve” by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526

She seems a mere girl really,
small-breasted and slim,
her body luminescent
next to Adam, who scratches
his head in mild perplexity,
So many baubles hang
from the tree
it didn’t hurt to pick one.
The snake is a quicksilver curve
on a branch she is almost
young enough to swing from.

The garden bores her anyway:
no weedy chaos among
the flowers and vegetables;
the animals so tame
you can hardly tell the lamb
from the lion, the doe from the stag
whose antlers outline Adam’s modesty.
She is like that teen-age girl
who wandered from the mall last week
not to be seen again, the world before her
glittering and perilous.

Linda Pastan


yesterday on a mission to buy socks,
finally – I had only a pair left and one
of those with a hole in it – I wondered
about clothes, why hadn’t we evolved
fur or feathers or, heaven forbid,
scales, like all other creatures,
without exception

cherry trees were in blossom, birds
sang along my path, despite an
inoffensive drizzle as I went along

perhaps, I thought, by standing erect
our private parts were too much in
evidence for even indiscriminate
Nature to bear, though apes in all
their varieties walk on two legs and
seem to cavort happily, indeed
lasciviously, though ever
unsheathed, I objected, everywhere

the only difference I could muster
between us and them was that we’d
eaten from the Tree of Knowledge,
the fruit, apparently, of our
apocalyptic decadence, while they’d
never had ever an Eve, nor, for that
matter, an, equally complicit, note,
Adam, no matter what the, mostly
male, elders might say

therefore apes gambol in their
Garden of Eden still, as you can
see in the Cranach above, serenely
uncontrite, while we buy socks in
the jungle next door, and berate,
burdened, our bedevilled lubricities,
what’s under those strategically
positioned, and obliterating, leaves

Tree of Knowledge indeed


psst: from the Courtauld Gallery in
London, more on Cranach’s
, just click

Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (13)

Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2013 19:04:56 +0000
To: Richibi’s Weblog
Subject: [New comment]“Ennead I” by Plotinus.
You wrote, “my experience is that I cannot know even dimensions before I formally deduce them,”

That is a unique experience. Einstein came to the same conclusion when he developed the Theory of Special Relativity, though perhaps he didn’t have quite the same experience. You both beheld the same underlying reality, although you expressed it in different ways.

Plato’s Absolute, i.e., which is Beauty, Goodness and Truth in One, is immanent. It is distinct but not distant from us, and every soul can ascend to it by reason and intellect. There are different types and levels of beauty, in the human body, in nature, in the universe, in science and art, literature and music. One doesn’t have to be a “Superman” to see beauty or create beauty. Every life is an artistic activity. Every individual is an artist.

The concept of Absolute by no means deny or diminish the freedom of individual existence. On the contrary, the more diverse and free the individual existence, the better and fuller it manifest Absolute Beauty. For instance, Beethoven’s Ninth, unless each member of the choir and orchestra plays his/her best part, the beauty of the symphony cannot be manifested nor experienced by the audience.

Unlike Kant who believes that the noumenal is unknowable, Platonists reason that the noumenal and the phenomenal correspond with one another (sort of like the way an image in the mirror corresponds to the original), since they are both derived from one and the same intelligible reality. Because of this “correspondence”, it is possible to do science. We have been able to predict with accuracy the movement of the stars and other events occurring in nature; Because of this “correspondence” between our consciousness and the outside world, it is possible for us to interact with other people and the world


you say, Nemo, “Plato’s Absolute, i.e., which is
Beauty, Goodness and Truth in One“, which
seems to me anachronistic, a premature
conflation with Christian, however implicit,
thought, I don’t think Plato would’ve had a
Trinity, whatever for in a society replete with
a variety of quite serviceable, not to mention
glorious, deities
when you speak of “[e]very life“, “[e]very
individual” being “an artistic activity“, “an
artist“, what about animals, insects, trees,
do roses perceive their own beauty, these
are lives, even creative, even inspiring ones,
though I draw the line at inspired, I suspect
they don’t consciously know it 
therefore “Beauty, Goodness and Truth” are in
the eye of the beholder, no, as we ask in
French, and the beholder is our own human
only, it appears, incarnation, blessed as we
are, for better or for worse, with
self-consciousness, ““Superm[e]n”” need
not even, but only superfluously, apply  
the Tree of Knowledge bore the fruit of
which all of us have partaken, for better or
for worse, by our very nature, and we’ve
created a poem around it in order to
it has been mighty, if flawed
about mirrors, when I yearned for word
from above, or from wherever, I understood
I’d have to forego my entrenched scepticism
under the influence of Sartre and Camus,
the Existentialists, whose ideas dominated
the Western World, and my university years,
however nowadays incredible, a time when
Van Cliburn, a Classical music pianist, 
would return from a sealed Communist
Russia, no less, to a New York ticker tape
parade, a more idealistic time than our
present more rapacious, morally bankrupt,
apparently, epoch, I’d believed in Being
and Nothingness, and the corollary Absurd,
I was alone in an indifferent Universe
to assume spirits, an extraterrestrial entity
who might be responsive, would require
an act of absolute faith, a profound
disorder in my otherwise determinedly
rational perspective
but I had no choice but to succumb to
even irrationality, I knew, for any chance
of grace, you need to believe in miracles
to experience them  
need I say that I found that transcendence,
I called it crossing the Bridge of Faith
where everything was the same but
different, Nemo, like crossing through a
mirror, like Alice, and discovering another,
infinitely more enchanted, however
numinous and otherworldly, world   

un-still lifes‏

  Fairy tale. Garden of Eden. - Martiros Saryan
                                           Fairy tale. Garden of Eden (1904)

                                                           Martiros Saryan    
animals are also poems, just by even standing
well, mammals, I meant, and, of course, birds 
psst: sometimes I think that the Fall from the Garden
           of Eden is not behind us but before us, we are
           the cancer, we are the terror, we have eaten
           irresponsibly from the Tree of Knowledge, not
           for better but for, too often it would appear,
           unfortunately, worse