The Fine Print on the Tree of Knowledge

The Garden of Eden, by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens

The Garden of Eden, by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens

On one tiny twig of the Tree of Knowledge
is the knowledge about the Tree of Knowledge itself,
the small print that nobody reads,
which says that just because Eve
ate of an apple from the Tree of Knowledge
we don’t have to spin out uncontrollably
into the outer space of technology
without any moral or ethical restraints,
without considering not only the immediate
consequences of our actions
but also the far-reaching consequences as well—
the simplest, most obvious, most ironic
being inventing and setting in motion
the computerized apple-picking machine
putting people out of work.
It should be against the law
to put people out of work
just to make more money.
Since when is technology
or even making money
more important than people?
It’s ironic that Eve was judged as evil for eating
of the apple with which the serpent tempted her
and, with Adam, was banished from the Garden of Eden
while the vast race of creatures
who supposedly descended from her
eat of the Tree of Knowledge every day
and in every corner of the world
producing, consuming, and making
vast quantities of money off
the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge,
and they are not banished from any garden
but are welcomed to the fruit with open arms.
And let’s face it, making money
is just another form of consumption,
and what are the producers paying us
so they can consume all that money?
They’re paying us the technology
that in many cases is making us sick,
making our planet sick,
causing us to go to war,
and putting us out of work.
It seems we’ve made the best
meaning of the story of Eve
a mockery and even the thumpers
of digital bibles don’t care.

Copyright 2015 by Rick Clark


8 thoughts on “The Fine Print on the Tree of Knowledge

  1. Well, now, Rick, I don’t know enough about poesy to make an intelligent comment on this poem, but I’ve thought a good deal about the point of what you’ve written, and I believe that you’ve done a fine, succinct job of raising a cry of indignation and anger against predatory capitalism. I understand that nations such as Norway, The Netherlands, and Sweden have managed thriving capitalist economies without putting people out of work, or working them to death with 60 and 70 hours on the job every week with no overtime pay. It’s a mystery to me why the predators in our halls of finance and government cannot seem to move the economy forward without destroying the lives of vast swaths of our nation’s citizens. I hope your words reach and affect those members of Congress and the Senate who are so busy one-upping and throat-cutting one another that they have no time for the very people they’re supposed to be working for. Were I you, I’d send this effort around. Love, Dad

  2. Once again, Rick, you hit the nail on the head. I often reference Eve when people complain about the world and their lot in life. I do it mockingly, of course. I love your take on it.

  3. “Ignorance is bliss.” It is, according to the book, our bad for wanting to know. I think the debate is still open as to whether or not to know is discordant or not knowing is bliss. As your testimony shows, Rick, and begs the question, are we deserving of knowledge? A question for the ages, ad infinitum, I realize, but what you have hit on is what may be missing from the debate in almost all subjects or content for discussion: Why should capitalist commerce stand in the way of the education of knowledge for the mind of humankind. Here is where the point of morality should be separate from an economic system. Thanks for prodding us to think on this, Rick. Well done!

    • Oh thanks for your comment, T. I can live with the desire to make money, I can live with development of technology, and I can live with the desire for greater knowledge (of course), but what I have a hard time living with is the mere desire for knowledge in order to develop technology in order to make money—only. That’s a short circuit that will, in fairly short order, short circuit existence of life on this planet. I’ve been sitting on another rather harsh short piece that your comment goads me to post. Be on the alert (devious grin).

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