This one, like the other, comes from a book–ISHMAEL, An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit. No less than a gorilla in a carnival and the author’s seeker probe for an answer to this question: How did things come to be this way?
Of course the name Ishmael was enough to trigger the ‘buy’ for my wife Jean, so I read the book and the answer is: When people started to plow and plant it was because the idea became rampant that folks had to take charge of the planet because we were not a development in our line of evolution, we were created as we are today on the last of seven days and told to take charge: sweat (men) in agriculture and suffer (women) in childbirth.
The telling occurs in Genesis. In this book, Ishmael, the teller is ‘the gods’ and about the time of Cain the line of evolvement –to be called ‘evolution’ by Darwin and initiated by ‘the gods’ in this book was halted–in the Bible, when Cain, a ‘Taker’, kills Abel, a ‘Leaver’ (allegorically), people stopped hunting and gathering to use hoes and plows and such, and certain destruction of this plant was on its way, as the EPA ‘tree huggers’ and global warming clan affirm.
The dialogue proceeds as in Plato’s works, with the learner being led to consider what he really does know, but Mother Culture, teacher of all of us, must be shrugged off to resume the ways of Mother Nature–as we were for most of our evolution from some kind of salt water form of life. That way, the planet will heal, and we can go on developing/evolving in response to our environment. On page 217 we learn that the Plains Indians were agriculturists for centuries, but when horses appeared via the Spaniards, the Indians went back to being ‘Leavers’–hunter/gatherers.On page 220, that as an omnivore, man’s ‘dietary range is immense. Thousands of species will go hungry before he does,’ On page 223, that ‘The whole world of life is food.’
As you might expect, where my Belief differs from the one in Ishmael is that to save the earth we must turn control back to the gods and cease thinking we own the world to its opposite: The world owns us, because in my Belief we create, each one of us, our own God, or self-image, or call it what you will. And our world is still there just as available to be populated by ‘Leavers’ as if we believe in gods outside of ourselves.
But I have no argument with the statement that the Cain/Abel story means ‘Takers’ killed the ‘Leavers’ concept. Or,it can be said to mean that, along with other ‘meanings’ it is simply a story of two brothers, etc. However, I like to think that its value lies in a description of human nature, a part of evolution that changes us from our ancestry of hunters & gatherers to agriculturists. It has been shown that our precursors up the chain from apes to homo sapiens sapiens had come up with tools–such as sticking a straw down into an anthill and licking off the ants stuck to it–so that seed fathered our present agri-business.
And its fault is that it fosters over-population, the root of a lot of our present woes. I like ‘Root, hog, or die’ as a motto a lot better than ‘Soak the rich, spread food stamps’!!! Personally, I invested 39 years of my life for my retirement ‘easy street’, I still pay each month for my SS and Medicare.
If it means to you that was/is my sacrifice to my God, so be it! It’s a free country still, I hope!