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

Two accounts in Genesis 1-11 directly speak to the difference in the Lebenswelts of hand-speech and speech-alone talk.  One is the Table of Nations.  The other is the Tower of Babel.

In the Table of Nations, the orientation of the nations is situational.  It is based on the accident of descent.  All these diverse nations have a common source, Noah.  In this Table, one experiences the “local” as “universal”.

In the Tower of Babel, the orientation of the people came from the faculties of the spirit.  They decided to build a tower because they judged that they could reach the Heavens (and thereby invade that esoteric realm).  Their judgment ordered their intellects and wills. Their language helped them to experience their differences as “common”.

Once their language was confounded, they experienced their differences as alienating.  The “local” became simply “local”.  The “universal” was experienced as alienating.

Did God confound their language?  Maybe.  But the idea that “speech-alone constructs a symbolic order that can ‘lift off’ in the creation of its own referentiality” offers a complementary explanation.  The ideology used to construct the Tower altered the language itself.

In terms of nestedness:

The oneness of the people and the language made the situation possible

The situation was the act of building the Tower of Babel (no doubt, a ziggurat)

Religious ideology called for building the Tower

But, the Lebenswelt could not support the edifice.  Ideology compensated by changing the meaning of words – making them more esoteric so that complaints were always misinterpreted as a signal to continue building – until the base – the potential to be one people – that was taken for granted in the world of hand-speech talk – crumbled.

The Tower of Babel may well be the Story of What Happened to Enlil.

Sow the wind and reap the storm.