7. The Tower of Evil

Article Abstract

After the author of Genesis postulates a universal flood that eliminates all evil people from the world, he has now to explain how come that the world in which all readers live is as full of evil and violence as it had been before the flood. While evil entered the world for the first time through Cain who killed his brother – and no one assumes Cain to have been a saint – this time evil entered the world through Noah who had managed to be a saint for no less than 600 years. And this time evil entered the world in a form that is quite benign: Noah gets drunk, exposes himself naked, one of his sons accidentally sees him naked and warns his other brothers about the condition of their father who covered him up, and after Noah regains consciousness, begins to throw with blessings and curses to the right and to the left by which he turns his grandson Canaan into a slave who was not even aware of what had happened. Since slavery has to be imposed by force and therefore through violence, Canaan and his descendants also resorted to force and violence to defend their freedom and became the great heroes of the ancient world that built the empires that dominated that part of the world, including Palestine. We are now back at square with the world full of Nephilim and violence, this time, not in order to revenge murders, but in order to create supposedly ideal societies based on power with a hierarchy in the shape of a pyramid with the right people at the top. This is what Noah established: a pyramid with his son Shem or “name” at the top and the other son as his subordinates with Ham and Canaan as slaves. The purpose of the whole social structure was not to facilitate cooperation among all citizens, but rather to control or to “keep” all people together. Geometrical figures such as pyramids, obelisks, and triangles are universal symbols for power structures that convey stability, security, and permanence. Contrary to traditional interpretations, the story about the Tower of Babel is not about building skyscrapers but about building societies based on a pyramid of power that controls all the members of the society, indeed, eventually the whole world. Although this has been the dream of all great conquerors, such enterprises have always collapsed just as the story about the Tower of Babel ends in failure. The reason all hierarchies that use power and not rationality eventually collapse is because they are based on secrecy and deception. Although democracy presupposes the ability of all individuals to evaluate the performance of their leaders whom they elect, secrecy and deception not only makes that impossible, but enables the most corrupt to get to the top. It is the reason all empires and civilizations have ended up in ruins, and the story about the Tower of Babel claims that God not only has never endorsed such enterprises, but that their collapse is actually God’s verdict.