Even Adam and Eve… (the intemerate apple)

In the Book of Genesis, God created the first humans, Adam and Eve, and placed them in the Garden of Eden, instructing them not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. A serpent tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, and she shares it with Adam. As a result, they gain knowledge of good and evil, realize their nakedness, and are subsequently expelled from the garden by God as punishment for their disobedience. As a foundation of the Abrahamic religions, this story introduces sin and mortality into how we perceive the human experience.
Even Adam and Eve preside over the intemerate accounting matrix.

Recently, I attended a service at my home church where the minister deconstructed the Adam and Eve story through a series of thought-provoking “what ifs.”

The Adam and Eve story, among all the tales in the Genesis chapter of the Bible, has always struck me as tedious. So, it was quite surprising to find myself riveted by the litany of “what ifs” our pastor presented.

What if Eve hadn’t eaten the forbidden fruit? What if Adam had eaten the fruit first? What if the serpent had not tempted them? What if God had not placed the forbidden tree in the garden? What if Adam and Eve had repented immediately? What if multiple forbidden trees existed? What if the Garden of Eden had no boundaries? What if other beings existed in Eden?

These “what ifs” transform the story, altering the foundation of what we think we know about free will, knowledge, morality, and the human condition. The alternative scenarios reveal how fluid and arbitrary some of the rules we take to be self-evident truly are.

In Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” he emphasizes that the “True Word” is one of both reflection and action, inseparable from praxis. To speak a true word is to transform the world. This resonates deeply with me, especially in the realm of sacred texts. It suggests that what we are often taught about the human condition can be arbitrary, constructed, or even deceptive, shaped by the actions and decisions of political or economic power, and not as something inscribed in stone.

What motivates the Original Sin is not the logic of a divine being, but rather a specific tribe whose historical actions have utilized the construct of disobedience toward the justification of dispossession, genocide, and theft. This cleaving of good and evil has not only undermined civilizations, countries, and regions, but it also continues to treat our differences as a categorical imperative–an “us versus other” mentality–thus betraying our very existence by alienating us from nature.

In the face of rapid climate change, we must question the perpetuation of a status quo where Nature itself is devoid of the same rights we demand of ourselves. The continued marginalization and oppression of women, people of color, indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees, the homeless, and the incarcerated reflect a broader systemic injustice, one that overlooks the profound interconnectedness of ecological and social well-being. “Intemerate” describes our biodiversity, capturing the essence of immaculate conception and virgin birth—a creation of science, spirit, and the divine.

When we consider biodiversity, our oceans, and the entire interconnectedness of our planet, we see a creation that is wonderfully benevolent, violently robust, and immaculately conceived. Its very existence is the true work of the divine that we can measure. How we interact with our environment, recognizing its sacredness and inherent value is the true word we must speak and live by.

So, how then should we understand our economy? Should it be seen merely as a series of self-interested actions, or can it be something more? Our economy needs to address the fundamental: the inequality between the Global North and South and the inequality within countries. We need to ensure equal access to wealth and infrastructure. This is something tangible we can start with.

What if Adam and Eve cared for an Intemerate Apple…

In the archetypal narrative of the Garden of Eden, we encounter a primordial setting where the first humans, Adam and Eve, reside. This Garden epitomizes an ideal state of existence, wherein all coexist in interdependence, sustained by an intrinsic ecological and moral equilibrium.

At the heart of this garden lies the “Intemerate Apple,” hanging from the Tree of Knowledge. This apple, glowing brightly, signifies the Garden’s network between all things, symbolizing sustainability and resilience.

This luminescence not only signifies the balance of the natural world but also represents the foundational principles of communicative action and mutual aid that underpin the societal ideals of cooperation and coexistence.

This harmony was not merely a matter of divine intervention but was encapsulated in a special value, n=(xix0), representing the difference between ecological and anthropogenic conditions of the environment. The balance of the Garden was thus a dynamic interplay between various factors, a concept that Adam and Eve were entrusted to understand and uphold.

