Saturday, August 28, 2010

Returning to the Garden of Eden

By M. Millswan (Guest Blogger)

In doing research for my novels,”Tabu” and ”Living in the State of Dreams” I learned quite a bit about the history of public nudity and sex. From Janet Jackson to Betty Page,and from Lady Godiva to Eve in the Garden of Eden, history offers an interesting insight into the origins of the societal taboos about nudity and sex.

In “Tabu”, a novel which reveals the innermost sexual desires of a 1950s era surburban housewife, our heroine lives in a world where a woman’s sexual desires are strictly taboo. “Living in the State of Dreams” looks at society’s prohibitions and phobias regarding public nudity. In “LISD” as part of a federally funded study, a young woman must live her life for six weeks without wearing any clothes. She goes to school, to the mall, out on a date, and even to church, all while totally naked. In writing about her experience at church I came across some very interesting perspectives about the Biblical origins of prohibitions covering nudity and sex.

In Genesis, Adam and Eve are pure, innocent, and blissfully naked in the Garden of Eden. According to this Biblical scripture, Satan in the guise of the serpent induces Eve to eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Once she does, she knows she is naked, and also knows guilt and shame. She has Adam eat from the fruit, and he also comes to know these ugly and negative emotions. According to Genesis, God’s original plan was for Adam and Eve to enjoy each other in a blissful state of natural nudity. But it was Satan who destroyed all this and introduced mankind to the negative emotions of shame and guilt.

If one believes in Christianity and the teachings of the Bible, then one must realize from the story of Genesis that to perceive nudity and sex as shameful, is to fall into Satan’s evil trap. Sex and nudity should be celebrated, not vilified. The ugly and negative emotions inflicted by the prudish and puritanical elements of our society, which cause people to feel guilty about their sexuality are actually the tools of the devil. So, to resist Satan and follow God’s true plan for mankind’s happiness one should enjoy sex as a free and open celebration as frequently as possible.

BIO: M. Millswan has been called, "The Master of Erotic Romance." Born and raised in Houston Texas, he's lived and worked throughout the United States, Mexico and Latin America. Dropping out of a career in international sales, he realized the dream of building and operating an adventure sports white water lodge deep in the jungles of Costa Rica. It was being cut off in the jungle after surviving the destruction of a tropical storm that led to writing his first erotic novel, the award winning, "Rolling the Bones."

Building upon that first success, to date he's authored more than 15 books, also winning acclaim as a writer of the science fiction best seller, "Farlight" and the horror series, "Evil Heights. A sailor, an amateur astronomer, a weightlifter, mountain biker, and also an avid blues guitarist, he has written, performed and produced two CDs: "So Far" and "Lava Tooth." From the cutting edge socio-erotic novel, "Living in the State of Dreams" to the softly sensual "Snap Shot" series of novellas and short stories, based upon actual vintage erotic photographs, his work offers vivid sexuality and powerful emotion.

In '09, his short story, "The Best of Friends" was singled out for critical honors as one the best of the best in the "Swing!" anthology. His recent titles "Tabu" and "The Best Erotic Short Stories of M. Millswan" are available from Fanny Press, who will also publish his upcoming book "Underwood".

Visit M.Millswan at: http://www.farlightpress.com

Buy his most recent books at Fanny Press: http://millswan.fannypress.com

10 comments:

Marilyn Jaye Lewis said...

This sounds like a very interesting collection of stories! In particular, I also have found that actually reading the Old Testament (the earliest editions, even with all their misinterpretations of Hebrew words)can be really illuminating -- in terms of the false directions our culture has gone off in, right? What a powerful tool it is to know how to read!

She said...

What an interesting idea! To feel guilt and shame is to follow Satan. It makes sense. The Bible has been so misintrepreted through the years and too many people don't read it for themselves. They follow others' teachings. Reading is wonderful but only if you read for yourself and think about what you've read. Thank you both for your thoughts.

Michael Swanson said...

In doing research for my novel about social nudity, "Living in the State of Dreams" I truly had my eyes opened. I think this is just one of the great benefits of being a writer; in trying to create plausible characters I am always learning about the human condition and what makes people tick.

Here is an actual quote from the Bible: Genesis 2:25: "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."

No matter how you slice it, shame is an extremely negative emotion. To live without the knowledge of the emotion of shame would be to exist in an almost pure state of grace. After all, babies must be taught to feel shame. Until someone is admonished that they are naked, and told that it is "wrong" they live as nature intended. Think of all the pain caused by suffering over the negative perceptions of our bodies ... I'm too fat, my legs are too thin, my breasts too small. What if someone was to see me!?! Imagine what society would be like if we all were able to be at peace with our physical form? So indeed, I felt I had my eyes opened when I learned of the perspective that many of the morals expounded upon by zealots as God's will actually appear to be tools employed by Satan to proffer harm upon mankind. After all, it is Satan, not God who wishes evil and suffering upon mankind.
Truly, I am not in the least bit a Bible thumper. But because it is primarily the Bible thumpers who raise such an uproar about morality, I do feel an examination of the roots of Judeo/Christian morality offers a very interesting perspective on the state of our social morality today.

