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Any guesses about why there's a recurring motif of "We almost got immortality but God intervened"?

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God is not escaping the charges of being vindictive about human agency. One advantage of Memetic Eve is that we can take the recurrence of the motif slightly less seriously. It only needs to have been invented once, rather than many times. But still, it was propagated and remembered for a reason. Maybe it's that death is hard to come to terms with, and it's hard to accept that people are at core, rather bad. Saying death is consequence of humans being bad kills two birds with one stone. But really, shooting from the hip!

Do you have any idea?

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Jun 27·edited Jun 27Liked by Andrew Cutler

Not really! It just stands out as curious and non-obvious. It's not at all clear to me why there'd be a thing about "We ALMOST got immortality but were blocked" instead of "We realized we're mortal just like all other living things are."

I'm reminded of my Bufo (5-MeO-DMT) experiences. My subjective experience was of leaving time, remembering the larger meta-temporal context, and then (!) coming back into time. When (!) I re-entered time, I watched the story get constructed that I had taken this substance and was observing its biological effects fading. It felt like losing track of the larger context.

I could imagine the snake venom ritual giving people a similar experience of eternity but then subjectively watching it being snatched away with a super-vivid awareness of their "resulting" mortality. Maybe as a quirk of snake venom as a psychedelic, and how it mediates between (a) the self-reflective awareness of one's mortality and (b) the previous innocent ignorance of mortality? The first part would feel like realizing you'd ALWAYS been mortal, but maybe the loss of the latter under snakadelics feels subjectively like "Just as I realized my mortality, I saw a pathway to immortality… and it was taken away from me!"

But I, too, am shooting from the hip. :-P I just find the whole thing puzzling.

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"snakadelics!" How do you do it? I'm writing a post and had come up with "the burgeoning field of snake entheogenics," not nearly as snappy.

>I could imagine the snake venom ritual giving people a similar experience of eternity but then subjectively watching it being snatched away with a super-vivid awareness of their "resulting" mortality.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh he and his bff Enkidu find the herbs that give eternal life, but they are stolen from them by a serpent. Enkidu, by the way, starts out as a wild man but then Gilgamesh is like "this is a solved problem, send a prostitute/priestess to tame him." After a week of sex Enkidu is inducted to civilization. Animals can feel he is different, and so he can't go back to his hunter-gatherer ways.

The remarkable exit from time was one of the most notable parts of my one and only experience with ego death. When I started reading creation stories and thinking how it could map on to the emergence of ego, it sort of made sense that Eden or Dreamtime would be the timeless before. That's how I was taught Eden, at least. (In part for apologetics reasons to explain the age of the Earth. "We don't know how long Adam and Eve were in the garden, because time didn't necessarily exist for them.")

The Greek Ages of man has a Golden Age where there is no death and no agriculture. This is followed by a Silver Age where men were idiots and lived to be 100 dependent on their mother. Strongest form of EToC would be that is a memory of sex differences in the phenomenology of time. Let's say that in the uncanney valley of human evolution, men formed an ego as a teen. That could feel like an eternity (or 100 years), and make one dependent. The timing described in Greek myth, after agriculture but before the Bronze Age, lines up perfectly with the Y chromosome bottleneck. However it requires believing recursion was still evolving just 5,000 years ago.

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Jun 11Liked by Andrew Cutler

Nice piece. I think it is worth pointing out that the Snakes in Mythology page you shared has a bit of a gap on the European/Germanic dragon myths (although Nidhogg is mentioned in the underworld section), where what are clearly winged serpents represent evil to be defeated rather than givers of wisdom. Although, one could point out that they guard valuable treasures, often underground (the realm of the dead), and their vanquishers can take their riches. Is it possible that in the dark reaches of Northern Europe the snake myth took on an adversarial and materialist element rather than a collaborative/spiritual one? The parallels to the Koryos ritual (as seen in the Northman) are obvious. There may also be implications to on how the Snake in the Garden of Eden became evil in the Germanicised Church from its near Eastern origin story.

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Yeah, the wiki page could certainly dedicate more room to the adversarial side of serpents. Like 4/12 of Heracles' labors include snakes trying to kill him, for example. In the Americas and Australia (and even to Jason of Argonaut fame), serpents swallow initiates whole in a death and rebirth sequence. The Northman includes a "hanged man" sequence on the tree of life, connecting the initiate to Odin, who also hung from a tree. In Snake Cult lore that would all be part of the ritual, which certainly lends itself to adversarial retellings.

The connection to gold is interesting, as that does make it straightforwardly about wealth. Off the top of head, can't recall that in traditions outside Indo-European.

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