What if I told you there is no good or evil and that our understanding of such concepts can be traced back to a mistranslation around 325 CE? Yes, a case of lost in translation with a dash of ignorance and the classic “looking the other way” gave rise to good vs. evil, us vs. them, the other….
Our western society derives its morality from Judeo-Christian teachings which in turn was codified into one volume of stories by Emperor Constantine of Nicaea (today’s Turkey) in 325 CE. His goal was to create one version of Christianity, one belief so that he could more easily rule his empire. One key phrase which we now read in Matthew 7.17 states that “An evil tree will give evil fruits and a good tree will give good fruits” – in other words the tree of good and evil that we’ve all heard of in stories of Adam and Eve.
Semitic tribes of the day spoke Aramaic which means oral and written stories were passed on using Aramaic, not Latin, Greek or Hebrew. Ironically, the words and concepts of good and evil do not exist in Aramaic which begs the question what was the original story and how did it get mis-translated into what we read today such as the story of Eden or Matthew 7.17? The original quote goes something like this “Ripe trees deliver ripe fruits and unripe trees deliver unripe fruits” Our Semitic ancestors looked at the world as all-inclusive and that we’re at all times in one state or another of ripeness, of readiness. Imagine the possibilities if we considered ourselves and our decisions on a range of ripeness rather than good or bad, only. Ripeness implies readiness and that we’re dependent on nature and of nature…that nothing happens in a vacuum. It also implies that timing is key as it ties to maturing parts of our lives that if decided upon too soon would deny their full expression.
I view masculinity as an archetypal power flowing through men and women. Men get to experience it to a greater extend because they biologically embody the male genotype and get to express the phenotype. This implies we get to wrestle with what it means based on how we are raised, what we see and what we think is expected of us. What if ripeness in masculinity was a matter of maturity not toxicity.
What’s the difference? Toxicity implies contamination from an outside agent of malice, such as a virus, and the toxicity now spreads onto the next unsuspecting object. Maturity and ripeness imply progress and nature. This means multiple forces are at play, biggest of all our free will on how to move forward when faced with adversity and challenges. On the flip side, immaturity or unripeness imply arrested development, a missed opportunity to progress towards full expression in a healthy manner deemed valuable by society.
Let’s not regard unripe and under-developed masculinity as toxic and instead work towards ripening this incredible power into its full blossoming as it was originally intended. Yes, we’ve had some overripe apples that spoiled into toxicity, became full of themselves and fermented into intoxicating fumes that made us lose our track. Let’s get back on track and stop looking at good vs. evil and instead cultivate ripe trees that deliver ripe fruits.