I have even more upon this subject in my new novel "Tabu" about an upscale surburban housewife in the 1950s. She lives in a society where a woman's sexuality is strictly taboo. Yet she learns to rise above her feelings of shame and guilt, and in doing so actually begins to enjoy herself for who she really is.

Mike Swanson
M. Millswan

aureliatevans said...

Yeah, that's something that has always confused me about the creation story as an etymological explanation for clothes as more moral than nakedness, which should cause shame. I imagine the priests who were responsible for that story weren't thinking all too clearing about the logical implications.

First, God created humans naked, and that was good.

But then, they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which caused them to be ashamed of their nakedness. This presents some troubling implications no matter which way you turn it.

If the tree was indeed a tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, then the logical assumption is that nakedness is evil, and that is why Adam and Eve felt ashamed of their nakedness and why it assumed that shame of nakedness these days are natural (which in biblical terms doesn't mean "of nature" but instead "of God," which gets arguments confused).

However, mankind is notoriously bad at discerning good and evil - Christians refer to it as the fallen state after eating from the tree. And seeing nakedness as evil and something to be ashamed of would mean that something God created and called good was actually evil.

So the other option is that the tree was not a tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil but in fact a tree of Ignorance that caused humankind to be irrationally confused about the morality of nakedness. Which would mean that God lied in calling it a Tree of Knowledge and in fact put a Tree of Ignorance in the garden, like a father lacing the cookies in the cookie jar that his toddler wants so much with LSD.

But if God lied about it, then why was he so threatened by humans eating from the tree and worried about them then eating from the Tree of Life (which was never forbidden, incidentally)?

Even as an allegory rather than a literal interpretation of events, the whole story stinks.

M. Millswan said...

If the tree from which Adam and Eve ate was of the knowledge of good or evil, with how negative the emotion of nakedness as shameful is, embracing that knowledge should be deemed a lesson in evil rather than good. This would lend credence to Satan's motives in directing Eve to the tree in the first place.
Recently, an artist who creates expressionistic erotica paintings made me aware of the even earlier Biblical legend of Adam and Lilith. Previously, I had no knowledge of Adam's first wife, and was blown away when I Googled it, and found substantiation of what the artist's work reveled. Apparently, in an earlier text, Adam had a first wife, Lilith. Unlike Eve, Lilith was not created from his rib, but formed from the same dust as Adam. She was her own woman and thought of herself not as subservient to Adam, but as his equal. Lilith was also a very sexual being. When I learned about Lilith, no wonder she was expunged from the Bible! Can you imagine how threatening a woman who believes herself equal to a man, and who enjoys her own sexuality was to the men who compiled the Bible? The implications make the postulations about Jesus being sexual with Mary Magdalene appear insignificant.
If one examines it, what our society embraces as the "Commandments" about good and evil in regards to human sexual conduct has been perverted by those who claim to be on the side of morality and decency, placing them on the side of Satan.

aureliatevans said...

"If the tree from which Adam and Eve ate was of the knowledge of good or evil, with how negative the emotion of nakedness as shameful is, embracing that knowledge should be deemed a lesson in evil rather than good. This would lend credence to Satan's motives in directing Eve to the tree in the first place."

So by that logic, knowledge becomes evil? Certainly serves the Gnostic position. :)

aureliatevans said...

And of course, that brings up the religious question of: is shame a recognition of evil (a la the conscience) or a form of evil itself?

Religion and sex: it is a tangled web we weave. I love it, as long as I'm not in the middle of it.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Mike,

Yes, the story of Lilith has always fascinated me. I think it's ripe fruit for an erotic tale.

Thanks for stimulating such an interesting discussion.

Warmly,
Lisabet

She said...

Interesting discussion. I had heard of Lilith before. I'm always amazed at how people are afraid of a strong and sexual woman. We have been so damaged as a society and women by the fear people have towards those who are not the same as they are. There is an interesting book called The Harlot by the Side of the Road. I can't remember the author but it was written to clarify many of the stories in Genesis by going back to the original writings. The author had been looking for bedtime stories for his 5 year old son and fairy tales were too violent, but remembering the bible stories of his childhood, he decided to tell them to his son then realized they had been censored. It opened my mind to how much had been lost through poor translation and others putting their own spin on the stories and censoring the stories for us. What a shame!

Janice said...

Interesting.

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