Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Forbidden Fruit




"I dreamed that I floated at will in the great Ether, and I saw this world floating also not far off, but diminished to the size of an apple. Then an angel took it in his hand and brought it to me and said: "This must thou eat." And I ate the world."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson




The above picture, as you may recognize, is an edited version of my blog avatar. It is, in fact, a picture of my granddaughter taken a couple of years ago. She looks almost exactly like me at her age. When she was almost three years of age she would insist that pictures of me as a toddler were actually pictures of her. She became quite indignant when others would confirm that they were truly pictures of me. So the fact that the picture actually resembles me as a child is one reason for the selection of this photo for my avatar.

Another reason is that I love the image of a little female tot biting into the forbidden fruit. I have always sympathized with the Bible's first female, Eve, knowing that in her place I too would have defied what I see as unreasonable commands and picked the fruit. The forbidden bites are especially succulent AND when they are described as holding knowledge and life ... well ... I for one could not resist.

The choice of this image symbolizes my refusal to toe the line, to follow the flock, to obey arbitrary rules of the day, to renounce questioning, to restrain my instincts. A tree is meant to be climbed, the fruit at the top tasted and I have done so both boldly and timidly. While sometimes reaching for and tasting the apple has resulted in challenging situations, it has ultimately liberated me from moribund legacies and mind-crushing belief systems. I am grateful to have mustered the courage to take those little bites and am sure there will be many other forbidden fruits yet to taste.    :)

 


The piece above is the first collage I ever attempted (and it shows!).  It is, however, useful in this post to illustrate my fascination with 'forbidden fruit'.  As you may notice, it was done with images of Klimt paintings (clipped from a ready-to-fall-apart art book).  At the time I made the piece, I was not consciously aware of placing an image of Eve holding the apple, as the central image.  (It is the pale image of the naked woman with long dark hair.  She is holding an apple in her left hand.)  I wonder - is my fascination with Eve, the forbidden fruit, or both?

So, now those of you who have asked about the significance of the little girl eating the apple avatar have your answer.  :)

  And what about YOU?  How tempted are you by forbidden fruit?


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23 comments:

  1. what a wonderful collage...and i tend to follow that trail as well...i hate to accept the status quo or follow the lemmings...

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  2. The knowledge of good and evil is a complexity of dualisms that define the physical world we find ourselves in. It is a huge databank of information that produces what we call reality, much like a tree bifurcates itself down into microscopics both up and down, and eventually produces fruit. We are all bifurcated beings consisting of a male half and a female half, animus/anima, right-brain/left brain, logical/intuitive, etc. That intuitive aspect of ourselves naturally partakes of the results of all the data--the synthesized world--the apple. The Bible story simply encourages us not to fall for it, that attaching to the world (fruit) leads to destruction always (everything including ourselves is always in a state of disintegration), and that there's another more perfect reality where we are actually immortal beings living in unity and bliss.

    So we all synthesize 'reality', eat of the forbidden fruit, commit sin, and therefore face death, the wage of sin. That is, unless we can make a course correction regarding our attachments here in this reality--realizations of more solid eternal realities--love for instance. Those are ever expanding I am told, and they just get better and better.

    That's my take. I absolutely love the avatar you've chosen and your reasoning, and thank you for this discussion. We all grapple with this stuff, don't we. .

    \\///\

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  3. A great post, Bonnie. I do get where you're coming from. And I'm happy to see a larger version of this endearing photo.. and the story behind it.

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  4. Brian: Yes! We do know the fate of the lemmings.

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  5. William: What an interesting interpretation of the psychological and existential meaning of the apple and the interdiction to partake of it. I have never thought of the Bible story as encouraging us to not 'fall for' the dualistic 'reality' offered by the world.

    I find 'your take' fascinating, although I struggle with the concept of sin, redemption and the reward of immortal life on another plane for worthy personalities. At this point in my understanding, I certainly agree that love and life never die ... just not sure that our particular personalities contine ... though it would be nice to believe (I did at one time).

