The Forbidden Fruit Viewed as a Psychoactive Source.
The most famous story ever has had so many explanations in history. Explanations such as the discovery of Sex by mankind, the man becoming self-aware, a symbolic representation of the human psyche, and the original sin of mankind. One thing is for sure, it’s a special story that has made many people investigate the nature of this story. In this article, I want to give you another ‘theory’ with an interesting twist to the forbidden fruit being a psychoactive source.
disclaimer: everything told in this article comes from a subjective experience during a Psilocin trip and is not based on deep research. It serves as a different or complementary perspective and theory on the Paradise Bible story.
After my last Psilocin trip, I got an insight into how dangerous psychedelic substances can be if there is no proper integration of the experiences. The danger I saw lies in the fact that the ‘ego’ is wiped away. This can lead to the realization that most goals and strivings are useless and that human activity is weird. I had a strong intuition that the special experience can lead someone to depression, or the opposite, wanting to live in a utopia (like hippies). People who have ever had these substances can probably imagine this. I'm not the only one thinking this, both the Vedanta and the Zen-Buddhist tradition warn that insight into the emptiness of the self, or so-called “enlightenment experiences”, are not sufficient; further practice is necessary.
Various Key Experiences
I want to get a few aspects from common experiences and then I will link these to the biblical story, The Garden of Eden. Those are key to understand in order to get what I am trying to communicate.
God Realisation: God-realisation means Self-discovery in the highest sense of the term. One consciously realizes his oneness with God. Or also called universal consciousness.
Ego Death: Ego death is a “complete loss of subjective self-identity”. Self-identity being the person you are.
Tapping Into Devine Knowlege: One will experience having access to knowledge that feels like intuition rather than something learned. It is difficult to have access to it in a normal state of mind and many gurus and monks would tell you it takes a fair amount of practice.
Perception Filters Removed: All filters and perspectives that are active in a normal day of life are faded away and it feels as if the ‘eyes are opened’ to a whole other way of looking at life and reality.
Adam and Eve
I expect the reader to know the story and will therefore not go into the context. God has put the man in paradise and tells them that they may eat anything but from that one tree.
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. — Gen 2:17
Three aspects that stand out here are:
- “The Tree”,
- “Knowledge of Good and evil”, and
- “Thou shalt surely die”.
The Tree of Knowledge
First, the tree is remarkable. The tree seems to “open the eyes” and
to provide insights into the “knowledge of good and evil”.
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”. — Gen 3:4–5
The ayahuasca tree — Banisteriopsis caap
After taking the fruit we read the effects it has on Adam and Eve.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked— Gen 3:7
As mentioned above, this experience is very common with psychedelic or awakening experiences. The filters, perceptions of normal life are wiped away. And a person sees reality through whole new glasses.
You will be like God knowing good and evil — Gen 4:b
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” — Gen 3:22
So first we have the serpent who says that eating this fruit will make us realize the divine Self and the uniformity with the universal consciousness. It will make you feel ‘like’ God. This is a claim, a realization, that many people have experienced during a psychedelic journey. Not only under substances, but it is also the core doctrine of Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism. I found this relation interesting.
Now man has eaten this fruit. And in genisis 2:17, 3:2 we read that this was punishable by death, “You will certainly die”. Although, what death do we mean? Could we perhaps read this as “Ego Death”? As the name indicates, this literally means the death of the Ego, the ego being the person of someone. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, all have in common that they want to get rid/or align of the old sinful state of the man taking/accepting/working towards an enlightened state/sainthood that is in relation with the will of God/Universe/Chi through outer and inner cleansing. Ego death can occur quickly when taking a substance for example. Then it is as if the self is gone and as if you are an objective third observer of your own life. But it can also be experienced after a long way of meditation, and various practices.
So we have a tree that leads to insights that are God related. We would think of God as all-knowing, having the biggest understanding of reality, and being the source of all knowledge. Especially the knowledge of Good and Evil. God says that ‘Man had become like him’. Can we say that this fruit led to this divine knowledge? This knowledge can lead to an ‘Ego Death’ and a ‘God-realization’. This is the dangerous wisdom that can make an Ego seem higher than it actually is, or make someone go off the path (depression/hippies) without proper integration. It is obvious that the creation story depicts this fruit negatively. The Rabbies had called this the ‘Forbidden Fruit’. Why? Because they could not relate the relationship between their sinful human nature and the nature of the omnipotent good God? Did they separate God from them selfs having it as an external source for that reason? Interestingly, in other places humanity kept this connection with the universal mind/consciousness/being/life-force within them selfs.
This is purely a theory, and I am a protestant Christian and therefore could make many objections to this kind of reasoning. Though I like to think ‘a bit’ out of the box and philosophize about alternate explanations. After bringing this theory up in some social groups. I noticed I was not the only one who saw this relation. Many people have related psychoactive substances with the forbidden fruit. Jordan Peterson even mentioned it in one of his talks. I was not aware of this when this idea came up. Take the theory as a fun alternate explanation and with a grain of salt. And please let me know your reactions or toughts.