10. From the Garden of Eden to Canaan via Harry Potter

Article Abstract

Contrary to widespread opinion among scholars, the Pentateuch is a continuous story so that, after Genesis explains how the Israelites ended up salves in Egypt through Joseph, Exodus relates how they managed to escape Egypt and embark on the conquest of Canaan through Moses. Since scholars only have the concept of objective reality, they view these stories either as objective descriptions of what actually happened, or fictitious stories that have nothing to do either with what happened in the past or with what happens today. The reason scholars do no see any relation between these stories and the world in which they live is because they understand that these stories are about magic in which ancient people believed because they had mythical minds while modern people have scientific minds developed by the Greek philosophy and find magic quite ridiculous. What scholars do not seem to realize is that the most read and enjoyed books today are the Harry Potter series that talk precisely about magic in spite of the supposed scientific minds of the modern readers. This apparent paradox is the result of the fact that the Greek philosophy, by reducing reality to objective reality, made it impossible for modern minds to understand what I called reasoned reality that is not only as real, but even more important for human societies. This confusion between the two realities is obvious in the Socratic dialogues in which Socrates is pushing his opponent to unambiguously define notions that belong to the reasoned reality just because definitions can be used to identify entities that belong to objective reality. Since Socrates’ opponents were unable to define notions for which they were admired authorities, Socrates through his dialogues undermined the very foundation of the reasoned reality of the society creating a crisis that ended in his capital punishment. In order to solve the crisis, Socrates’ disciples Plato and Aristotle developed theories about reality that is the subject of philosophy according to which humans have no role in creating what exists and that explains why the reality created by humans and I called reasoned reality is alien to modern minds. Moreover, in order to create authoritative leaders unlike the ones discredited by Socrates, Plato and Aristotle established schools in which they trained the future leaders by teaching their philosophies that have become the blueprint for modern academia. This relationship between power and schools is precisely what modern readers find fascinating about the Harry Potter books. Although the books talk about magic, a proper reading of the books makes clear that by magic the books do not mean hocus-pocus, but rather the power to control others and that is the true purpose of education and of graduating schools. Just as in Harry Potter books magic does not mean hocus-pocus, plagues and miracles in Exodus do not mean magic that Moses uses to disrupt the Egyptian society, but rather the contradictions and the irrationalities on which an oppressive and exploitative society is based and eventually leads to its own collapse. Just as Plato and Aristotle tried to establish through their philosophies and their schools a new basis for the reasoned society discredited by Socrates, so also Moses halts the march of the liberated slaves at mount Sinai in order to embark on a teaching journey according to which an ideal society is not governed by leaders, but by rational laws to which no individual, not even the highest leaders, are exempted. If there is a pyramid of power, it is not a pyramid in which the most powerful individuals are above the laws, but there is a pyramid of penalties, that is, the higher the individual who breaks the law, the more severe is the penalty. Just as in all societies the pyramid and the obelisk have graphically expressed the subordination of all the individuals to the one who has the absolute power, so also Moses envisions a building for a sacred shrine in which all the relationships suggest equality and impossibility of creating subordination and privileges. In spite of this utopian model of society, the Israelites are described as being in constant conflict with Moses because they are longing for the Egyptian society where they had been slaves, which they still hold as ideal, and which they want to establish for themselves when they arrive in their promised land. The forty-year journey through the wilderness is not mean to describe a physical movement from one location to another, but this mentality journey in which the former slaves turn into mighty conquerors and killers. The final discourses of Moses provide the clues that the Old Testament was written in order to explain that the reason the Israelites ended up as slaves again in Assyria and Babylon was precisely because they refused to accept the model of society advocated by Moses as the one intended by God when calling Abraham. In other words, the Israelites failed to establish the kind of society that God intended and hoped to be adopted all over the world not after they settled in the promised land, but even before they set foot in that land because they refused to adopt Moses’ vision and instead followed Balaam as the true representative of God.