    Thank you for making such an interesting contribution to the discussion of forbidden fruit!

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  6. I enjoyed this reflection on your avatar, and your granddaughter, and your desire for forbidden fruit, especially because that I am learning to step out of bounds. It's hard, after half a life (if I live to be 80) of toeing the line — no not even toeing it, staying quite in the middle of the circle. Here's to being bold and breaking rules. I've made a big break with certain constraints of my past. Here's to freedom!

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  7. I for one, always questioned why god would put what was forbidden within easy reach. a little passive aggression going on there on the part of god who gets angry when the fruit is eaten. hard to have respect for a deity that 'tests' you especially since I don't test well.

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  8. Ruth: Yes - here's to forging our own path - the one 'not travelled' or limited by someone else's fences.

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  9. ellen: Yes - the story itself demonstrates it is a god and scenario originating in the minds of the males in control at the time. They projected their values and world view onto god and would have us buy into such a small-minded, petty deity.

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  10. ellen: I should have ended the previous comment with the phrase "in my view" ... for that is all it is. I know there are many other interpretations out there.

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  11. I felt deliciously wicked reading this post, Bonnie. Now I'm off to prepare my musli breakfast - with HEAPS of chopped fruit on top.

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  12. Warmly lit by your contemplation of your own path and your granddaughter's, this is a beautiful reflection on the paths we are told we were meant to walk and the others that call to us to open and discover. Joseph Campbell used to say that if you can see your path clearly before you, then you know it is not your path, but somebody else's. As for fobidden fruit, I cannot even bear the notion. It would be like cancelling summer in the middle of spring. Like Oscar Wilde, I can resist everything but temptation...

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  13. Bonnie, I love the avatar and the image you created. I, too, would have to have a bite of the apple. I have always had a lot of trouble with unreasonable rules, but I never associated the two ideas.

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  14. Robert (Solitary Walker): You ARE a delightfully wicked sort of fellow! HEAPS of fruit? How deliciously dangerous!

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  15. Lorenzo: Stop! Please stop! Every word pulls me further down the path to 'destruction', but it looms as a pleasurable end. ;)

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  16. Shari: Thank goodness there are so many apples to go around!!!

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  17. HI BONNIE- I so love the story of your avatar and how you and your adorable granddaughter look so alike. And I especially appreciate her seeing herself as you. Wonderful.
    Now about that forbidden fruit!! I am very much a forbidden fruit eater - always have been. I don't follow the crownd or go with the flow - I am a trend/mood setter and a leader - and I love to dabble on the wild-side. :-) Cool huh?
    Love to you "sista"
    Gail
    pece......

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  18. I love this image of your granddaughter - she is indeed holding a world in her hands!

    I have struggled with living this way, with holding the fruit in my hand and taking a big bite! I have worried about others' reactions, what will they think? Is it okay for me to live this large? Now, as I have gotten older, I ask, how can I NOT live this way?

    I think we all have a bit of Eve in us. We just need to let her shine!

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  19. Gail: I'm always up for a little walk on the wild side. Nice to know I can call on you if I need a little company! :)

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  20. Marion: Wonderful question! How can I not?

    I boxed myself into someone else's blueprint for my life for fear of hurting and alienating them ... when I realized how soul-killing such a choice was, I took the risk. It was not without some sad relational consequences, but I was finally true to myself and that reanimated my soul.

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  21. Aside from the bible stories, there is nothing in reality that is forbidden, there may be consequences but not from a passive aggressive imaginary guy in the sky...consequences like prison or addiction, things like that.

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  22. I had wondered about your avatar and it was fun to get the story. Your grand daughter is adorable! I'm also a Klimt fan. I'm so fascinated by Eve and forbidden fruit that I actually named my protagonist Eve in my WIP. There are apples too.

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