Excersus XXX: Call Me Snake.
I think it's fair to say that the serpent was the best thing that ever happened to Adam. Certainly, Adam had more STUFF before the fall, and there are those who would say that emotions and personal growth are more trouble than they're worth, but there are only so many times you can pet the tigers. But I would weigh the ability to say to one's self at night "I am something a little different than I was on waking this morning" as more estimable than the diminishing returns that humans can get from constant bliss. Like Goethe said, "Lord preserve me from a succession of fair days..."
On another topic, I've been reading Koestler's old The Lotus and the Robot recently, and it made me realize what I have perhaps not stressed enough here. Namely, that I should make explicit the distinction between the Hindu epic tradition and Hinduism as a practiced religion (and I am speaking of the full, practiced religion, not the cherry-picked version of most Westerners which is more of a scheduled breathing and stretching regimen than a system of belief). The epic tradition, as I hope I've made clear, I have tremendous respect for as containing a core of real thought about man as he is and the world about him as it is. But over time, layers of religious sediment have deposited themselves upon the basic story, and worked themselves up to a full system of practices which are just as bad, as anti-human, as their Western counterparts. The real and good wisdom that was there couldn't be left as analogy or Mere Storytelling and ossified into dogma, and worse. Men couldn't be left to simply live well, thoughtfully, and kindly, they had to be given rituals to be overseen and graded by priests. As in Christianity, there are out-and-out bribes to lure you in and threats to keep you there (if you don't keep up on your semen reabsorption rituals, man, you're screwed). This is why we have Buddhism, after all. To modern Hinduism As Religion, I have the same thing to say as to Christianity - there are good things in you, but they can be found elsewhere too, and without the corrosive layers of false promises and vile threats with which you coated them in the belief that man would swallow them in no other way.
- Count Dolby von Luckner