God assigned them the responsibility of tending to the Garden, ensuring its continuous flourishing. To aid them in this task, God provided the intemerate formula:

This formula was not merely a cryptic incantation but a sophisticated mechanism to measure and maintain the Garden’s equilibrium. In this narrative, the Garden of Eden was an early exploration of sustainable management, where the health of the environment is directly tied to the stewardship of its inhabitants. Adam and Eve’s role was not passive but active, requiring constant vigilance and understanding of the intricate balance that defined the Garden. This story thus underscores the importance of knowledge, responsibility, and the interdependence between human actions and environmental outcomes, themes that resonate deeply with the principles of ethical and sustainable development.

Explanation of the Equation

Each day, Adam and Eve would measure various aspects of the Garden’s well-being. This included the health of the plants, the purity of the streams, the happiness of the animals, and the quality of the soil. Each of these measurements was represented as xi​, where each i represented a different aspect of the Garden.

xi: Each data point xi represents a specific measurement related to well-being or environmental conditions. For example, this could be an indicator such as air quality index, water purity levels, biodiversity counts, or measures of social well-being like happiness, health metrics, etc.

The Intemerate Apple glowed with the ideal value x0​​, representing the perfect state of the Garden’s well-being.

x0: The reference value x0​ represents the baseline or target value that reflects a desirable state of well-being or environmental condition. This could be a historical average, an established target for restoration, or an optimal level defined by elders, experts, and the community.

Each day, Adam and Eve would calculate N to see how well the Garden was balanced. If N was small, it meant the Garden was close to the ideal state, and the Intemerate Apple glowed brightly. If N was large, it indicated bigger deviations, and the Apple’s glow dimmed, signaling areas that needed their attention.

Division by n: The total number of data points collected over a period or across different locations. For example, this could be the number of days over which data is collected or the number of different locations being monitored.

By dividing the total relative deviations by the number of data points, we obtain the average relative deviation. This provides a normalized measure of how much, on average, the observed values deviate from the desired baseline. This single number N indicates how much, on average, the Garden’s well-being differed from the ideal balance.

One day they noticed that some plants were wilting (x1), the stream seemed a bit cloudy (x2), and the birds were quieter than usual (x3). When they calculated N, it was higher than usual. This told them that the Garden’s balance was disturbed.

To restore equilibrium, Adam and Eve took specific actions: For the wilting plants they adjusted the watering schedule and added compost to the soil. For the cloudy stream they cleared debris and ensured it flowed freely. For the quiet birds they provided more food and created additional nesting areas.

After these efforts, they measured the Garden again, finding improvements. When they recalculated N, it was much smaller, and the Intemerate Apple glowed brightly once more.

Then, as the season changed, Adam and Eve faced new challenges. One summer, a drought threatened the Garden’s water supply. The streams dried up (x4), plants began to wilt more frequently (x5), and the animals grew thirsty (x6). When Adam and Eve calculated N, it was alarmingly high, indicating a significant deviation from the ideal balance.

Once again, Adam and Eve took immediate action: They implemented water-saving techniques, such as mulching around plants to retain moisture and creating shaded areas to reduce evaporation. They dug new wells to tap into underground water and created rainwater harvesting systems. They set up water stations throughout the Garden to ensure all creatures had access to fresh water.

To prevent future imbalances, Adam and Eve even implemented several proactive measures. They diversified their planting to include a variety of crops and plants that were more resilient to different weather conditions, ensuring that some plants would thrive regardless of the climate. They adopted sustainable practices, such as crop rotation, composting, and natural pest control, to maintain soil health and reduce reliance on external inputs. They set up simple monitoring systems to more effectively track weather patterns, soil moisture, and animal behavior. This helped them anticipate potential issues before they became serious problems.

Summation :

Adam and Eve would add up all the deviations from the ideal balance. The absolute value of each deviation (so it didn’t matter if it was above or below the ideal) showed how far each aspect was from the perfect state.

This part of the equation calculates the total relative deviation of each data point from the reference value. The absolute value ensures that deviations are considered regardless of direction (whether they are above or below the baseline). Essentially, this measures how much each data point differs from the optimal or desired state.

