The Garden of Eden

‘The biblical story presents the garden as a site of both physical and moral transformation. The Garden first appears as a refuge, an arena protected from mortality, work, and self-knowledge. Despite its stable image, the atmosphere of the garden is dependent upon an order of ignorance, in which Adam and Eve refuse the temptation of breaking the single rule that secures the nature of their environment. Essentially, as long as Adam and Eve refuse knowledge, the Garden remains a bountiful grove which demands nothing of them. That it demands nothing characterizes the paradox of its apparent freedom, for in its silent bounty, it does not allow its inhabitants to interact with it. It merely supports them in a tenuous autocracy where denial and refusal guarantee them their safety. The Garden is actually a place of constraint which is under the constant threat of radical change. Once Eve talks with the serpent and ingests the apple, she has made a choice and initiated an interaction that the Garden has denied her. She discovers her body, and the space that it occupies, in a series of actions which deny the possibility that knowledge, body and environment can be separated. After Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden, they are forced to acknowledge and come to terms with how what they know shapes who and where they are. They understand that once they are outside of the Garden of Eden, they must cultivate their own garden--in otherwords, they are responsible for shaping their own world.'

Samantha Krukowski, 'The Relationship Between Language and Landscape in Ian Hamilton Finlay's Little Sparta', 1994.

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