Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Aw, Grow Down!

A little while back, novelist Daniel Quinn tried his hand at writing a graphic novel. He teamed up with artist Tim Eldred, and produced the fascinating book, THE MAN WHO GREW YOUNG.

You know the theory that since the Big Bang the world has been expanding – and someday will stop expanding and start contracting back to the Large Boom?

The graphic novel takes the idea that not only will space contract back, but time itself will go backwards, with history repeating itself in reverse.

The story starts at a graveyard, as a father and son excitedly go to the cemetary – they have visited many times, but now they will finally meet the wife/mother as she is brought out of the ground.

That’s the norm – everyone starts life as an adult, coming out of the ground; they then grow young until finally they are reunited with their mother.

Factories suck pollutants out of the air; construction workers take down buildings; miners return ore to the earth – all of which seems natural and normal to the people.

The protagonist is Adam Taylor, a man who doesn’t seem to be aging in any direction; ultimately, he will live across the eons to see the end/beginning of time.

Lots of interesting and cool stuff in this trippy story. But one in particular that I want to highlight:

Towards the end of the book, a woman retells the story of the creation of man. Much like we know the tale, Adam is in the garden and has access to all trees save one. The gods explain that all the trees are good for him; but this tree is the one that they eat from – the one the gives knowledge of good and evil.

Here’s a paraphrase of how they explain it: Whenever good is done to one creature, evil is done to another. So when they give Adam the deer for food, that is good for Adam, but evil for the deer.
Or when they allow the deer to escape, that is good for the deer, but evil for Adam.

The “knowledge” is what allows the gods to decide what is to be done, so they never make a mistake.

Adam craves this knowledge, because then he can make sure that only good is done to himself, and evil is done to all others.

After eating of the fruit, Adam creates society based on the knowledge, a society of “good” for Adam. All the while questioning whether this is truly good, or if the fruit made him sick (the gods liken it to eating grass – you can eat it, but it won’t nourish).

Interesting, thinks I.

Just my thoughts,


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