Through this continuous process of observation, calculation, and action, Adam and Eve learned to maintain the perfect balance in the Garden of Eden. They understood that monitoring their surroundings, recognizing deviations from the ideal, and taking appropriate actions were essential for preserving harmony. Additionally, they understood the importance of preparing for and adapting to changes in their environment. They realized that maintaining balance required not just reactive measures but also proactive planning.

The Snake

One serene afternoon, as Adam and Eve were diligently tending to the Garden of Eden, they encountered a viper coiled around the Tree of Knowledge. This viper, however, was no ordinary snake; he was an emblematic figure of eco-neoliberalism, known for his enticing yet deceptive promises.

The viper approached Eve with a cunning smile. “Why toil so hard, dear Eve?” he hissed. “Why struggle with endless measurements and adjustments? I have a solution that will make your life easier and the Garden more perfect without all the hard work.”

Eve, curious but cautious, inquired, “What is this solution you speak of Serpent?”

The snake unveiled a beautifully packaged potion called “NatureGuard Carbon Solutions™.” “This elixir,” he claimed, “is made from the finest ingredients and imbued with the secrets of nature’s true value. One sip, and you will gain the knowledge to make the Garden self-sustaining. No more daily measurements, no more adjustments. Just eternal harmony.”

Intrigued yet wary, Eve asked, “How does it work?”

The snake explained, “NatureGuard Carbon Solutions™ taps into the latent powers of the Garden, optimizing every aspect of it. Plants will grow abundantly, animals will be happier, and the streams will flow clearer than ever. It’s a quick fix to all your problems, bypassing the need for constant effort.”

Sensing their hesitation, the crafty snake proposed an even more enticing offer. “Why not let me manage the Garden for you? I have extensive experience and know exactly how to maintain and even enhance its beauty. You can relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor without the daily grind.”

Adam, still suspicious, asked, “And what’s the catch?”

The viper, slithering closer, replied, “There is no catch. We have a 30-year plan, and I will ensure the Garden thrives. All you need to do is sign this agreement, granting me the authority to manage the Garden. In return, I will create exclusive areas where only the best plants grow and the purest water flows. These areas will be privatized, ensuring their protection and optimal use.”

Adam pondered the offer. The idea of having a perfectly managed Garden without their constant efforts was tempting. But Eve recalled the lessons they had learned about balance and hard work. They turned to each other, sharing their concerns. “What if this leads to exclusion and inequality among the creatures of the Garden? What if the harmony we’ve worked so hard to maintain is disrupted by privatization and exclusion?”

Adam and Eve decided to seek counsel from the Intemerate Apple. They measured the current state of the Garden and recalculated N, the special value representing their balance. They saw the progress they had made through their efforts and the true equilibrium they were achieving. They realized the Intemerate Apple’s glow was a testament to their diligence and dedication.

Rejecting the Serpent’s offer, Eve said, “We appreciate your offer, but we trust in the guidance we’ve received and the efforts we’ve put in. True equilibrium cannot be bought or taken lightly. It must be earned through continuous care and respect for the Garden.”

The snake slithered away, hissing in frustration, while Adam and Eve continued their work. They understood that the path to true balance and harmony was not through quick fixes or easy solutions, but through ongoing diligence, learning, and adaptability.

Conclusion

This version of Adam and Eve illustrates that achieving and maintaining harmony requires more than mere effort—it demands the wisdom to recognize and reject false promises of easy solutions. The eco-neoliberal viper symbolizes the allure of shortcuts and the perils of forsaking sustainable practices for immediate gains.

By regularly assessing their environment, understanding deviations, and taking proactive and thoughtful steps to address issues, Adam and Eve created a sustainable and resilient world. Their journey reminds us that equilibrium is a continuous process, one that necessitates commitment, respect, and a mutual connection to the natural balance around us. Rejecting privatization and exclusion, they embraced the values of inclusivity and stewardship, ensuring that the Garden of Eden remained a paradise for all its inhabitants.

This equation provides a useful summary measure of how well current conditions align with desired goals, whether in terms of social well-being or environmental health. By averaging the relative deviations from a baseline, it offers a clear, interpretable metric for assessing progress and identifying areas needing improvement.