Thoughts on Original Sin by Tatha Wiley (2002) 4G

Let me now consider this “privation of sanctifying grace” proposed by Anselm and Aquinas as the retribution for the Original Transgression.

“Sanctifying grace” orients the spiritual faculties.  Without it, the spiritual faculties are disoriented.

The withdrawal of a primordial “orientation” at the time of the Fall artistically resonates with the loss of the Paleolithic Lebenswelt with the adoption of speech-alone talk (presented in An Archaeology of the Fall).

In the hand talk world, there was no question of orientation because the tradition – the Lebenswelt – of the group (village, tribe, whatever one wants to call it) was holistic.  Every aspect of the hand-talk culture oriented the individual.  Parts indicated the whole.  Hand-talkers could not articulate the precepts of Freedom and Justice, but they lived them nevertheless.  They lived them within their tradition.

Differences between groups were “explained” by traditions within the group.  Differences among individuals within groups were “explained” by traditions within the group.  The logic of difference practiced within the group may have enhanced boundaries and distinctions, but it always unified the group.  “Differences” were experienced as common. The “particular” was the “universal”.  The “local” was the “universal”.

Hand-talk traditions were both flexible and inflexible.  Cultural evolution proceeded in a fashion consistent with Stephen Gould’s Doctrine of Punctuated Equilibrium.  Change would occur when referentiality itself changed.  The tribe came across a new type of food, a new way of eating, a new way of accomplishing goals, and so forth.  Their words changed.  Their tradition changed.  Cultural traditions were always under selection pressure in regards to reproductive success.

Then, prior to the emergence of civilization, our ancestor’s Lebenswelt changed.  Once the hand- component of hand-speech talk was dropped, unconstrained complexity was potentiated.  The “local” became “local” as opposed to “universal”.  The “universal” was left to incorporate groups belonging to increasingly distinct labor and social specializations.  Each group spoke its own “language” within the umbrella of the society’s “language”.  From those languages, the participants produced diverse social constructions.

Speech-alone talking societies faced a problem: Do we hold onto the old ways of experiencing orientation consistent with the familiar ways of referentiality – or – adopt new ways of experiencing orientation consistent with the social construction?

The benefits of unconstrained complexity were obvious.  The loss of orientation was hidden.

No doubt the shamans of old resisted trends to unconstrained complexity.  In a sense, they were the first prophets.  But they could not stop the trends when conditions favored increasingly unconstrained complexity. Eventually, differences were no longer experienced as “common”.  They became alienating.  Someone had to establish order or everything would spin out of control.