Archive for the ‘first woman’ tag
While cycling down back lanes, paths and secondary roads in the rural Mekong Delta of Vietnam, I came across this scene of two young men who were busy taking the husks off of coconuts so as to ready the coconuts for sale. At the same time, these coconut husks were being collected for other uses including use as fuel. The scene has likely been played out over thousands of years ever since man had discovered the milk and fruit of the coconut and wondered about the left over husks. The image talks about a simpler time in Asia, a time before philosophy and psychology.
Why do these guys work? It isn’t something that needs a lot of thought. They are adult males and work is part of what they do as members of their community, as mates to females and as fathers to children. Unlike the modern man who needs to find meaning, psychological and physiological relevance in his work, even an identity that is somehow beyond the roles given by community and family.
Mulling on this, I wonder about the original man who happens upon the original woman and how relationship and identity must have seemed to them. With no level of personal consciousness of of a collective consciousness, they were drawn to each other through primal and instinctual needs. They bonded and without thought, perhaps without language, they gave birth to the next generation. Their relationship did not offer choices of others, of soulmates, of magical others. I want to turn to a Gao XingJian and Soul Mountain to present a Chinese myth that talks of this original man and woman:
“The general name for the woman who created man’s intelligence is Nuwa. The first woman, Nuwa, and the first man, Fuxi, constitute the collective consciousness of men and women.
The depiction on Han Dynasty tiles of the mythical union of Fuxi and Nuwa, both with the bodies of snakes but human heads, is derived from the sexual impulses of primal humans.
At that time the individual did not exist. There was not an awareness of a distinction between “I” and “you”. The birth of I derived from fear of death, and only afterwards an entity which was not I came to constitute you. At that time people did not have an awareness of fearing oneself, knowledge of the self came from an other and was affirmed by possessing and being possessed, and by conquering and being conquered. He, that third person who is not directly relevant to I and you, was gradually differentiated. After this the I also discovered that he was to be found in large numbers everywhere and was a separate existence from oneself, and it was only then that the consciousness of you and I became secondary. In the individual struggle for survival amongst others, the self was gradually forgotten and gradually churned like a grain of sand into the chaos of the boundless universe.” (Gao, Soul Mountain, pp 307-308)